In a flurry if activity late in the session, the Honorables in Raleigh pulled so many switcheroos, fast moves, and sleights of hand it would make a 3-card monte street hustler proud. Take your eyes off the game for even a split second, and you will be left wondering what just happened to you.
Here are the low-lights of the waning hours of this year's long session that ended around 4AM Wednesday morning.
We told you last week about H373 which allows the leadership of the 4 legislative caucuses to setup their own shadow parties through something called "affiliated party committees".
This raised holy hell among the grassroots community who saw this as a direct attack on the state's political parties. Activists held out some hope Governor McCrory would veto the bill. Instead Tuesday evening, it appears the rest of your state government got in on the act.
Rather than facing a veto, legislators passed bill S119 which actually expanded the potential use of the affiliated party committee concept to include the Governor - thus letting him in on the action. This will occur if Governor Pat signs H373. Read this story at DailyHaymaker.com for more details.
Also, on Tuesday legislators attempted to ram through some legislation intended to limit the type of ordinances municipalities could enact. While normally, we here at aShortChronicle see putting limits on government as a good thing, in this case it was done in a very irresponsible way.
Similar to what happened in H373, with S279 legislators also attached a controversial provision to something that really needed to pass - legislation to improve capabilities around fighting human trafficking through improved counseling.
The pushback against the municipal restrictions forced the entire bill to be pulled off the calendar on Tuesday. In order to save the good parts, legislators had to roll back a previous vote in the Senate, pretend that vote did not happen, then re-vote on an earlier version of the bill that did not contain the offending municipal provisions.
That put a number of Republican Senators in the position of having to pull a "John Kerry" - meaning they were against the bill before they were for it.
More than 2 dozen Republican Senators had originally voted against the bill which sent it to a conference committee where the offending local government provisions were added. To get the counseling portion of the bill passed they rolled back that vote and then voted for the original bill
All this was to clean up a mess that they had made themselves.
Then finally there was Senate Bill 313.
In this case legislators replaced a bill having to do with license plates with one having to do with legalizing industrial hemp production.
This one flew through the legislature in a single day The biggest concern here was wanting to make sure hemp products did not get used to promote actual marijuana products. Nevermind how they so nonchalantly bastardized the legislative process.
The bill passed both houses with near unanimous support.
Folks, this is your government.. For a legislative session that ran way too long, ending it like this is pretty darn sad.
Update: Governor McCrory did sign H373 Wednesday. Story here.