After a heated debate that featured accusations of deception and Senate coercion, the N.C. House rapidly changed course Thursday on legislation that would change how the Greensboro City Council is elected. The bill – now a law after the Senate also voted Thursday – marks the second time this year that the legislature has reshaped local elections. An April vote redrew the Wake County Board of Commissioners district boundaries in a change likely to favor Republicans. That bill passed quickly along party lines, but the Greensboro council redistricting prompted a bitter split among GOP legislators. And it drew comments from legislators who represent other areas, including criticism that the change will diminish the impact of black Greensboro residents.
Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat, said he usually doesn’t speak on local bills, but that HB 263 is “way beyond a local issue.”
Shortly after 11 a.m., the House voted down the bill 53-50. Republican leaders called for a break to hold a closed-door caucus meeting and moved to vote again when they returned 45 minutes later.
Several GOP legislators changed their vote, leading to bill’s approval 57-46. Rep. Charles Jeter, a Mecklenburg County Republican, made the motion to reconsider the bill after he’d voted against it an hour earlier. A few minutes later, the Senate voted 33-16 to pass the changes into law.