Raleigh, N.C. — Republican legislative leaders have faced no shortage of criticism from Democrats over their use of power this session. On Thursday, they heard one of their own members voice some of the same concerns.
In an unusual turn during floor debate on Senate Bill 10, which calls for sweeping changes to state boards and commissions, Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, warned his own party's leaders to "be more careful" in their use of power.
Under the Democrats, Blust was always an outspoken critic about the importance of process, public notice and respect for the institution of the legislature. He expressed some of the same concerns Thursday, using the biblical story of Uzzah, who touched the Ark of the Covenant in an effort to protect it but was struck down for the offense despite his good intentions.
Republicans hold super-majorities in both chambers, so they can generally do as they like. But Blust said GOP leaders had rushed the boards and commissions bill to the floor in disregard of the requirement for public notice.
The bill was added to the House calendar during session with little warning Thursday. That's after the first committee appearance Wednesday of the House version of the bill was omitted from the calendar handed out to the public that morning.
"Why do we all think that's such a small, slight thing?" Blust asked. "Whether you like it or not, due process means notice to be heard and at least have your point of view considered."
Blust said he could see no reason why the bill couldn't have waited till next week for a vote.
"I don’t like this idea, 'Well, we have the power. Let’s go ahead and do it,'" he said. "Just because we have power, we need to be judicious with it. I wish we would be more careful with it."
"The people have the right to yank us in two years and put someone else in," he added.