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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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North Carolina would be one of 11 other states that don’t require concealed carry permits because - jackets

North Carolina would join just 11 other states in doing away with concealed weapons permits under House Bill 746.  Under current law, concealed carry weapons permits are issued by law enforcement after individuals pass a minimal background check. North Carolina would become one of 12 states that do not require any type of permit for concealed handguns and would treat concealed handguns the same way as visible handguns. 

Rep. Chris Millis (R-Onslow, Pender) argued in committee that people could violate concealed carry laws when they wear jackets in the wintertime. Apparently this bill is more about fashion than doing the bidding of the NRA.

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House Budget: First Take

The House's budget posted just after 10:30pm this evening. You can find the bill text here and the committee report here.  We'll have more on the House budget by tomorrow.

Key Points

  • A budget tells you a lot about someone’s values and the House budget makes it obvious that Republicans in Raleigh value tax giveaways for billionaires over investing in our future.
  • The House budget fails to match Gov. Cooper’s concrete plan to raise teacher pay to the national average, make community college tuition free for high school graduates, expand access to broadband, and give law enforcement real tools to fight the opioid crisis.
  • Just like the Senate, the House budget pales in comparison to Gov. Cooper’s proposed plan.

 

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Republicans fund pseudoscience “crisis pregnancy centers”

Republicans in the legislature are more interested in funding ideological groups that mislead women and deal in pseudoscience than in providing actual health care to women.

This year’s House budget proposal allocates $1.3 million to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a notable increase from the Senate’s $400,000 budget allocation. The Fellowship is an umbrella organization for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.”

Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, present themselves as women’s health clinics, but most CPCs do not have any medical professionals on their staff and few CPCs share this fact with their potential clients. Women walking into CPCs looking for abortion services would instead find anti-abortion “counselors”. These “counselors” give women inaccurate medical information about the risks associated with abortions, such as reporting a connection between abortion and breast cancer, a theory that has been discredited in multiple medical studies.

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56 NC politicians voted to protect Chinese billionaires over North Carolina families

Everyday, many rural North Carolina families wake up to the stench and residue of hog waste. It clings on their clothes, sticks to the walls of their houses, covers their yards, and for years it has prevented neighboring kids from experiencing the fun of an outside birthday party.

Chinese-owned pork producers like Smithfield Foods are responsible for ruining the property values of nearby homeowners and small farmers. But their pay-to-play contributions to state politicians paved the way for House Bill 467, which gives special protections to the giant pork producers, effectively weakening nuisance laws and protecting them from a variety of legal claims.

Recognizing their blatant attempt to stop pending litigation related to 26 lawsuits filed against Smithfield Foods subsidiary Murphy-Brown, lawmakers narrowly voted to amend the bill so that it would only apply to future litigation. Yet 56 House members still voted to protect Smithfield Foods from current litigation by opposing the amendment.

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Budget Compromise? A Response.

Yesterday, Speaker Tim Moore announced that a budget compromise may be on the horizon and it could feature block grants to local school districts. Instead of choosing the Senate’s plan to layoff teacher assistants and hire more teachers or the House’s version that protects TA&rsq…

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