@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Dems: Session 'far-right,' 'disappointing'

Posted June 16, 2011 3:51 p.m. EDT

Following this morning’s press conference by Republican leaders, House Democrats held a press conference of their own today to denounce what they say has been a “far-right” session that “goes backwards on jobs.”

House Minority Leader Joe Hackney started off by listing the hundreds of layoffs announced this week in school districts around the state: 500 personnel in Charlotte, 200 in Duplin, nearly 400 in Cumberland, more than 100 in Kannapolis.

“There will be more to come,” Hackney predicted. “The Republicans own this. It is their fault.”

“If this were any other sector, Republicans would be telling us of the failure of North Carolina’s business environment,” Hackney said. “But since it’s only educators – and we know what they think of them – it’s acceptable.”

Hackney also attacked GOP leaders for a “partisan agenda” that he says includes guns in parks, abortion restrictions, and weaker environmental regulations. But he saved his harshest words for bills that require Voter ID, shorten early voting, and ban Sunday and straight ticket voting.

“They’re afraid of the voters of North Carolina,” Hackney said, predicting that if those provisions become law, the U.S. Department of Justice will likely block many of them under the Voting Rights Act.

Hackney also criticized House Republicans for shutting down debate 26 times already this session. When he was Speaker, Hackney said, he used it four times.

“They call it efficient, but this is not a factory. This is a deliberative body, and we’re supposed to find the best result,” he said.

Watch the full press conference at right.