The House debated the Budget all day today. They started at 9am this morning and are currently still debating.
They heard 45 amendments most of which were voted along party lines.
Nothing unusual or unexpected was raised until Rep. Starnes submitted the final amendment: to eliminate public financing of campaigns. The amendment would divert $6million to the general fund and would no longer have public campaign check-offs for public financing.
Immediately former Speaker Rep. Hackney ruled the amendment out of order because it was policy and not budget related.
The speaker of the House, Tillis convened with the Majority/minority leaders and then ruled the amendment was in order.
Rep. Glazier spoke out first against the amendment and said shame on the Republicans for trying to slip this in last minute when there had been no debate in any committees on the issue. He argued THIS is not transparency.
Several democrats spoke out against the amendment and argued that this was like the old days and the Republicans were trying to slip something in, in the “middle of the night.”
Several Republicans argued back that this was a good amendment and the Democrats were hypocrites for never speaking out when things like this happened in the past.
Rep. Hackney tried ruling the amendment out of order a second time because he had not received the amendment until after 6pm- he questioned if the amendment had even been turned in on time by the 3pm deadline that had been set earlier.
Rep. Grier Martin engaged in a very heated debate with Speaker Tillis and in the end concluded that the Republican lacked guts by not allowing this amendment to be brought up and argued in committee.
Starnes- the amendment sponsor- stepped in and withdrew his amendment. Starnes has already filed a bill that does the exact same thing that this amendment would do (HB 452) Starnes concluded that this way everyone will be able to debate the issue in committee.
With that debate concluded for the amendment portion and the House now begins debating the budget as a whole. It’s going to be a long night.