The bill to give local politicians taxpayer money to run for office hit a snag in the today's session of the NC Senate. HB 120 would set up a so-called "pilot" program that would allow your local municipal government to set up a publicly financed campaign scheme. (Civitas' Brian Balfour lays it all out here.)
Freshman Senator Don Davis (D-Greene) ran into a number of questions from GOP members. Senator Eddie Goodall (R-Union) tried to add an amendment that would require local voters to approve the financing via referendum. Rather than allow a simple vote on the amendment, Senate Rules Committee Chairman, Senator Tony Rand moved to table Goodall's amendment. The motion to table passed along party lines 30 to 20.
Senator Andrew Brock (R-Davie) asked about how the bill would handle the independent expenditures from outside groups and parties.
After a few more questions, Senator Rand said that there were a number of misconceptions about the bill and therefore it should be pulled from consideration and placed on the calendar again on Wednesday, May 27th.
This little encounter provides a few insights.
- The Republicans appeared to be ready for the skirmish. They appeared to have planned a course of action.
- A little heat on a bill can make a difference.
- Freshmen Senators provide an easier target than some of the more seasoned lawmakers.
The return engagement should produce some more sparks. Stay tuned.