North Carolina Republicans are acting like petulant children. They convened a last-minute special session (with only a few hours notice) and so far passed two pieces of legislation aimed at curbing the power of the incoming governor. Meanwhile, progressives in the state are having none of it and causing a ruckus at the state capitol, interrupting the special session with chants and protesting over this clear effort to undermine the democratic process.
The power grab comes after Democrat Roy Cooper beat out Republican incumbent governor Pat McCrory in the governor’s race. You’ll remember how terrible McCrory is from his support for HB2, a law that prohibited transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice and repealed local LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. It’s worth noting his opponent campaigned on not enforcing the garbage law as attorney general.
The GOP-controlled state legislature is trying to strip Cooper of power. Under legislation passed yesterday and promptly signed by Governor McCrory, Republicans will have control of the State Board of Elections during major election years, which would allow them to block efforts to making voting easier. The legislature has also passed a bill that would make his cabinet appointments subject to approval by the State Senate and reduce the number of political appointees he can make by about 1,000—the governor has not signaled whether he plans to sign that controversial piece of legislation.
Nearly 40 people protesting the undemocratic action were arrested at the statehouse yesterday and around 17 were arrested the day before. In a statement, the state’s GOP laughably referred to the protesters as a “small mob” and said they were undermining the rights of North Carolina citizens. That might not be a fitting description for the protesters, but it does seem to describe Republican lawmakers in the state quite well.