The Senate GOP-driven bill to replace the members of key state commissions with new appointees and, in some cases, to make the panels more business-friendly, continues to make some Republicans uncomfortable.
On Thursday, SB10 cleared the House with a resounding 70-42 vote (with Republican Reps. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville and freshman Michael Speciale of New Bern voting against it). But the vote belied serious reservations within the GOP.
Veteran Rep. John Blust, a Greensboro Republican, voted for the bill but warned his colleagues about overreaching the mandate that put his party in charge of state government.
“I don’t like this idea, ‘Well, we have the power, let’s go ahead and do it,’ ” Blust said on the floor. “Just because we have power, we need to be judicious with it. I wish we would be more careful with it. The people have the right to yank us in two years and put someone else in.”
The House is expected to give final approval Monday night, and then the bill returns to the Senate, where the House rewrite will not be welcomed. A contentious conference committee will have to try for a compromise.
The House substantially rewrote the bill. Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville, last week told a House committee he was unhappy with this version, especially its exclusion of the 12 special superior court judges he wanted to eliminate.
Several Republicans in that committee meeting expressed the same concerns that Senate Democrats had earlier last month – that the bill would be seen as unfairly yanking people off commissions just because they don’t agree with them, rather than waiting until their terms end and making appointments then.
Shoot! Look at Missouri
When it comes to guns, North Carolina isn’t the most strident state in the nation.
A bill introduced in the Missouri legislature this year – House Bill 633 – would make it a felony for any member of the General Assembly to propose legislation that restricts citizens’ right to bear arms.
Voter ID law to resurface soon
The anticipated Republican move in the legislature to revisit voter identification is apparently right around the corner.
A spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis said Friday that Tillis and one of the chairmen of the House Elections Committee will outline plans at a news conference on Tuesday.
Public hearings or committee meetings will then examine what other states are doing to seek other input, according to The Associated Press.
The GOP approved a bill requiring a photo ID to vote last session, but it was vetoed and not overridden. With a Republican governor in office, however, passing such a law is high on the GOP agenda.
‘Pink license’ fight roars on
Democrats have filed a bill to counter state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata’s decision to issue driver licenses to young illegal immigrants that have a bright pink stripe and the words “NO LAWFUL STATUS” in red capital letters.
The bill would prohibit the immigrants’ licenses to be distinguishable in any way from other licenses. It was filed Thursday by Democratic Reps. Paul Leubke of Durham, Rick Glazier of Fayetteville, Rosa Gill of Raleigh and Deb McManus of Siler City.
Tata announced last month that he would issue licenses to thousands of participants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which blocks deportation and grants a two-year work permit to undocumented youths who came to the United States before they turned 16, are not older than 30, and are high school graduates, attend college or have served in the military.
Some Republican legislators have introduced a bill that would put a moratorium on issuing the licenses. They contend Tata overstepped his authority.
Staff writer Craig Jarvis
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