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)

Editorial: Tweet sends powerful legislators into a tizzy

There was a $50,000 legislative panic on display in Tuesday’s hastily called and disorganized special session of the North Carolina General Assembly. It was a day of hurry up and wait. Legislation that was supposed to be all set to go, prepared in secret of course, wasn’t quite ready for prime time and needed more work.

Why all the upheaval? Because Gerry Cohen, who served 32 years as director of the legislature’s bill drafting division, responded to a public call for suggestions and comments from the state Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission on short captions about the content of the proposed amendments. The commission, which includes Democrats Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein along with Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, a Republican, is charged with providing the captions that, by law, are included on the ballot with the proposed amendments. Cohen shared his suggestions on Twitter. (Read more)

General Assembly may hold surprise session – WRAL

By Travis Fain, WRAL statehouse reporter

The N.C. General Assembly may come back into session in the coming days to write short summaries of the proposed constitutional amendments that will be before votes this November.

That’s supposed to be the purview of a three-person commission, but House Rules Chairman David Lewis wrote Speaker of the House Tim Moore Saturday with concerns about the commission’s work. Lewis, R-Harnett, said in his letter that he’s worried about “maneuverings” by unnamed outside political groups trying to sway the commission.

“Politicized captions” with “long sentences or negative language” could hurt the amendments’ chances for passage, Lewis wrote.

The General Assembly is controlled by Republican super majorities. Two of the three commission members are Democrats: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein. (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)

Document outlines teacher pay raises in budget deal – WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — One of the most frequently asked questions about the pending state budget deal is how exactly the teacher pay raises would work.

Legislative leaders said Tuesday that teachers would get a raise that amounts to 7 percent on average. The actual percentage varies depending on how long someone has taught.

Representatives of the N.C. Association of Educators call the 7 percent number "inflated" because it counts longevity pay earned by those who have been teaching 10 years or more.

Longer-serving teachers, in particular, worry that they will see more modest pay raises without the current longevity pay scheme. (Source: Read more)

NC – Employed And Unemployed Folks Ask Yourself How Have The Laws The Republican Lead NC General Assembly Affected You?

I dare you to ask yourself how have the laws this ignant ass Republican lead NC General Assembly affected you?

If you are a hard working person in the workplace, in the education field or whatever your job title may be, how have the laws affected you?

If you are unemployed, how have the laws affected you?

And one hint, if you you have not been affected please respond and know that your day just may come because you could become unemployed. So let’s hear about the now from both categories above and if you should switch categories, this is what you can look forward to.

House, Senate take bites from Common Core apple – WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — The House voted Wednesday to repeal and replace the Common Core academic standards in North Carolina schools, and a Senate committee advanced its own legislation advocating repeal.

Common Core standards for math and English were developed by state and nonprofit leaders, and they have been embraced by President Barack Obama’s Education Department and adopted by 44 states. In North Carolina, the standards are backed by the North Carolina Chamber, the state’s largest business group. (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