Speaker gets social during voting debate

Posted June 9, 2011

It's not every day you get a view from the Speaker's seat up on the dais in the NC House. Especially not on Facebook. And especially not during a hot debate over voting rights.

House Speaker Thom Tillis is very active on Facebook. Sometime around 5:00 this afternoon, as the two-hour Voter ID debate was underway, Tillis took the picture below, probably with his cell phone, and posted it to his Facebook page:

"A view from the Speaker's perspective live."

 Tillis Dais Facebook






 A little later, he posted the photo again for emphasis: 

"Should anyone doubt that I'm posting live. Take a look at the view from my bench. FB [Facebook] on the lower monitor..."

Tillis Facebook screengrab







To be fair, lawmakers were ending their third day of grueling crossover debate. At that point in the Voter ID debate, many House members had left the chamber to wander the halls while their colleagues made speeches on the half-empty floor. 

Tillis isn't the only lawmaker using social media in the chamber, either. Many members of both parties regularly tweet and facebook from the House floor. Former Democratic Speaker Joe Hackney used to read Twitter on the dais occasionally.  

But is it appropriate for the Speaker of the House to be posting photos on his Facebook page during debate on one of the most contentious and sensitive issues of crossover week?

Tillis declined to be interviewed about this after session tonight – he wasn't feeling well, as was evidenced by his voice today.  But his spokesman Jordan Shaw said, "I don't think there's any problem with it."  

The debate went fine, Shaw pointed out.

"I think the majority of people would say it's a unique insight into how it works up there - a view from the Speaker's chair," Shaw said.       

What do you think? 



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  • tao90 Jun 13, 2011

    As a North Carolinian, I expect my representatives to take all issues seriously. Shame on you Tillis for being so lackadaisical!

  • jstucker Jun 10, 2011

    Harmonious-living- lawmakers are not restricted on computer use while on the floor.

    ewinstead- I disagree that it shouldn't be allowed for lawmakers. They're elected by citizens and you aren't. That doesn't make them more special, but its their job to listen to what their constituents have to say. Taking a peak at any lawmakers facebook you can see that they are always asking their FB friends how they feel about issues, etc.

    Lawmakers using social media is good (exception for people like Rep. Weiner in NY...) because its instant access for people to contact them.

  • harmonious-living Jun 10, 2011

    I was under the impression that lawmakers could not read e-mail during session. If this is true why would social media be an exception?

  • ewinstead Jun 10, 2011

    I can't say that I care that he was "facebooking" while in the chamber, however, in the current state agency that I work at, facebook has been blocked on all computers and cannot be accessed. What's good for the goose is not good for the gander?