Editorial: Bipartisanship deserves a try
Despite the occasional assertion to the contrary by legislative leaders, that there’s no longer a Republican supermajority in the N.C. General Assembly seems to be a burden for our representatives.
But instead of complaining about having more Democrats in the General Assembly, perhaps Republicans should try working with them first. In modern American politics, building a coalition that includes different political affiliations and beliefs seems to be a rarity rather than a preference.
Over the weekend, for example, State Sen. Carl Ford, R-33, told the Rowan County Republican Convention that things are more of a challenge now that the GOP has lost its supermajority. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-83, said the same. This legislative session will be more of a challenge, as Republicans no longer have a veto-proof majority, Pittman said.
In other words, Republican may now need some help from their Democratic colleagues to pass some pieces of legislation. Certainly, the two parties would need to work together to overturn vetoes. In the House, Republicans now hold a 10-seat advantage over Democrats. In the Senate, that lead is eight.
Sure, there will be some bills Democrats simply may not support — further restrictions on abortion, for example. And bipartisanship can’t always start with Republicans. Democrats must show interest and enthusiasm, too.
But in cases where our legislators say “work in the General Assembly is harder” and they are introducing bills to overturn U.S. Supreme Court rulings, perhaps the piece of legislation is the problem. Pittman did as much on Feb. 14 when he helped introduced the “Marriage Amendment Reaffirmation Act” As the text of the bill states, it seeks to “declare null and void” a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
After years of bitter, partisan battles over redistricting, voter ID and House Bill 2, to name a few, perhaps it’s time to give bipartisanship a try. A bill introduced by Rep. Harry Warren, R-77, to create a school calendar flexibility pilot program is a good example. Introduced February 21, the bill already has garnered the support of nine Democrats as co-sponsors.
That lawmakers might need to make compromises shouldn’t be viewed as a more significant challenge. Legislators, including our own, should see bipartisanship as crafting better legislation for the people of North Carolina.