Join the NC NAACP and other coalition partners for the 13th Annual HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly Moral March on Raleigh on Saturday, February 9th in Downtown Raleigh. Read more here. Federal workers are still hurting from the shutdown, many with no guarantees of back pay. Find out how you can help federal workers here. One major way is to donate to food banks. See more resources for federal employees.
"If you can track your dog with your phone, you should be able to track state legislation." That's the tagline for a new way to track the bills that move through the NCGA: Upstate. It's free to use for the public. You can choose which bills you follow and customize your alerts. Watch the intro and how-to video here. There are already a lot of bills swirling, including HB28, which would ban abortion after 13 weeks and HB24, a bill that could make it more difficult for rural counties to secure voting sites. So far, Upstate seems like a much less stressful way to get updates than searching through the NCGA's bill lookup site. Anything to ease the stress of following the NCGA!
One of the first things the NCGA did when they convened was set new rules for themselves, which included more public notice, more committee hearings, and a more predictable voting schedule. Now that the GOP supermajority has gone from both chambers, hopefully this more balanced NCGA with a slightly more transparent and methodical S.O.P. will be a step in the right direction.
Former Gov. Pat McCrory seemed to believe that the people of North Carolina would be better served if the state's economic development efforts were in private hands (and served by private funding). Five years later, surprise of all surprises, he was wrong. Privatization has seldom yielded positive results; let us hope that this is the permanent end of this experiment.
If you are a state employee, chances are you've seen a tiny raise– maybe one or two or five percent--since 2017, if any. But if you worked for either Speaker Tim Moore or Senate leader Berger, chances are you saw your salary jump by 30%– and that's at the low end. It's interesting to note that the rate of the raises in both Berger and Moore's staff was substantially lower for women than men. Interesting indeed.
Speaking of Speaker Moore, remember when he was under investigation for mixing his legal work with his legislative job? Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has cleared him. She found "no evidence of using public office for private gain".
"Following criticism for refusing to allow agency employees to be interviewed by private investigators hired by the legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is requesting a public committee meeting where agency representatives would answer questions about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline approval process."
The private investigators are Republican. This investigation is related to the reasons why construction on the ACP was halted– which I noted with glee– a solar deal that Governor Cooper wanted to make part of the ACP pipeline. This is all kind of a mess; the ACP should never have been an option in the first place. The people of North Carolina deserve better than yet another dirty energy source lining Duke Energy's pockets.
UNC has released an "after-action report" on Silent Sam's deposing. The findings boil down to the fact that local and UNC police were inadequately staffed and trained to deal with the protest. In question is the factuality of an "assertion that protesters threw frozen bottles of water and eggs at the police officers who feared for their safety and that of others". I question this assertion even more when I look at the proposed actions recommended in the report, which include "the creation of a system-wide police academy that could employ students to be trained as police cadets/officers during their junior and senior years" and a controversial proposal, originally put forth last year, to create a “Special Operations Team” and a system wide mobile police force to deal with protests at UNC schools. I don't know about you, but the phrase "Deal with protests" sounds an awful lot like political doublespeak for "put down protests". We'll see where this goes.
Y'all have probably heard by now that our next door neighbor to the north is dealing with its own political scandal: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam appears in a racist yearbook picture, and many are calling for his resignation. While we're at it, let's call on some of our own good old Carolina boys to throw in the towel. Good news: we can show Senator Tillis the door in 2020!