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
In 2011, the U. S. Department of Education issued some guidelines to colleges and universities requiring them to handle rape allegations swiftly and fairly. The problem was being taken seriously at last.
Now in 2017, Betsy DeVos claims that these guidelines have “weaponized the Office of Civil Rights.” Specifically, she maintains that enforcing women’s civil rights under Title IX is unfair to accused rapists. Her own acting head of Education’s civil rights office told the New York times that “90 percent” of campus rapes “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk’.” Of course, being drunk is no excuse if you injure or kill someone with your car.
NC NOW legislative update #6 includes damage from the Trump administration’s new interpretation of Title IX, lawsuit updates, and bill tracking.
In light of the Trump administration’s new interpretation that Title IX does not allow transgender people to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, the U. S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Virginia case concerning this issue. The case was sent back to the lower court for reconsideration in light of the Trump administration’s new rule. This non-decision will have the effect of making transgender bathroom rights a state-by-state issue. The issues can still be challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds, but losing Title IX is a serious blow to framing a successful lawsuit. The constitutionality of the new interpretation of Title IX could be challenged, but no suit on these grounds has been filed. This refusal of the Supreme Court to rule in this case will impact both the North Carolina lawsuits and the effort to repeal HB2. For more details, see: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article136866748.html
Posted in abortion, Courts, HB 2, immigration, lawsuits, Medicaid, minimum wage, reproductive rights, Title IX
Tagged abortion, Courts, hb2, immigration, lgbt, medicaid expansion, Title IX