Monthly Archives: May 2016

Legislative Update #5

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North Carolina NOW Legislative Update
28 May 2016

 

This week the focus was still on the budget.  The Senate has not yet released its proposed budget; however, it is expected to do so on Tuesday. 

The Senate did release its plan for teacher pay raises, and the plan is significantly more ambitious (and costly) than the across-the-board raise averaging four percent in the House budget.  See North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_5.28_May_2016 for more.

The House and Senate also disagree about how to phase in cuts to state income tax by raising the standard deduction.  The House proposes to phase in the cuts over a period of four years, but the Senate wants to phase in the same cuts over a period of two years.  See North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_5.28_May_2016 for more.

This year’s budget process began with both the House and the Senate agreeing to cap the budget at a little over $22 billion using a formula tied to population growth plus inflation instead of calculating what the citizens will need and figuring out how best to meet those needs.  This formula also allows for reducing revenue by more tax cuts and not even spending all of the projected tax revenues (“leaving money on the table”). 

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Make sure you are ready to vote on June 7, 2016!

Too few people know about this unusual second primary election on Jun 7, 2016.  Here are some articles and excerpts on why the June 7 election is so important.

News and Observer article, “The primary election no one in NC seems to remember,” (5/17/16) – tells us that “[o]n June 7, another primary election is taking place in North Carolina, and it’s an important one. Congressional candidates from both parties will be on the ballot, and four individuals are vying for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court. The primary will narrow it down to two candidates in the nonpartisan Supreme Court election.”

And if you think you voted for Congress during the last primary (March 2016) – you are right.  But it didn’t count. So get ready to vote again!

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Editorial “There’s an election on June 7 too,” (Salisbury Post, 4/25/16) says “The importance of an informed vote is compounded by the fact that there’s no possibility of a runoff. Normally, candidates need to secure at least 40 percent of the vote in order to avoid a runoff. In 2016, however, the candidate who receives the most votes advances to the November elections.”

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Pro-Choice Signature Ad Packets are ready!

Join us to deliver the Pro-Choice Signature Ad Packets to our legislators at their offices in Raleigh on Monday, 5/23/16.  We run our pro-choice signature ad in Indy Week every year to commemorate the Roe v. Wade anniversary.  Later during the year, we deliver packets including signature ads to our legislators to remind them of the many pro-choice residents of our state.

Members from around NC are delivering NC NOW’s pro-choice signature ad packets to all of our legislators on May 23, 2016. Please join us!  This year our packet includes a letter from NC NOW summarizing anti-choice legislation and the harm that HB 2 does, an article about anti-choice legislation signed into law in 2015, as well as an article about how disastrous HB 2 is for women.

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Roberta Waddle speaking out against HB465 on May 8, 2015, in Fayetteville NC. Part of “Don’t Break Your Promise” tour. Photo Credit: Hannah Osborne

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The State of Discrimination: the Impact of HB2 and HB318

The State of Discrimination: The impact of HB2/HB318

About more than bathrooms, these bills also effect wages, employment and immigration. Fayetteville NOW is cosponsoring this excellent program featuring Rick Glazier, Executive Director of the NC Justice Center (NCJC), and Jimmy Buxton, Fayetteville NAACP Branch President.  

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People all over the country have heard of HB 2, filed by the NC House, ratified by House and Senate, and signed by Governor McCrory in less than 12 hours during a ‘special session’ on 3/23/16.  Misleadingly titled the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act , the interference with local ordinances on bathrooms (and targetting an already extremely vulnerable population) is only a small part of the damage it has done.  2015 bill HB318 targets immigrants and poor people and veterans.

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Senators Burr and Tillis and the Politics of Obstruction

This op-ed went from the Asheville Citizen-Times on 5/27/16 to USA-Today!! The USA-Today link is here!

“North Carolina’s two Republican senators say they have no interest in considering President Barack Obama’s nomination” of Judge Merrick B. Garland to the US Supreme Court, according to Citizen-Times article, “Burr, Tillis say they won’t consider high court nominee,” 3/16/16.

In this, both NC Senators are stubbornly refusing to do their jobs. I refer to the US Senate’s job of advice and consent. Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate. The Senate’s job is to make sure the nominee is qualified, and if so, vote yes. If not, that will come out during the hearings.

Yet Burr and Tillis are refusing to allow hearings on the US Supreme Court nomination. According to “Supreme Court Vacancies in Presidential Election Years,” (2/13/16), there have been several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years. Clearly the hearings are the valid and constitutionally sanctioned place and time to find problems with nominees. Why are they blocking the process?

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Back to NC. Judge Garland is not the first nominee for important federal positions that Burr and Tillis have blocked. They both voted against NC native Loretta Lynch when she was nominated for US Attorney General.

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Senator Burr Blocks Another Black Female From 10 Year Judicial Vacancy

This is the full article NC NOW President Gailya Paliga had submitted to the News & Observer, 5/11/16, 1:10pm.  Part of it ran as an LTE on 5/18/16.

I was impressed to see that one of NC’s own extremely well qualified former (NC) Supreme Court Justices was nominated on April 28, 2016, to fill a long time vacancy on the federal court bench in Eastern North Carolina. Timmons-Goodson served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina from 2006 to 2012. She also served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and as a District Court Judge.  In fact, Patricia Timmons-Goodson was a judge in North Carolina from 1997 through 2012!

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I was appalled to read that Senator Richard Burr vowed to block her the same day! According to “Burr vows to block Obama nomination to NC federal court seat,” 4/28/16, “The U.S. Eastern District of North Carolina has the longest-running vacancy, a post that has gone unfilled since Jan. 1, 2006 – the day after federal District Court Judge Malcolm Jones Howard semi-retired.”   

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NC NOW Legislative Update #3 for 2016 Short Session

More on HB 2, including bills to repeal it. 

“The battle over the law known as HB2 has escalated significantly.  Governor McCrory responded to a letter from the Justice Department informing that this law violates federal civil rights statutes by filing a suit against the Justice Department asking that a federal court rule on the constitutionality of our state law.  For an in-depth examination of McCrory’s chance of winning this case (slim to none), see:  http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/despite-drawing-conservative-judge-gov-mccrory-faces-long-odds-legal-fight-over-hb-2.  Legislative leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore filed a separate suit.  It should be noted that the Governor and the legislative leaders are the ones filing these lawsuits because Attorney General Roy Cooper stated that he would not defend a law that he believes is unconstitutional.  The Justice Department responded by filing a counter-suit asking the court to suspend the law while its constitutionality is being determined.  This article contains links to the text of all three complaints and summarizes the background and issues at stake:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article76502777.html.

See the whole North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_3.14_May_2016.