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
Please join some of NC’s progressive organizations as we speak out against Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Monday, March 20, at 11am, at 310 New Bern Ave, in front of Senator Thom Tillis’ office. See the facebook event for “Media event: Progressives speak out against Neil Gorsuch” at https://www.facebook.com/events/143022306221621/
NOW Urges that Senator(s) filibuster the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and, should a filibuster fail, vote “no”.
Main issues described in NOW’s brief.
- Republicans do not deserve control of this stolen seat.
- Gorsuch has a history of hostility toward all kinds of regular and disadvantaged people seeking protections from the privileged and the powerful.
- He tends to rule for billionaire donors and big corporations.
- He has a frightening willingness to limit women’s access to health care.
- He is extremely anti-abortion based on his writings.
NOW President Terry O’Neill writes, “Donald Trump has been in office for less than 60 days. But already his actions could impact the lives and well being of women for decades to come, if not generations [with his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S Supreme Court].
Starting March 20, 2017, Gorsuch begins his nomination hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is imperative that we all demand our Senators hear our voices and filibuster the Gorsuch nomination. See link to phone script at end of post.
Posted in abortion, ACA, civil rights, Courts, do your job, health care, lawsuits, lgbt, male entitlement, Supreme Court, women
Tagged abortion, civil rights, Courts, discrimination, racism, reproductive rights
Governor Cooper introduced his proposed budget for FY 2017-2018 on March 1, 2017. It emphasizes increased spending on education and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Since Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both houses, it is more aspirational than practical, and it is unlikely that the proposals in this budget will make much progress in the General Assembly. For highlights, see: http://www.wral.com/highlights-of-gov-roy-cooper-s-proposed-statebudget/16560168/
Governor Cooper introduced his budget at Durham Technical Community College
There were dueling press conferences in the Legislative Building on the repeal of HB2. Proponents of a full repeal with no strings attached were pitted against supporters or the bipartisan HB186 that would repeal HB2 but also allow opponents of local ordinances to call for a referendum on any proposed ordinance. The Governor weighed in by observing that a compromise bill was possible if proponents of HB186 would negotiate over the referendum provision—which so far they will not do. For a fuller account, see http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/statepolitics/article135420484.html
Senator Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County has filed a draconian bill to crack down on local governments and public universities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws or violate the state’s 2015 law against sanctuary city policies. The bill (S145) would strip funding from state universities that do not comply with the law and deprive local governments of revenue from a wide variety of sources. There are disturbing indications that the Senate leadership may support this bill. A milder bill (H63) is being considered in the house that does not target universities and has a shorter list of state revenue sources that would be denied to municipalities. For more details see: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/statepolitics/article135544723.html
Since our Republican-dominated General Assembly has been passing law after law that is being or has been challenged in court, in addition to keeping up with new legislation introduced this session, I believe it is equally important to track the status of the various challenges to laws that have already been passed.
See the whole North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_5 from 5Mar17, including bill tracking.
We had an unbelievable turnout at the Moral March and HKonJ Assembly on 2/11/17, in Raleigh. According to signs and songs, people are upset with NC’s leadership, and also with chaos from the whitehouse, and unfit nominees being confirmed to 45’s administration despite valid arguments against them and many protests. One example is Betsy DeVos, and Senators Burr and Tillis ignoring their constituents. Read more in “Burr and Tillis: F for Fail!”
Marchers gathered at Memorial Auditorium, at 2 E. South Street, for speeches and singing, and marched together to the end of Fayetteville St, with the State Capitol in the background.
Hats and signs! Photo Credit: Elise Paliga
Posted in HB 2, immigration, march, protest, public education, racism, rally, reproductive rights, safety for women, women
Tagged civil rights, HB 2, immigration, march, protest, racism, rally, reproductive rights, women
It has been my honor and my pleasure to introduce long time activist and my friend, Mandy Carter at past events. NC National Organization for Women (NOW) claims her, but her work and interests reach beyond women’s issues. Carter has spent her adult life as an activist working for women, on lesbians and gay issues, for African Americans. She works to better our lives and has founded organizations to continue and formalize work on these issues.
Mandy Carter Reading Reverend Doctor Pauli Murray’s Poetry at the 2016 NC NOW Conference on 10/1/16. Photo Credit: Rachel Goldstein