Term limits move forward in House

Posted April 6, 2011 9:14 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2011 7:54 a.m. EDT

The state House voted today - by exactly the number of votes needed, oddly enough - to approve a constitutional amendment limiting future House and Senate Leaders to two terms in the corner office.

Here's my full story on it. 

At the time the vote was taken today, six Democrats voted for the bill: Dewey Hill, Bill Faison, Marian McLawhorn, Winkie Wilkins, Bill Owens, and Larry Womble.  

After the vote was announced at 74-45, two of those Democrats asked to change their votes. Bill Owens, D-Pasquotank, said he'd been "talking to someone" and not paying attention when he voted.  Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, asked for his vote to be changed later in today's session.

Perhaps it's just coincidence that the final number on the vote, 72-47, happened to be exactly the number needed to pass the amendment, and not one above it.  But it reminds me of the 2005 lottery vote, when Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, after the vote count was announced, changed her vote from a yes to a no.

Harrison, a freshman at the time, took no end of grief for changing her vote. Critics accused her of succumbing to caucus pressure to support the bill, and then backtracking when she saw her vote wasn't needed.  If that's what happened (and she's never confirmed it), she certainly wouldn't be the first. Or the last, either, probably. 

Did Owens and Womble "pull a Pricey"? Or did two of the House's most seasoned Dems suffer simultaneous brain freeze on a piece of legislation that their caucus (at least nominally) opposed?