Steve Scalise returns to Congress: I’m a living example that miracles do happen
If you see blue lights flashing on North Carolina roads, it’s still the police, not members of Congress.
A bill introduced by state Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. earlier this month called for members of Congress to be allowed to use a blue light on their vehicle while “in the performance of their official duties.”
McKissick, a Durham Democrat, said Tuesday that he no longer plans to pursue it, though, and acknowledged the bill is dead. He had proposed the bill at the request of U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat.
“Congressman Butterfield asked me to, and when he did it was about safety and security,” McKissick said. “It didn’t sound like an unreasonable idea.”
McKissick said that during his discussion with Butterfield, he was thinking about members of Congress who have been shot, including Democrat Gabby Giffords in 2011 and Republican Steve Scalise in 2017. McKissick said having the blue light could help a member of Congress make a quick escape in a threatening situation.
But based on public perception of the idea, he’s dropping it, McKissick said, and has told Butterfield.
”I asked Senator McKissick to consider offering legislation that would permit members of Congress to display a blue or red light in emergencies while riding in a vehicle displaying an official license plate. This would provide an extra layer of security in an emergency,” Butterfield said in a statement from his press office Tuesday.
“I appreciate Senator McKissick’s effort to provide this extra layer of security for federal representatives who find themselves at times in dangerous situations. However, the General Assembly has much legislation to consider and I don’t want this issue to become a distraction,” Butterfield said.
McKissick said the idea was that the light would only be used in rare, exceptional circumstances for North Carolina’s U.S. representatives and senators.
“If public perception is such it creates concern even though it might have been motivated by good intentions, it’s just not worth it,” he said.
Years before McKissick was an elected official, he was shot while working at a convenience store he owned in Warren County. He was shot in the arm in 1985 during an armed robbery.
Senate Bill 618 was also sponsored by Republican Danny Britt Jr. and Democrat Paul Lowe Jr.