Today, Rep. Nelson Dollar – (R) Wake – delivered a statement that will be heard for months – the next six months hopefully.
The rumor out of West Jones Street is that the NCGA GOP super-majority will enact a parliamentary procedure that will allow them to not only write a budget behind closed doors, but pass it through committee without any public debate or possibility of amendments.
Dollar defended the move saying,
“Most of the budgeting was done for the second year last year in the budget. It was obviously fully debated, fully discussed, fully amended” (https://www.wral.com/democrats-gop-fears-over-teacher-raise-gun-votes-behind-budget-maneuver/17575715/).
Fully debated by whom? Fully discussed by whom? Fully amended by whom?
This is a first. Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat from Charlotte, posted the following today on Facebook. It needs to be read.
Legislative leadership just invoked the nuclear option with respect to the budget.
For the first time in modern history, it appears our budget will be passed as a conference report instead of a regular bill.
Why does this matter? Because a conference report gets to skip over the committee process and isn’t subject to any amendments.
That means that whenever we see the budget – and it’s still being written behind closed doors – it’s essentially final.
And we’re hearing the budget vote will be as soon as next week, so without having seen a single line of it, it’s basically done.
You only pull a move like this if you are so entrenched in power that you’re ok with openly insulting every taxpayer in the state.
Think of it like driving over your neighbor’s mailbox while giving them a thumbs up. You only do something like that if you’ve become totally detached from what people think of you.
If you’re a fiscal hawk, you should be especially concerned by the fact that this budget will spend $23 billion of your tax money without anyone being able to publicly question or amend a single letter of it.
Ultimately, this is about teachers. Republicans know that Democrats are going to offer amendments to raise teacher pay and Republicans don’t want to be on record voting against that. So they’re going to torpedo the whole process to avoid publicly saying “No” to teachers.
Add this to your list of reasons why voting this November is absolutely essential.
It’s the “ultimately, this is about teachers” part that really grabs the eyes. Jackson is a staunch public-school advocate. His words and the reporting by WRAL.com today parallel: Berger and his cronies seem to be very concerned over what issues were brought about over the teacher rally the week before where over 20,000 people rallied and marched.
Ironic of Dollar to say all of the matters and concerns about the budget had been discussed because the mood in Raleigh last week on May 16th seemed to pretty much center on how much more needed to be discussed and debated.
Perhaps this is just a stunt to see if the backlash is strong enough to withhold using it.
Perhaps the GOP goes through with the budget approval and hopes that negative sentiment dies down in the next few months. That probably will not happen; teachers have been shown to be vocal and the budge that was passed last year adds more tax cuts to corporations and freezes veteran teacher pay.
But what this really means is that May 16th scared Berger and Moore. Last week’s march and rally had an effect, one so much that the GOP stalwarts are doing something to make sure their plans still go through – hiding behind closed doors.
If this nuclear option is exercised in this next week, every person in NC whether democrat, republican, libertarian, or independent should be angered that the very democratic process that should be used to pass laws, budgets, and mandates is being thrown out the window in order to satisfy the political addiction of a few people.
No debate. No discussion, No questioning. No representation. No voices heard. That’s shameful. What a teachable moment for this state – created by teachers.
Make no mistake, Berger, Moore, and Dollar are afraid of a united teacher front. This probably would not have been floated if it had not been for May 16th. That idea of it being just a moment just became a little easier to digest.
What started last month and culminated last week is still in the minds of those who want to use this nuclear option. That will still be in the minds of a lot of teachers and public school advocates come November. As Sen. Jackson said, “Add this to your list of reasons why voting this November is absolutely essential.”