Legislative Lane-COVID-19 Friday June 12, 2020

LEGISLATIVE LANE – COVID-19

Friday June 12, 2020

 

 

The Honorable Shelly Willingham

 

..At YOUR Service!..

300 N Salisbury Street

Legislative Office Building

Suite 513

Raleigh, NC 27603

shelly.willingham@ncleg.net

 

(919) 715-3024 (O)

(919) 754-3224 (F)



 

DISTRICT 23

Edgecombe & Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Chance Act (SB 562)

After 13 months of legislative inaction, the Second Chance Act (SB 562) passed the NC House yesterday on a unanimous vote. It had previously passed the NC Senate unanimously before leadership stalled the bill in the House.

 

The Second Chance Act is an important step in improving expunctions in North Carolina. Expunctions help people who committed crimes a long time ago to clear their records and improve their opportunities for jobs.

 

Here are some important improvements the bill makes:

–      Provides automatic record clearing for charges dismissed or disposed of as “not guilty.”

–      Allows expunctions for people whose convictions are treated as juvenile offenses under Raise the Age.

–      Expands eligibility for expunctions for people who have been convicted of multiple nonviolent misdemeanors.

 

House Democrats Stand Strong to Stop Re-Opening Bars

Last week the General Assembly passed HB 536 to re-open bars in North Carolina even while hospitalizations in our state hit a record-high. Governor Cooper vetoed it.

On Wednesday, the House Republican leadership scheduled the veto override vote. While much of our legislative work and votes can be done using remote means, the wording in our state constitution requires veto votes to be in person. So lawmakers in both parties who had been using remote technology had to come vote in person.

 

When it became apparent that the Democrats had all shown up and the Republican leadership would lose the veto vote, they cancelled the vote. So the bill to re-open bars remains blocked.

 

Re-Opening Bars (again), Gyms, and Taking Power Away from Public Health Officials

The veto of the bar bill prompted Republican leaders to try a different approach. They cobbled together a proposal to re-open bars and gyms into HB 594 (a bill that previously dealt with homeowners’ association bylaws). Included was a power play to take power away power from Governor Cooper’s public health team at the Department of Health and Human Services and give it to the Council of State. The Council of State are elected statewide politicians like the Commissioner of Agriculture and the State Auditor. They are all elected to do important jobs, none of which involve issues of public health. Stripping away the power of Governor Cooper’s public health team would limit their ability to respond to illegal mass gatherings and to respond to changing COVID-19 conditions.

 

The new bill never received a House committee hearing and no amendments or changes were allowed. Instead, it was rushed to the floor for a full vote.

 

Other News

House Democrats want Republicans to set aside differences to attack systemic racism

NC Policy Watch

House Democrats discuss how to respond to systemic racism

WRAL

NC House Democrats Highlight Crucial First Steps In Addressing Systemic Racism

Spectacular Magazine

 

 

 

***FOOD DISTRIBUTION***

Saturday June 13th – 9am 

Southeast Rocky Mount Community “Farm to Family” Project 2020 Food Distribution – 704 Arlington St. Rocky Mount, NC 27801 – drive through service.

 

 

Contract Extended Through 2023

 

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA Dr. Evan D. Duff has been named the eighth President of North Carolina Wesleyan College. The announcement came early this month from Dr. Dan Crocker, Chair of thDuff was appointed as Acting President by the Board of Trustees on June 10, 2019 and later accepted a two-year contract as Interim President. Following recent discussions with faculty and staff, a consensus decision was made by the Board of Trustees in their May 29 assembly to appoint Duff as President and extend his contract for an additional two years. The extension positions Duff as President for the College through May 31, 2023.

 

In his statement to faculty and staff, Dr. Crocker, Chair of the Board, noted “the remarkable manner in which Dr. Duff took the reins since last summer, leading both efficiently and effectively.” He also mentioned “the extraordinary financial turnaround [of the College] in just one year with Evan at the helm.”

 

Over the last year, Dr. Duff has worked diligently with the Provost and faculty to develop new academic programs, namely Wesleyan’s new RN to BSN Program, set to begin this fall. In collaboration with faculty, staff and the Board of Trustees, he has been instrumental in developing a new vision, core values and a comprehensive strategic plan for the College, while providing significant leadership in the College’s efforts to finalize the educational space of Wesleyan’s new Indoor Sports and Education Facility, currently under construction.

 

The Executive Advisory Committee of the Board agreed to complete a yearly formal presidential assessment, which is currently in-process under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Stern, Chair of NC Wesleyan’s Faculty Council. Critiques from this assessment will be a valuable resource for both the Board of Trustees and Dr. Duff as he continues to lead the College.

 

“I am humbled by this opportunity that the Board has granted me, and I look forward to serving the faculty, staff, students, alumni, area churches and the community as we all continue to ensure the mission of the College is met. There is no greater time than the present to ensure our students are informed and educated citizens who are passionate about being positive change agents,” said Dr. Duff.

 

 

 

“Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment.”

— Stephen Covey

 

 

STAY Home, Healthy and Hopeful!

 

 

PHASE II REMINDER: The virus is still circulating, and there’s no cure or vaccine yet, so people still need to be cautious. People should remember the 3 W’s when they leave home:

1.      Wear a face covering

2.     Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds at a time

3.     Wait 6 feet apart from other people

 

Source: NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

 

 

REMINDER TO COMPLETE CENSUS 2020

 

 

2020 House Committee Assignments

 

·        Alcoholic Beverage Control

·        Appropriations

·        Appropriations-Transportation

 

·        Congressional Redistricting

 

·        Disaster Relief

 

·        Economic Development & Global Engagement

·        Elections and Ethics Law

 

·        House Select Committee on COVID-19 (REMOTE ONLY with Public Access via http://www.ncleg.gov, Click Audio and Committee Room 1228 LB)



·        Insurance

 

·        Residential Planning and Permitting

·        Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House

 

·        State and Local Government

 

 

NC lawmakers return with open agenda – WRAL

RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers will return to Raleigh Nov. 27 for a lame-duck session expected to deal with voter ID and Hurricane Florence relief. Democrats are concerned about what other proposals could emerge in the waning days of the Republicans’ veto-proof majority.

Republican leaders have said they intend to pass legislation enacting the photo identification requirement to cast a ballot that voters approved last week as a constitutional amendment. They’ll have to decide which forms of ID will be accepted, from driver’s licenses to student, military or tribal IDs, and whether the law will allow for exceptions for voters who can’t obtain an accepted form of identification.

They’re also expected to consider additional legislation dealing with Hurricane Florence recovery. Although they voted in October to approve nearly $800 million over a period of years, much of that money still has to be specifically appropriated for needs identified by state and local agencies. Lawmakers will hear reports this week on the latest damage estimates. (Read more)

North Carolina GOP Moves Forward With Attempt To Take Control Of State Courts

“It’s a huge development and it’s part of an ongoing diabolical plan that the Republican leadership have been promoting and implementing to take over one branch after another,” said Bob Hall, head of Democracy North Carolina.

By Sam Levine

North Carolina Republicans, who have been reprimanded by federal courts for targeting minorities with voter ID restrictions and gerrymandering, passed legislation last week to eliminate primary elections for state judges next year in what critics say is a blatant and brazen attempt to take control of the state’s courts.

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Monday, but Republicans have a supermajority in the state legislature and can override the governor’s veto. (HuffPost)

In the NC legislature, an assault on the democratic process – News & Observer

Before the legislature went into its notorious special session last week, 12 Republican state lawmakers issued a statement addressing a contrived controversy about Governor-elect Roy Cooper’s newly hired senior adviser, Ken Eudy.

They said Eudy is unfit to serve because he disclosed in an essay written for the website EducationNC that he stands for the national anthem, but remains seated when a crowd is urged to stand to honor those who serve in the military. Eudy, who served six years in the Army National Guard, wrote that he won’t stand for members of the military until we also honor teachers.

Eudy’s position may not be a popular one, but it represents the freedom of expression soldiers have given their lives to protect. Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) didn’t see it that way. A West Point graduate, Grange said, “It is very concerning that Governor-elect Cooper’s pick for senior adviser, Ken Eudy, has publicly expressed negative opinions and degrading comments toward our state’s military servicemen and women.”

And yet, only two days later, these Republican patriots participated in an attack on the democratic system they are sworn to uphold. In an unannounced special session they moved to limit Governor-elect Cooper’s power to appoint his Cabinet and fill his administration with people who share his priorities. The Republican majority also sought to change the judicial process by directing that appeals of state constitutional challenges of their laws go first to the state Court of Appeals, where Republicans have an 11-4 majority. Those appeals had gone directly from the Superior Court to the state Supreme Court, which just flipped to Democratic control. (Read more)

7 legislators failing to detail campaign payments to themselves – The News & Observer

The Political Agitator’s response: This is what you call Republican White Privilege (RWP). when black folk steal a few crumbs they are called thugs and other. Well what do you call these jokers? I look at how the Ignant Racist White Folks and ignant Safe Negroes have a problem with blacks in majority but look at what this majority is doing. Hey all of them are just wrong so let’s talk about all of them and not just black folk.

Seven state lawmakers in North Carolina, including Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, have reimbursed themselves for thousands of dollars in campaign spending without reporting details of those expenditures.

The State Board of Elections says candidates are required to itemize those reimbursements so that state auditors and voters can tell exactly how the money was spent. House Speaker Tim Moore recently had to re-file his reports because auditors found unitemized credit card charges. (Source: Read more)

NC’s regrettable use of $8 million – The Charlotte Observer

We’ve long wondered what the legislature’s wrong-headed laws are costing North Carolina, both in reputation and in taxpayer dollars to defend them in court.

It may be impossible to put a precise dollar figure on the state’s reputation, but we now know the legal cost: More than $8 million.

The Associated Press reported last week that the Republican-led General Assembly has budgeted $4 million a year for the next two years to pay outside lawyers to defend controversial N.C. laws.

The legislature’s outside legal costs have totaled more than $3 million just since July 2014, the AP reported, mostly to defend its election reform bill that included photo ID and other provisions. (Source: Read more)

State should rethink Medicaid expansion – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator response: This never made any sense and was only rejected because we have a black President. Because these ignants in NCGA rejected it, black, brown, white and other folks are suffering. The right thing to do is to go back and make it right. But then that ignant House Speaker Thom Tillis will say that our Governor that guy Pat McCrory is supporting our President. Hell it ain’t just about the President but it is all about doing what is right!

It certainly was encouraging to hear N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos tell a legislative committee last week that her agency is preparing information for Gov. Pat McCrory for possible options to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

McCrory and Republican legislative leaders last year rejected the expansion of Medicaid to more people under the federal health care overhaul, saying the state’s current system must be reformed first.

North Carolina’s $13 billion Medicaid program has been plagued by financial shortfalls for years, but Wos told lawmakers that the program had a $64 million cash balance at the end of the last fiscal year – setting the stage for possible expansion to include as many as 575,000 low-income, uninsured adults who earn too little to be eligible for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act but too much to qualify for Medicaid as it currently is structured in the state. (Source: Read more)

The General Assembly needs to get back on track – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator response: Hell no the Republicans in the NC General Assembly needs to get their ignant asses on track simple as that.

We’ve all heard or read the horror stories about nightmare legislation — bills in the N.C. General Assembly or Congress that are thousands of pages long, containing more earmarks than anyone could ever imagine. The scariest prospect of such bills is they often pass, despite the fact that hardly any of the lawmakers have actually read the legislation they’re voting on.

So let’s talk about a refreshing exception — a simple, two-page bill that would require dog breeders to properly feed and water their animals. They also would have to provide decent-sized cages for dogs. The measure has the support of Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina’s first lady. It has been passed by the N.C. House of Representatives. (Source: Read more)

Legislative protesters tape mouths to avoid arrests – NC Capitols

Raleigh, N.C. — Protesters returned to the General Assembly Monday evening, but in accordance with new rules regarding decorum in the Legislative Building, they avoided causing a disturbance.

Hundreds of people in the "Moral Monday" movement put tape across their mouths so they couldn’t be accused of being loud enough to disrupt conversations, which is one of the standards set last week by a legislative committee for asking people to leave the Legislative Building and arresting them if they don’t comply. (Source: Read more)

See related:

New legislative building rules do little to deter Moral Monday protesters

Cease prosecuting Moral Monday arrests – News & Observer

Response: The Moral Monday Protesters are made up of black, brown, white and other folks who are morally conscious of what is going on. This is a powerful movement and I support it 1000%. It is sad that a white majority in the NC General Assembly feel they are hurting black folks when all folks are suffering. But the main thing is all of this bullmanure is happening across the nation simply because they have not gotten over having a black President. Hell “Our” President has won 2 elections so damn they may as well accept the fact that we have a black President and get their panties out of a wad. It does not matter if it is a waste of time, they are trying to send a message to the NAACP to sit down, shut up and stop bringing folks from all races to their house when it is the people’s house.

With each new case, with each new ruling, the ridiculous prosecutions of Moral Monday protesters who rattled the last session of the N.C. General Assembly look like wasted time and money.

There were 945 arrests in the course of protests, peacefully conducted, in the Legislative Building over a woefully misguided and mean-spirited agenda pushed by right-wing Republican legislative leaders. The protesters’ cause was just: They opposed cuts to public education, voter suppression laws, tax cuts for the wealthy, reductions in unemployment benefits and the refusal to expand Medicaid. (Source)

Ignant Column: Greenville NC – At Least One Pitt County Democrat Says He Thinks The Republican Led General Assembly Is Doing A Pretty Good Job So Far

Response: Damn what is Jeff drinking? I totally agree with Rev. Ozzie Hall Jr. response: Cuts in unemployment disproportionately hurt the Black community, cuts in education disproportionately hurt the Black community, massive numbers of Black 3rd graders will be retained this year due to their education policies. They imposed higher standards and cut funds to help meet the higher standards. White students already fell outside of the threshold and will not be significantly impacted. Our community is under siege, and Jeff thinks they are doing a "pretty good job so far…"
 
Jeff Savage I think the Republican led General Assembly is doing a pretty good job so far, Curmilus. Some people have voiced opposition to what their priorities are, but, those voices are outnumbered by those wanting substantive changes made in state government.

As an aside, when the SCOTUS rejected the Medicaid part, that really should have scrapped the entire healthcare plan. After all, the whole idea behind the plan that prompted everyone to support it as a good idea was so that the poorest of the poor would have healthcare coverage. However, after the Court’s ruling, no one said anythiig about the poorest of the poor was left out of the new healthcare "law."

Pictures/Video: Raleigh NC – HKonJ 7 NAACP and Partners March On Jones Street NC Legislative Building Saturday February 9, 2013

Awesome event you need to view pictures and the video so you can enjoy what took place.

Note: When viewing videos on your laptop do not sit close to the laptop for a clearer picture.

Click on Picture to view more pictures.

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Click on Picture to watch HKonJ 7 Video Part 1

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Click on Picture to watch HKonJ 7 Video Part 2.

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Read more:

NAACP NC

Lawmaker on jobless bill: ‘It will cause more suicides and mass killings’ – Wilson NC

One of the controversial legislative debates this session is the vote to cut unemployment benefits.

The measure would reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks from 26 to 20.

It was an easy win for Republicans over Democrats – 77 to 42.

But one Democrat said she voted for the measure by mistake. (More)

Lee sworn in as N.C. District 12 representative–Sunjournal

State House District 12 is officially represented by Rep. Barbara Jean Lee of New Bern after she took the oath of office at noon Saturday in the N.C. History Center.

The New Bern center’s auditorium was full of well wishers for the oath administered by District Court Judge Cheryl Spencer, including her family with husband Samuel Lee holding the family Bible, Democratic leaders, and officials including New Bern’s mayor and most aldermen of a board on which she had served for 22 years. (More)

Read more:

Rep. William L. Wainwright

APNewsBreak: LaRoque asked to consider resigning – The Daily Reflector

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House turned up the pressure Wednesday on a Republican member indicted this week on federal charges as the chamber’s top leader said he thought it would be wise for his colleague to resign his seat.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said he advised Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston to consider stepping down from the House, where LaRoque had served for almost six years since 2003. LaRoque already was on his way out the chamber — he lost in the May primary and won’t return when the next two-year session begins in January. (More)

Read more:

Rep. Stephen LaRoque