From The Desk Of Shelly Willingham NC House of Representatives


Shelly Willingham

N.C. House of Representatives

300 N Salisbury Street, #501

Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

(919) 715-3024

(919) 754-3224 (fax)


Representative Shelly Willingham

Dedicated to District 23

April 21, 2016






Alcoholic Beverage Control


Appropriations –   Information Technology




Judiciary IV

The audio legislative session is available at  Select “Audio and then House or Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room




4th Circuit Ruling Out of VA Poses Threat to HB2

Maxine Eichner, a University of North Carolina law professor who is an expert on sexual orientation and the law, said the ruling — the first of its kind by a federal appeals court — means the provision of North Carolina’s law pertaining to restroom use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funds also is invalid.  “The effects of this decision on North Carolina are clear,” she said, adding that a judge in that state will have no choice but to apply the appeals court’s ruling. Other states in the 4th Circuit are Maryland, West Virginia and South Carolina. While those states are directly affected by the appeals court’s ruling, Eichner said the impact will be broader.  “It is a long and well-considered opinion that sets out the issues,” she said.  “It will be influential in other circuits.”

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Slate of Cancellations Prove HB2 Could Crush NC Arenas

Today’s news that Pearl Jam was cancelling an April 20 show in Raleigh is bad news for arenas, which appear most susceptible to a boycott of the state.  “The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens,” the band wrote in a statement. “The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.”  “It is for this reason,” the statement read, “that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.”

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New Report Points to Segregation in Private Schools

Last month, we reported on the widening racial and economic divisions in North Carolina’s two largest school systems, despite ample evidence that high concentrations of impoverished children in any school can be harmful to students’ performance. Now, the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a Georgia-based advocate for school equity, has issued a new report on virtual segregation in private schools across the country despite programs in 19 states, including North Carolina, tasked with funneling public cash toward increasing the population of low-income children in private schools. Three years ago, North Carolina did just that with the Opportunity Scholarship Program, despite an outcry from many public education activists. And while the SEF’s report relies on 2012 demographic data (before the creation of this state’s voucher program), the numbers show segregation in private schools, particularly in southern states like North Carolina, is a very real problem.

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NC Moving Too Hastily on Achievement School District

We should always be open to trying new ideas to improve education but also be careful not to chase every new fad on the market.  This caution is especially so when the new ideas are for public schools where poverty and racial segregation are highly concentrated. Unfortunately, hurrying to install a new unproven fad may well be the case for some of North Carolina’s lowest-performing schools.  State Rep. Bob Bryan and the N.C. legislature will soon consider taking over up to five schools and placing them in a kind of separate virtual reality of their own.  The concept, known as an Achievement School District, would get special resources and be managed by private charter school operators that would report to the State Board of Education.

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NC Jobless Rate Unchanged, Above National Average

North Carolina keeps adding jobs, but the unemployment rate isn’t going down and is still higher than the national average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that North Carolina’s jobless rate for March was unchanged from the previous month at 5.5 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5 percent in March. The government says North Carolina added 12,500 jobs between February and March to top 4.3 million statewide. The state has added 104,000 jobs since March 2015.

SCOTUS Rejects Challenge to One Person, One Vote

Typically states have counted the total population, giving all people equal representation. Voters in rural Texas however challenged that process in Evenwel, contending that by including non-eligible voters – those who aren’t citizens, for example, or those who’ve been in prison – in a district’s total population, the state gives greater weight to the far fewer votes that would be cast in such districts.  They argue that instead each vote should be equal and that population count should be based on eligible voters only. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Alabama redistricting plan which allotted just one representative to heavily-populated and sparsely-populated districts alike, ruling in Reynolds v. Sims that under the “one person, one vote” concept of equal representation, legislative districts should have roughly equal populations. The high court had not, however, dictated how states should count population for purposes of drawing state legislative districts.

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