January 9, 2017
Special Legislative Report
Some called what the veto-proof Republican majority in our legislature pulled off in its December 14-21 special sessions “shenanigans,” which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.” Others, including the New York Times, called it a “brazen power grab,” defined as “the acquisition or arrogation of power, control, etc.; a political coup.” Either way, the shoe fits.
It all began when Attorney General Roy Cooper defeated incumbent Governor Pat McCrory in the race for governor. For weeks after the election, McCrory refused to concede defeat, demanding recounts and claiming, without any evidence, widespread voter fraud. These tactics got him nowhere.
Having lost the governorship, McCrory hastily convened a “special session,” purportedly to pass financial assistance for parts of the state hit by wildfires and Hurricane Matthew. When that special session quickly concluded, legislative leaders called for another special session to begin just two hours later, surprising Democratic lawmakers as well as the media and the public. Leadership’s claim that the surprise session was impromptu was belied by the signatures on the request dated two days earlier.
Twenty-eight new bills were introduced (…)