House Speaker Thom Tillis held a short press conference today after the House passage of H2, the bill seeking to override the insurance mandate set out in the federal health care reform bill. (Click on the link at left to watch Bruce Mildwurf's coverage of the lengthy and contentious debate.)
“We did decide to move this bill early, and part of that is because we have the capacity to do so," Tillis said. "We haven’t taken our eye off the ball on balancing the budget and working on measures that will create jobs. What we’re simply doing is also using the capacity of the House to take up this bill and move it as quickly as possible.”
Tillis called the passage of H2 "a great day for North Carolina,” adding, “It’s not coincidental I’m wearing a tie that has the Constitution – portions of it – printed on it today. Because what this was about was not the health care debate, which is where a number of people wanted to take this bill. This was about a very dangerous practice by the federal government to reach into the state and impose on us things that we do not think are appropriate.”
Tillis also fielded a question from Greensboro’s Mark Binker on the House’s policy on prayers. Last session in the House, the prayers offered at the start of daily session were required to be non-sectarian. This session, that’s apparently not the case.
Tillis answered, “We have implemented a policy in the House to encourage members to come to the Well of the House and say prayers, and to sponsor legislative staff to come before the Well of the House and say prayers. Their speech will be unencumbered.”
Click on the audio link at top left to hear Tillis’s unedited comments.