Roy Cooper will take the legislature to court over proposed amendments

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will sue state legislative leaders over two proposed constitutional amendments that he wants to keep off the ballot in this November’s elections.
Cooper, a Democrat, said that the amendments would be an unconstitutional power grab by the Republicans in the General Assembly and that the amendments themselves are worded in a misleading way to trick voters. The two amendments would take away Cooper’s power to appoint judges, regulators, board members and other state officials, and transfer that power to the legislature.
Cooper’s announcement came Saturday evening, just hours after the legislature overrode two of Cooper’s vetoes on different election-related bills that are now law.

One of the bills that became law on Saturday strips power away from a committee that previously would’ve been responsible for writing short descriptions of the amendments for the ballot. Cooper said that with that law now in place, the only language describing the amendments will be “false and misleading” descriptions written by the legislature. He believes a judge should order two of the six amendments to be taken off the ballot entirely.
A draft copy of the lawsuit Cooper plans to file Monday begins with sweeping accusations against the Republican-led General Assembly.

“The General Assembly has proposed two amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that would take a wrecking ball to the separation of powers,” Cooper’s lawsuit states. “These proposed amendments would rewrite bedrock constitutional provisions— including the Separation of Powers Clause itself.
“They would overrule recent decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court,” the legal argument continues. “They would strip the Governor of his authority to appoint thousands of officials to hundreds of boards and commissions that execute the laws of our State. They would confer exclusive authority on the General Assembly to choose those whom the Governor can consider to fill judicial vacancies. And they ultimately threaten to consolidate control over all three branches of government in the General Assembly.”
Earlier on Saturday, Republican legislators anticipated Cooper’s lawsuit and criticized anyone who would sue over the amendments.
“It’s an attempt not to let the voters weigh in and speak their minds if they’re for or against the amendment,” Harnett County Republican Rep. Davis Lewis, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, said. “It’s an attempt to once again use the courts to short-circuit the will of the people.”

In the past several years, state and federal courts have overturned more than a dozen laws written by Lewis and his colleagues. One of those was a 2013 voter ID law, which a federal court struck down as unconstitutional for targeting African-American voters “with almost surgical precision” — but legislators have not been dissuaded, and one of the six amendments on this November’s ballot would create a voter ID law.
All six of the amendments that legislators want to put before voters this November have drawn at least some controversy, and the two Cooper is targeting are among the most controversial.

Both would take power away from the governor’s office and transfer it to the legislature, which has been a continuing goal of Republican lawmakers since before Cooper was sworn in at the start of 2017.
One of the proposed amendments would transfer the power to fill judicial vacancies from Cooper’s office to the legislature. The other proposed amendment would make even broader changes to state government, giving the General Assembly all of the power to appoint regulators, board members and other officials.

But when voters go to the polls this November, they won’t know any of that simply by reading their ballots, Cooper said. The only language describing that amendment on the ballot will say: “Constitutional amendment to establish a bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections to administer ethics and election laws, to clarify the appointment authority of the Legislative and the Judicial Branches, and to prohibit legislators from serving on boards and commissions exercising executive or judicial authority.”
Cooper said the legislature is clearly trying to trick voters.
This is not the first time Cooper has sued the General Assembly in his 18 months as governor, alleging unconstitutional power grabs.

As soon as Cooper defeated the Republican incumbent, Pat McCrory, in the 2016 election, the Republican-led legislature began stripping powers away from the governor’s office.
Republican lawmakers reclassified the jobs of hundreds of McCrory’s political appointees within state government to stop Cooper from replacing them with his own picks, and they changed the law so that Democrats would not be able to have a majority on the state elections board. They’ve also acted to constrain Cooper’s ability to appoint judges and members of state boards.

By Will Doran/News&Observer

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Florida Governor Rick Scott Won’t Attend CNN Town Hall on Florida School Shooting

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Image: Mediate

This coming Wednesday, CNN will hold a televised town hall event on the recent horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The live event, which will be held at BB&T Center, will include classmates of the victims, parents, and members of the community. CNN also invited prominent Florida lawmakers and politicians to take part in the town hall.

While Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have all confirmed that they will attend the forum, the state’s Republican governor has told CNN he won’t be there.

“With only two weeks left of our annual legislative session, Governor Rick Scott will be in Tallahassee meeting with state leaders to work on ways to keep Florida students safe, including school safety improvements and keeping guns away from individuals struggling with mental illness,” Gov. Rick Scott’s office told CNN.

According to CNN, President Donald Trump has also declined the network’s invitation.

Following the deadly shooting, Parkland student Cameron Kasky said Scott had the blood of the 17 people who died on his hands.

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Posted by Libergirl

Texas: The Fight Against Vouchers Begins Again

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Texas has a Lt. Governor named Adan Patrick who hates public schools. Before he was elected to the legislature, he was a radio talk show host, a small-time rightwing shock jock. Patrick’s favorite cause is vouchers and defunding public schools.

He needs to be reminded that “school choice” originated as the battle cry of white segregationists after the Brown decision of 1954. But maybe he knows that.

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Just in case you missed this: Iowa Dem rips Republicans for bill that would let children carry guns: ‘We do not need a militia of toddlers’

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Image: Raw Story

The bill would allow anyone under the age of 14 to handle handguns under adult supervision, with no age limit.

Source: More from the Raw Story

Posted by the NON-Conformist

GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker can’t wait to start arresting doctors for performing abortions

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Image: Raw Story

Wisconsin GOP lawmakers are hell bent for leather to make sure that women are unable to get a perfectly legal abortion after 20 weeks — no matter if they have been raped or are a victim of incest — and Gov. Scott Walker is standing by and more than willing to help handcuff the doctors and have them hauled away.

A bill before the Wisconsin legislature would make it illegal for anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion after 20 weeks subject to three and a half years in prison, in addition to a $10,000 fine.

Anti-choice Republicans are pushing the bill through — assigning it more importance than working on the budget — and, according to Rep. Jesse Kremer (R), Gov. Walker is fired up to sign it. As for instances of rape and incest: too bad, victims. Jesse Kremer and Scott Walker are only looking out for your best interests.

Kremer used what could be charitably called an “unfortunate” term, when talking about allowing an exception.

“As a husband, father and EMT, I feel absolutely terrible for a woman who’s involved in one of those heinous crimes,” Kremer said. “However, that does not mean we should put carve-outs in this bill that would essentially double down on that awful situation and selectively decide which children should and should not be inhumanely tortured to death by tearing them apart, limb from limb.”

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

Texas Moves To Ban Own Cities From Banning Fracking

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Image: CBS Houston

Texas moved Monday to ban its own cities from imposing prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas drilling activities within their boundaries – a major victory for industry groups and top conservatives who have decried rampant local “overregulation.”

The bill last month overwhelmingly cleared the House, which  Republicans control by a 2-to-1 margin, and passed the GOP-dominated Senate almost as easily Monday – sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law.

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Mississippi Governor Signs Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

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Shaking my head…

Posted by Libergirl


Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that would allow residents to sue over laws they believe impinge on their free exercise of religious beliefs.

Supporters say the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which will become law July 1, will guarantee freedom of religion without government interference, but opponents believe the law will permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. A similar bill that would have allowed Arizona residents to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds was vetoed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last month.

“This is a victory for the First Amendment and the right to live and work according to one’s conscience,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council and an attendant at the signing ceremony, in a public statement. “This commonsense measure was a no-brainer for freedom, and like the federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act], it simply bars…

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