On North Carolina’s GOP & Amendment One
While campaigning for the 2010 North Carolina General Assembly elections, NC Republicans promised that, if given the majority, the GOP would make sweeping changes. Republicans stated that within the first 100 days of the new session they would; pass the Healthcare Freedom Protection Act (which would exempt the people of NC from Obamacare), pass the Honest Election Act (requiring a photo ID to vote), pass the Eminent Domain Constitutional Amendment (to protect private property rights), eliminate the cap on charter schools, reduce the regulatory burden on small business, fund education in the classroom, fight to protect jobs by keeping Right to Work laws and “ending pay-to-play politics to restore honesty and integrity to state government.” Depending on how you categorize things or crunch the numbers, the GOP had success in zero to all seven of these, and certainly not fulfilling exactly what Republican voters had in mind. No mention of Amendment One here, though.
In November of 2010 North Carolina Republicans did win a majority in the NC Senate for the first time since 1898 and control of both houses of the General Assembly since 1896.
The NC GOP apparently satisfied with how they had fulfilled their promises to voters decided to distance themselves from governing in a frugal and responsible way. A list of “2011 Republican Legislative Accomplishments” on the NC House Republican Leader’s website listed amongst other things House Bill 854 – “An act to require a 24-hour waiting period and the informed consent of a pregnant woman before an abortion may be performed.” Also on the list, House Bill 289 – “An act to authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue various special registration plates including North Carolina Zoological Society, ARTS NC, North Carolina State Flag and Donate Life.” Incredibly missing from the list of Republican Legislative Accomplishments was North Carolina Senate Bill 514 “An act to amend the constitution to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state” which passed the house 75-42. The bill was sponsored by GOP Senator Peter S. Brunstetter who serves as co-Chairman of the Appropriations and Base Budget Committee. Senator Brunstetter is also Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Rule and Operations of the Senate and is a member of the Finance, Commerce and Redistricting Committees.
114 years after the GOP lead the legislature in North Carolina soon to be House Majority Leader Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam stated that the Republican’s were “going to govern in a different way.” Little did North Carolinian’s know what exactly that would mean. Rep. Stam ended his statement by declaring the GOP would “govern in a frugal way, in a responsible way.” Historically and now with the rise of the Tea Party, Republican voters and politicians have preached small government and as little governmental intervention in citizens everyday lives as possible.
Regardless of the outcome of the May 8th referendum on Amendment One the North Carolina Republican party has strayed from their original promises to voters and could find that a hard pill to swallow come November. It took the GOP over 100 years to regain control of the General Assembly from Democrats, if they continue to neglect the mandate North Carolinians gave them in 2010 with divisive social legislation it may be quite some time before they have control again.