House Elections Committee starts to draw the battle lines

House Elections Committee starts to draw the battle lines

- in Legislative Watch

The North Carolina House Elections Committee held its first meeting of the session today and its leaders quickly made clear some of the topics they intend to address. Not surprisingly, the game plan appears to be right out of the playbook of the right-wing think tanks.

First on the hit list: North Carolina’s outstanding public financing laws; the committee devoted several minutes to a staff review. During the what was supposed to be a factual briefing, House Majority Leader Paul Stam chimed in with an editorial comment in which he stated that many of the candidates who accepted public financing were akin to victims in a gas station robbery with “gun pointed at their heads.”

Stam also seemed to be trying to gauge if there was any way the GOP leaders could confiscate the money that is currently held in the Public Campaign Fund — i.e. the dollars taxpayers voluntary contribute via the tax return check off.

Next on the list: Mandatory photo ID  laws. Chairman David Lewis arranged for a staff presentation on the state of such laws around the country. Unfortunately (and perhaps conveniently for the GOP given that the room was packed with photo ID opponents), he cut the discussion short after just a few minutes so members could head to a floor session.

Looks like it ‘ll be another committee that  bears close watching in the days ahead.

About the author

Rob Schofield, Director of NC Policy Watch, has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator. At Policy Watch, Rob writes and edits daily online commentaries and handles numerous public speaking and electronic media appearances. He also delivers a radio commentary that’s broadcast weekdays on WRAL-FM and WCHL and hosts News and Views, a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.