This week Real Facts NC launched a documentary series, Missing Us. The series focuses on capturing the effects of legislative decisions on the lives of North Carolinians through storytelling. The first installment highlights Greensboro resident Ali Collins and how, as a Black queer and trans person, his preexisting conditions make it harder for him to access health care. Future installments will cover health care from different perspectives.
On September 11, after telling Democrats and reporters that no votes would occur, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore called for a surprise vote in the House to override a veto of a budget that did not include Medicaid expansion. Most Democratic members were not present. House Republicans now say they’ll move forward with a plan that would expand Medicaid, but by tacking work requirements and premiums onto health care plans.Read More
Last week’s surprise budget vote rattled even the most seasoned political insiders. Generally, bipartisan consensus was that House Speaker Tim Moore’s maneuver was a “new low” for North Carolina politics, which was no small feat considering the number of lows that have drawn national attention over the past few years.
Looking further into Moore’s background reveals the origin and precedent for his contempt for the democratic process. Those who follow #ncpol closely know Moore and his “top lieutenant,” Rep. David Lewis, the powerful House Rules Chair and Senior Chair of the current redistricting process, have used lies and secret maneuvers to railroad a conservative agenda since 2010. Yet few know Moore’s penchant for trickery extends as far back as student government at UNC-Chapel Hill. Probably even fewer know that Moore and Lewis’ friendship extends back to their time together as College Republicans at Campbell University.Read More
Deb Butler does not yield. (from John Autry on Vimeo.) What just happened? Why is everyone freaking out? In an early morning session, the North Carolina House, under the direction of Speaker Tim Moore, overrode Gov. Cooper’s budget veto in a surprise vote. What budge…Read More
Rep. Cecil Brockman’s district received more than $2.7M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 budget but could have benefitted from $683M in increased economic activity and $7.7M in increased tax revenue by 2022 with Medicaid expansion. 35,194 more people in Guilford county could have health care by 2022 if Medicaid were expanded.
Rep. Howard Hunter voted for a Republican budget that contained $100K in one-time grant money for his district. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion would bring in $30M in increased economic activity and $304K in tax revenue by 2022.
Rep. Elmer Floyd’s district received nearly $1.4M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 Republican budget, but Medicaid expansion would bring $141M more in economic activity to his district. 18,451 people in Cumberland county could have health care by 2022 under Medicaid expansion.
Read part one of the full report here.Read More
On Wednesday the NC House overwhelmingly voted to lengthen the time period during which survivors of child sexual abuse can sue perpetrators for damages. Only 10 House members did not back the measure, which would extend the statute of limitations from 21 to 38 years of age. Those 10 members included Representatives Larry Pittman, Michele Presnell, and Mike Speciale, who have a demonstrated track record of failing to stand with survivors of sexual abuse.
For example, Presnell and Speciale also attempted to block an amendment that clarified legal ambiguities for survivors of what the law defines as “date rape.” Pittman did not vote either way on the amendment, despite being present in the chamber. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Chaz Beasley, “better protect[s] victims that have been drugged without their knowledge.” No Republicans gave a substantive reason for their attempt to block protections for survivors of rape. Fortunately, Beasley’s amendment, which was inspired by a rape survivor who found the legal ambiguity an impediment to justice, passed despite Republican efforts.Read More
NC Senate Republicans rolled out their version of this session’s budget Tuesday and the full Senate is likely to vote on it by the end of this week. In the House, a few Democrats sided with the Republican’s plan despite its failings, including a refusal to extend a raise to teachers with fewer than 16 years of experience. In the Senate’s version, teacher pay raises are even smaller. The Republican budget appears to again ignore the struggles of local school districts, like those in Greene and Pitt counties, to keep pace with state and national levels.
Public schools in Senator Don Davis’s district are struggling while he supports Republican education budgets. Greene and Pitt counties can’t keep up with wealthier counties on teacher pay, ranking 108 and 82 out of 115, respectively, for average teacher pay. Average teacher pay in Greene county is $48,965.53, more than $5,000 less than the statewide average. In Pitt county, average teacher pay is more than $3,000 less than the statewide average.
Counties have been forced to make up for low teacher pay at the state level by offering salary supplements to teachers. According to Public School Forum, the average supplemental salary statewide is $4,580. Greene county’s supplement is just $1,000 while Pitt’s is $2,382. Lackluster state budgets have put county governments in a difficult position where they have to choose between offering competitive teacher salaries or providing other vital services to residents. This year’s proposed budget calls for a slight teacher raise, but it only applies to teachers with at least 16 years of experience and does not go into effect immediately. The Senate’s version of this year’s budget also fails to restore advanced degree pay for teachers.Read More
Dan Bishop (R- Mecklenburg) is serving his second term in the NC Senate. Prior to joining the NC Senate, Bishop was a representative in the NC House for one term.
Bishop repeatedly voted against making health care more affordable and accessible for North Carolinians.He was the only NC Senator to favor big pharmaceutical companies over North Carolinians and vote against H384, a bill that protected small community pharmacists and kept prescriptions affordable. Bishop, along with other Senate Republicans, chose to amend a school safety bill to include provisions intended to destabilize the Affordable Care Act, once again failing to protect North Carolinians’ health care.
Bishop was a primary sponsor of HB2, demonstrating how little he cares about protecting the LGBTQ+ community in NC. Not only did HB2 fail to protect the LGBTQ+ community, but it also cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Bishop was more than willing to prioritize his discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community above the NC economy.
In 2015 Bishop voted to increase taxes on NC families and small business owners, making it more expensive to do business, get a driver’s license, and have a baby. He also voted to cut food stamps for 100,000 North Carolinians. Read more here.Read More
The 2019 budget included a provision to grant a site called DonorsChoose, which connects teachers with crowdfunding for classroom supplies and other needs. The budget provision faced criticism because it specifically funded requests only in then-Sen. Jeff Tarte’s district. DonorsChoose decided to turn down the funding rather than single out specific teachers for help.
Real Facts examined a sample of the requests made on the DonorsChoose website by North Carolina teachers throughout the month of March 2019 and found that basic needs (supplies available at an office supply store) made up 24 percent of requests, following technology needs as the second most common request category. Teachers across the state turned to an independent crowdfunding website to ask for paper, markers, pencils for EOG testing, and whiteboards because state funding remains consistently inadequate on this front.
Last week, Republican Representative Mitchell Setzer (R-Catawba) along with co-sponsors Representatives Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) and Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) introduced H305, a bill designed to bolster protections for UNC students accused of sexual misconduct. Specifically, the bill would “standardize protections” for students enrolled across all 16 campuses of the UNC system and add due process guarantees.
In a moment of public reckoning and conversation about survivors of sexual violence catalyzed by #metoo and the Kavanaugh hearings, conservative leaders have centered the rights of the accused. North Carolina Republicans’ legislative impulses align nationally with controversial U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’. Devos changed Title IX application into an almost unrecognizable form and rescinded the 2011 “Dear Colleague” guidance from the Obama Administration regarding sexual misconduct. The Devos guidelines narrow the definition of sexual harassment, allow colleges to use stricter standards of proof, limit the cases a college is required to investigate, and allow accusers to be cross-examined. In sum, the new rules favor the accused, as well as colleges and universities, a major departure from Obama-era guidelines that took strides to center survivors in a process mired in bureaucratic ambiguity.
However, despite conservative outcry, the concern over false allegations of sexual misconduct, like fears of in-person voter fraud, are more specter than substance. As study after study affirms that false rape allegations (like voter fraud) are incredibly rare, legislators still spend their time and valuable taxpayer dollars fighting both.