Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nothing good happens after 2 a.m., North Carolina

I thought the Georgia state legislature set the bar pretty high when it came to playing dangerous games with last minute legislation. But congratulations, North Carolina General Assembly. Because you take things to a whole other level.

How you think it's a good idea to debate and vote on major legislation at nearly 4 in the morning, I may never know.

I mean, some people would just come back Monday and keep working, since there's no mandated cap on your legislative sessions.

But not you. Someone says, "Hey, let's wait until between 2 and 4 a.m. to overhaul our ethics rules and require people who get arrested to either submit a DNA sample for our database or sit in jail," and you reply, "That is a brilliant idea."

I must say, though, you put on quite a show. Because during that DNA debate I'm pretty sure state Rep. Larry Womble was half a breath away from calling state Rep. Bill Faison a racist cracker. I know he accused him of having "the same kind of mentality" used to justify eugenics.

Of course, Rep. Faison, and his mustache, had just advocated inputting the DNA of every baby born in North Carolina into a crime-fighting database to "clean up" society.

Purple suit v. bolo tie. Did you guys hire stereotype consultants?

I also liked it when the state Senate sat there twiddling it's thumbs somewhere after 2 a.m. while the ethics bill was photocopied for members. Members who are all given a laptop computer courtesy of state taxpayers.

But maybe my favorite things you did were those "technical corrections" to the budget. I really respect how you passed a state budget this year before the fiscal year started, something you hadn't managed in like 7 years. It's only reasonable that you'd need to pass 19 pages worth of changes to that budget nine days later.

Just think, it could have been 10 days later. If only you'd waited until after midnight.

Update: They adjourned about 5:30 a.m. For the record, I left shortly before 3 a.m., and stopped listening to the Internet feed about 4:30, during a string of farewell speeches from retiring House members.

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