Normally during a short session the budget passed during the long session is tweaked, and funding for a few local projects is passed. Budgets passed by the General Assembly cover a two-year period. This year the situation is much more complicated because last year the governor vetoed the budget bill backed by Republicans and no substitute budget bill was ever passed. Instead we are operating by using the level of funding contained in the previous budget supplemented by a series of “mini budget” passed last session that funded certain departments or items. This week action focused on piecemeal budget bills with local targets and one major budget item, pay for teachers. The legislature keeps passing bills to allow various businesses to open during the pandemic, and the governor continues to veto them. The Senate passed a bill that would allow local areas to hold July 4 parades and other activities in spite of the restrictions the governor has ordered for the pandemic. This is no way to run a state.
A coalition of organizations held a community conversations event “Public Education, Medicaid Expansion and the State Budget” in Fayetteville on Thursday, 7/25/19. Attendees heard from many very well qualified speakers on two panels – the first panel included community leaders, doctors, patients on need for Medicaid Expansion and returning public education to place of importance in state, and the second panel included some history of Medicaid expansion in NC and current shenanigans and chances with past and present lawmakers. Read more about panelists and areas covered.
This legislative update talks about the huge march and rally held by teachers and their supporters on May 1, and also about the House budget bill. Medicaid expansion was one of the goals of the teacher rally and something the House budget did not include. Governor Cooper may veto for this alone, as Medicaid expansion is one of his major goals as well. Read here for more.
Even just the titles of these articles give you an idea how terrible this state budget is. This is the state budget for which the NCGA leadership subverted the process so there can be no amendments or discussion on it. The first two scathing articles are about the Republican leadership circumventing the budget process. The next articles are about some of the things they have done in the budget they won’t allow to be changed – they are giving $1.55 million away to anti-abortion pregnancy clinics (aka Crisis Pregnancy Clinics). They cut suicide hotline money. They refuse to fund the tracking of the 15,160 untested rape kits. They are giving veteran teachers absolutely nothing. Again. And more.
This is the first legislative update for the NC General Assembly’s 2018 “short session” which began on 5/16/18. A gigantic teachers rally greeted the legislators on the first day. The legislative budgets also talks about the budget, including the $347 million dollar surplus this year (through 6/30/18), with some speculation about what the session may include. Also, the ERA is still alive!
The latest souped up rifle massacre in Parkland Florida on Valentines Day (2/14/18) may have more of a lasting impact that previous ones. These high schools students aren’t willing to put up with the status quo, and are pushing for change, reigniting people to fight for common sense laws.
The NC Budget is bad for women and the state. This budget intensifies the attack on women’s reproductive rights by appropriating $2.6 million to crisis pregnancy centers over a two-year period. It discontinues health care benefits for retired state workers and teachers. It removes a major benefit of working for the state – state employees (including teachers) hired after January 2021 will no longer receive health insurance benefits. In addition, this budget continues the disturbing practice of including policy that has never voted on in the budget. In general, the Republican policy of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy along with cuts to programs that benefit low income citizens continues in this budget.
Why did Senators Burr and Tillis completely ignore their responsibilities and their constituents’ calls and vote for Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary? Here are some problems with DeVos and some history with Burr and Tillis blocking and stonewalling well-qualified African American women nominees in the past.
I am inspired by some of President Obama’s speeches, but appalled at his Operation Border Guardian which directs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take children (18 years old) and throw them in jails, sometimes private jails (even worse). In implementation, ICE is grabbing these teenagers on their way to school, off school buses, and out ofContinue reading “Shining the light on anti-immigrant program targeting teenagers”
NC NOW newsletter for May to July, 2016, is available online. So much going on! HB 2 fallout, how to get involved, teachers in the street! The picture is from the ERA-NC Alliance launch in April.