Legislative Republicans wasted little time Thursday dispatching Gov. Roy Cooper’s call for an extra session to draw new legislative districts.
As the clerk was reading Cooper’s proclamation calling for the 14-day session, House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, raised a constitutional objection to the governor’s order. Lewis cited Article III, Section 5, Part 7:
The Governor may, on extraordinary occasions, by and with the advice of the Council of State, convene the General Assembly in extra session by his proclamation, stating therein the purpose or purposes for which they are thus convened.
Lewis argued no extraordinary occasion existed, a federal court order required new districts to be drawn during a regular General Assembly session, and the governor did not meaningfully consult with the Council of State.
House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, D-Wake, objected to Lewis’ objection. The House voted down his objection, 44-71.
House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, then removed the extra session from the legislative calendar.
The Senate convened at noon and went through a similar process, this time led by Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell. This time, Sens. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, and Angela Bryant, D-Nash, repeatedly objected to the methods used by Republicans. Rules Committee Chairman Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, approved Hise’s objection, and the Senate likewise canceled the special session.
“Despite all his talk about separation of powers, it’s clear Roy Cooper wants to be North Carolina’s governor, legislature, and with this latest stunt, its judiciary too,” said Hise in a statement after the Senate canceled the extra session.
Ford Porter, Cooper’s spokesman, issued a statement slamming the General Assembly.
“Now the Republican legislature is thumbing its nose at the North Carolina Constitution as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s troubling that they prefer to fight about the process rather than draw the new map that North Carolina voters deserve to level the playing field of our democracy. The U.S. Supreme Court was unanimous in its decision and there is no reason to delay the drawing of new maps,” Porter said.