NC NOW Legislative Update #20, 2017, for the week ending Jun 17, 2017, by Robin Davis.
It was a very slow week at the General Assembly as budget negotiations continued behind closed doors.
Last week the house passed House Bill 746, Omnibus Gun Changes, a bill that has generated a lot of controversy because it eliminates the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun and lowers the age for doing so to 18. Some House Republicans voted against it and some conservative Democrats voted for it; however, the vote to pass the bill in the House was not large enough to override a gubernatorial veto.
The bill is one big political headache for Republicans. Not only is the party itself divided, the bill is also staunchly opposed by law enforcement, a constituency the Republican party does not want to alienate. The state’s most extreme gun rights group, North Carolina Gun Rights, also opposes the bill because, it claims, it is watered down and demonstrates that Republican legislators do not fully support Second Amendment Rights. This group, which can make the NRA seem moderate, also wants to eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun in North Carolina.
This omnibus bill amends an existing law extensively. Read more about gun bill, ERA updates (including “I Love the ERA” Cookie Drop event and “Lawsuit Updates” at NC NOW Legislative Update #20, 6/18/17.
Great turnout at the “I Love The ERA” Cookie Drop on Jun 7, 2017, at the NC Legislative Building. There were over 35 people there – mostly women of all ages, but also some young men. One of the ERA-NC Alliance board members celebrated her birthday at the cookie drop with her daughter, female and male grandchildren, and friends! ERA-NC Alliance is an alliance of many women’s groups and individuals who recognize the need for ERA.
ERA Cookie Delivery group at beginning of event. More joined. Photo Credit: Marlene Rosol
The ERA, Equal Rights Amendment, is a constitutional amendment simply affording women the same rights as men under the law. The only right women have guaranteed right now – is the right to vote. Under the 3-state strategy, three more states are needed to ratify the ERA. In March 2017, Nevada went ahead and did it! Read more in “ERA One Step Closer To Ratification After Passage in the [Nevada] Assembly“. Now we only need two more states to ratify. Senator Heidi Gansert, a Republican in Nevada who voted for the ERA said,
“I understand now today, here in Nevada and across the world, there’s a crescendo building … I can hear it, and I can feel it.”
The General Assembly is currently working to truncate this year’s session, additionally diminishing the chances that the bills for ratification of the ERA will be heard this session. Therefore, the date for the June advocacy action, I Love The ERA Cookie Drop, has been moved forward from late June to early June. NC NOW is joining ERA-NC Alliance for the “I Love The ERA” Cookie Drop on June 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the legislature. Participants will distribute heart-shaped cookies and educational literature on why we love the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
“I Love The ERA” Cookie Drop Event details follow.
The legislative update begins as follows. Find the whole update at North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #14.
After frantically passing more than 200 bills last week to meet the crossover deadline, the legislature did very little this week to move bills along. We are still sorting out what occurred last week and looking forward to what to expect in the coming weeks.
The budget is where the action is. Senate leadership says the Senate is on track to pass its version of the budget next week. A $581 million budget surplus is projected for the fiscal year ending June 30, which gives legislators some flexibility to expand spending and/or cut taxes. The goal is to pass a two-year budget before the beginning of the next fiscal year on July 1—a goal that often is not attained. The House will pass its version of the budget, and then a conference committee will be appointed to iron out differences between the House and Senate budgets before a final vote. The governor also drew up a budget, but the legislature probably won’t pay too much attention to it. See: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-carolina/articles/2017-05-05/n-carolina-revenue-surplus-ticks-up-slightly-after-april-15, 5/5/17.
On April 25 the Senate passed a bill (SB676) that exempts bills that ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution and bills to amend the North Carolina Con-stitution from the April 27 crossover deadline—which means that any of these bills passed by the House after April 27 may be taken up by the Senate.
It’s been almost two months since the Women’s March drew a half million protesters to Washington, an estimated 30,000 people to a sister rally in downtown Raleigh, and people to 12 more marches around NC that same day. The question on everyone’s mind – including the News & Observer is – “What next?”
Photo Credit: Carly Jones
At the James B Hunt Library at NC State University, four of the organizers of the Women’s March on Raleigh were asked to sit on a panel to answer questions from the N & O, as well as ABC11 and an audience of about 100+ people. Panelists were
Posted in discrimination, economic justice, Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, minimum wage, Misogyny, pro-choice, public education, reproductive rights, Uncategorized, women
Tagged education, Equal Rights Amendment, immigration, medicaid expansion, reproductive rights
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.
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.
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
Nevada has ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)! The re-introduction of the ERA for ratification in various state legislatures (including North Carolina) is part of the “three-state strategy” for ratification (although now [after Nevada] it has become a two-state strategy).
This has brought new interest to ratifying ERA across the nation. North Carolina already had introduced bills to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment both Houses of the North Carolina legislature, and NC NOW is working to spur action on these bills.
The ERA NC Alliance, which includes NC NOW, held a Women’s Mobilization Monday on Monday, March 27, to advocate for ratification of the ERA. Events included a press conference at 3:00 pm in the General Assembly Press Room and supporters assembling in the House gallery at 6:30 pm where they were recognized. There must have been 70 women present at 7pm. There was lots of press at the Press Conference at 3pm.
NC NOW subset of Women Mobilization Monday
Photo Credit: Roberta Waddle