Friday, February 17, 2012

Rep. Tillis stifles progressives' free-speech, not Tea Partiers'

The News and Observer had an article this morning about Rep. Thom Tillis invoking an obscure and seldom used rule to remove progressive demonstrators from the second floor of the statehouse.
At the statehouse, North Carolina's people are prohibited from visiting the second floor - the floor where lobbyists lobby and lawmakers make laws.

The rule is posted on a concrete wall in the lobby, written in roughly 12-point font, behind glass and a black frame, tucked in a corner behind a leafy potted tree.

The language is nearly 25 years old, and few lawmakers knew it even existed until Thursday, when House Speaker Thom Tillis' office invoked it - for first time in anyone's memory - to clear a group of demonstrators from the hall outside his office.
When I read the article this morning, I wondered how long it would be until someone found evidence of differential and deferential treatment of Tea Party demonstrators.

It turns out, it didn't take long. NC Policy Watch reports
Police and House Speaker Thom Tillis — who defended the action and, depending upon who you believe, may have even participated in it — took a decidedly different approach toward a gaggle of Tea Party protesters who visited the General Assembly during a busy session day last March.

Check out the video below to watch yesterday’s eviction juxtaposed with footage (posted by our friends at the Pope-Civitas Institute) of the Speaker and his Chief of Staff Charles Thomas speaking amicably with conservative protesters in the exact same second floor hallway.
The videos are posted at their site.