Legislative Update

For an up to date list of all the legislative attacks, click here

The North Carolina Legislature is now in control by extreme conservative forces wanting to take NC backwards. Conservative donor Art Pope who has spent over $40 million dollars influencing campaigns and legislation is now the state’s Budget Deputy, right-wing conservatives have a supermajority in both the house and senate, and Pat McCrory is the new governor.

These new forces in NC are advocating for an agenda that hurts students, workers, and families so wealthy men like themselves can continue to make record profits. Some of the proposals they have are below.

Introducing voter identification legislation

Voter identification laws specifically disenfranchise the elderly, people of color, low-income people, and women. UFO sightings are more common than voter fraud.

Shifting the tax burden to working class

GOP members suggested raising the sales tax and eliminating the Income tax and corporate tax, shifting the tax burden from the rich and corporations to working class people.

Cutting the UNC budget by $139 million

This comes after the UNC system has already absorbed $400 million in

Refusing federal Medicaid funding

McCrory denied expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided health care for 500,000 low-income people, paid for with federal, not state, funds.

Criminalizing exposure of women’s breasts

Proposed legislation would make exposure of a woman’s breast or nipple a misdemeanor incurring up to a $1,000 fine or jail time.

Introducing lies about abortion into public school sex education curriculum

Proposed legislation that would include anti-choice ideology, specifically “induced abortion as a cause of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies”; the CDC, WHO, and AMA have found no correlation between the two.

Deprioritization of liberal arts in higher education

McCrory: “If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it, but I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

Gutting unemployment insurance

This law, already signed, cuts maximum weekly benefits to $350 from $535 and caps benefits at 12 to 20 weeks, instead of the current 26 weeks. More than 170,000 unemployed people will be affected.

Stacking the UNC Board of Governors with right wing rich white men

The newly elected members are majority white, male, republican, and businessmen, not educators.

Attempting to close abortion clinics

The proposed legislation would require physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles and would require physicans to stay with patients through the procedure and recovery. This bill would affect clinics in rural areas far from hospitals and women who choose chemical abortions as opposed to the surgical procedure.

Considering closing UNC campuses

Co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Comittee, Pete Brunstetter, said: “I think our members definitely envision that there could be some consolidation between campuses, and we might need to go from 16 down to 15, 14, something like that.”

Closing the Latino Affairs Office

The office was created in 1998 and had one full-time staff member and a volunteer. It coordinated programs for the Latino community.

Hanging a Confederate battle flag in the former NC Capitol

The flag, a symbol of killing in the name of white supremacy, was hung in the building where McCrory keeps office, and was only taken down after outrage from civil rights leaders.

Penalizing and discouraging voting by college students

Proposed legislation to remove the tax exemption for dependents who register to vote at any address other than their parents’ home. Therefore parents could see a $2,500 tax increase.

Inhibiting STD, mental health, and substance abuse treatment for minors

Proposed legislation to prevent minors from receiving any treatment for issues without parental consent.

Outlawing gender non-specific housing at UNC

Gender non-specific housing was recently approved at UNC and the program begins in Fall 2013. It exists to ensure that LGBTQ students have a safe space to live without fear of bullying or harassment. The bill’s primary sponsor, David Curtis, said: “The purpose of this bill is to help the UNC system regain its focus on the core mission of educating young people and helping them find meaningful employment in our state. UNC did not become a national leader in academics by wasting time and tax dollars on frivolous social experiments.”

Proposing an official state religion

The proposed legislation says the state “is sovereign” and federal courts cannot block the state from establishing a state religion.

Allowing prosecutors to decide if 13-year-olds should be tried as juveniles or adults

The proposed legislation will allow prosecutors, not judges or anyone impartial, to decide if children will go into juvenile detention or the prison system.

Eliminating max class sizes

Proposed legislation would eliminate the cap on students who can be in elementary school classrooms. This allows districts to lay off teachers and increase class size instead.

Not requiring licensing for charter school teachers

Proposed legislation. Teachers in charter schools would not need a license nor even a college degree. Criminal background checks would also be optional. Charter schools would not have to answer to the State Board of Education.

Denying undocumented immigrants firearms

It is already illegal for undocumented immigrants to carry firearms under federal law, which the state cannot enforce. This bill would make it a Class I felony in the state, which is grounds for automatic deportation by the state.

Imposing a two-year waiting period for divorce

The proposed “Healthy Marriage Act” imposes a 24-month waiting period before divorce, and would require couples to attend courses on the impact of divorce on children, conflict resolution, and communication skills.

Shorten the early voting period

Proposed legislation to cut early voting time in half and eliminate same-day voter registration.

Attacking Liberal Arts Education; Performance-Based Funding:

Governor McCrory said that students who take ‘gender studies’ classes should “go to a private school and take it, but I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.” McCrory asked his staff to write legislation that he can send to lawmakers to change state funding formulas for public institutions of higher education that would link the funds to the number of graduates who get jobs after they graduate. McCrory said funding should be “not based on how many butts in seats, but how many of those butts can get jobs.”

Refusing (free) Federal Healthcare Funding for the Poor:

Senate Bill 4 would compel North Carolina to reject parts of the Affordable Care Act, refusing the optional Medicaid expansion that is 100% funded by the federal government, and would deny 500,000 low-income North Carolinians access to healthcare. In addition, the Medicaid expansion would save thousands of jobs for North Carolina health care workers and rural hospitals as hospitals and providers absorb previously scheduled funding cuts.

Aggressively Attacking Worker Rights in a Right-to-Work (for less) State:

North Carolina has forbidden state agencies and local governments from entering into collective bargaining agreements with their employees since 1959. The ban on collective bargaining, G.S. 95-98, a remnant of the Jim Crow era in NC was “spurred by fears of union corruption, communism, and black and white people organizing together for better jobs and higher wages,” says David Zonderman, professor of history at NC State. Though collective bargaining is already illegal in NC for public employees, legislators have proposed to put a ban on collective bargaining in our state constitution so that a future General Assembly will never be able to decide to grant state agencies and localities the option to contract with their employees or give public workers the right and freedom to bargain.

Slashing Benefits for the Jobless in NC:

Beginning in July, North Carolina would slash the maximum number of weeks a jobless worker can collect unemployment insurance from 26 to as few as 12. The new law would also reduce the maximum weekly benefit from $530 to $350 per person. North Carolina’s cuts are the deepest to unemployment benefits in the country and mean the state will also lose out on federal unemployment benefits.

Promises of Passing Discriminatory Voter ID Law:

New majorities in NC’s House and Senate would like to pass a law requiring North Carolina voters to bring a government issued photo ID to the polls in order to vote. According to the State Elections Director, there were only 18 reported cases of repeat voting in 2008 out of millions of votes cast. A Voter ID bill could disenfranchise up to 1 million North Carolinians according to reviews by the State Board of Elections. Studies have demonstrated that Voter ID would disproportionately disenfranchise minorities, youth, and low-income North Carolinians.

Power Grab!:

NC Senate Republicans have introduced a bill (SB10) that would essentially fire all current members of North Carolina’s most important commissions and make profound changes to the make-up of many others. Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers would then be able to stack these boards with their own political appointees -– people all too willing to go along with a specific political or corporate agenda rather than having members who represent the public’s interests on these boards.

For an up to date list of all the legislative attacks, click here

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