We're getting close to ordering our fall voter photo ID postcards, so if you've been thinking about signing up as a poscard captain, do it now! Find nine folks to chip in $15 each (to cover hard costs), register, and you're all set! You'll find details and answers to LOTS of your questions here - be sure to read the FAQs and check out the links!! PLEASE SHARE THIS widely. Round up some friends, gather some colored pens, and get ready to STAMP NC BLUE IN 2020!

It doesn't matter how far away El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are from North Carolina; we are all part of the same country with the same dangerously broken gun culture, and it needs to be fixed now. SB565 and its companion HB454, both titled “Extreme Risk Protection Order Act”, are in committee currently. These “red-flag” bills aim to stop those who display warning signs before those signs escalate into violence by creating an ERPO, or Extreme Risk Protection Order, and providing “a court procedure for concerned citizens and law enforcement to obtain an order temporarily restricting a person's access to firearms”.

This is, of course, not a perfect solution. Any “concerned citizen”, including police, could file an ERPO against any person they chose. This system has vast potential for abuse, even if the bill explicitly states one's Constitutional rights will be protected. But it is, so far that I've seen, the best solution for catching those perpetrators with no prior criminal history. If you'd like to support these bills, contact your representatives for HB454 and sign SB565 sponsor Jay Chaudhuri's petition to Sen. Berger.

At least the Democrats are doing something. As usual, all US Senators Burr and Tillis have to offer are thoughts and prayers. We hear no calls for gun legislation reform from them as we do their Democratic counterparts, and small wonder: Burr and Tillis rank #2 and #4 respectively on the list of members of Congress on whom the NRA has spent the most money.

2020 can't come fast enough.

The House Rules Committee has passed SB86, which is supposedly designed to help small businesses offer healthcare at an affordable rate for them and their employees. What it actually does is create Association Health Plans, which “can cherry-pick members and undermine the ACA markets by siphoning off young and healthy enrollees, and increase premiums for everyone else.” Read the fact sheet on this and its companion bill HB464 here and then contact your representative and tell them that this bill isn't the answer. We must expand Medicaid. Then, and only then, will cost savings and lower premiums be achieved.

Things aren't looking too good for state employees either. The deadline for healthcare providers, including the large hospitals in the state, to sign onto the new State Health Plan, has passed without many of the larger hospitals and smaller providers signing on, leaving the state's over 725,000 employees with the possibility that the doctors and hospitals they've used so far will be out-of-network as of the start of open enrollment (October 1st). State Treasurer Dave Folwell's goals with his Clear Pricing Project are admirable, but he's playing a dangerous game of chicken that could leave many state employees facing catastrophically higher hospital and doctor bills in 2020 if a compromise can't be reached.

On Friday, the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development announced that North Carolina would receive a $168 million Hurricane Matthew disaster relief package, a year later than it was originally intended to be released. Now, North Carolina must submit an action plan, detailing how it intends to spend the money, before any actual funds can be spent. Better late than never, I suppose, but I hope we won't have to wait until after the next two major hurricanes before we get the funding we need to repair after Hurricane Florence.

But we can cautiously rejoice-- the Republican effort to ban wind farms along the North Carolina coast is apparently dead in committee in the house, according to House Majority leader John Bell. Hopefully it stays that way, and North Carolina can deepen its commitment to clean, renewable energy.

Tags: (ICYMI, ncga, gun control, healthcare, medicaid expansion, hurricane florence, voter issue: environment)

Disclaimer: Stamp NC Blue is not authorized by, financed by, or affiliated with any candidate or campaign. Questions? Contact info@stampncblue.org.

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