Todd Allen, publisher of the Wake Weekly, said the measure appears motivated by Senate leaders who “don’t like newspapers and their coverage.”
The committee passed the measure by voice vote. Bussian, the press association lobbyist, said the committee voted 6-5 to reject the measure. [Sen. Tommy] Tucker, the chair, rejected a subsequent appeal for a show of hands and declared the meeting adjourned.
At that point, Hal Tanner, publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus, approached Tucker. He told him he thought the vote was handled in a manner inconsistent with Republican stands for open government.
“I said, ‘We just got through dealing with Jim Black,’ ” Tanner later recalled, referring to the former Democratic House speaker jailed on corruption charges.
“I’m not Jim Black, I’m not Jim Black,” an angry Tucker replied. Senate rules prohibit roll call votes in committee.
Later, in an email to members, the press association quoted Tucker telling Tanner: “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”
While many are charging that S 287 is a Republican attack on a press they don't like being monitored by, says ProgressNC, "the sadder truth is that this will make it all that much harder for citizens to find out about key meetings and hearings involving the very issues that affect their lives the most: zoning, local utilities, taxes, and more. If this bill passes, it will be very, very clear that the NC Senate has no intention of working for the public good this session."
This dust-up led Kevin Siers, the Charlotte Observer editorial cartoonist, to produce the following memorial to Republican arrogance: