It appears the GOP leadership in each chamber is not playing very nice with their respective counterparts in the other chamber.
Sources on Jones Street tell me that the whole kerfluffle got started with a redistricting bill for the Asheville City Council pushed by Senator Tom Apodaca. The bill passed the Senate and went over to the House. Normally, local bills like that sail through if the entire local delegation affected by said bill is OK with it.
According to House sources, Apodaca was a wee bit, um, misleading in his advocacy of the bill. House members learned that some of the Asheville area delegation was not thrilled with the bill. Heated words were exchanged between key House members and Apodaca, and the redistricting bill was quickly and brutally deep-sixed.
A local sales tax bill favored by Senate Finance chairman Harry Brown also got shivved in the House.
SB554 – a bill to allow for private developers to build and lease public school buildings, propelled through the process by oodles and oodles (six figures) of campaign contributions, and aggressively pushed by the House speaker — was also a casualty in this fight.
A casualty most significant to Moore County was the death of the sales tax for school construction referendum. After some lallygagging and political shenanigans in their chamber, Reps. Jamie Boles and Allen McNeill managed to get a bill over to the Senate — which proceeded to kill it with a unanimous 0-43 vote. (Senator Jerry Tillman, who represents Moore County, was surprisingly one of those 43 no votes.)
The sales tax referendum was necessary due to Rep.David Lewis scooping up the revenue meant for Moore County and sending it to Harnett County. Boles and McNeill COULD have introduced legislation seeking to reverse Lewis’s duplicity. But they clearly had neither the interest nor cojones to do so.
So, the session ended in a tit-for-tat kill-each-other’s-bills slap fight. Senate leadership, clearly spurred on by a peeved Apodaca, decided to fold up and go home Friday — leaving a bunch of stuff on the table. The House was left with no choice but to follow suit. (After all, it takes two chambers to make laws.)
Personally, I think it’s great that the honorables limit the damage, or potential damage, to the state. The less they pass, the better.
But this whole temper tantrum DOES make one thing totally clear: There is NO unifying Republican leader in Raleigh.
We have several camps with their own agendas. But there is no one out there rallying the troops, saying here’s our message — here’s what we’re fighting for. And THAT is bad news for the future of the so-called conservative revolution.