Today @NCCapitol (Feb. 7): Dismissing judges

Posted February 7, 2013

Legislative Building

— Good morning, and welcome to Today @NCCapitol, WRAL's roundup of what you need to know about North Carolina state government this morning.

EARLY WEEKEND: Lawmakers are scheduled for a relatively light day of work Thursday, particularly in the state House. No votes are scheduled for the House floor and only one House committee is expected to meet. 

SENATE: No Senate Committees are scheduled to meet, but two bills are slated for floor action at 11:30 a.m. SB 14: Increase access to career and technical education, creates a program under which high school graduates would earn diplomas marking them as ready for a trade, ready for college or both.

The more controversial bill of the day will be SB 10, the measure which ends some obsolete boards but also fires Democratic appointees to a number of boards and commissions. The Senate tentatively approved the bill on Wednesday, but several senators raised questions about a provision that would fire 12 special superior court judges. 

"I just have a real concern," Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, said. The state constitution prohibits removing judges from office other than through impeachment. 

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the bill's sponsor, said that the bill eliminates the positions rather than simply firing those who hold them. Such actions have been found to be legal in the past, he said. Still, Apodaca himself objected to third reading on Wednesday so that the bill would be heard a final time today. 

WRAP: In Wednesday's version of The Wrap @NCCapitol, Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and report Mark Binker talk over the Senate commissions bill, the Opossum Full Employment Act, and other activity from the day. 

The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 6) The Wrap @NCCapitol (Feb. 6)

VOLLER: New NC Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller will hold a news conference at party headquarters on Hillsborough Street at 9:30 a.m. "Chairman Voller will outline his vision for the future of the Democratic Party and his goals for his time as Chair," according to a news release. WRAL.com will carry this news conference live. Tune in through the Video Central box on the home page. 

MEET THE NEW BOSS: Dianna Lightfoot, the state's new director of Child Development and Early Education, has been running a nonprofit that advocates against "institutional" preschool programs, such as the North Carolina Pre-K program she now oversees. Hours after becoming the focus of media attention, Lightfoot deleted her Twitter account, which contained a number of postings expressing anti-gay sentiments.

DROZ: As expected, environmental activists Wednesday were critical of a sparsely attended presentation by climate science skeptic John Droz.

FUNERALS: A bill to protect military funerals from protests such as those launched by the Westboro Baptist Church easily cleared committee on Wednesday. However, as Paul Woolverton at Fayetteville Observer reports, the measure gives some civil rights activists pause, especially a provision the extends the buffer zones around funerals. "The wider buffer could violate the protesters' free-speech rights and unintentionally stifle the rights of others," the paper reports. 

MORE WEDNESDAY BILLS: The controversial remake of North Carolina's unemployment system cleared the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday. The bill cuts benefits for unemployed workers while raising taxes on employers in order to repay more than $2.5 billion borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment claims. Senate leaders have scheduled floor debate for Tuesday, Feb. 12. 

Also clearing committee votes Wednesday were bills to limit local governments ability to take land through eminent domain, increase penalties for those who make methamphetamine, and allow DENR permit the temporary trapping of animals, such as possums.

LOBBY THIS: Some Wake County lawmakers are irritated that Wake County schools has voted to hire a lobbyist.

VOTING: A lunch-time session hosted by the Federalist Society may have provided a preview of this year's Voter ID debate. Related: Pew Center on the States issues a report grading states on their election performance. North Carolina scores relatively well. 

SOLES: WECT reports "Former State Senator R.C. Soles is scheduled to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine," one of the highest honors the state can bestow.

INVESTIGATES: Private country clubs can claim nonprofit status.

TOPPLES BARRED: Organizers of an annual topless rally in Asheville pledge to fight a measure that would make the proceedings illegal. "Though we've explained our viewpoint many times during GoTopless rallies over the last two years, politicians are still missing the entire point," GoTopless President Nadine Gary said in a news release. "Our rallies are aimed at bringing attention to a serious matter of unconstitutional, unequal treatment: In much of the United States, women are still persecuted or arrested for going topless, while men aren't."


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  • stormtrooper76 Feb 7, 2013

    "I just have a real concern," Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, said. The state constitution prohibits removing judges from office other than through impeachment.

    Finally, someone is trying to follow the state's constitution.

    Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the bill's sponsor, said that the bill eliminates the positions rather than simply firing those who hold them. Such actions have been found to be legal in the past, he said.

    Once again, this is a case of ruling as one sees fit. He's for eliminating the judges positions but it doesnt "remove" them. It doesnt take a smart person to figure out that eliminating the postions will "remove" the judges.

    Hypocrites............ they complain about others NOT following the state or federal constitutions but do the exact same thing themselves.....

  • dontstopnow Feb 7, 2013

    I am just glad they are working to take full control. Although I am a registered Democrat, I am embarrassed by the last 3 or 4 governors of this state and this is a breath of fresh air. Throw all the bums out Pat. Sweep the floor and start over.

  • Pirate01 Feb 7, 2013

    It is perfectly reasonable and to be expected that Republicans would put their own people into any position they could. Anybody complaining is just being dishonest about the reality of the situation.

  • OleNCNative Feb 7, 2013

    liberals just do not understand how democracy works.Repubs won and occupy the guvoners mansion and the legislative building so to the victor goes the spoils. do they think the Vikings cared what kind of educational system defeated people wanted after conquest? did Hitlerr lose sleep because the French and the Dutch and the Danes didn't approve of his chief of staff? McCrory was elected by 52% and doesn't owe any allegiance to or care what the other 48% want or think. Pillage on!

    Lemme show you how you don't know how democracy works: 1) You cannot spell governor. First hint. 2) You think that a winning party is at liberty to take the same actions as Vikings and Nazis. (Side note: Don't compare the side you favor to Vikings and Nazis. Unless you like Vikings and Nazis. It works against you.)

  • wral mods blow close my account Feb 7, 2013

    Psst - GOP you may want to make a law to prevent the next Administration from doing the same thing because your reign will be short.

  • superman Feb 7, 2013

    Find a way to rescind the Dix agreement.

  • Bendal1 Feb 7, 2013


    In a true democracy and not this disaster the Republicans are calling one, there's this thing called "compromise" and "rational debate", too. There's absolutely nothing wrong with commissions and regulatory boards having different viewpoints among the members. That was why until now board members weren't replaced until they retired. If the Republicans get their wish, we'll see the boards filled with members holding views contrary to what the boards were set up to do in the first place, with no dissent or opposing viewpoints allowed.

    That's not a democracy, that's a fascist state.

  • FairPlay Feb 7, 2013

    Both sides do the same thing. What they want. Stop crying libs...... your past Gov and the Pres are doing the same thing.

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Feb 7, 2013

    PlentyStoup, he corrected this and said it was Jim Hunt not martin....now respond..was it different?

  • Plenty Coups Feb 7, 2013

    "Done twice by Progressive Governor Jim Martin, was that different? The Yoda"

    Martin was a conservative republican.