Darlene Guthrie Cates Best Know as ‘Mama’ in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” Passed Away at 69

Darlene Cates 1947-2017

Sad news.  Darlene Cates, best known as “Mama” in the cult classic What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, passed away at age 69.

Her daughter Sheri posted on her Facebook page a few hours ago:

It is with a bitter-sweet heart that we share that our precious wife, mother, and Gaga, Darlene Cates, was called home, somewhat unexpectedly, peacefully in her sleep Sunday morning, March 26th .

We take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father, breaking away only to dance with our Savior, Jesus. (dancing was something she talked about loving to do “back in the day”!)

For those who have already sent your love, texts and prayers, thank you. -Sheri

(Life Celebration arrangements are pending.)

On a personal note:

Darlene and I talked regularly, on the phone and via Facebook messenger.  I genuinely don’t have the words to convey my heartfelt affection for her and the sorrow I feel over her passing. She was unequivocally a wonderful, brilliant and remarkable human being.

I feel dreadful because she sent me a message on Facebook a few days ago; I was so caught up with work that I didn’t respond—and now, the opportunity is lost.  After hearing the news about Darlene, I’ve looked at that message over and over, wishing I had the chance to do it over.

Not only would I respond, but I would tell her how much she was loved and admired.

Although Darlene is best known as “mama” in the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, she went on to showcase her talent as an actor and producer for years afterward.

Failing health and a serious fall limited her body, but not her spirit and tenacity.

I was proud to call her my friend.  And, I am so happy we stayed in touch through the years.

Rest in peace, mama.

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From the Raleigh Report – A List of bills coming out of the NCGA

Newly Introduced Bills

BUDGET AND TAXATION

HB 329, Home School Education Tax Credit, would give a $1,250-per-student-per-semester income tax credit to the parents of children being home schooled.

Introduced by Reps. Pitman (R-Concord), Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills), and Brody (R-Monroe). Referred to House Education—K-12 and, if favorable, to House Finance.

HB 333, Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, would, like S 166 (see Education section in Raleigh Report, for March 13), permit an increase in local sales taxes of ¼% or ½%, after a referendum, for the benefit of public education. But there are differences: 1) Subject to existing caps on the local sales tax (2¾% in Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, and Wake counties; 2½% elsewhere), local governments would not have to choose between local transportation needs and school needs. 2) School funds could be used not only for construction needs, as in S 166, but also for teacher salaries and community colleges.

Introduced by Reps. S. Martin (R-Wilson), Hunter (D-Ahoskie), Watford (R-Thomasville), and Saine (R-Lincolnton). Referred to House Finance.

Two little bills offer insight into the complexity of the state’s tax code and into the priorities some legislators have for making changes to it.

  • S 230, Exempt Vacation Linen Rentals from Sales Tax, would provide a tax benefit to those able not only to rent vacation properties but also to rent the sheets and towels there. The loss of revenue will, as is the case with any tax cut, have to be made up by other taxpayers or will cause a reduction of some state expense. Either of these results is likely to have impact on those not able to rent vacation properties, much less sheets and towels.
  • S 232, Septic Tank Tax Fairness Act, is an interesting place to inject “fairness” into tax laws. Current law exempts septic tank systems from sales tax if they contain at least 75% recycled material. S 232 would repeal that exemption, presumably making the state a fairer place for septic tanks that don’t use recycled materials, but at the same time removing an incentive for recycling.

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

H 386, Intensive Family Preservation Services Funds, would allocate $6.6 million for each year of the biennium for Intensive Family Preservation Services, which help families whose children are at risk of being removed from the family.

Introduced by Reps. Hardister (R-Greensboro), Adcock (D-Cary), Jordan (R-Jefferson), and Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills). Not yet referred.

EDUCATION

H 305, School Boards Can’t Sue Counties. Under current law, if a local school board and its county commissioners can’t reach agreement about the sufficiency of the funds allocated by the commissioners, there’s a process for mediation. H 305 would eliminate that mediation, declare that the commissioners’ decision is final, and prohibit the school board from taking any legal action to challenge that decision.

Introduced by Reps. Conrad (R-Winston-Salem), Potts (R-Lexington), and Ford (R-China Grove). Referred to State and Local Government I and, if favorable, to Judiciary IV.

H 322, School Performance Grades. The state’s public schools are given grades based on a combination of the achievement of their students and improvement in the performance of their students. Currently only 20% of the grade is based on improvement and growth. H 322 would raise it to 50%.

Introduced by Reps. Johnson (R-Kannapolis), Horn (R-Weddington), and Elmore (R-North Wilkesboro). Referred to House Rules.

S 259, Restore Master’s Degree Pay for All Teachers, would restore this benefit to its 2013 level, when the legislature deleted it.

Introduced by Sens. Lowe (D-Winston-Salem), Smith-Ingram (D-Gaston), and Robinson (D-Greensboro). Referred to House Rules.

S 280, Early Literacy Initiative/Funds, would allocate $12 million this year for a comprehensive early literacy initiative. $7 million would increase access to an already existing program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The other $5 million would be to pilot a nurse home visitation program for all parents of newborns in six counties of various sizes.

Introduced by Sen. Hise (R-Spruce Pine). Referred to Senate Rules.

ELECTIONS LAWS

H 303/S 228, Voter Freedom Act. Under current law, a voter’s eligibility can be challenged by another voter in the same county, and evidence of returned mail sent to the challenged voter’s address of registration can be sufficient to get him/her removed from the voter rolls. There were numerous incidents last year in which individuals sent mail to a group of voters and then used mail that was returned to get county boards of elections to purge people from the rolls. H 303/S 228 would put more of the burden on the challenger. Specifically, a challenge could be filed only by another voter in the same precinct (not the entire county) and a returned first-class letter from the address listed on the challenged voter’s registration card would not be enough, by itself, to pursue a challenge. Absent an acknowledgement from the challenged voter or a statement from another county or state that the challenged voter had registered there, a voter could not be taken off the voter roll unless the notification requirements of the National Voter Registration Act had been followed. A challenger would be required to “know or reasonably believe” (current law also includes “suspect”) that the challenged voter isn’t qualified to vote, and a piece of returned mail would not be sufficient.

Introduced by Reps. Pierce (D-Wagram), Floyd (D-Fayetteville), and Lucas (D-Spring Lake) and by Sens. Clark (D-Raeford), Van Duyn (D-Asheville), and Woodard (D-Durham). Referred to House and Senate Rules Comms.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Three bills call for studies:

  • H 319, Study Solar Facility Decommissioning, would require the Environmental Review Commission to study issues related to the decommissioning of “utility-scale” solar installations. This would include whether the utility should be required to put aside funds for decommissioning, whether any of the materials are hazardous, whether they can be disposed of in landfills, whether recycling the solar panels would be feasible, and whether the land could be returned to agricultural use.
  • H 320, Study Electronics Recycling, would require a study of recycling requirements for discarded computer equipment and televisions.
  • H 321, Study Solid Waste Disposal Tax, would call for a study on this tax, which is distributed mostly to the Inactive Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund and to local governments providing solid waste management services.

All three have been introduced by Rep. Dixon (R-Warsaw) and referred to House Environment.

H 363, The Pollinator Protection Act. The bill notes that a third of food produced in North America relies on pollination by honey bees and that colony collapse disorder is a condition impacting pollination. While several factors seem to be at work, many in the scientific community have linked neonicotinoids, a category of pesticides which affect the central nervous systems of insects, with the decline of pollinators.  H 363 would limit the sale and use of these pesticides to licensed pesticide applicators, farmers using them for agricultural purposes, and veterinarians.

Introduced by Reps. Harrison (D-Greensboro), McGrady (R-Hendersonville), G. Martin (D-Raleigh), and Setzer (R-Catawba). Referred to House Environment and, if favorable, to House Agriculture.

S 236, Efficient and Affordable Energy Rates, would encourage a reduction in the state’s energy consumption in three ways: 1) the establishment of “tiered rates” for electricity customers under which the use of higher quantities of electricity would result in a higher price per kilowatt hour, 2) creation of the Energy Efficiency Bank, which would loan money to customers who invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy products, and 3) imposition of a 5% tax on residential appliances and other products which do not meet Energy Star standards. Income from the 5% tax would help to fund the Bank.

Introduced by Sens. Woodard (D-Durham), Foushee (D-Hillsborough), and Smith-Ingram (D-Gaston). Referred to Senate Rules.

S 279, Change Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems, is identical to H 171. See RR, February 27.

Introduced by Sens. Britt (R-Lumberton) and Sanderson (R-Arapahoe). Referred to Senate Rules.

GUN VIOLENCE

H 345, Omnibus Firearms Bill, has, as the title suggests, several parts. Among them:

  • Specify that the ban on carrying a firearm onto education property does not cover property used for both a school on a part-time basis and a religious institution except when in use as a school.
  • Permit the Governor and his immediate family to carry a weapon in the Executive Mansion or the Western Residence of the Governor. (And you thought this General Assembly was only into taking away powers from Gov. Cooper.)
  • Permit legislators and legislative employees who have a concealed handgun permit to bring their guns into legislative buildings and on the grounds. That permission could be overruled as it pertains to the visitors’ gallery of the legislative building.

There’s a peculiar new crime, “Going armed to the terror of the people.” It forbids someone from being armed “with an unusual and dangerous weapon for the purpose of terrifying others and go[ing] about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to the people.” But, not to worry, it wouldn’t apply to people with handguns, whether carried openly or concealed, and a violation – for terrorizing people with an unusual and dangerous weapon – would be only a misdemeanor.

Introduced by Reps. Speciale (R-New Bern), Pittman (R-Concord), Brody (R-Monroe), and Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills). Referred to House Judiciary I.

HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE

H 367, Community Health Centers Grant Program/Funds, would allocate $7.5 million for each year of the biennium to the state’s Office of Rural Health to be used for Community Health Centers Grants (to free clinics, federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, local health departments, school-based health centers, and other nonprofits serving people who are poor and underinsured). The grants would have a focus on health care services to low-income and vulnerable populations. Individual grants could not be more than $150,000 per year and priority would go to areas with the highest levels of poverty and clients who are poor.

Introduced by Reps. Dobson (R-Nebo), Presnell (R-Burnsville), and Jordan (R-Jefferson). Referred to House Appropriations.

H 387, Corner Store Initiative, would seek to provide more nutritious food in areas of poverty, where obesity and diabetes are significant food-related health issues. Specifically it would provide small grants for equipment and other needs of small stores in food deserts (federally designated areas of high poverty and with poor access to a grocery store). Funds would come from the Healthy Food Small Retailer Fund, established by H 387 but not funded by it.

Introduced by Rep. Holley (D-Raleigh), Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem), McElraft (R-Emerald Isle), and Quick (D-Greensboro). Not yet referred.

S 290, Medicaid Expansion/Healthcare Jobs Initiative, would expand Medicaid eligibility to include everybody under the age of 65 and with incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level. While most of the funding would come from federal Affordable Care Act money (if the ACA continues), additional funds would come from state appropriations, state savings because of state-funded programs transferred to Medicaid, and an assessment on hospitals.

Introduced by Sens. Clark (D-Raeford) and Bryant (D-Rocky Mount). Referred to Senate Rules.

HUMAN RIGHTS

H 328, Athletic Associations Accountability Act, directs the Speaker Moore and President Pro Tem Berger to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service “alleging that the [NCAA and ACC] have engaged in excessive lobbying activities” because they’ve moved athletic events out of North Carolina in response to HB2. In addition, as summarized by David Heinen at the NC Center for Nonprofits, H 328 would “[r]equire state universities to disclose the names of any employees or faculty members who serve on the boards, committees, commissions, or task forces of the NCAA and ACC and to make public all matters (other than legal settlements and personnel matters) on which these nonprofit boards, committees, commissions and task forces voted and how each individual votes on these items. All of this information would be public record.”

Many of you who engage in advocacy associated with churches and other nonprofits have enough contact with the IRS rules to recognize how preposterous this allegation is. The bill itself states that the ACC and NCAA have revenues of over $1 billion. IRS regulations permit an “insubstantial” amount of an organization’s work to be given over to lobbying (i.e., communicating with legislators or encouraging others to do so, in support of or opposition to specific legislation), with “insubstantial” vaguely defined as something between 5% and 20% of the organization’s total activities, including budget. Even if you presume that every penny the ACC and NCAA have spent on moving games and tournaments qualifies as lobbying (and clearly that is not the case), they would have to be spending at least $50 million to be doing excessive lobbying.

Heinen notes additional reasons why this bill should be of concern to nonprofits generally, regardless of their position on HB2:

  • This type of legislation – and the media attention it generates – can mislead the public about what types of advocacy activities are legal for 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
  • The bill could force some board members of the ACC and NCAA to violate their fiduciary duties to the nonprofits by making public board discussions and votes that they are legally required to keep confidential.
  • This proposal could chill nonprofits’ free speech by setting a precedent that it is appropriate for state legislators to retaliate against individual 501(c)(3) organizations when they disapprove of the nonprofits’ advocacy activities, even though these activities are legal, appropriate, and consistent with their missions. 

Introduced by Reps. Brody (R-Monroe), Millis (R-Hampstead), Yarborough (R-Roxboro), and Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills). Referred to House Judiciary I.

IMMIGRATION

H 306, E-Verify Required for All Government Contracts. Current NC law requires private employers with 25 or more employees to use the federal E-Verify program to verify that their employees are in the country legally. H 306 prohibits the state or any of its subdivisions from entering into contracts unless the contractor and its subcontractors use E-Verify.

Introduced by Reps. Millis (R-Hampstead), Cleveland (R-Jacksonville), Conrad (R-Winston-Salem), and Collins (R-Rocky Mount). Referred to House State and Local Government II and, if favorable, to House Regulatory Reform.

LIMITING THE GOVERNOR’S POWERS

H 335, Vacancies in Courts, would require that vacancy appointments to any level of the state’s judiciary be made from a list of three persons recommended by the appropriate committee of the political party of the person vacating the seat. While this requirement does not currently exist for the courts, it is how vacancies in the General Assembly are filled and is further evidence of how politicized the courts are becoming.

Introduced by Reps. Burr (R-Albemarle), K. Hall (R-King), Saine (R-Lincolnton), and Bumgardner (R-Gastonia). Referred to House Judiciary I Comm.

STATE LOTTERY

S 234, SBA Pay/Needs-Based Public School Capital Funds, would use lottery funds to increase compensation for public school principals and assistant principals and for school construction in the state’s least developed counties. In addition, advertising expenses for the lottery could increase from 1% to 2% of total annual lottery revenues.

Introduced by Sens. Tillman (R-Archdale), Brown (R-Jacksonville), and Hise (R-Spruce Pine). Referred to Senate Education/Higher Education. If favorable, to Senate Appropriations and, if favorable, to Senate Rules.

WORKER ISSUES

H 334, Families’ Stabilization Act, would prohibit employers from paying workers different wages for the same work based only on gender. It would apply to government entities and to all other employers with more than five employees.

Introduced by Reps. Cunningham (D-Charlotte), Fisher (D-Asheville), Black (D-Durham), and Butler (D-Wilmington). Referred to House State Personnel and, if favorable, to House Judiciary I.

Current Status of Introduced Bills

H 100, Restore Partisan Elections/Superior and District Court, has been vetoed by Gov. Cooper. The House and Senate are expected to try to override his first veto.

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How will Trump go down? If it happens at all, it will be slowly…and then all at once.

For those of you that watched Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last night, what exactly were you expecting?

It doesn’t happen like that.  Understand your political history. 

Watergate started with a simple break-in that was handled by DC Metro in the initial stages of the investigation.  And then it grew. It started slowly, but when it came down it was all at once.

As it turned out, after taking a cursory glance of the news, it seems Donald Trump paid 25% in 2005 on his tax return.  Bernie Sanders paid 13%. 

You’re probably not going to get Donald Trump on his tax returns.  It seems like a red herring.  It would be safer to say that Trump will do something in the office of the presidency that would take him down, through impeachment proceedings or resignation, much quicker than anything he’s done in the past.

And with all clarity, the best way to let that happen, assuming you don’t want Donald Trump to be president—is just to give him room to maneuver. 

Let Donald Trump be Donald Trump—let Donald Trump be President.  This has happened on more than one occasion, and history proves it correct: absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

If in fact, Donald Trump is an oligarch and a maniac, or has some deep-seated psychological malfunction, the best thing to do would be to sit back and watch.  History proves that these types of situations usually take care of themselves. 

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So if you criticize LGBT you’re labeled “homophobic?” Joel Ford, a LGBT activist and of course the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board weighs in.

So, apparently, Sen. Joel Ford and a few CLT LGBT activist got into a pissing contest last night on Twitter.

Ford is running for mayor of Charlotte. I don’t have the energy or the inclination to grab screenshots of that twitter conversation. But, I do think we have a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

Anytime someone is critical of the LGBT, there is always someone in the group who’ll come along and label that individual as homophobic. And, it’s bullshit.

Joel Ford is not homophobic by any stretch of the imagination. So, when certain LGBT activist who don’t agree with Ford’s politics throw out that label hoping it will stick – it should offend all of us.

Let me say this just as plainly as I possibly can, just because you happen to be gay does not mean you are right all the time about every policy issue. And I’m a little bit sick and tired of LGBT activist throwing good people under the bus just because they don’t see eye to eye with a political agenda.

And as always, the Charlotte Observer chimes in with their editorial board commentary. By now it should be no surprise to anyone that the Charlotte Observer supports Jennifer Roberts in her reelection.

The Observer would have a little more credibility, in my book, if they would stop playing devil’s advocate and be not so blatantly one-sided towards a candidate. In this particular case Roberts.

Personally, I saw Joel Ford’s post on Twitter this morning from a friend who told me to check it out. And I saw absolutely nothing to write about. The Charlotte Observer is using this in an effort to discredit Ford in his bid for mayor. They’re throwing out the word homophobic hoping it will stick.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article138609528.html

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From the Raleigh Report: A look at bills this week in the NCGA

Newly Introduced Bills

CRIMINAL AND JUVENILE JUSTICE

H 233, Ban the Box, would govern how state and local governments could use criminal histories in making hiring decision. (“Ban the box” refers to the question on an application form about whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, and the applicant has to check the “yes” box if so. Asking this question at the beginning of a hiring process is a significant factor in making it difficult for formerly incarcerated people to find employment.) Specifically, H 233 would prevent state and local governments from inquiring about criminal history, including listing such a question on an application form, until a conditional offer of employment had been made. Then a prior conviction could not be used to disqualify the applicant unless it was “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the position.” Factors to be considered in making that determination include: level and seriousness of the crime, date of the crime, age of the person at the time of the conviction, circumstances surrounding the crime, the connection between the crime and the duties of the position, the person’s record since the crime, and whether or not a subsequent crime had been committed.  A record of arrest not resulting in a conviction could not be the basis for disqualification. H 233 would not apply if there were a law requiring the consideration of criminal records for a specific position.

Introduced by Reps. Pierce (D-Wagram), R. Moore (D-Charlotte), Brockman (D-High Point), and C. Graham (D-Lumberton). Referred to House Rules. 

S 173, Housing Juveniles under 18 in County Facility, would forbid housing youth under the age of 18 in the same facility (local jail, etc.) as those 18 or older unless it is determined that the juvenile is a threat in a facility with other juveniles. If the juvenile is to be housed in an adult facility, there must be a complete sight and sound barrier between the juvenile and those over 18.

Introduced by Sens. Robinson (D-Greensboro), McKissick (D-Durham), and Lowe (D-Winston-Salem). Referred to House Rules. 

H 280, Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act. See S 146 in Raleigh Report, March 6.

Introduced by Reps. McGrady (R-Hendersonville), Lewis (R-Dunn), Duane Hall (D-Raleigh), and S. Martin (R-Wilson). Referred to House Judiciary I and, if favorable, to Appropriations. 

EDUCATION

S 166, Expand Local Option Sales Tax for Education. Under current law, local governments can, subject to a referendum vote, add 1/4% or 1/2% to their local sales tax and use the revenue for public transportation needs. S 166 would create a similar option for school construction, also subject to a referendum vote, but a local government would not be able to adopt both additional taxes – for transportation and for schools. It would have to be one or the other.

Introduced by Sen. Randleman (R-Wilkesboro). Referred to Senate Rules.

H 285, Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel, would require schools, including charter schools, to develop youth suicide awareness and prevention training programs for school personnel who work directly with students in grades K-12. The goal would be to help these teachers and other employees to recognize at-risk students and know what to do, including making referrals, to help.

Introduced by Reps. Murphy (R-Greenville), Hardister (R-Greensboro), Dollar (R-Cary), and Dobson (R-Nebo). Referred to House Health and, if favorable, to Education – K-12. 

ELECTIONS LAWS

S 209, Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission, is identical to H 200. See RR, March 6.

Introduced by Sens. J. Jackson (D-Charlotte), Woodard (D-Durham), and Chaudhuri (D-Raleigh). Referred to Senate Rules. 

ENVIRONMENTAL CARE

H 267, Utilities/Amend REPS Requirements. Under current law, public utilities are required to produce certain amounts of electricity from renewable sources. (“REPS” = Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards.)  These standards are currently in the middle of a phase-in period, which started with a requirement of 3% in 2012 and is scheduled to rise to 12.5% by 2021. In significant part because of the REPS, North Carolina has become a leading producer of solar energy, with a thriving solar industry, and wind power is also being increased. H 267 would lower the REPS’ ultimate requirements to 8%. (Slightly different requirements for electric co-ops would also be lowered and capped.)

Introduced by Rep. Dixon (R-Warsaw) and J. Bell (R-Goldsboro). Referred to House Energy and Public Utilities and, if favorable, to Finance.

H 271, Repeal Plastic Bag Ban. Current law prohibits the use of most plastic bags by stores on the Outer Banks, where “[e]nvironmental degradation is especially burdensome” and where “[p]lastic bag debris can be harmful to sea turtles.” H 271, claiming that somehow the plastic bag ban on the Outer Banks “impacts North Carolina businesses large and small . . . throughout North Carolina, and hinders their ability to create jobs,” would repeal the ban.

Introduced by Reps. Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills), J. Bell (R-Goldsboro), and Bradford (R-Cornelius). Referred to House Environment Comm. 

GUN VIOLENCE

S 204, Allow Concealed Carry on UNC and Community College Campuses, is identical to H 251. (See RR, March 6.)

S 204 was Introduced by Sens. Cook (R-Chocowinity), Britt (R-Lumberton), and Brock (R-Mocksville), and referred to Senate Rules. H 251 has been referred to House Judiciary IV.

HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE

H 276, Strengthen Youth Tobacco Use Prevention/Funds, would create a special fund and appropriate $17 million per year for this biennium to “prevent the use of new and emerging tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, especially among youth and people of childbearing age.” Funds can be passed on to local health departments or other organizations working to prevent tobacco use and not receiving funds from the tobacco industry.

Introduced by Reps. Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem), Adcock (D-Cary), Dobson (R-Nebo), and Watford (R-Thomasville). Referred to House Health and, if favorable, to Appropriations. 

HUMAN RIGHTS

H 221, Repeal H.B. 2, is a pure repeal bill, with no other provisions.

Introduced by Rep. Jackson (D-Raleigh). Referred to House Rules. 

IMMIGRATION

S 188, No Powell Bill Funds/Sanctuary Cities, is another effort to punish communities which are trying to be neighborly to undocumented immigrants. Specifically it would prohibit giving state funds to municipalities for maintenance of local streets (so-called Powell Bill Funds) if the municipality is in violation of state immigration laws prohibiting sanctuary ordinances, policies or procedures. It would be up to the Department of Transportation to determine if a municipality is in violation of the anti-sanctuary law.

Introduced by Sen. Rabon (R-Southport). Referred to Senate Rules.

LIMITING THE GOVERNOR’S POWERS

Three bills have been introduced which would limit the Governor’s powers related to the state’s judiciary system. All three have been passed by the House and sent to the Senate. Specifically, they are:

H 239, Reduce Court of Appeals to 12 Judges. The Court currently has 15 judges. Three of them will face mandatory retirement because of their age in coming years, one of them this year. Under current law, the Governor would appoint their successors, who would serve until the next state elections. H 239 would instead eliminate seats when they became vacant until the number of judges dropped to 12. You may not be surprised to learn that the three facing retirement are all Republicans, and their retirement dates will come while Governor Cooper is in office.

Introduced by Reps. Burr (R-Albemarle), Lewis (R-Dunn), and Stevens (R-Mt. Airy).

H 240, General Assembly Appoint for District Court Vacancies. Under current law, if there is a vacancy in the office of district court judge, it is filled by the Governor from a list of nominees selected by the judicial district’s bar. H 240 would transfer that power to the General Assembly.

Introduced by Reps. Burr (R-Albemarle), K. Hall (R-King), Saine (R-Lincolnton), and Bumgardner (R-Gastonia). 

H 241, Special Superior Court Judgeship Appointed by General Assembly. Current law gives the Governor the power to appoint certain special superior court judges. Under H 241, for any new vacancies that occur, that power would be given to the General Assembly.

Introduced by Reps. Burr (R-Albemarle), K. Hall (R-King), Saine (R-Lincolnton), and Bumgardner (R-Gastonia).

WORKER ISSUES

H 238/S 174, Economic Security Act of 2017, includes a long list of provisions that would benefit the lives and families of workers. These include:

  • Raise the state minimum wage in specified steps to $15 in 2021.
  • Prohibit employers from paying an employee at a wage rate less than that paid to employees of the opposite sex for the same work. It would apply to government entities and to all other employers with more than five employees.
  • Provide mandatory paid sick leave for most employees. Leave time would accrue at the rate of one hour of leave time for every 30 hours of work, up to 32 hours of accrued leave time for businesses with 10 or fewer employees or 56 hours for other employers. Leave time could be used for the physical or mental illness of the employee and his/her immediate family. It could also be used to allow the employee to deal with “the psychological, physical, or legal effects on himself or herself or an immediate family member, of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.”
  • Phase out the practice of counting tips as wages in calculating minimum wage.
  • Make it more difficult for employers to engage in wage theft (violating minimum wage, overtime or wage payments).
  • Ban the box, making it harder for public employers to exclude job applicants from consideration solely based on their criminal record. See H 233, above.
  • Eliminate the prohibition on public employee union collective bargaining agreements.
  • Reenact the state earned income tax credit, equal to 5% of the federal credit.
  • Reenact the tax credit for child care.

Introduced by Reps. Harrison (D-Greensboro), Fisher (D-Asheville), B. Richardson (D-Louisburg), and Holley (D-Raleigh), and Sens. Bryant (D-Rocky Mount), Foushee (D-Hillsborough), and Van Duyn (D-Asheville). Referred to House and Senate Rules.

H 289/S 210, Living Wage by 2022. Current law sets the state’s minimum wage at $6.15 or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. (The current federal minimum wage is $7.25.) H 289/S 210 would raise the state minimum wage in annual increments up to $15.00/hour in 2022. Federal levels, should they be higher, would continue to trump state levels. After that, the state minimum wage would be tied to the federal Consumer Price Index and adjusted annually.

Introduced by Reps. Fisher (D-Asheville), Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson), Harrison (D-Greensboro), and Jackson (D-Raleigh), and Sens. Bryant (D-Rocky Mount), Waddell (D-Newell), and McKissick (D-Durham). Referred to House and Senate Rules.

Status of Introduced Bills

H 100, Restore Partisan Elections for Superior and District Courts, has been passed by the Senate and returned to the House, which concurred in minor Senate changes. It has now gone to the Governor, who is considering whether or not to sign it.

S 75, Constitutional Amendment – Maximum Income Tax Rate of 5.5%, is on the Senate calendar for March 14.

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It took Gov. Cooper all of 5 minutes to mention HB2 – But, here’s what you don’t know about the bathroom bill.

In the first State of the State since being elected governor, Roy Cooper addressed a packed house in the General Assembly. Mostly Republicans, since they have a sweeping majority in both chambers and Cooper doesn’t have enough votes to stop a veto override.

But, less than 5 minutes into the speech, Cooper brought up the dreaded bathroom bill – HB2. And, I can’t help but see the irony considering he used the phrase “common ground” 13 times in his address.

Here’s a few things about HB2 not often talked about in the NC mainstream media.

  • Pat McCrory got sucked into HB2.  He had people around him telling him the economy was at stake;
  • The NC Chamber and a few Republicans screwed Pat.
  • HRC and Equality NC both benefit by keeping HB2 alive and well;
  • Cooper and his people put the screws to NCGA Democrats to vote down the HB2 compromise repeal;
  • Who suffers?  The middle class.

1. Pat McCrory never started it. He gets blamed for the bill, but it wasn’t his idea. Now that he’s out of office and the dust is beginning to settle maybe it’s time to set the record straight (or straighter).

Pat got sucked into a clause proposed by the Charlotte city council that gave “gender expression” a protected class status within the city. Legally, according to some experts, a male could argue he felt like a woman (on any given day) and walk into female public restrooms or even a gym shower or locker room if the city funded it. This would’ve created as some legal experts tell me would be tantamount to a dichotomy of reasoning– especially since a man entering a female restroom would normally be charged with second-degree trespassing. In other words “gender expression” could circumvent established North Carolina law.

McCrory never gave a damn where people pee. It’s that simple. But, he was talked into believing that one clause in the Charlotte ordinance would spell doom and gloom for the State’s economy. A notion propagated from meetings between the governor’s former Chief of Staff (and office), the North Carolina Senate’s Chief of Staff (and office), and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce as well as a few lobbying groups to numerous to mention here.

2. Now comes the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the Republican leaders of the Senate and House.

For years, conservatives, with the help of the NC Chamber, have tried to stop municipalities from adjusting the local minimum wage. They also wanted to stop whistle blowers from going to the media, and they wanted to stop employees from suing for discrimination in state courts.

Republicans sponsored bill after bill to get these issues through committee, but they were always tabled by moderate Republicans and with the help of some Democrats who had yet to sellout.

HB2 opened the door-giving the business community, the NC Chamber, and some right-wing GOP an opening. They used a rumor (which was mostly true) that several cities were getting ready to pass living wage increase laws. Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem were a few of the cities mentioned in their argument.

But, here’s the kicker: when the governor convened the special session to address HB2, he had no idea about the other crap lobbyist and right-wing Republicans were contemplating adding to the bill. If you remember, about eight months ago. Pat McCrory spoke with a news reporter in a sit down interview and talked about the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s involvement in crafting the HB2 legislation.

3. Fundraising! Never let it be said that politicians and political organizations let a good fundraising opportunity pass them by. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have spent a lot of effort and time to fund raise off of HB2. Neither side wants it to go away completely. When Deborah Ross was running against Richard Burr for Senate, her team sent out at least 14 HB2 mailers, at least by my count.

She lost. And, Roy Cooper would have lost also had it not been for the 1-77 toll package that pissed off the western half of NC against McCrory.

Other organizations have also raised a good amount of money off of HB2– namely the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC.

4. But, HRC and Equality NC have gone the extra mile to lobby corporations and CEOs in getting them to sign on to anti-HB2 legislation. Because if the corporations don’t-both organizations will call for a boycott-and in this economy, where every customer dollar counts, it’s something CEOs don’t want to have to explain to their board of directors.

5. So, now we come to Cooper and my irony. During the last special session of the NCGA, the one called to repeal HB2 for the 3rd time, Cooper made it clear to the NC Democrats in the legislature he did NOT want them voting for that repeal. Did he personally make phone calls to stop it? I can’t get anyone to come out and say. But, his staff certainly did and they made it clear.

Had a repeal actually happened, Cooper would probably not be standing in the Legislature giving his first State of the State address and ironically calling for working toward solutions and “common ground.”

6. So, who suffers?  As the NC-NAACP calls for a statewide boycott of NC – who are the actual victims?

It’s the working class people of NC.  Not the politicians, not the lobbyists and not the CEOs of these multinational corporations who do business with the state.  It’s the hardworking middle class who ultimately suffer the consequences of bad political judgement, lack of transparency and backroom deals.   But, by all means, let’s find some common ground.

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Progress NC tweets this and somehow equates Medicaid with where a transgender chooses to pee

Is this freaky Friday or what? Explain to me what Medicaid has to do with where a transgender pees? Dems and the organizations that swirl around them can’t wrap their head around the real issues facing North Carolina.

What does Medicaid have to do with bathrooms and trans rights?

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NC Dem Party is spending a lot of energy spreading the Berger Facebook narrative

The who, what, when and where . . .

Phil Berger (R-NC) the leader of the NC GOP Senate apparently employs a social media team to handle his posts.  Or, at least there’s one guy doing it with his permission.

A few days ago, the N&O caught his team changing slugs on links that were posted – in this case – on Berger’s official Facebook account.  Slugs are ‘leadlines’ …headlines, for lack of a better word.  In mainstream media, they are usually written by copy editors or web editors: not the actual writer of the piece.   Slugs are meant to grab your attention so you will read the article because each click on any given article creates a certain amount of ad revenue.

Facebook lets business account customers change slugs all the time.  Regular members can’t do it.  Why? Because, as I’ve already mentioned, slugs equal money. And, slugs generate social media engagement and buzz.  Buzz drives traffic which creates clicks, which then create ad revenue.

Keep in mind that Berger’s social media guru didn’t change the article…they can’t do that.

The N&O apparently got pissed and reported the activity to Facebook.  Or, maybe they didn’t get all that pissed…they just saw another opportunity to stick it to Berger and generate a little cash in the process.  Anyone who’s ever tried to navigate the N&O can attest to the fact that the online content is riddled with ad placements.

Regardless of how you feel about slugs … or whether what Berger’s social media guru did was right or wrong: it’s still not #fakeNews.

And, speaking of fake news, this is where the #NCDemParty comes into play.

For the past two days, the NCDP has spent a lot of effort on social media pushing this story (their own version of it) framing a narrative over NC Sen. Phil Berger’s Facebook slugs.

Why does it rub me the wrong way?  Because North Carolina has problems…many problems.  How many North Carolina children go hungry every night?  One stat I read estimated close to 650,000 (2013).  How many North Carolinians are out of work, or working part-time while looking for a full-time job?

How many children are bullied at school, so distraught that they’re thinking about killing themselves?  On the latter issue, I find it hard to believe the NC Dem Party even cares.  After all, they spent at least some amount of effort keeping it quiet that Rolesville high school has school resource officers slamming kids down to the ground hard enough they end up going to the Emergency Room.

I found out about the brutality when I posted an article that the NC Democratic party was holding their SEC meeting at the school.

A kid sent me a video that had gone viral.  But, the Dem party wasn’t willing to move their venue and I doubt any of the SEC members who went knew about the school’s problems.

Nope—this is one of the reasons I’m turning away from the party.  They’ve spent two solid days talking about Berger’s Facebook slugs and not a single word about the real issues facing North Carolina.  And, the self-righteous elites, the Prius driving lunatic liberals (as former NC Sen. Buck Newton was fond of saying) are helping drive the message without so much as an inkling of whether it’s true or not: a cute meme and some flashy words are all it takes these days to drive a message home.

It’s not about Facebook…it’s not about bathrooms…

It’s about jobs and making NC a better place to live.  And, sadly—the narrative the Party is messaging isn’t even accurate.

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Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts wants to change North Carolina Democratic Party policy and procedure over transgenderism. Janice Allison, a state transgender advocate in North Carolina calls out the NC Democratic Party.

Janice Covington Allison NC trans activist from Charlotte

Janice Covington Allison, a Charlotte transgender activist, called the North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP) bigoted and unsympathetic this morning on a Facebook post.  The issue centers around the software the North Carolina Democratic Party uses to keep track of its members.

Vote Builder is used nationwide as a database management tool by local and state Democratic party organizations.    Although there are other software management tools available, the NCDP contracts with and uses Vote Builder is its primary tool.

Allison, a longtime Democrat in North Carolina, says that when the party sends her correspondence they address her as the male gendered name she was given at birth.

Allison says that she has had to contact the state party on multiple occasions, over the years,  to correct the error and each time they have promised to fix it.

“This has been going on for years,” Allison says.  “And, every time I call someone at Goodwin House they tell me they will fix it, but they never do.”

Allison, who served on the NCDP’s state executive Council, said that it is embarrassing to walk up to the registration desk and be told her name is not listed in the database.

However Democratic Party officials say that the reason she is identified as male is because of Vote Builder  and that, they say,  is beyond their control.

But, Janice says that the NCDP excuse doesn’t hold water.  She pointed out that Democratic candidates who run for office often have a different name, a nickname, on the ballot.  “If they can call a candidate by another name then why can’t they do the same thing for me,” she says.

Vote Builder collects information from county and state Board of Elections to compile the data.  So, if a registered voter’s information is wrong in the State Board of Elections’ database – it will be wrong in Vote Builder. 

Charlotte Mayor, Jennifer Roberts, weighed in on Allison’s post this morning on Facebook.  She agrees with Allison that it is a concern and it needs to be changed. However, Roberts did not give details or an idea of how she would fix the problem.

I responded to Mayor Roberts asking her how she would go about changing the policy and procedure with the state’s Board of Elections. Roberts is running for reelection this year.  So far, she has one Democratic primary opponent: city councilwoman, Vi Lyles. 

When a North Carolina citizen registers to vote, they have to show documentation that they live in the area in which they want to cast their ballot.  In light of recent laws that have been passed in North Carolina’s General Assembly, primarily Voter ID, Allison’s concerns speak directly on the issue of voter integrity at the ballot box.

North Carolina Republicans have long since framed the narrative that some voters have been able to manipulate the system in an effort to unlawfully cast ballots  against Republican candidates in an effort to gain more seats in the legislature for Democrats.

Likewise, it has been well documented on this blog as well as other publications that in the past, some Democrats have manipulated residency requirements with the full knowledge of NCDP party officials.    Specifically Chris Hardee, the chair of the 3rd congressional district (who actually resides in NC 01) and Dylan Frick, who won his election as Democratic congressional chair while also being registered to vote in South Carolina.

At the heart of the matter is North Carolina’s voter ID law in where both parties have spent millions of dollars in attorney fees to litigate NC’s Voter ID bill.

Despite the complexities of the law, the arguments of disenfranchisement of the voting rights of minorities and the cost of litigation, Allison said her issue is simply personal as much as political.

Allison says it is degrading and discriminatory of the North Carolina Democratic Party when she has to explain that her gender identity is different from the documentation on her driver’s license and her birth certificate.

“You would think that of all the organizations out there, I would not have to fight the Democratic Party in my own state when it comes to my gender identity,” Allison told me in a telephone conversation this afternoon.

This is why I fight; this is why I refuse to give up.  I should not have to explain myself every single time I go to a democratic function and register for an event.  I get more respect from some Republicans that I do from some people in the Democratic Party and I’m sick and tired of it,” Allison said.

Allison, who heads two statewide organizations: TransCarolina and the North Carolina Transgender Political Action Coalition, said that she filed the necessary paperwork to separate transgenders from the North Carolina Democratic LGBT caucus.

She says that several attempts have been made in the past to form a transgender caucus within the internal structure of the North Carolina Democratic Party.  But, because of political maneuvering by the leaders of the LGBT, she has not been able to secure her own transgender auxiliary.

For over a year, Allison has been critical of the leadership within the LGBT community.

She specifically admonishes the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina over what she considers “throwing transgenders under the bus.”

“Equality NC and HRC do not represent my transgender community,” Allison says.  “They have consistently raised money off of our backs over the bathroom bill and they have refused to compromise with lawmakers because it is more financially lucrative for them to keep it the way it is so they can continue to raise money.”

“For people like Chris Sgro and Chad Griffin, HB2 is a cash cow.  If it goes away so will the fundraising.  And with that money they do absolutely nothing to support my brothers and sisters in the transgender community,” Allison said.

For over 40 years, Allison says she has tried to bring awareness that transgenders are at risk.  “We are more likely to be killed because of who we are.  We are more likely to be assaulted because of what we look like and we were more likely to commit suicide because we feel hopeless,” Allison said.

“But fundraising organizations and politicians use transgenders as talking points about equality and nondiscrimination.  They talk about bathrooms when they need to be talking about suicide prevention.  They talk about bathrooms when they need to be talking about economic opportunity for transgender’s who can’t get a job because of how we look,” Allison stated.

“The fact that the North Carolina Democratic Party refuses to recognize me by my chosen name at internal functions just reinforces my belief that when the camera is turned on them they will say one thing, but when the cameras are off they do things completely different.  And this is why I fight,” Allison said.

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From the Raleigh Report: New Bills Coming out of the NCDP

BUDGET AND TAXES

S 147, Reenact School Sales Tax Holiday. The school sales tax holiday was a three-day weekend shortly before the start of school each August during which sales taxes were not collected on a variety of school-related supplies, including some big-ticket items like computers. The holiday was popular with parents, students, teachers and retailers, but it was repealed effective in mid-2014. S 147 would reinstate it.

Introduced by Sens. Lowe (D-Winston-Salem) and Foushee (D-Hillsborough). Referred to Senate Rules.

CRIMINAL AND JUVENILE JUSTICE

H 204, School-Justice Partnership Training, would require local boards of education to establish school-justice partnerships with local law enforcement agencies with the goal of reducing rates of in-school arrests, expulsions and suspensions. Volunteer school safety resource officers would receive training in juvenile justice issues and cultural competency.

Introduced by Reps. Pierce (D-Wagram) and Quick (D-Greensboro). Referred to House Education (K-12) Comm. and, if favorable, to House Judiciary IV.

S 146, Juvenile Reinvestment Act, would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18, something long supported by child advocates in North Carolina, one of two states still automatically moving 16- and 17-year-olds into adult courts and prisons. There would be a few exceptions: If a 16- or 17-year-old allegedly committed a crime that would be a Class A though E felony (the most serious felonies) if committed by an adult, the juvenile would still be automatically transferred to adult court, and if a juvenile in that age bracket allegedly committed what would be a Class F through I felony, the juvenile could be transferred to an adult court, but it would be at the discretion of the juvenile court.  S 146 also contains School-Justice Partnerships provisions similar to H 204.

Introduced by Sens. Lowe (D-Winston-Salem) and Ford (D-Charlotte). Referred to Senate Rules.

ELECTIONS LAWS

H 177, Eliminate Second Primaries. Under current law, a candidate in a primary election must receive 40% of the votes cast in order to avoid a possible runoff primary. H 177 would eliminate second primaries entirely. So a first primary could pit six candidates, for example, and it would be at least statistically possible for a candidate with only 20% of the vote to be the winner of the primary and therefore either advance to the general election or win outright if there were no opponent in the general election.

Introduced by Reps. Floyd (D-Fayetteville), Jordan (R-Jefferson), Michaux (D-Durham), and C. Graham (D-Lumberton). Referred to House Elections and, if favorable, to House State and Local Government I.

H 200, Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission, would create a nonpartisan process for redistricting for the state Senate, state House, and the state’s delegation to the US House. It would involve two bodies, in addition to the General Assembly itself. First, a Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission (TRAC) would be established. It would be made up of five members, with the Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and minority leaders in the House and Senate each naming one member and the fifth elected as chair by the first four.  Second, the General Assembly’s Legislative Services Office (LSO), a nonpartisan staff body, would be empowered to draw up districts for presentation to the General Assembly.

Here’s how the process would work: Censuses happen every ten years, in years divisible by ten. Results are available by early in the following year. The LSO would receive those results and draw up plans consistent with requirements in H 200 (see below). When the LSO proposal is received by the House and Senate, the TRAC would schedule at least three public hearings around the state. After those hearings, the TRAC would prepare a summary of what they heard in the hearings, along with their own comments and conclusions. The General Assembly would then vote, up or down only, on that LSO plan. In other words, there would be no substantive amendments. If either house voted down the plan, that house could send an explanation of its concerns to the LSO. The LSO would then prepare a second plan, presumably taking into consideration the reason(s) why one house rejected its first plan. The second plan would be voted on similarly. If it is voted down, the LSO would prepare a third plan. If either house rejected the third plan, then – and only then – could substantive amendments be presented, and the General Assembly would proceed with it as with any other bill.

Standards for a plan include:

  • Population is the basis for establishing districts. State districts have to have a population within 5% of the ideal population (i.e., if the state were divided into districts containing exactly equal numbers of people). Congressional districts would have to be within one-tenth of one percent of the ideal.
  • As far as possible, city and county boundaries would be followed, with no more counties and cities being divided between districts than necessary. Division of voting districts would also be minimized.
  • Districts would be made up of contiguous territory and be as compact as possible. The bill contains specific guidance on what is contiguous and compact.
  • No district would be drawn to favor a political party or an incumbent or to augment or dilute “the voting strength of a language or racial minority group.”
  • Except where required to meet legal/constitutional standards, no use would be made of demographic information, including political affiliations of voters, or of previous election results.

This nonpartisan redistricting plan, if adopted, would go into effect after the 2020 census.

Primary sponsors are Reps. McGrady (R-Hendersonville), Stevens (R-Mt. Airy), Jordan (R-Jefferson) and Hardister (R-Greensboro). The 35 additional co-sponsors include Democrats and Republicans. Referred to House Rules.

S 136, Restore Partisan Elections/Superior & District Court, is identical to H 100. See RR, February 20.

Introduced by Sens. Tillman (R-Archdale), Randleman (R-Wilkesboro), and Wade (R-Guilford). Referred to Senate Rules.  

GUN VIOLENCE

There’s a spate of bills from legislators who believe it is just too gosh-darned difficult for North Carolinians to buy guns and take those guns with them everywhere. Bills previously covered in Raleigh Report include:

  • H 134, eliminating the requirement that an applicant for a pistol permit tell the sheriff, as part of the permitting process, about any court orders concerning the applicant’s mental health. (See RR, February 20.)
  • H 174, extending concealed carry to churches which share property with schools. (See RR, February 28.)
  • H 145, eliminating a constitutional provision not entirely friendly to concealed carry. (See RR, February 28.)

In addition, there are the following:

H 69, Constitutional Carry Act, would eliminate the requirement that people carrying a concealed weapon obtain a concealed carry permit. Under current law, a gun owner must apply to the local sheriff for a concealed carry permit. Among other requirements, the applicant must have “successfully completed an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of this State governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force.” In addition, there’s a list of 14 items for which a sheriff must turn down an applicant. These include such things as being a convicted felon, being a fugitive from justice, being addicted to alcohol or an illegal drug, and having been convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence. Eliminating the permit requirement would eliminate the required training course and would remove a sheriff’s ability to deny the permit to someone who shouldn’t be allowed legally to carry a concealed handgun. H 69 would make it “unlawful” to carry a concealed weapon if any of those 14 items applies, but that is significantly different from a permit process involving a sheriff and requiring a denial to those not qualified. H 69 would also drop the legal age for concealed carry from 21 to 18. (For info on concealed carry bills from NC Policy Watch, click here.)

Introduced by Reps. Pittman (R-Concord), Speciale (R-New Bern), Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills), and Adams (R-Hickory). Referred to House Judiciary I and, if favorable, to House Finance.

H 201, NC Constitutional Carry Act, contains the provisions of H 69, eliminating the requirement of having a concealed carry permit. In addition, it would repeal the current requirement that someone have a permit in order to purchase a pistol. These permits are issued by sheriffs, who have to run a background check and may deny a request for several of the 14 reasons mentioned in H 69. A permit is currently required for any pistol purchase, including at gun shows and online. Over 20% of all gun purchases are by private sales, and North Carolina is one of 19 states currently requiring background checks on all sales.

Introduced by Rep. Millis (R-Hampstead). Referred to House Judiciary I and, if favorable, to House Finance.

H 251, Allow Concealed Carry on UNC and Community College Campuses, would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit or exempt from having a concealed carry permit to carry a loaded, concealed handgun on the campuses of public universities and community colleges. If H 69, H 201, and H 251 were to pass, it would presumably mean that almost everyone on a campus could legally be carrying a concealed, loaded handgun that they had bought without a background check and without any training in gun safety.

Introduced by Reps. K. Hall (R-King), Burr (R-Albemarle), Presnell (R-Burnsville), and Destin Hall (R-Lenoir). Not yet referred.

IMMIGRATION

Several bills have been introduced that are intended to crack down on undocumented immigrants and communities that want to be neighborly to them. These include:

H 63, Citizens Protection Act of 2017, another misleadingly titled bill, includes strengthening laws regarding fake IDs, making it harder for undocumented aliens (sic) to obtain pretrial release for a variety of criminal charges, limiting the ways that immigration status can be documented, and requiring punishment of local governments said to be violating the state prohibition on being sanctuary cities or counties. Specifically, the punishment would be for the state to withhold tax revenues related to telecommunications, natural gas, and beer and wine which are supposed to be returned to local governments.

Introduced by Reps. Warren (R-Salisbury), Collins (R-Rocky Mount), Jordan (R-Jefferson), and Adams (R-Hickory). Referred to House Judiciary II and, if favorable, to Appropriations.

S 145, Government Immigration Compliance, contains several items found in other bills. It begins with legislative “findings”:

  • that the legislature has “supreme power and complete discretion over the appropriation of State funds,”
  • that that power “can be used to create additional incentives for cities, counties, and law enforcement agencies to comply with duty enacted laws,” and
  • that setting out these incentives (and punishments) in a bill such as S 145 would give local governments “a measure of predictability that can be useful to those entities in planning and carrying out their functions and duties.”

With local governments now duly informed of where they stand, S 145 proceeds to the specifics, including:

  • Eliminating the use of local ID documents by law enforcement officer even “when they are the only documents . . . available to the law enforcement officer at the time.”
  • Creating “incentives” for local governments to comply with immigration laws regarding sanctuary and identity documents. (They really are dis-incentives – punishments – for noncompliance.) Local governments can be accused of noncompliance by individuals, even anonymous individuals, as long as they act with a “good-faith belief” that there is noncompliance. (The bill is silent as to how you would determine whether an accusation was in good faith if it was filed by an anonymous accuser). “Incentives” would include withholding of revenues mentioned in H 63, above, as well as revenues from the scrap tire disposal tax and, most significantly, state appropriations for aid to local governments regarding transportation (streets, etc.).
  • Holding local governments legally liable for damages if they adopt sanctuary ordinances and an “unauthorized alien commits a crime against a person or property” within that city or county. So, for example, if my city adopts a sanctuary ordinance and then an undocumented immigrant breaks into my home, shoots me in the leg, and steals my stuff, I could sue the city for my losses and injuries.
  • Creating incentives for UNC schools not to adopt sanctuary status or interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
  • Requiring the state to designate some law enforcement officers to perform federal immigration law enforcement functions under the 287(g) program.

Introduced by Sen. Sanderson (R-Arapahoe). Referred to Senate Rules. 

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