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Henry Hinton shows the high price of votes in the House 

Last week the newest members of the UNC Board of Governors were sworn in. Missing was Henry Hinton, a Greenville broadcast executive and former BOG member who was not chosen by the House for another term on the Board. Hinton made the news in April for an email he sent to House leaders remin…

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Genesis of Garbage Juice Process is Chemical Warfare, According to Republican Jimmy Dixon

Proud garbage juice proponent Rep. Jimmy Dixon recently said about House Bill 576, “The genesis of this idea goes back to chemical warfare.” 

North Carolina Republican legislators, who have lined their pockets with at least $34,200 from the waste industry, want to unleash a process on North Carolinians that has its origins as a weapon of mass destruction.



Let that sink in for a minute.

Clearly, the health and safety of our citizens is not part of the agenda for North Carolina Republicans.

Rightfully so this bill was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.

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Republicans tired of losing in courts seek to stack superior courts

Real Facts North Carolina today released a new analysis of judicial maps proposed on Monday. Using the gubernatorial election results from 2016 as a benchmark, the Real Facts report finds that under the proposed maps the number of Republican-held Superior Court seats could double, from 31 to 62 judgeships.

Fourteen times, laws enacted by this unconstitutional General Assembly have been found unconstitutional. Laws that have rigged the system and earned North Carolina headlines for all the wrong reasons. In Superior Court, judges have ruled against the GOP majority on judicial retention elections, local control, and the NCGA’s authority over the coal ash commission.

Now, in the last week of session, and without consulting either the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Conference of District Attorneys, Republicans seek the first statewide redraw of these districts in decades.

Statewide results in the gubernatorial race were nearly even between Democrats and Republicans, 48% to 48%. But in their judicial gerrymander, the GOP picks their voters to turn an even slate into a nearly 2 to 1 advantage.

You can find the report here (PDF).

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No oversight, no science, no problem: Republicans want to spend $1.8 million "crisis pregnancy centers"

The Republican budget would increase state funding to pseudoscience crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) by 516%. These organizations masquerade as providers of health services to women, pushing dangerous and misleading propaganda on those seeking care. It’s also notable that this significant increase in public funding comes with no mechanism to hold these organizations accountable for their actions.

The compromise budget would allocate $1.3 million to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship which describes itself as “life affirming ministries”. Additionally, the Republican budget has allocated $100,000 to Coastal Pregnancy Center and $450,000 to H.E.L.P. Center, both are known CPCs.

The Republicans have even planned to give $300,000 in state funds to a Texas-based anti-abortion group that exists to outlaw all abortions. The Human Coalition deploys internet marketing strategies to ‘make abortion unthinkable and unavailable’ by directing patients to CPCs rather than legitimate healthcare facilities, some of which are ran by the Human Coalition themselves.

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Unconstitutional GOP majority proposes budget—our first take

This unconstitutionally elected Republican majority continues to legislate, not on behalf of the people of North Carolina, but on behalf of their billionaire backers. Instead of protecting the middle class and building world-class public schools, this budget gives tax breaks to billionaires. Under this budget, North Carolina will keep falling behind when it doesn’t have to.

  • The Republican budget fails our schools, middle class families, and the future of our economy at a time when we do not have to.
  • Cooper found a way to raise teacher pay more than 5% next year. Republicans only offer 3.3%. Instead of investing in classrooms, Republicans are giving millions in tax breaks to billionaires.
  • Cooper offered free community college for high school graduates, money to help teachers pay for out-of-pocket expenses, and eliminated the waitlist for pre-K. Republicans did none of those things.
  • Under this budget, we are still spending less that we did before the recession per student, teachers are still underpaid, and we have seven thousand fewer teaching assistants than we did in 2008.
  • Instead of prioritizing education, Republicans are undercutting our kids and it’s our economy that will suffer as North Carolina falls farther and farther behind other states and competitors like China and India. 

In addition to education, the GOP budget fails to provide for critical areas of need for rural North Carolina - including broadband and economic development..

  • Governor Cooper's budget invests $20 million to expand access to broadband and improve the economy of rural North Carolina, while the Republican budget would spend $250,000 on state IT bureaucrats.
  • Cooper proposed $30 million for a ready-sites program to attract new jobs to rural areas. The Republican budget leaves rural areas behind, choosing to spend only $2 million on ready-sites.

The GOP budget also wastes money on projects of the extreme right:

  • The Republican budget spends $1.3 million on an anti-abortion advocacy group that masquerades as a provider of health services to women, pushing dangerous and misleading propaganda on vulnerable women.
  • The GOP spends $40 million on private school vouchers which send tax dollars to unaccountable private and religious schools.

 

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Pat McCrory's downward spiral. Rejected by voters, academia and the Trump Administration.

Pat McCrory is still coping with his loss last year to Roy Cooper. He recently told WRAL that it has been a “tough transition to leave a job he loved.”

In less than a year, the voters of North Carolina rejected him, academia rejected him, and the Trump administration rejected him. 

Even the Trump family wedding planner got a job overseeing “billions of federal dollars as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office.” That has got to hurt.

What’s worse is his successor has been busy as a member of Donald Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, working to solve a crisis with an administration McCrory has been so eager to join.

With his employment prospects bleak, McCrory has now decided to torment all of us with a Carolina Comeback that no one asked for, saying "I'd be foolish not to reconsider coming back.”

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Which Republicans will be most endangered without a gerrymander?

Real Facts NC today released a report that ranks the 20 Republican state lawmakers most likely to face more competitive districts when maps are redrawn. Last week, the US Supreme Court affirmed that North Carolina’s current maps are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, but GOP leaders are dragging their feet. Meanwhile, rank and file legislators are predictably anxious about their new districts.

“I’m sure GOP leaders have new maps drawn already, but they’re not letting anyone see them,” said Daniel Gilligan, Executive Director of Real Facts NC. “So we’re going to try and pull back the curtain a bit to give everyone a peek at what the political landscape might look like in the next election.”

“Without unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, GOP leaders will be hamstrung in their ability to draw maps that will preserve their legislative super-majorities. Some safely-held GOP districts will have to be more competitive and some rank-and-file members will be facing their first competitive election in years,” said Gilligan.

Here are the Top 20:

1. Bob Steinburg
2. Larry Yarborough
3. John Bell
4. Susan Martin
5. (Tie) Reps. Jon Hardister, John Faircloth and John Blust
8. Trudy Wade
9. John Szoka
10. Jeff Collins
11. Greg Murphy
12. Jimmy Dixon
13. Chad Barefoot
14. Wesley Meredith
15. (Tie) Reps. Andy Dulin and Scott Stone
17. (Tie) Sens. Dan Bishop and Jeff Tarte
19. Brenden Jones
20. Rick Horner

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While Republicans haggle over minor budget differences, neither offers “real competition” to the Cooper plan

Though there are several key sticking points between House and Senate versions of the budget that need to be negotiated, neither version holds a candle to the Cooper plan. As the Raleigh News & Observer said, Cooper’s budget offers a “better vision” for North Carolina.

Benefits for state retirees

The Senate budget provides no cost-of-living adjustment for retired state employees, and the House version includes only a one-time bonus of 1.6 percent.  When House Democrats tried to increase the cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees with an annual adjustment of 2 percent, Speaker Moore successfully tabled the amendment. With the House “adamant” to include the retiree bonus in the final budget, cost of living adjustments might become a sticking point between chambers.

Wind farm moratorium

The wind farm moratorium could be a deal breaker as the House might not have enough votes to override a Cooper veto if the final budget contains a moratorium. The Senate’s version of the budget includes a three-year moratorium on wind farms. Several key members of the House, including Rep. Bob Steinburg, said they could not support a budget with a wind energy moratorium. 

School construction grants

The chambers do not agree on the greatest needs in education funding. The Senate’s budget included a $75 million fund that would help pay for school repair and construction in poor counties. The House directs more money toward financial aid for college students and K-12 buses instead.

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14 unconstitutional laws passed under the cloud of a racial gerrymander

For five years now, Republican majorities in the North Carolina legislature have been elected under maps that have been found to violate the Constitutional rights of North Carolinians. The nation’s highest court – including a Justice appointed by President Donald Trump - found these legislators’ actions discriminatory yet they treat this news like another round of a child’s game. We have seen why fair and nondiscriminatory representation is important time and again. 

Fourteen times, laws enacted by this unconstitutional General Assembly have been found unconstitutional. Laws that have rigged the system and earned North Carolina headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Whether it’s restricting women’s access to health care or the worst voter suppression law in the country, these unconscionable actions by the Republican led General Assembly have hurt every citizen of this state. In their decision striking down the voter suppression law, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called out North Carolina Republicans for targeting black voters “with almost surgical precision.” When will it end? 

From the State Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, courts have not been fooled by the actions of North Carolina Republicans who have enacted laws under the dark cloud of a racial gerrymander. The cases range from the drawing of district maps to coal ash to defunding Planned Parenthood to Elections and Ethics Reform, taking power away from the Governor. In each instance, the rulings have been clear that the partisan power grabs are wrong and they must end. 

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NCGOP making it rain garbage juice and money

While North Carolina residents are facing the possibility of being sprayed with garbage juice, the NC GOP is lining their pockets with money from the waste industry, which has donated at least $34,200 to GOP legislators overseeing debate on the bill.

House Bill 576 would allow for the aerosolization of leachate, an untested and unsafe method for landfills to dispose of their waste. Picture it as “garbage juice in a snow blower.”

And who would be most impacted by this legislation? Communities of color and poor, who are more likely to live near landfills.

The waste industry is in favor of the aerosolization of leachate because it is cheaper than other methods of removing waste and they have been donating big money to legislators who could advance the bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jimmy Dixon, has received $6,100 from the waste industry, the majority of which came from Ven Poole, the CEO of Waste Industries. Dixon is also the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which received House Bill 576 on referral.

Speaker Tim Moore has received $8,600 from the waste industry, including contributions from Ven Poole and the Waste Management Pac. Moore voted in favor of House Bill 576.

Sen. Trudy Wade has received $19,100 from the waste industry, including donations from Ven Poole and the inventor of aerosolization, Kelly Houston. The contribution from Houston came when Wade was the chairwoman of a Senate conference committee charged with compromising on a bill containing language about leachate. Wade is also a member of the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee, which reported favorably on the bill.

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