Some North Carolina legislators say they were surprised and upset to hear that their House Chamber is undergoing renovations.
They say they didn’t green light the $125,000 expense, and that it didn't go through the legislative services commission. The project received approval from the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is transitioning to U.S. senator.
“Quite a surprise,” said House Republican Representative Julia Howard. “I am shocked that they’re taking the red curtains down, that’s a piece of our history. It does disturb me.”
The chamber’s 120 desks for House members are currently covered in large plastic tarps. Workers tore down the red curtain that hung behind the speaker’s desk. It will be replaced with wood paneling. Workers will also seal six of the 10 double doors and install electric outlets and data ports at each seat.
On Monday, Democratic House Member Grier Martin tweeted that it is a waste of taxpayer money, that they are “destroying the House chamber interior.”
,@johnburnsnc Wasting taxpayer $ destroying House Chamber interior. Membership not consulted.
— Rep. Grier Martin (@GrierMartin) November 11, 2014
The state Senate spent $2 million on renovations in 2006, while the House spent $1.2 million in 2004.