NC NOW Legislative Update #24 – 7/29/19

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You can go directly to the full legislative update, NC_NOW_Legislative_Update #24 (29Jul19), which includes the week’s summary and bill listings. Written by Robin Davis, NC NOW Vice President of Political Action and Lobbyist. Summary includes the state budget impasse and a lawmaker has resigned his seat after pleading guilty to cyberstalking his estranged wife.

Still no vote on whether to override the governor’s veto of the budget and no progress to report on a stand-alone bill to expand Medicaid. The Winston-Salem Journal reported, “As has been the pattern for 11 consecutive sessions, neither the veto override vote nor the bipartisan Medicaid expansion legislation House Bill 655 was addressed.” “The next opportunity will come Monday night [7/29/19], which would represent Day 32 of the stalemate.” See: https://www.journalnow.com/news/state/n-c-house-pushes-possible-votes-on-state-budget-veto/article_00c86259-3fb7-5758-9ed5-9aff47c9c693.html

The most noteworthy development this week is that Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania, has resigned his seat after pleading guilty to cyberstalking his estranged wife.  His original  intent was to serve out his term and not run for re-election. Although many Democrats called for his resignation, Republicans, especially the House leadership, have remained remarkably silent on the case.

The Cody Henson case dramatically illustrates how difficult it can be for a woman who is being harassed and stalked to get support from local law enforcement, especially if the perpetrator is socially or politically connected in the community.   The special prosecutor stated that after one episode when Kelsey Henson called 911, a sheriff’s deputy told her, “she really needed to think about Cody Henson’s future and everything that he had worked for.”  He also said that she tried to go to a magistrate to obtain an order to stop the behavior, but was turned away.  The local District Attorney recused himself from the case because he was a political supporter of Henson’s, and the case was eventually taken by a special prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office.  More frightening details are included in this account:  https://www.transylvaniatimes.com/story/2019/07/22/news/nc-rep-cody-henson-pleads-guilty-to-cyberstalking-brevard-nc/41537.html.

Kelsey Henson received vital support from Yvette Brooks, a domestic violence counselor and court advocate with SAFE.  Brooks helped Kelsey Henson navigate a system that included reluctant local law enforcement and a local District Attorney who recused himself because he was a political supporter of her husband’s.  A special prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office in Raleigh finally took the case.  Getting help and support from a local domestic violence agency can be critical to successfully obtaining relief.  See:  https://wlos.com/news/local/text-messages-play-role-in-protective-order-against-rep-cody-henson

No legislative update for 7/22/19.

See the summary and bill listings at NC_NOW_Legislative_Update #24 (29Jul19).

NC NOW had weighed in on the problem of Domestic Violence and the restraining order against Cody Henson  in a town hall in Brevard in February 2019. See: https://wlos.com/news/local/speakers-in-brevard-discuss-the-problem-of-domestic-violence-in-rural-areas and NC NOW’s own summary at Domestic Violence Awareness Town Hall – Full House, Shocking Truths, 2/18/19 . Triad NOW organized a Voices of Domestic Violence Town Hall on 4/11/19. Read about that at Voices of Domestic Violence Town Hall – Triad – 4/11/19

IMG_5137.RevAbbyCatoe.websm.ggpaliga

Triad NOW member Rev. Abby Catoe speaks in Winston-Salem about her life with domestic violence and how she changed her life. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Shortlink: https://wp.me/p22b2e-2bl

Additional: There have been community conversations and town hall events around the state. Fayetteville NOW co-sponsored a “Community Conversations” event on 7/25/19 on issues with the state budget, including Medicaid expansion and public education. See event announcement at  https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20190723/happening-thursday-fayetteville-discussion-of-education-medicaid-expansion-and-nc-budget 

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