NC NOW Legislative Update #1 – 11 Feb 2018
It is difficult to report on legislative matters because so many of the most important developments take place behind in secret and are never documented. As an article in NC Policy Watch summarizes:
“Whether it’s cutting off debate on legislation, holding surprise, late night sessions, regularly ignoring the committee process, burying new and controversial laws that were never previously discussed in omnibus budget bills that cannot be amended, holding an endless series of “special” legislative sessions, refusing to record and archive all sorts of important proceedings, or even directly and blatantly punishing lawmakers who dare to speak up during debate, Republicans have evidenced little shame. Much as has been the case with gerrymandering, legislative leaders have not so much invented new tactics and tricks as they have cynically perfected and expanded the use of old ones.”
This unhealthy pattern continues.
This week the General Assembly reconvened, and legislators lost no time ramming through complex, multi-issue legislation with almost no discussion. House Bill 90 was voted out of the Appropriations Committee and passed the Senate on the same day. This omnibus bill offers a fix for the unfunded class size mandate, takes away the governor’s control of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline mitigation fund, and reorganizes the State Board of Elections (for the third time)–three unrelated issues in a single bill.
View of 2018 HKonJ rally from stage. Photo Credit: Phil Fonville
The Problems with House Bill 90
We attended another ‘Tuesdays with Tillis’ protest at the Federal Building in Raleigh on Tuesday, 8/22/17. At least 45 people were there. People have been protesting there every week since the inauguration in January. The size of the group varies, but 7 months later – these weekly protests are going strong.
It was fascinating to hear that the building security guards think we, this weekly group of protesters, hate the government. Somehow they don’t understand that we want and expect Senator Tillis to talk to us, talk to all of his constituents. This is his job. One of the ladies went before the protest to use the bathroom in there and that is what she found out in conversation with a guard.
How do they get such a wrong message? They may hear some of our speeches, but certainly they can see the signs. Our signs are not anti-government signs. Calling out Senator Tillis, some of them. But not anti-government. And most are on issues we want to discuss with him. Or telling him to do his job. These protests focus on a different issue every week.
Fight back outrageous attacks on Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall. It’s more than intimidation – it’s a witch hunt. NC’s House of Representatives has done some terrible things since 2011, but this is a new level. On June 28th, up pops a new bill – House Bill 925 – Creation of House Select Investigatory Committee, introduced by Rep. Chris Millis. Millis and the House leadership are trying to impeach an outstanding public servant on unsubstantiated charges. As PoliticsNC wrote, “The House Rules Committee voted to begin an investigation into allegations that Marshall illegally commissioned notaries of public who are not citizens. It’s nothing more than political bluster that was debunked during her re-election campaign last year. No state or federal law enforcement agency has suggested any wrong-doing on Marshall’s part.”
NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall Photo Credit: elainemarshall.com
North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #13 – 30 April 2017
As expected, the legislature overrode Governor Cooper’s vetoes of the two bills highlighted in last week’s Legislative Update. The Governor filed suit on Wednesday over Senate Bill 68, which combines the state ethics board and board of elections and changes the composition and method of appointing members of the combined board. This is a new version of a law that the court threw out in 2016. The details are convoluted, but the heart of the matter is that both bills attempt to take away the governor’s control of boards that are under the executive branch. On Friday, a three-judge panel issued a restraining order that prevents the law from going into effect until May 10. The Governor expressed confidence that this law will also be struck down. For more details,
(Retired) Judge Doug McCullough and Governor Roy Cooper Photo Credit: Slate.com
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 2017 Pro-choice signature letter is a very powerful look at what the NCGA should be doing to help women. Read it at 2017 Pro-choice Signature Ad Letter.
This letter will be delivered in Pro-Choice signature ad packets today, 3/20/17, to our state Senators and House Representatives at 4:30pm. Come join us if you can – Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St, Raleigh NC. We’ll deliver from 4:45-6:45 and go to dinner afterward. Call NC NOW to RSVP at 919-539-7702.
Removed from the letter, but still true is this fact. Overall North Carolina is “extremely hostile” to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, “22 States are Extremely Hostile To Abortion“, 1/3/17.
President, NC National Organization for Women
Posted in abortion, Equal Rights Amendment, HB 2, minimum wage, ncga interference, public education, reproductive rights, women
Tagged abortion, Equal Rights Amendment, HB 2, lgbt, public education, reproductive rights, women, women's rights
Last year in our pro-choice signature ad packet letter to legislators, NC NOW pointed out that HB2, Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act., has been a disaster for North Carolina. The state was already suffering the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investments in our state and potentially billions in federal support to the state’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Yet, the law goes way beyond bathrooms and targeting a group of citizens. It removes core worker anti-discrimination protections that state law has provided to workers since the 1970s. It also targets women, whether intentional or not. When HB2 first happened, NC NOW recognized how disastrous HB 2 is for women. But it has been disastrous for the state as well.
And it just continues to cause massive losses. The majority in the NC Legislature don’t seem to care, they keep voting to leave it in place, refusing to repeal it. Just in one weekend in March, the city of Greensboro lost out on an estimated 14.5 MILLION DOLLARS because of House Bill 2! That estimate that the NCAA would have brought in around 14.5 million dollars is from the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitor Bureau.
From an anti-hb2 rally right after HB2 was passed on March 24, 2016.
The tens of thousands of people who should have gone to Greensboro for the NCAA tournament went to Greenville, South Carolina instead. According to ‘S.C. reaping HB2 Bounty‘, 3/15/17, News & Observer,
Legislative Update for the week ending March 19, 2017, by NC NOW’s lobbyist, Robin Davis
Governor Cooper has issued his first veto. He vetoed the bill that would make elections of District and Superior Court judges partisan. Cooper, who led the fight to make judicial elections nonpartisan in 1990 when he was a state senator, said that judges should be elected based on their experience and ability, not on their political party. He also noted that candidates not affiliated with a party would have a very difficult time getting on the ballot because they would be required to get signatures of 2 percent of the voters in their districts. A three-fifths vote in both houses will be required to overturn the Governor’s veto, which is the expected outcome because Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both houses.
Both the House and the Senate have turned their attention to their respective budgets. The budgets differ in details, but both houses are proposing plans that will benefit business and the wealthy through changes in the tax laws with the Senate plan more drastic than the plan being considered in the House. For more details and a comparison of the proposed plans, see http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article138891468.html
As protest at the legislative building increases, the General Assembly police are studying ways to increase security. This is an issue we need to keep an eye on.
Videoing protesters in NC Legislative Building during protests of ‘Special Sessions’ in December. 12/15/16. Photo Credit: Susan Eder
Fayetteville NOW honors Dr. Naveed Aziz at this year’s Susan B. Anthony birthday celebration and fundraiser. Dr. Aziz is a physician in Spring Lake, NC. She spoke about the Affordable Care Act at Fayetteville NOW’s reproductive rights forum on Jan 25, 2017.
This is Fayetteville NOW’s 12th Susan B. Anthony event!
Join us on February 23, 2017, 5:30pm-7:30pm. Tickets are $30 per person. Sponsorship is available for $100 and includes two tickets. The event will be held at the VFW Post 6018, on Chance St., in Fayetteville.
Paid reservations must be received by February 19th, 2017.