NC NOW Legislative Update – 8 Jun 20 – Easier to Vote, Convention, NCGA Needs Better SH Process

North Carolina NOW Legislative Update—Easier to Vote, Convention, NCGA Needs Better SH Process  – 8 June 2020

This week the bipartisan bill (HB1169) to make it easier to vote by mail, which unanimously passed the House last week, has moved out of the Senate Rules Committee and been re-referred to the Budget and Appropriations Committee.   The bill has strong bipartisan support and should pass easily.  Under current law, people who cast a ballot by mail are required to have the signatures of two witnesses (or one notary); this requirement would be reduced to one witness.  The bill would also allow voters to request absentee ballots through email or fax, which is not currently allowed and would also create a new tracking system to allow voters to make sure their ballot makes it to the board of elections.  In addition, there is a new requirement for voters to be notified if something is wrong with their ballot and to give them the opportunity to fix it.  For more information, see:  http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2020/05/28/covid-19-bipartisan-elections-bill-now-moving-to-senate-for-approval/

Republican lawmakers seem to have a death wish .  They have announced that they will introduce a bill next week that would over-rule the governor and allow the Republican convention to be held in Charlotte with no social distancing and no requirement for masks inside a stadium that holds 19,000 people. 

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NC NOW Legislative Update – Harrassment, Assault & Bullying in NCGA – 01 Jun 2020

North Carolina NOW Legislative Update—1 June 2020

There have been shocking developments concerning alleged sexual harassment and verbal assault in the General Assembly.  Senator Erica Smith has accused Senate colleagues of harassment, assault, and bullying in incidents dating back to 2015. Complaints against legislators are handled internally and secretly by the Legislative Ethics Committee consisting of legislators who are historically reluctant to condemn any of their colleagues. 

Sen. Erica Smith with Flag by Greg Stewart

Sen. Erica Smith with Flag at 2019 Teacher Rally in Raleigh, by Greg Stewart

These issues came to a head on September 11, 2019, when reporters witnessed Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) being escorted out of a committee room by Senators Floyd McKissick, Jr. and Jay Chaudhuri. 

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In 2020, NC Needs To Follow Virginia’s Lead

Do you know how well Virginia has done with turning things around? They were in the same sinking terrible boat that we were in 2011 after terrible election in 2010. They are in excellent shape now, in 2020. VA has elected the most women to the VA Legislature in their history!  They’ve already passed laws to reverse some damage done AND RATIFIED THE Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)! This is a story of hope and an inspiration for people to vote. NC needs to follow their lead. That depends on us and others like us!

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NC NOW Legislative Update – During Pandemic – 25 May 2020

NC NOW Legislative Update—25 May 2020

The NC legislature is back in session.  At the end of each long session, a resolution is passed that determines the bills that can be considered in the upcoming short session.  Here is a link to an overview of the categories of bills that can be considered  in this 2020 short session along with a list of crossover bills that are also eligible to be considered:  https://www.ncleg.gov/documentsites/legislativepublications/Legislative%20Analysis%20Division/Eligible%20Bills/Bills%20Eligible%20for%20Consideration%20for%202020%20Session.pdf.

Under normal circumstances, the short session would focus on tweaking the budget, local bills, and bills that passed one house or the other during the long session.   However, these are not normal circumstances.  The legislators are so divided along partisan lines that no budget was passed during the long session.  Republicans passed a budget along party lines; Governor Cooper vetoed it; and Republicans were unable to override the veto. 

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More Letters on Need for Medicaid Expansion

NC NOW is capturing some articles on the need for Medicaid expansion here. This is not an extensive list, since NC has refused to expand Medicaid for over 10 years. Since the state legislature again refused to expand Medicaid during a session that began April 28, 2020, there has been another set of articles. Find an op-ed on the need for Medicaid Expansion, written by NC NOW’s state president, at “Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion Again – 5/5/20,” at https://wp.me/p22b2e-2CU. The News and Observer picked it up, but shortened it  – under the heading of Expanding Medicaid for coronavirus patients only leaves too many still at risk in NC, 5/5/20. The shortened version ran in the N&O, Durham Herald/Sun and probably in the Charlotte Observer (verifying last one). The Fayetteville Observer ran the whole op-ed, adding a few words and phrases for emphasis. Find it at State Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion – Again.

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Take Action on Medicaid Expansion

We Must Expand Medicaid! Read about why, and take action here.

The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already struggling in NC. Now, another NC hospital is filing for bankruptcy. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems in every county if implemented fully. For a deeper understanding of this issue, click here.

Take action here.  If you have a personal story, or are religious, you may add reasons from that perspective. 

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Upcoming events – May and June, 2020

Here are some upcoming events in May and June 2020, and some past events that you can watch online. Chapel Hill NOW is sponsoring the Breaking the Silence event on May 16. Look for a press release. Charlotte NOW is cosponsoring a women’s roundtable event in Charlotte on Jun 2. With so many events online, you can watch them at your convenience!

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Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion Again – 5/5/20

The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already struggling in NC. Now, another NC hospital is filing for bankruptcy, this one in Senator Berger’s district. According to UNC’s Sheps Center, seven have closed since 2010, and another failing Rockingham County hospital got a 5 year reprieve in 2018. NC already faces an opioid epidemic, having lost 2000 people to opioid overdose in 2017 alone. In addition, NC had 11,848 coronavirus cases and 430 deaths reported by NCDHHS on Monday, 5/4/20.  Now, coronavirus is forcing hospital revenues down while increasing costs to get ready to care for critically ill covid-19 patients. Hospital failures can devastate local economies. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems in every county if implemented fully.

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Press Release: Push to Properly Classify and Solve #MMIWG Murders in Lumberton, NC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Press Release: Push to Properly Classify and Solve #MMIWG Murders in Lumberton, NC

CONTACTS: 

Raleigh, NC – May 4, 2020 – May 5 is National Day of Action for MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) and we have some big problems in Lumberton, NC.

The murders of the 3 women in 2017 are still not classified as homicides by the Lumberton Police Department. This was confirmed again in April 2020. All 3 women were found naked within a 4 block radius. Rhonda Price and Christina Bennett were found on the same day, Apr 18, 2017. The 3rd woman, Megan Oxendine, knew the first 2 women and had been interviewed about their murders in April 2017. Oxendine was murdered on Jun 3, 2017. In 2019, another shocking fact was revealed – the rape kits sat untested for over a year and a half!

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Denim Day 2020 Photo Project – Pix due 5/10/20

Please join the Denim Day 2020 Photo Project with NOW chapters across the country for sexual assault awareness month and help us shine a light on the needs of survivors during COVID-19 . See the instructions below as a guideline for participation. This is organized by CA NOW and GA NOW.

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