Can a majority party in a state legislature act with impunity, against its own rules? It appears the N.C. General Assembly has done so:
Now, here’s House MInority Leader Paul Stam on the matter:
The press has reported on the private athletic scholarships that were slipped into the conference report on the budget at the request of Senator Dannelly. The News and Observer has editorialized against it (August 17, 2007).
Now the News and Observer reports (Under The Dome, August 17, 2007 [Aug 16th?]) that the Speaker believes the scholarship provision should have received a full airing instead of being dropped in the final budget. “He doesn’t like the process” says his spokesman, Bill Holmes.
But the Speaker was not an observer of the process. He was in charge.
I advised the Speaker and the House Democratic Leadership that if they tried to slip things into the budget in violation of House Rule 44(b) that I would raise that as a point of order. Forewarned that I would do that, they slipped in dozens and dozens of items like this, some of much more importance, including an extra $400 million dollars of spending.
The audio of the point of order and the Speaker’s ruling is attached and a list of many of the special provisions involved appears beneath my signature below.
Previously under the reign of Speaker Black the rules were generally ignored. In 2007 the Rules of the House were generally followed, except with respect to the final budget in which the most important rule was obliterated, at great cost to the taxpayers.
Here is a compilation of last-minute items added to the budget without debate, against the rules of the House. Speaker Hackney says he sees nothing wrong with these actions. You be the judge.