I hope everyone made it through the storm okay. We got a LOT more snow than I had anticipated; some areas in Durham got 5 inches on Sunday and another 3 or so early Monday morning, but darned if it wasn't pretty.
The weather didn't seem to slow down the NCGA much. A 3-judge panel extended the current arrangement of the North Carolina Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement to accommodate the NC-09 investigation until December 28 or whenever the election is certified, whichever comes first. Thanks to Melissa Boughton for the notice.
Nevertheless the NCGA spent the session yesterday composing HB1029, the bill that would revert the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement to its 2016 state, which divides it back into the State Board of Elections and the Ethics Commission. The 5 members of the SBoE would be appointed by the governor, with no more than 3 of the same political party. The Ethics Commission would be eight members, with 4 appointed by the governor, 2 recommended by the President Pro Tem, and 2 recommended by the Speaker of the House. Again, thanks to Melissa Boughton for the recap, and even though this tweet was posted before the text of the bill was released, everything is the same.
As of this writing there hasn't been a vote called. They will likely vote on it sometime today.
Monday's post has a good summary of the chaos surrounding the State Board of Elections, including its history. In a brutally hilarious twist of irony, there are currently ethics complaints against some of the politicians responsible for appointing members to the putative "Ethics, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Board," which would be responsible for investigating ethics complaints against politicians.
Yeah, you read that right.
An update out of Bladen County on the NC-09 spectacle has it that "Bladen County election workers tallied the results of early voting before Election Day in violation of state rules and are accused of allowing outsiders to view them, a precinct worker wrote in an affidavit released by state Democrats."
It's looking more and more likely that there will be a special election in NC-09. Longleaf Politics lists 5 potential candidates.
There is certainly plenty of news surrounding the NCGA to take up your bandwidth, but that doesn't mean news doesn't happen in the rest of the state.
Advocates for voting rights mourn Rosanell Eaton, who passed away Sunday. She was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that successfully challenged the restrictive voting law of 2016. Her lifelong devotion to equality and voting rights for black North Carolinians inspired former President Obama, and will continue to inspire us all.
On the subject of ethics complaints against politicians, ousted NC Representative Justin Burr found himself another job at the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council as its executive director (his entirely inadequate qualifications aside, because let's face it, you don't really need to be good at anything to be a Republican politician) and the salary for Burr's new position has been a point of contention between Gov. Cooper and the Republicans in the NCGA. From the Stanly News & Press:
"Not only has Burr landed a job with the state but multiple repostings of the position along with legislative action to ensure a higher salary make it appear political insiders helped him get a leg-up on the competition...state legislators passed SB469. A provision in the bill includes a section aimed at Burr getting a salary above the state’s compensation grading system."
An appellate court has HALTED all construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. I'm not sure how permanent this is, but that didn't stop me from jumping out of my chair and cheering at work when I read it.
I have this hazy recollection of learning in school that the Republican party favored "small government," but looking at the Republicans in the NCGA, I'm beginning to think I dreamed it. I'm not the only one.
North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows (the chair of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus) has the dubious honor of being on Trump's short list to replace outgoing Chief Babysit--er, Chief of Staff John Kelly. They might just deserve each other. If Meadows is picked, that would set off another whole election. The Republicans aren't the "small-government" party; they're the "crazy-government" party.
All the more reason to keep going, keep building, and keep supporting the grassroots efforts of progressive Democratic candidates who are trying to make our state better.