"For more than half a century, media organizations have been able to work at the heart of the N.C. General Assembly legislative building. Now, Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, a long-time critic of the media, has decided to move reporters to a smaller space in the basement of the legislative building, jeopardizing media access to legislative actions, as well as the public’s right to know what the General Assembly is doing." Democracy NC has an easy way to contact House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Phil Berger, who claim they were not consulted about the change. Tell them to protect the freedom of the press and legislative transparency.
How's this for irony: because the federal government is shut down, those furloughed workers applying for unemployment insurance can't get it, because their employer can't respond to requests from the NC Department of Employment Security... because it's shut down. Call Senators Burr (202-224-3154) and Tillis (202-224-6342) about this as often as you can.
As it drags on, the federal government shutdown has slowly eclipsed more and more of the news cycle, and for good reason: its effects are spreading wider and becoming more acutely felt. Over half of North Carolina workers are "liquid asset poor", meaning they do not have enough cash savings for a safety net in case of an emergency. North Carolina farmers, many of them most affected by Hurricane Florence, are now most affected by the shutdown ,as Hurricane Florence relief aid is temporarily cut off. Though this report by NC Policy Watch is dated, the sentiment is not. Congress still dawdles.
In NC-09 / Bladen Runner news,
"Two of the central figures in the disputed election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District have been feuding over campaign activity in Bladen County for nearly a decade. The 2018 elections are not the first time McCrae Dowless has faced allegations of improper actions in an election in the Eastern North Carolina county. Nor is it the first time Jens Lutz, a former Bladen County board of elections official and former county Democratic Party chairman, has leveled allegations against Dowless."
The candidates are different, but the game is the same. And speaking of the main player in this case, McCrae Dowless, who has denied any wrongdoing in the NC-09 race, has still not submitted to interviews by state elections officials. I wonder why.
Mark Harris has had his day in court– or rather, his day in court progressed without him. Yesterday a judge heard Mark Harris' plea to certify the NC-09 election results and rejected it. This will send the matter back to the NCSBE, which will be appointed at the end of the month. Disappointingly,
Coupled with the relegation of the media to a backroom in the basement of the legislative building, this amounts to a slow-rolling suppression of the media. Make sure to sign the petition linked above and, while you're at it, contact your legislators and express your displeasure at the move, and ask that they push Berger and Moore to cancel the move.
Speaking of our House Speaker Moore, the FBI has gotten involved in the investigation surrounding his work as a lawyer for a firm tied to a developer that benefitted from legislation Moore passed in 2013. An anonymous letter accused Tim Moore of several things that are, as yet, not a matter of public record, and the FBI reached out to potential authors of the letter.
As the sympathies of the whole country lean toward embracing– and acting on– human-driven climate change, North Carolinians are already pushing for more clean energy use in the state. While you're asking your legislators to let the news media have their old rooms back, prod them to introduce and sponsor more clean/green energy bills.
Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and our legislature celebrates in its own way...
Have you ever tried to– or talked to someone who has tried to– make sense of the complicated nested structure of precinct, county, district, and state meetings, elections, and competitions involved in the state election system? Wonder no more. Longleaf Politics has put out a guide to how the two major parties select their leaders in North Carolina. Useful, this, especially as we head into campaign season and this cycle gets rolling this year and next.
As a born-and-bred North Carolinian, I know that "good North Carolina barbeque" means different things depending on which part of the state you're from. But I haven't really met anybody who didn't like Bill's Barbeque in Wilson. Unfortunately it is only the most recent in a long chain of authentic NC BBQ restaurants that have closed. But some folks posit that the NCGA could step in and help save the industry, which is basically synonymous with North Carolina at this point. I'm of split mind. There are much more– many, many more– meaningful and needful things for the NCGA to address, but at the same time, if it can pass a whole amendment to the state Constitution protecting the right to hunt and fish– which was already protected in the first place– they can settle the argument between eastern and western style (at least for the legislative books) and protect the small, local, family-owned businesses that are in danger of failing.