Last night’s session of the House of Representatives was sadly emblematic of the 2011 session. Late into the night, lawmakers shoveled bill after bill out the door — many of them hugely regressive and counterproductive.
It was toward the end of the evening, however, — sometime in the 10 o’clock hour — that the House majority really showed what it is all about on two consecutive votes.
The first was House Bill 650  — a proposal pushed by the gun rights crowd that would, among other things, expand the ability of people with “concealed carry” permits to take their guns more places. Late last night, Rep. Ray Rapp proposed an eminently logical amendment that would have removed the ability of these gun owners to bring weapons onto school campuses. The supporters want to allow it so long as the owners keep the guns locked up in their vehicles. Many educators, parents and other sane people, however, don’t want guns on campuses at all. Rapp’s amendment to keep guns off school premises was defeated 61-55 and then the bill was passed.
Immediately thereafter, the House took up House Bill 744 , a proposal that was originally designed to specifically intimidate parents of undocumented children from enrolling them in the schools. Though watered down in committee, as considered last night, the bill still proposed to erect new and problematic roadblocks to enrolling children who cannot locate their birth certificates. After a good deal of debate, including some eloquent remarks from Rep. Rick Glazier, the bill passed 65-50.
So, there you have it: On two consecutive votes last night, the North Carolina House moved to make it easier to bring guns and harder to bring innocent children onto our public school campuses.
What more do you need to know about the people running the General Assembly?