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Speaker Tim Moore’s Latest Power Grab

Source: Editorial Board

Since losing his veto-proof supermajority in 2018, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore has gone to great lengths to hold on to power to advance his agenda.

Gov. Roy Cooper has served as a firewall from extreme proposals shepherded by Moore and his allies, including vetoing more bills than all of his predecessors combined.

In 2022, Moore sought to regain enough Republican seats to override Cooper’s vetoes. Much to his dismay, he fell short of this goal by one seat. In light of this failure, Moore has sought to do what North Carolina Republicans do best: rely on “gotcha” tactics and change the rules to subvert the will of the voters.

The proposed rules for the House Chamber would eliminate the previous requirement to give advance notice before calling for a vote to override Cooper’s vetoes. Under the proposal, Moore may call for an override vote the same day a veto is issued, without any official notice. If the vote is not taken that day, it can be added to the official House calendar on any other day.

Under these rules, if one single Democrat is not able to be on the House floor – whether that’s for a doctor’s appointment, family emergency, or anything else – Moore can call a vote and override a veto with a supermajority of Republicans.

This is the latest tactic from Moore and his allies, who have a history of political showmanship designed to prevent the opposition from participating in the legislative process. 

Facing South Reported, “In 2019, for example, House Republicans were able to override Cooper’s veto of their budget plan by taking the vote when some Democrats were missing because a GOP legislative leader told them it would be a non-voting session. That same year, Democrats say GOP lawmakers tried to capitalize on a lawmaker’s breast cancer diagnosis to overturn Cooper’s veto of an anti-abortion bill.”

Moore knows that absences are inevitable for members of a part-time state legislature. Our representatives in the General Assembly have doctors’ appointments, family emergencies, and a number of other obligations just like the rest of us.

Tim Moore knows this. In fact, before he became Speaker of the House and gained the ability to decide the body’s schedule and agenda, he missed over 100 votes. A glaring hypocrisy.

Speaking of hypocrisy – Moore is also the longest-serving Speaker of the House in North Carolina history – an ironic achievement for a person who has voted for term limits for Speaker as recently as 2013, even signing on as a sponsor for a 2011 proposal

Moore’s proposed rules for the House chamber represent his latest power grab. His actions are particularly chilling during a legislative session where representatives are expected to take action on key issues such as reproductive rights, education funding, and healthcare access, among many others.

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