Rep John Blust of Guilford County had this to say on Facebook Thursday evening after the vote.
"Just think - the measure was only released 24 hours ago. If it was something we needed to enact, why wasn't a bill filed which followed the normal process which those we represent could follow? Why would this matter be hidden even from members until the very last minute? Honorable people do not conduct the public's business this way. The attitude reflected by the leaders in carrying this out shows a profound disrespect not only for the other legislators, but for the people we represent. That cannot be disputed. If one disputes it, tell me why the matter was hidden until the last minute?"
The new provision would allow House and Senate leadership to form their own fundraising and campaign support committees. Instead of the money going through the political parties, it would be controlled by legislative leaders directly.
It appears this is a direct response to the grassroots success at June's state NCGOP convention. The election of Hassan Harnett and Michele Nix as Chairman and Vice Chair has upset the applecart. Direct control of the purse is more important than ever for legislators who raise large sums from special interest groups who want to ensure it goes where it is "needed".
If that control can't be assured the money could dry up all together.
Party leaders and grassroots activists are not taking this lying down however. An effort was underway Friday afternoon to encourage Governor Pat McCrory to veto the bill.
McCrory has not had a lot of success with the veto this legislature. However in this case it seems unlikely the House would have the votes to override one if he decides to use it. The Republucan-led effort only passed the House by 3 votes (52-49) and relied on several Democrats to get it done. There were also four Republican legislators absent yesterday afternoon who were actually there earlier in the day. It appears this bill may have even been scheduled for an afternoon vote to ensure passage. At least one of those absent Republicans, John Bradford of Mecklenburg, indicated on Facebook Thursday evening that he likely would have been a 'no' vote.
So, why is all this happening now?
It may just be part of the typical shenanigans that seem to occur at the end of legislative sessions. However, it may also have something to do with the imminent selection of a new NCGOP Executive Director. Maybe legislative leaders see that choice not going their way, so this was a preemptive strike.
Regardless, it will make Saturday's Party Executive Committee meeting much more interesting.
Time to get the popcorn ready!