Senate Republicans say they will not vote on a plan to compensate eugenics victims because Senate Democrats included the payment plan in a failed budget amendment this week.
Here's a statement from Senate leader Phil Berger's spokesman, Brandon Greife:
"The morally reprehensible action taken several decades ago by the North Carolina eugenics program is a tragic episode in our state’s history that must never be repeated. It is unfortunate Democrats decided to politicize the issue of providing compensation by including it in a controversial amendment filled with tax hikes and spending increases they knew Republicans could not support.
Under a longstanding rule (Rule 53) created during the Democrats’ leadership, the amendment’s failure now prohibits the Senate from considering compensation for eugenics victims in any other measure for the rest of this session.
Democrats offered a budget amendment a few days ago to limit the $3,500 tax break going to some of the state's wealthiest residents. They proposed to use most of the $141 million coming back to the state treasury for schools, and have $11 million go toward a plan to compensate eugenics victims.
The House included the momey in its version of the budget, the Senate did not. House Speaker Thom Tillis has made a concentrated effort to compensate eugenics victims.
The Senate rule says that issues included in failed amendments cannot be considered again. Senate Democrats never got a vote on amendment because of a Republican blocking move. But that doesn't matter under the rules.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, said he remains hopeful eugenics compensation will be approved this year. The Senate majority has the ability to waive any rule it wants, he said, and eugenics compensation can still be included in a budget compromise.
North Carolina ran one of the most robust eugenics programs in the nation. More than 7,600 people were sterilized under the authority of a state board between 1933 and 1974. About 1,500 to 2,000 are thought to still be alive.
The House budget would give verified victims $50,000 each.