Liberal and Conservative groups held opposing rallies at the North Carolina General Assembly today. Each side had dozens of participants, all attempting to influence the veto-override votes the General Assembly will be holding during the July session.
Conservatives and Tea Party members gathered at the Halifax mall to encourage lawmakers to override Governor Bev Perdue’s vetoes, including regulatory reform, malpractice reform, energy jobs, and voter identification legislation. The rally was created by Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) North Carolina branch, with the Civitas Institute and the John Locke Foundation co-sponsoring the event.
Speakers included Dallas Woodhouse of AFP-North Carolina and the Civitas Institute’s own Francis De Luca. The event featured a large inflatable oil rig to highlight North Carolina’s potential for energy jobs. Attendees held signs asking Perdue to “Save Our Jobs and Not Your Own!” and “What are You Thinking Perdue?, among others.
Just minutes after the AFP rally concluded, the Senate voted to override the governor’s vetoes of regulatory and medical malpractice reform, an energy jobs act, an elimination of teacher union dues check-off, and Medicaid payment reforms. (Click here for more info on 6 Senate vetoes). More veto override votes are scheduled to be held in both the state House and Senate this month.
The opposing rally was held near the front steps of the legislative building by a variety of groups, including Democracy North Carolina, the North Carolina NAACP, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the North Carolina AFL-CIO. The gathering was held primarily to protest proposed changes to voting laws, including a photo identification requirement.
The rally featured angry denunciations of the Republican-led voting reforms. North Carolina AFL-CIO President James Andrews questioned the motives behind voting reform. “Let’s not get it twisted-this is about raw, greed power,” said Andrews. “These are not the normal Republicans we are used to in North Carolina. This is about a right-wing, conservative, Tea Party movement.”
“This is about a group against democracy, and I would say, the democratic process. But they are also anti-civil rights.”
William Barber of the NC NAACP was similarly hostile to the measures. “We intend to fight this all the way-in the streets, in the [legislative] suites, and in the courts,” said Barber.
Civitas polling has consistently revealed large majorities of North Carolina voters are in favor of a photo ID requirement. Voter ID laws have recently passed in several state legislatures, including the Democratic-controlled Rhode Island legislature, where the measure was cosponsored by an African-American Democrat.