ACA

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Jon Hardister, the House Majority Whip and close ally of Speaker Tim Moore, was elected to represent Guilford County in 2012.

Since his election to the General Assembly, Hardister supported Republican budgets that shortchange public education by failing to meaningfully raise teacher salaries or fund classrooms.In 2017, the Republican budget gave no raises to beginning teachers and a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers— the equivalent of “just a tank of gas.” He has also supported moves to end tenure while asserting that having an advanced degree “does not necessarily make a teacher more effective.” Hardister called the 2017 budget “a commitment to public education.” This “commitment to public education” did not include a stipend to aid teachers with out-of-pocket expenses. After voting to pass the 2013 budget—which similarly failed to adequately fund schools— Hardister said he came to regret his vote after “experiencing firsthand how hard the teachers work.”

Hardister voted to deny affordable insurance to thousands.In 2013, he and the Republicans voted to block a fully-funded Medicaid expansion that covered half a million North Carolinians. Studies said this failure to expand affordable healthcare would cost the state $15 billion in new economic activity and 455 to 1,145 lives per year. Hardister later said it would be “unwise” to expand Medicaid and that we need to be “cautious about expanding the role of government in healthcare.” In 2018, Hardister and House Republicans used a loophole on a non-controversial bill to attempt to dismantle coverage for pre-existing conditions. By adding an amendment to an unrelated school psychologist licensure bill, Republicans tried to pass a statute that would discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.   

Hardister likes to harp on redistricting reform as a talking point but chose to repeatedly support unconstitutional districts that suppress voters’ electoral power. He has sponsored three independent redistricting bills, but they all stalled in committee. To avoid “double-bunking” with incumbent Guilford representative John Faircloth, Hardister moved, even though he says he believes the “seats don’t belong to us, they belong to the people.” After both the 2011 and 2017 legislative maps were struck down by the courts, Hardister said he believed the maps were “in compliance with the law.” He also helped draw the 2016 congressional maps that were later thrown out in court. When Sen. Trudy Wade tried to pass a Greensboro City Council redistricting bill, Hardister said he would oppose the bill. He “caved when it counted,” changing his vote at the last minute.

Read more here.

Photo: Greensboro News & Record
Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Donny Lambeth (R- Forsyth)

Donny Lambeth is a Republican legislator currently serving his third term representing HD75 in the North Carolina House. Before being elected to the General Assembly in 2012, Lambeth worked for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he held 17 different job titles but most notably earned more than $1 million in a single year as the president.

Remarkably, only two years after Lambeth earned $1.2 million as a hospital executive, he voted against expanding basic health care access for low-income North Carolinians. Despite being considered “the legislature’s leading healthcare expert” he voted against expanding Medicaid coverage for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations. This vote resulted in hundreds and possibly thousands of lives lost across the state due to a lack of affordable health care.

Along with working for a medical center, Lambeth served as the chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board for over a decade and was a deeply controversial chairman. Parents and teachers complained that he “slept through meetings” and was “belligerent.” During his tenure, he criticized the state lawmakers for failing to fund public education.

However, since being elected to the House, he has fallen in line with the Republican trend of prioritizing tax cuts for corporations over paying teachers at the national average. Lambeth voted for multiple Republican budgets that fail to compensate hardworking teachers fairly and shortchange students by cutting education spending year after year.

Furthermore, Lambeth supported voter ID legislation, dubbed the “Monster” voter ID law, that was struck down in court for discriminating against African-American voters with “almost surgical precision.”

Read on for more about Rep. Lambeth.

Source: Morganton News Herald

Read More

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood, Jackson, Swain)

Mike Clampitt is currently serving his first term in the NC House of Representatives for HD119 and lives in Bryson City, NC.Before finally winning election to the General Assembly in 2016, Clampitt ran unsuccessfully for public office several times. Losing twice in races for NC House and losing a 2010 bid for the Swain County Board of Commissioners.

North Carolina public schools are the largest employer in most of Clampitt’s district. Despite this, he supported bills that shortchange teachers and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over funding classrooms. Despite not being in office, he was an outspoken supporter of the 2013 budget, even though he was not in office. Clampitt voted for the 2017 budget which prioritized tax cuts for corporations over raising teacher pay and per pupil spending, forcing teachers to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies.

Clampitt voted to block an amendment that would have expanded access to health care for low-income, rural North Carolinians. He has the wrong priorities, voting for policies that benefit wealthy corporate interests over the people of HD119 who are working hard to make ends meet. All three counties Clampitt represents have a higher percent poverty rate than the statewide average along with a higher childhood poverty rate and a lower median income.

Clampitt voted for bills that roll back environmental protections, putting North Carolina’s natural resources and drinking water in jeopardy. He voted in favor of the “garbage juice” bill and for other bills that make it easier for large corporations to pollute North Carolina’s air, soil, and water.

Read on for more about Clampitt’s record during his first term in the NC House.

“Clampitt said that if elected he would not support more dollars for schools.” -Sylva Herald, 12/27/13

Read More

Since Republicans have been in charge in Raleigh, the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed for North Carolinians, causing a detrimental impact on mental health services

Click here for more background on how N.C. Republicans have failed to address the needs of North Carolinians who live with mental illness and addiction. Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have failed to understand the connection between faltering mental health services in the sta…

Read More

Senate Republicans play politics with school safety, tried to use bill to dismantle health care coverage for preexisting conditions

In June 2018 Senate Republicans surprised the public with new portions of a school safety bill that would alter insurance laws. 

The changes would allow membership groups and nonprofits to offer health insurance plans that were exempt from state oversight and from ACA regulations

The changed law would have allowed these plans to exclude or charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions

According to NC Health News, the plans offered in NC would be similar to some offered in Tennessee where ACA premiums have “climbed precipitously” due to these unregulated plans. 

Senate Republicans voted in favor of allowing health insurance plans that cherry-pick healthy enrollees and leave sicker people in the market, causing everyone’s premiums to skyrocket. 

Though the House rejected this change, days later the House Republicans again blocked Medicaid expansion that would keep health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians. 

Read More