The Locker Room

Dems cry foul on Senate rule change

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:10 PM

The state Democratic Party issued the following news release just before 2 p.m.:

North Carolina Senate Republicans Renege on Promises for Open and Transparent Government

New rules strip Lieutenant Governor of his constitutionally-given responsibilities

RALEIGH, NC -- North Carolina Senate Republicans have already gone back on their promises for open and transparent government.

Under the leadership of Senate President Phil Berger, Republicans unanimously voted on Wednesday to manipulate the rules of the State Senate and create a position stripping the power of the Lieutenant Governor of his constitutionally-given responsibility to preside over the body.

This new position is designed to undermine the Lieutenant Governor’s rulings, exert full Republican control over the chamber, and preside over the Senate when the Lieutenant Governor was absent.

“On their very first day the new Republican majority in the state senate has ignored our state's Constitution, usurped the authority of the Lieutenant Governor, and disregarded the will of the people of North Carolina who elected him to that office," said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman David Young. "It's despicable, but I'm glad they're showing their true colors so early in the session."

“Despite their empty campaign promises of open and transparent government, they are attempting to create a back-door way to circumvent the duties of a publicly-elected office,” Young continued. “If this is how they conduct business prior to the opening day of session, what can we expect from them in the next two years?”

The idea that the lieutenant governor had any remaining power might come as a surprise to those who remember Democrats' efforts to strip the office of virtually all responsibility when Republican Jim Gardner held the post from 1989 to 1993.

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