Crossover and the end of session are when bad things happen in the legislature. This week is crossover, the period in the legislative session where any bill must have passed at least one chamber to stay alive. Bills are flying, people are tired and shenanigans are happening.
The Big Government conservatives are out in force. The House voted to strip Orange County of its right charge impact fees on developers. The move is opposed by the Orange County delegation and local elected officials. The fees help cover the cost of new schools and infrastructure in fast growing areas of the state. The legislator who sponsored the legislation is from Mt. Airy—and yes, she’s a Republican.
Last night, a Senate committee voted to approve a bill to redistrict Asheville’s city council. Sen. Terry Van Duyn, who represents Asheville, opposed the measure and so do most other Asheville lawmakers as well as the mayor and city council. Van Duyn tried to at least give Asheville the option of a referendum to change districts. She failed. So much for local control.
The House passed a bill to enshrine North Carolina’s right-to-work status in the constitution. If it passes the Senate, voters will need to approve it in a referendum. Altering the constitution for partisan gain is always a bad idea.
In the election shenanigans department, Republicans are changing the ballot order—again. Before Republicans decided rigging the election in their favor is of paramount importance, ballot order was alphabetical one election cycle and reverse alphabetical then next. Party affiliation played no role. Then, Republicans passed a bill that required Republicans be listed first on the ballot in 2016 and Democrats would be listed first in 2018. Now, the House wants to scrap that law to make ballot order random, screwing the Democrats out of their chance to be listed first.
In other election meddling, the Senate passed a bill that would prevent local boards of elections from extending voting hours regardless of what problems may arise. The bill will almost certainly prevent people from voting. Expect it to be another costly court case that the GOP loses.
There’s more time for more bad bills before crossover ends. Expect to see more bills passed with little debate or scrutiny. Luckily, most of them will only have passed one house of the legislature and will still need to pass the other. Still, crossover is a cringe-worthy time to watch the legislature in action.