We need more than a fresh start in DC. Keep pressure on Senators Burr (202-224-3154) and Tillis (202-224-6342), call as often as you can: "I'm a constituent calling from ___ to urge the senator to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government at pre-shutdown levels. It's the duty of Congress to balance the presidency, the notion of not passing important bills because the president will veto them is not what the founders intended. Thanks."
The NC General Assembly (NCGA) long session begins on January 30, but they're already organizing, appointing committees, and making plans for the session. We're delighted that the Republicans no longer enjoy a veto-proof majority, and they're still in the majority, so our work isn't over. Lest there be any doubt, see if you can figure out which of these photos is of the NC House Republicans and which is the NC Senate Democrats (image credit: Richard Watkins).
You can see why we're excited about a fresh start - and wondering whether it will really be a fresh start. Here's a sample of pre-session news.
- Worried about what happens to a powerful, long-time legislator who gets booted out of office by voters? Worry no more: Nelson Dollar, former chair of the House Appropriations Committee, will be working for Speaker Tim Moore. His tax-payer-funded salary has increased from ~$14,000/yr to >$117,000/yr. Now he'll get to influence policy without the nuisance of voter approval - and he'll make a lot more money. Nice work if you can get it, right?
- Speaking of Speaker Moore... Rep. Marcia Morey reports that he recognizes female legislators as "the lady from..." . Let's let Speaker Moore (Tim.Moore@ncleg.net, 919-733-3451) and Senator Berger (Phil.Berger@ncleg.net, 919-733-5708) know that addressing everyone as "the representative/senator from ..." would be a good fresh start.
- While you've got their attention, share your thoughts about NC losing more film industry business, this time the Netflix series, OBX - about the Outer Banks, for goodness sake - because of the remnants of HB2. We agree with the Charlotte Observer: it's time for an early sunset for HB2. Fresh start.
- And before you sign off with Berger and Moore, ask why the NCGA press office has been moved even farther away from where legislators meet - to a smaller room in the basement of the farthest corner of the building. No one admits to knowing why Legislative Services Officer, Republican Paul Coble (Paul.Coble@ncleg.net), decided to move the press corps. As the N&O says, the Legislative Building is growing colder toward the public. That doesn't seem like a fresh start in terms of the reporting and transparency that voters want to see more of from the NCGA.
- Some of the Democrats may need a fresh start, too. Remember that veto override vote on the Board of Elections bill on Dec 27? Turns out the Democrats blew a chance of stopping that override because six of them didn't show up. The GOP had a ONE VOTE margin on that vote on that day. We don't know the reasons for each absence, maybe there was a death in the family or a serious illness. But, as Thomas Mills reminds us, 80% of life is SHOWING UP.
Here's someone who's showed up for public service for more than 40 years before retiring in 2018: Democratic Representative Mickey Michaux from Durham, the "dean" of the NCGA. Watch this half-hour discussion with him and be inspired - then decide how you and your family will mark Martin Luther King, Jr, Day! Here are some Triangle events, there are many across the state, easy to find with a quick search. You can also check our list of upcoming events, rallies, and workshops AND write welcome postcards to your legislators. There are so many ways to show up for a fresh start, pick one that excites you and SHOW UP IN 2019!