Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) is being sued for more than $2.5M in unpaid debts by two large ag companies, both of which claim they sent multiple collections letters but received no response. Lewis’s financial struggles first made the news in October when WRAL found out he took a half a million dollar loan from a man later indicted on a bribery charge and two other six-figure loans over the past year and a half.
Headlines including “North Carolina soybean farmers take a hit due to US-China trade war,” “NC farmers caught in crossfire of escalating trade war,” and “NC tobacco farmers, already reeling, face new threat from tariffs” show that Lewis’s story sounds familiar to many farmers across the state. Sadly, even the second-most powerful Republican lawmaker in the NC House does not appear to have enough clout to force the NCGOP stand up for NC farmers and stand against President Trump’s trade wars.
Lewis said his farm “got into a real bind” that was worsened by the fact that most banks and lending institutions have cut off farms. National reports show this is a common story as cash flow problems have pushed many farmers into bankruptcy. Lewis, who operates three businesses in addition to his farm, collects a per diem for serving in the NCGA, and until last year worked as an insurance salesman, can’t be faulted for failing to diversify.Read More
During the 2019 legislative redistricting process there was a continuous livestream available on YouTube without any legislative maneuvering. Republicans used this court-mandated livestream to tout their commitment to transparency. Sadly, this supposed commitment disappeared as soon as the maps passed both chambers.
Republicans clearly don’t want North Carolinians to have unfiltered access to their government, because then they couldn’t continue their unchecked attacks on democracy.
North Carolinians deserve to know what lawmakers are doing. Currently the public can only access audio streams for the House and Senate floors, six committee rooms, and the press room. They shouldn’t have to rely on a private company, WRAL, to livestream important meetings. All House and Senate sessions and committee meetings can and should be livestreamed.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
Two more mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend brought into sharp relief the failure of North Carolina Republicans to make commonsense changes to gun laws. Democrats filed two such bills this session, but Republicans refuse to allow votes on both. Instead of working to guarantee all North Carolinians can shop, worship, or simply exist without fear of being shot, Republicans have prioritized staying in the pocket of the NRA. The NRA is notorious for working hard to stifle gun violence research and has a rich history of supporting NC Republicans in order to influence policy.
Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), who’s been a bellwether before on changes to House Republican’s electoral plans, may have let more secrets slip from the witness stand on Wednesday.
Bell was questioned during the eighth day of testimony in the Common Cause v Lewisgerrymandering trial and said Rep. David Lewis’s (R-Harnett) traditionally strong Republican district might get more competitive in 2020. When pressed, Bell refused to confirm or deny Lewis’s electoral plans.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
Since Governor Cooper vetoed S359, a bill that would criminalize doctors, shame patients, and disproportionately impact Black women, legislative dramatics have reached new heights. The bill is up for another vote in the House today.
The fight over the veto override began with Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt) casting the deciding vote to override Gov. Cooper's veto of S359 in the Senate. He also voted for the original bill. Davis was the only Democrat in the Senate to vote against Gov. Cooper and in line with Republicans on this restrictive bill that addresses a “problem” that does not exist and places further restrictions on safe reproductive health care.
For those unfamiliar with legislative procedure, Sen. Davis’s vote in favor of overriding the veto resulted in the bill ending up in the House’s infamous “veto garage.” Republican House Speaker Tim Moore placed the vote to override the veto of S359 on the calendar and withdrew it on nine separate occasions between May 2 and May 29, likely because Republicans didn’t have the votes they needed to override the Governor’s veto. However, Democrats like Rep. Sydney Batch (D-Wake), kept showing up, thus preventing an override.
Rep. Batch, however, is recovering from cancer. Her seatmate, Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D- Guilford), said Batch is too weak to drive herself to the General Assembly so she has been driving Batch to and from sessions. She had to cut her recovery from a recent mastectomy short to make sure her vote to sustain the Governor’s veto is counted. While Sen. Davis chose to fall in line with Republican leadership that is supposedly “pro-life” yet refuses to expand Medicaid, Rep. Batch returned to the General Assembly soon after surgery to prevent her Republican colleagues from capitalizing on her absence.Read More
Read the full report here.Read More
H54, “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment,” is an abortion method ban that would make dilation & evacuation prodcedures, referred to in the bill as “dismemberment abortion” illegal except in the case of “serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” The bill intentionally uses the term of “dismemberment abortion” instead of dilation and evacuation, reflecting anti-abortion rhetoric. The bill makes exceptions for “serious heath risk to the unborn child’s mother” but does not include “psychological or emotional conditions.” Throughout, the bill refers to the patient as “the unborn child’s mother.”
H54 intentionally targets physicians who provide abortion. The bill text specifically offers civil immunity to patients, nurses, technicians, secretaries, receptionists, pharmacists, or “other employee or agent who is not a physician.” Moreover, the bill would make any physician who provides the procedure guilty of a civil offense and liable for sanction from the NC Medical Board.
Rep. Debra Conrad of Forsyth is a primary sponsor of the bill, which emerged amidst a flurry of anti-abortion legislation in early February 2019.
Read more on H54 here.Read More
Pull out your parliamentary procedure handbooks, NC House members voted Wednesday on their official rules for the 2019-20 Session. Despite some analysis claiming they’d be more collaborative, Republicans blocked a number of changes to the rules that would have increased transparency in the legislative building.Read More