Suspicions abound during brief legislative session

Posted February 16, 2012

— The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened in Raleigh briefly Thursday amid worries by Democrats and activists that Republican could take some surprise action.

Republican legislative leaders kept to their promise that no votes would be taken during the skeleton session, including no potential overrides of Gov. Beverly Perdue's vetoes.

The GOP had set aside three days this week to handle redistricting matters that never materialized, but the special session was already written into law.

"We would have to pass a new adjournment resolution, which would require a quorum, which would require the Senate to meet, so it's easier just to come back," House Rules Chairman Tim Moore said.

Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, said lawmakers should try to address issues like job creation or education instead of coming to Raleigh to do nothing. If no actions are taken, he said, lawmakers ought to forgo their $104 per diem.

"I already have forgone my pay for the day," said Faison, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. "I would agree that everyone should forgo it if we're having a session where nothing is being done."

House Speaker Thom Tillis also asked all House Republicans to skip their per diem.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Office estimates that having the General Assembly in session for a day costs taxpayers about $50,000 – that's more than the average state worker makes per year. If all lawmakers passed on their pay, it would cut the by about a third. Expenses for travel, staffing, security and printing have already been incurred.

House Democrats remain suspicious of their GOP colleagues after a meeting last month in which an unscheduled after-midnight session was held to override a veto involving member dues and the North Carolina Association of Educators.

NC General Assembly 4x3 Some lawmakers skip pay for one-day session

"Because of the events of January 4th and 5th, most Democrats just thought it was a good idea to show up (Thursday)," House Minority Leader Joe Hackney said.

Opponents of Republican policies rallied Thursday morning to protest the override, but security officers removed them from the Legislative Building.

Another special session set for April, and Faison said he hopes Republican leaders will agree to work on economic bills at that meeting.

"If we're going to have these silly interim sessions they've been doing that accomplish absolutely nothing productive, what we ought to do is step up and do the job we've been elected to do," he said.

Both the House and Senate are meeting one more time Saturday morning to officially adjourn. GOP leaders maintain that, even with all of the special sessions, they have spent fewer days in session – and less money – than their Democratic predecessors.


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  • Remy Feb 17, 2012

    Is there anywhere to look that states which reps took the per diem?

  • SMAPAEA Feb 17, 2012

    Must be nice, I'm not allowed to show up to my state job and not do anything, AND get travel reimbursements...per diem is nothing...what mileage claims are these guys getting...low or high? You wanna look for places to cut funds...start at the top.

  • Plenty Coups Feb 17, 2012

    "I have watched firsthand the destruction of quality. Whether you like it or not, it's broken and money will not fix it."

    I enjoy a talk with someone who uses reason and not just rhetoric. But you can't deny that paying more won't attract better quality teachers. It does for every other profession. It's basic economics. I agree with you that too much garbage is being handed to teachers.

    "BTW, voter fraud does exist :) Seen that too!"

    It does exist, buts its pretty rare. I have yet to see anything more than a couple of cases per year. Usually its people making mistakes. (criminal records, voting in wrong precinct) Certainly doesn't justify paying for IDs.

  • North Carolina Home Feb 16, 2012

    Thanks for proving my points, Plenty

    There is one thing upon which we agree, teachers are not paid what they are worth IF (and it's a mighty big IF) they could be allowed to teach core subjects that give students a base to achieve at higher levels. Unfortunately big gov't. has forced teachers to fulfill too many roles that exceed their role of teaching and has caused too many to leave the profession for less stressful careers. Many reasons for that, I know, but the facts are facts. I have too many family members that have been or are currently in the teaching profession so I'm not speaking from just a "right wing nut" perspective. I have been involved in the process since the early 70's in four different school systems in North Carolina. I have watched firsthand the destruction of quality. Whether you like it or not, it's broken and money will not fix it.

    BTW, voter fraud does exist :) Seen that too!

  • Plenty Coups Feb 16, 2012

    NorthCarolinaHome-Top Ten liberal rebuttals to any and everything:
    "4_Republicans hate teachers"

    They may not hate them, but don't ever ask them to pay them what they're worth.They're perfectly happy w/ keeping their pay perpetually frozen at mid 2000 levels. Not once in the last 20 years has ANY republican EVER proposed or even voted for teacher raises. Actions speak louder than words.

    " 5_Republicans hate gays "
    Like bashing teachers, bashing gays is a GP priority. Claiming you don't have a problem w/ gays while trying to add a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage even though its already a law, shows they do hate gays. Again,its a priority w/ the GOP to make it harder for gays and teachers.

    "6_There is no voter fraud "

    Still waiting on proof that there is. I guess democrats are wrong to claim there isn't when there...isn't?

  • geosol Feb 16, 2012

    Wonder what surprises our little right wing REPUBLICAN legislators have in store while spending OUR TAX DOLLARS on a "no work" session? Would it be another vindictive vote against teachers? Fire some more of them? How about a nice little unconstitutional amendment to discriminate against minorities again? They better hurry, the good people of North Carolina have had quite enough of their right wing lies and hypocrisy.

  • North Carolina Home Feb 16, 2012

    The NC GOP has no regard for the people of NC and they are riddled with extremists. I am sure some of them are well funded by the likes of Art Pope etc. as well. They are an embarrassment and shame our state. Kick them to the curb in 2012!
    February 16, 2012 5:23 p.m.

    Now that's funny, jg!

    BTW, Fox & Rush reported that Bev Perdue kicked her dog after the liberals in Chapel Hill booed her

    and Art Pope just gave $1M to a labor union GOTV effort

    and there is going to be something to vote on after midnight tonight

    Scary, huh? Makes as much sense as your post :)

  • Plenty Coups Feb 16, 2012

    crumps brother-"Why not provide a free ID, you want to provide everything else for free. I just don't understand why someone wouldn't have some form of ID on them. But I guess Im just too ate up with personal responsibilty to really "get it"."

    The state claimed it was "broke" last year and needed to cut education spending 800-900 million. (4th year in a row)Providing free ID's would cost millions of dollars according to costs incurred in other states. When there is ZERO evidence of widespread voter fraud, its hard to justify paying to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

  • jgilchr Feb 16, 2012

    The NC GOP has no regard for the people of NC and they are riddled with extremists. I am sure some of them are well funded by the likes of Art Pope etc. as well. They are an embarrassment and shame our state. Kick them to the curb in 2012!

  • North Carolina Home Feb 16, 2012

    Top Ten liberal rebuttals to any and everything:

    1_You're racist
    2_Rush said it
    3_Fox News said it
    4_Republicans hate teachers
    5_Republicans hate gays
    6_There is no voter fraud
    7_Democrats in NC are no more corrupt than Republicans 8_George Bush caused every problem in the country for 100 yrs. 9_Republicans hate women 10_Only liberal Democrats are educated