Monthly Archives: July 2015

Budget, ALEC, Bad Vouchers Ruling, Redistricting – 24th Legislative Update

NC NOW’s Legislative Update #24 Summary – July 25, 2015

Here is a summary of NC NOW’s legislative update with a few other points, which was emailed to members last Sunday, 7/26/15.

Senate adds all Republicans to Budget Conference Committee
The Senate has appointed its budget conference committee members—the 32 Republican Senators who voted for the Senate budget (only Sen. Bob Rucho was excluded). There are already 82 House members on the conference committee making a grand total of 114 members.  Clearly, a core group of leaders will be meeting separately to write the actual budget.  The Senate has ended committee meetings in order to concentrate on the budget.
ALEC Wields More Influence in NC Than Almost Any Other State
But the budget was on the back burner this week since Speaker Moore, Sen. Bob Rucho, and eight other Republican House members left Raleigh for San Diego to attend the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Follow this link to see their names and the ALEC proposals that have been introduced in North Carolina:  

ALEC - legislator per corp

Now that our state Supreme Court has given a green light to school vouchers, the obvious next step is to follow ALEC’s plan to extend  vouchers to middle-class students (see  ALEC wields more influence in North Carolina than almost any other state.

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NC NOW Newsletter – August 2015

The August NC NOW newsletter is hot off the presses and available at

Weird mid-summer realities are being exposed because the NCGA is still in session—over 3 weeks past when the budget was due on Jun 30th.  Many of our conservative lawmakers are in San Diego with ALEC this week (Jul 22-24) and 8,592 of our Teacher Assistants could become unemployed over the next two years if they don’t fix the budget, more on page 4.  And remember, one of the first punitive pieces of legislation done in 2013 (House Bill 4) SLASHED unemployment amounts and how long people can receive it (from up to 26 weeks to around 12-16 weeks).  If the TAs are eligible for unemployment. 

Pink Slip Truth Tour – Fayetteville NC Stop

Photo Credit: Frank B. Maness 

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8,592 Teacher Assistants in Limbo as NCGA vacationed and argues

Under the proposed senate budget for 2015-2016, 8,592 teacher assistants in the state would lose their jobs within the next two years, which would make it the largest job lay-off in North Carolina history.  NC’s budget is supposed to be decided by Jun 30, 2015, before the next fiscal year begins on July 1.

However, the NCGA took a recess from working out the budget in early July, and may not vote until after school starts on Aug. 25. This means that teacher assistants (TAs) could start the school year with their jobs and then become unemployed once the budget is decided, if the cuts are passed as proposed.

On Jun 30, Melinda Zarate, state secretary of the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants interpreted the action for us at a press conference at the Legislative Building. “The message the politicians are sending is, ‘Y’all have a happy fourth of July! We’re going to the beach! Maybe we’ll fire you when we get back!’” More in article “TAs Fight Another Year to Save Their Jobs” at

Raleigh Press Conference, Photo Credit: Aim Higher NC

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28 year old Sandra Bland died in police custody – this has to stop!

Sandra Bland died in police custody, and we know about her outrageous arrest —thanks mostly to the internet. Sandra Bland was a 28 year old Chicago-area woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Texas three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. Made me think of the McKinney Texas police officer attacking and subduing a 15-year-old African American girl who had been attending a neighborhood pool party that we covered in our last newsletter. We know about both cases thanks to the internet, and the fact that they were captured on video. Unfortunately, video didn’t save Sandra Bland. We can hope the visibility and people’s outrage will force changes in the US.

sandrabland2.heavy_com.lgem                                            Sandra Bland    Photo credit:

Bland was stopped for changing lanes without using her turn signal on July 10, 2015. She was arrested after Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, Brian Encinia, escalated the encounter, obvious from the videos which have been released.  

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Thrilled that Congresswoman Alma Adams to keynote NC NOW state conference!

Big News! Congresswoman Alma Adams is the keynote speaker for the 2015 NC NOW State Conference, theme “Focusing Women’s Power NOW!”  Save the date – Oct 10, 2015, and join us in Winston-Salem, NC.

Conference registration form and more available at

Call the Governor to Expand Medicaid – we need his plan!

Thursday, July 16, 2015 is the “Where’s the Plan? Day of Action for Medicaid Expansion.”  Hope that you were able to attend one of the 6 press conference on expanding Medicaid that were around the state of NC.  Now, the best thing you can do is: Call or email Governor McCrory and tell him it’s time to expand Medicaid in NC.  Be sure to send or leave a message, with your name and city.

The NC Medicaid Expansion coalition made it very easy to call –  dial 1-888-523-8974 and they’ll give you a brief suggestion of what to say and then connect you. That way your call is counted.

MedicaidRallyFelicia.KaitlynBarlowPhoto Credit: Kaitlyn Barlow

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Online threats and harassment of women are out of control

Online threats and harassment of women are out of control.  Countless articles have been written over the past few years on this issue.  But most people may not realize how terrible it is.  Serious threats of rape and other violence, murder, job loss for publicizing issues online are realities for women.  These are violent and gender-specific assaults.  

Soraly Chemaly wrote about what happened to one female developer in as a result of a tweet she sent out at a tech conference in “Online Threats Against Women Aren’t Trivial and Don’t Happen in a Vacuum.”

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Reinstate victim of domestic abuse and work discrimination

Please join us at a hearing to reinstate City of Raleigh employee Shirley Venable on Monday, July 13, 2015, at 10am, at the Wake County Superior Court, 316 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh.  Wear a dark purple shirt if you can so her supporters will show up.

10 year veteran sanitation worker Shirley Venable was unjustly fired from her job as a sanitation truck driver in the City of Raleigh in September of 2011.   Shirley had an excellent work record with year after year of “outstanding” job evaluations.   She was one of the few females working in the Solid Waste Services Department, among whom there were many complaints of sexual harassment.

Shirley Shirley Venable
Photo Credit:

In the days leading up to her termination, Shirley suffered a horrible domestic violence attack by her estranged husband where she was stabbed, beaten, and threatened with murder.   She was taken to the hospital and treated for her physical wounds and injuries.   Her estranged husband was jailed.   

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Breaking The Silence: A Town Hall Hearing on Women of Color in New Orleans

A major highlight of national NOW conference in New Orleans in June 2015 was the “Breaking The Silence: A Town Hall Hearing on Women of Color in New Orleans,” which was organized by Kimberlé Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum (AAPF).

These Town Halls are part of a national series of hearings to elevate what is happening to women and girls of color in the US.  The national focus is on crackdown, deaths and prison with black men and boys as primary focus. In fact, President Obama has introduced a ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ movement to focus solely on boys of color.  This Town Hall movement is to push back on the idea that only boys of color suffer because women and girls are being targetted more than anyone seems to realize.  Women and girls get to tell their stories – from victims, families of victims, and women who run support agencies and see the problem in a different way. They cover a range of issues – criminalization and mass incarceration to school push-out sexual assault and domestic violence. They also talked about how laws have changed in  New Orleans to make it much more dangerous for women and girls – punishing the victims. A panel of local decision makers serve as commissioners in this event, so they get to hear everything. Later they get asked about what they will do with this information.

Photo credit: African American Policy Forum

This long table of people includes National NOW president Terry O’Neill and the ‘commissioners’.  To the right was a table with speakers.  The sets of speakers kept changing, and included victims and advocates for women and girls of color.

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Cities for CEDAW coming to a city near you!

NC NOW is working with WomenNC and other organizations on the Cities for the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Campaign.   The third Coalition meeting is on July 28, 2015.  Please contact president at if you are interested in participating.

Other involved organizations are American Association of University Women (AAUW)- Raleigh Chapter and the League of Women Voters( LWV) NC Chapter , WomenNC, the NC Chapter of the U.S. National Commission for UNWomen, UNA-Wake County Chapter,  NC NOW, and NC Women United.

These organizations are working to end all forms of discrimination against women including domestic violence, workplace discrimination, unequal access to healthcare and education, and sexual violence in NC cities and counties.

Tuesday, July 28 ♦   6:30pm ♦ 2912 Highwoods Blvd
Don’t forget to sign in!

Cities for CEDAW can come to your city with your help!