It’s been another crazy week in the NCGA. Here are some highlights (lowlights) from the North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_#4_Short_Session, 10_June_2018.
As expected, Governor Cooper vetoed the budget, citing inadequate funding for education and teacher pay raises, implementing unnecessary tax cuts, and the deplorable process used to pass the budget. See “Cooper vetoes budget bill — here’s why,” NC Policy Watch, 6/6/18. The Senate has voted to override the Governor’s veto and the House has voted once to override with a final vote scheduled for 06/12/2018.
NC NOW Legislative Update #3 of the Short Session, 4 Jun 18 talks about the budget as the most controversial in modern history—not for what it contains, but for the process it went through. The process was explained in detail in NC NOW’s Legislative Update #2 for the Short Session, 28 May 18. This week, people learned more about some inappropriate recipients of taxpayer money, and some of the things the budget did and did not do.
“The budget did not expand Medicaid coverage or provide adequate funding for education, including supplies and teacher salaries. No money was allocated to begin testing and tracking the backlog of untested rape kits, even though Attorney General Josh Stein requested $2,000,000 for this purpose.”
Actual rape kits used in NC. Displayed at the NC NOW State Conference in Oct 2017. We heard the story of how Fayetteville made the rape kit inventory happen! Photo Credit: Catherine Evangelista
Posted in budget, church and state separation, CPC, do your job, Medicaid, NC budget, state budget issues
Tagged church and state separation, crisis pregnancy centers, medicaid, NC budget, state budget issues
Information and Actions to take!
The NCGA is giving taxpayer money away to Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC). They gave $1.3 million away in the budget they passed in 2017, and have increased the amount in the budget they passed in 2018 to $1.55 million! The money is going to three CPC umbrella organizations! These clinics are not health clinics, and they are often tied up in religion. Actions to take are at the end.
The 2017 NC state budget gave away $1.3 million to a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) parent organization, Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, an anti-abortion group that operates 8 clinics in North Carolina. The NC legislature gave away this money with no strings attached and no milestones or controls on services provided. The legislative majority had planned to give $1.3 million away to CPCs two years in a row.
Destigmatize Abortion, NoGagRule Rally on 4/10/18 Photo Credit: Karen Ziegler
In 2018, the Republicans who wrote the state budget behind closed doors raised that amount – they are now giving away $1.55 million, and they’ve made some changes to the taxpayer money recipients. This money isn’t going to health care for low income women, it isn’t expanding Medicaid to help low income women and men. Taxpayer money is being delivered to three CPC parent organizations, as follows.
- $1 million to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (same one that benefited last budget)
- $300,000 to “The Human Coalition” which describes itself explicitly as opposing the “abortion industry.”
- $250,000 is going to a third anti-abortion pregnancy clinic, Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Asheville.
Posted in abortion, CPC, do your job, health care, NC budget, ncga interference, state budget issues, women
Tagged CPC, crisis pregnancy centers, fake clinics, poor women, state budget issues, women
First and foremost, the NCGA Short Session budget machinations. “The Republican leadership has devised a plan to pass their budget bill without going through the normal appropriations process and blocking any amendments. ” And some response to this underhanded and hypocritical move, including an action you can take.
See more at North_Carolina_NOW_Legislative_Update_Short_Session_2.28_May_2018
“I am 28 years old and my mom is still buying my school supplies!” On orange sign.
Many North Carolinians learned that there are 15,160 untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ (SAECK) left in North Carolina on February 28, 2018. These kits, also known as ‘rape kits’ were inventoried as part of the 2017 state budget, thanks to a bill that was spearheaded by the executive director of a Rape Crisis center in Cumberland County, Deanna Gerdes. Prior to the inventory, no one knew how many untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ there were across NC. Gerdes worked with Lt. John Somerindyke, Fayetteville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit commander, who discovered the problem in the first place and leads a unit to solve these crimes. Other key supporters were bill sponsor state Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland; Roberta Waddle, a long time officer of Fayetteville NOW and NC NOW; and Gerdes’ daughter, Kathryn. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the count on 2/28/18, and has great recommendations going forward what to do. NC is finally making progress on untested rape kits, thanks these heroes in Fayetteville.
Deanna Gerdes at Podium, SBA Celebration with Fayetteville NOW. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga
Gerdes and Somerindyke have talked about their journeys to getting this bill written and passed at a few events with NC NOW and the Fayetteville NOW chapters in the past 6 months. On Feb 22, 2018, the Fayetteville chapter of the National Organization for Women held their 18th annual Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Birthday Celebration, where they honored Gerdes and Somerindyke for their work on the passage of this bill. Some of their journey is captured in “Fighting for statewide sexual assault survivor justice: Gerdes and Somerindyke honored at Fayetteville NOW event,” which was the cover story in the 2/6/18 issues of Up and Coming Weekly, a community paper in Fayetteville. Gerdes and Somerindyke also did a workshop at NC NOW’s state conference last October on grassroots work to pass the auditing of the Sexual Assault kits. More about their workshop and the conference at “Mobilizing Women NOW – Totally Worth It! Summary.”
This year’s NC NOW conference in Fayetteville occurred at a time when women’s rights and reproductive choices are under greater attack than they have been in decades. As we all attempt to adapt to an administration that has been hijacked by special interests including climate deniers, the evangelical extremists and forces hostile to women, the theme of Mobilizing Women NOW could not be more important.
Attendees got to choose what interested them the most. Some workshops focused on dangers – like threats to reproductive rights and a hostage budget that hurts women. Other workshops ways to fight back – lawsuits against gerrymandering, planning programs that pop, and working with other organizations and legislators to pass commonsense legislation. All of our workshops were on topics of current interest and presented by people who were well prepared. See the agenda, keynote and speaker biographies, workshop summaries and more at 2017 NC NOW Conference Program – Updated.
The House Rejects the Senate’s Budget
The House has voted unanimously to reject the Senate budget (House Bill 97), and the final compromise budget will be negotiated by a conference committee behind closed doors. Considering what happened in the conference committee for House Bill 836: Election Modifications, it looks like anything goes.
House Bill 836: Election Modifications
In a surprise move, the conference committee on House Bill 836 added a provision to allow voting without the photo identification required under a law that will go into effect next year. The move was a complete surprise because the normal process for a conference committee is to work out a compromise bill by accepting some differences between the House and Senate versions and rejecting others. Although doing so is not explicitly prohibited, a conference committee adding entirely new material to a bill is unheard of—until now. Senator Josh Stein of Wake County called it a “joke of a process.”