Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NC Legislature repudiates Democrats, confirms McCrory appointments

Governor-elect Pat McCrory 






House backs slate 80-33, Senate by 42-5 


 Verne Strickland Blogmaster / April 3, 2013

 Associated Press |

RALEIGH — The N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday confirmed six appointments to the state Board of Education, despite an objection raised by Democrats against a member of the Winston Salem/Forsyth County school board who has been criticized for voting in 2002 against a local proposal that would have prohibited bullying based on sexual orientation.
The House and Senate met in a joint session to confirm Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s appointments to the 13-member board ahead of meetings in Raleigh over the next two days.
State Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, tried to pull Kernersville attorney Buddy Collins from consideration, but his effort was squashed by a motion in the GOP-dominated House.
The other new members are Bill Cobey of Durham, Greg Alcorn of Salisbury, Becky Taylor of Greenville, Olivia Oxendine of Robeson County, and Marcella Ramirez Savage of Union County.
Collins has served on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education for more than 15 years. Luebke said his opposition came because of Collins’ 2002 vote against the inclusion of language in an anti-harassment policy specifically outlawing bullying based on sexual orientation.
“His feelings as expressed toward gay and lesbian citizens of our state are offensive to me, I think, to many people in this chamber, and to many people in this state,” Luebke said.
Collins couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
In 2002, Collins voted against a proposal that would have specifically prohibited bullying based on sexual orientation in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools. At the time, Collins said he didn’t support homosexuality, but that his personal views had nothing to do with his vote. Collins said the district’s discrimination policy already prohibited bullying of any student, so the addition was unnecessary.
“I think it has everything to do with whether people who are gay and lesbian have some sort of special right that everybody else doesn’t,” Collins said at the time. “This request could have been made by people with overweight children or kids with glasses or any other thing that children pick on other children for.
“Our position with the school system is that all children are not to be harassed or bullied," Collins said.
In 2003, Collins voted to remove questions about harassment because of sexual orientation from the student portion of a school climate survey.
On Wednesday, state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, who is House Rules Committee chairman, opposed Luebke’s amendment, noting appointments from a governor typically pass without partisan discord.
“I find it very unfortunate that the member from Durham would want to try to politicize the situation and would remind that member that, when our party was in the minority, we generally respected the governor’s appointments and confirmed those,” Moore said.
The House confirmed the appointments by a vote of 80-33 after Moore used a parliamentary maneuver to quash Luebke’s amendment without voting on its content. The Senate approved the appointments 42-5.
Journal reporter John Hinton contributed to this story.