Vote NO on ALL Six North Carolina Constitutional Amendments

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Image: NC Policy Watch

The NC General Assembly’s chicanery should not be rewarded.

You can’t separate the six proposed constitutional amendments from how they were devised. The Republicans rushed these amendments through at the last minute, without debate, discussion, or even an implementing statute, which means they’ll get to decide later—in a lame-duck session—what these amendments really do, after you’ve already voted on them. The proper response to this chicanery: Vote no on all six.

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NC Constitutional Amendments

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Editoral Cartoon by Draughon/WRAL.com

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NC Amendment would put voter ID in NC constitution

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Our dear General Assembly leaders(see below) here in North Carolina haven’t given up on voter ID, they recently filed a proposed constitutional amendment to ensconce a voter ID rule in the state constitution…Libergirl.

 

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, left, and House Speaker Tim Moore during a May15, 2018, news conference.

Image: WRAL.com

The bill would ask voters to decide this November whether to add this paragraph to the constitution: “Photo identification for voting in person. Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

Republicans have championed photo IDs as the best defense against voter fraud, but Meredith College political science professor David McLennan said instances of in-person voter fraud are “very minimal.”

“It is not a widespread issue, despite what politicians say,” McLennan said.

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NC’s ‘alarming’ disparity of black student arrests among worst in country

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In North Carolina, black students are nearly six times more likely to be arrested at school and school activities than white students, according to recently released federal data analyzed by WRAL News. That disparity is among the worst in the country.

Law enforcement arrested more than 600 North Carolina students on public school grounds, during off-campus school activities or on school transportation during the 2015-16 school year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education.

In North Carolina, 9.2 out of every 10,000 black students were arrested, compared to 1.6 white students. Only three other states – West Virginia, Iowa and Rhode Island – had a higher disparity between the arrest rates of black and white students.

About 147 out of every 1,000 black students were suspended from North Carolina schools in 2015-16. That’s compared to about 44 white students out of every 1,000.

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Judges Say N.C. GOP Dragging Its Feet On Redrawing Election Maps Ruled Unconstitutional

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Two federal judges said they are concerned that North Carolina legislative leaders have taken few if any steps to draw new election maps since they were struck down last year, and one judge suggested they don’t appear to be taking their duty seriously.

A three-judge panel is deciding when and how the electoral map must be remade.

“What concerns, at least me, is the seriousness of how this is being taken by the legislature. This is serious,” Judge James A. Wynn of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals told a lawyer for the legislative leaders at a Thursday hearing in federal court in Greensboro.

His fellow panel member, U.S District Judge Catherine Eagles, then added: “You don’t seem serious. What’s our assurance that you are serious about remedying this?”

The panel ruled in August 2016 that 28 state House and Senate districts were illegally drawn, based on racial considerations. After Republicans took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices agreed this summer that the districts must be redrawn. Democrats hope the new boundaries could help them erode the GOP’s veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers.

Responding to the three judges’ concerns, a lawyer hired by state legislative leaders said the General Assembly has shown its commitment to redrawing the maps by holding a redistricting committee meeting this week and preparing to take input from the public.

“We’ve outlined a process to do what’s right for the people,” attorney Phillip Strach said.

The legislative leaders have argued that they need until November to draw new maps for use in the next regular election in the fall of 2018. Plaintiffs including voters and civil rights groups, however, say the maps must be redrawn immediately and that a special election should be held before the legislature convenes its next regular work session in May 2018.

The voting rights activists have successfully argued that the current maps packed too many Black voters into some districts and made surrounding districts whiter and thus more likely to elect Republicans.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers say the maps should be redrawn as soon as possible to remove uncertainty for candidates, voters and donors who would normally already be preparing for the next election. They said the court can decide separately whether a special election is warranted, but they presented a proposed schedule that would include a general election in March 2018, weeks before the legislative session.

Attorney Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice said the argument boils down to weighing the value of extensive public comment sought by Republicans against “people knowing as soon as possible the value of their civic engagement.”

Lawyers for GOP legislative leaders also say the U.S. Supreme Court has strongly signaled that special elections aren’t warranted. The three-judge panel had previously told the state to hold special legislative elections in 2017, but the Supreme Court rejected that timetable. However, when the high court returned the case to the three judges it left the door open for them to again order a special election.

Democrats need to capture three House seats or six Senate seats currently held by Republicans to eliminate the GOP’s veto-proof majorities and give first-term Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper a stronger hand.

Legal filings by the legislative leaders have said boundaries of about two-thirds of all 170 House and Senate districts are likely to be altered to fix the 28 that were struck down.

The judges said they would issue a ruling later.

By Associated Press

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NC Budget cuts legal aid for poor, but no explanation given….what the hell…just Because… we can do whatever we want b/c we are in CONTROL!!!!

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Legislators took a bite this past session out of taxpayer funding for poor people caught up in the courts system, and it’s unclear why.

The heads of the three agencies that used this money – and a much larger pot of threatened federal funding – to handle thousands of child custody cases, landlord/tenant disputes and other civil matters said they received no notice for the cut and that they’ve gotten no explanation in the ensuing month.

“We were totally blindsided,” said Kenneth Schorr, executive director at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. “There was no communication this was on the table.”

The cut materialized in the House. Legislative staff there referred WRAL News to Speaker

Tim Moore’s office for an explanation, but his spokesman said Moore would not comment on the matter.

The four co-chairmen of the House’s Justice and Public Safety Appropriations Committee did not respond to WRAL News requests for comment. The only possible explanations Schorr and similar agency heads have heard came third-hand or worse and may be little more than speculation.

“All we’ve gotten is rumor,” said George R. Hausen Jr., president and executive director of Legal Aid of North Carolina, the largest of three attorney groups that get state money for this work.

The lack of communication fits a pattern, as other questions on unrelated budget cuts during and after the legislative session also were met with silence.

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Is North Carolina stuck in an abusive relationship?

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Behavior of state leaders, state policy community raise warning flags

Image: NC Policy Watch

The last seven years in North Carolina politics and policy have been extraordinary. In a very short period of time, a once moderate state has been transformed into a kind of laboratory for far right policies and a testing ground for what we are coming to know now as Trumpism. On issue after issue, state legislative leaders have aggressively pursued an ultra-conservative agenda that seeks to radically remake the state’s social contract.

What’s more, this has not been a happy or buoyant transformation. Rather than being predicated on a positive or hopeful new vision of society, the conservative revolution in North Carolina has mostly been a counter-revolution. Even today, a point at which they enjoy veto-proof majorities and can realistically contemplate an entire decade in power, conservative legislative leaders premise most of their actions and policies more on an angry rejection of past supposed transgressions by Democrats than a coherent articulation of what they want to build.

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