23 April 2017
Governor Cooper vetoed two bills. House Bill 239 would reduce the number of appeals court judges from 15 to 12. It was prompted by three Republican judges nearing mandatory retirement age. If the number of seats were not reduced, the Governor would be able to make appointments to fill the vacant seats. In his veto message, Cooper noted that this move is a partisan attempt to pack the appeals court with Republican judges. The legislature is expected to override the veto, just as it overrode the veto of a bill requiring party labels on all judicial races. Clearly, our state courts at all levels are being politicized.
NC Governor Roy Cooper, Photo Credit: roycooper.com
The Governor also vetoed Senate Bill 68, which altered the party affiliation of both state and local election boards.
Fayetteville NOW sponsored a silent, non-violent protest on April 15th, 2017 at the Market House in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina. The protest went from noon to 1:00 p.m. They did so to express their disappointment in this President’s continuous refusal to disclose his personal tax returns and to air other concerns with this administration.
People were invited to express their own objections to this administration (whether it’s the tax issue, election hacking and/or this administration’s Russian associations, health care issues, Supreme Court nominee, his environmental (EPA) positions, etc.).”
Photo Credit: Pam Wade
Did you go to any of the many tax marches that were around the country on 4/15/17? Buzzfeed captured some great signs. There was wonderful coverage of the Tax March On Raleigh with HUNDREDS of people on many TV stations, including WRAL. See WRAL’s at “Raleigh ‘Tax March’ protesters demand release of Trump’s tax returns.” The News and Observer really low-balled the count in “Protesters say Trump keeping tax returns secret is worrying“, not clear why.
The week ending 15 April 2017 has been another busy week at the NCGA, as captured in North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_11.v3.16Apr17.
A bill introduced in the legislature again made North Carolina the object of national derision. House Bill 780, Uphold Historical Marriage, declared that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage is null and void in North Carolina and that the constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage should be enforced. After a national outcry, Speaker Moore publicly announced that this bill will never be heard in committee, that it is dead. But damage had already been done. See http://www.wral.com/gay-marriage-ban-filed-in-nc-house-/16639157/, 4/11/17.
Then neo-Confederate Rep. Larry Pittman (also a sponsor or HB780) attracted national attention by stating that Abraham Lincoln was the same kind of tyrant as Hitler.
Republican resistance to expanding Medicaid is buckling. Four Republican House members, including three House Health Committee Chairmen, have sponsored a bill (HB62) that would significantly expand Medicaid coverage to include low-income adults. The bill would create a program called Carolina Cares and would be paid for by a new tax on hospitals. It is modeled on Indiana’s program approved by then-Governor Mike Pence and includes a premium and a work requirement. Because it does not conform to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it would require a federal waiver to be implemented. This bill marks the first time prominent North Carolina Republicans have supported any expansion to the Medicaid program to include people not already covered. For more details, see: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article143388024.html
Abortion is back in the General Assembly. Two new bills—one good and one very bad—have been filed.
Read about the Medicaid bill, the abortion bills, ERA updates, Lawsuit updates, Voter ID/Voter Suppression Law updates and bill tracking in North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_#10.9Apr17.
Equal Pay Day is the day in any given year when women working full-time, year-round catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year. April 4th is Equal Pay Day for 2017, because women on average make 80% of what men make. However, the reality is that the wage gap is even greater for most women of color. ” African-American women’s wages won’t catch up to men’s 2016 earnings until July 31, Native American women until September 25, and Latina women until November 2, according to the ACLU in “Working Women, Your Paycheck Has Been Trapped in a Time Warp,” 4/4/17. Mom’s are penalized too – Equal Pay Day for moms arrives in late May this year. Even celebrating Equal Pay Day on Tuesday is significant. Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week! More here about myths on women’s pay, and what can be done to make pay more fair.
In “Shortchanged: Gender and race discrimination in the workplace, and how to fix it,” 4/3/17, NC Policy Watch Blog, Women’s March On Raleigh organizer Shana Becker wrote,
North Carolina has an important role to play in adding the ERA to our US Constitution and our responsibility is to demand its passage!
Senate Bill 85 and House Bill 102, “NC Adopt Equal Rights Amendment,” are stuck in their Rules Committees. They must be heard AND passed along for a full vote in the House and Senate. Call today!
House Rules Committee Chair, David Lewis – 919-715-3015 – insist that he give HB102: NC Adopt Equal Rights Amendment a hearing and vote to approve the bill. (Click on the link to see the title, history, text, sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill.)
Senate Rules Committee Chair, Bill Rabon – 919-733-5963 – insist that he give SB85: NC Adopt Equal Rights Amendment a hearing and vote to approve the bill.
ERA Bill Sponsors pictured with women’s group leads – Pat Sledge (BPW-NC), Gailya Paliga (NC NOW), Audrey Muck (ERA-NC Alliance/NOW), Sen. Floyd McKissick (SB85 Sponsor), Virginia Adamson (BPW-NC), Rep. Carla Cunningham (HB102 Sponsor), Joyce Mitchell (DWNC). Photo Credit: Sen. McKissick