We usually post action alerts and important info at the beginning of every post, but in lieu of that today I'll link to Patti's post from Monday, which is an excellent resource. Thanks, Patti!

It bears repeating that the NC-09 early voting period has begun; the election is September 10th. Help Democratic candidate Dan McCready encourage voters by signing up to help with his phone banking efforts here!

It sure didn't take the State Board of Elections long to choose a chair. Hours after I posted last week's ICYMI, the Board voted the newly-appointed Damon Circosta as its new chair. As NC Policy Watch puts it, perhaps the fourth time is the charm. Let's hope that Mr. Circosta can lead the Board of Elections well and steadily through this tempestuous time in state politics.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has officially entered the race for NC Governor, and boy did he start with a bang. On Saturday, he held a rally in Winston-Salem to announce his campaign and “to create a new vision for North Carolina, one that includes a stronger anti-abortion stance and a rejection of socialism, an ideology he said young people in the state have grown more favorable of.” It would seem that Forest's vision for North Carolina would also include more HB2s and policies that would please Trump, who will likely be campaigning hard in North Carolina in 2020. As far as most reasonable North Carolinians are concerned, our state is no place for someone who has spent most of his career marching to the same beat as our fascist president.

HB370, the bill that would require NC sheriffs to cooperate with ICE, was back on the calendar today and it passed with party line votes. Read up on it here. The good news is that Gov. Cooper has given indication that he will veto it; contact him and both thank him for his commitment to integrity and urge him to keep his word. The ACLU makes it easy to email Gov Cooper about this.

This week's Monday Numbers by NC Policy Watch might not be the cheeriest reading, but it's eye-opening and necessary. In 2017 and 2018, a combined total of approximately 395,000 voters were purged from the rolls in North Carolina: 299,795 in 2017 (before the election) and 94,800 in 2018, including around 9,000 registrations belonging to convicted felons per year. Part of this “purge” is a necessary clean-up, including voters who have died. It's telling, though, that the median purge rate went up 40% during the 2016-2018 time period in districts that were no longer subject to preclearance: that is, a requirement that they consult the US Department of Justice before they changed their voting laws. It might be a good idea to check your voter registration status and urge your friends and family and neighbors and coworkers and strangers on the street to check theirs as well, and then register.

North Carolina's where a lot of our hearts are, even if it is bass-ackwards. Right now, NC is the only state where it's not illegal to continue a sex act that one began with consent when consent is revoked later. “It is also not considered rape in North Carolina to have sex with an incapacitated person who caused that incapacitation through drinking or drug use.” Bass-ackwards, right? A few months ago, HB393, meant to close this incapacitation loophole, was passed by the House and is currently awaiting action in a Senate committee. We had thought it died there, but, of all people, Phil Berger claims “I thought I detected a heartbeat”.

One would be forgiven for wondering how a man who's clearly never had a heart in his life knows what a heartbeat sounds like, but I digress.

Berger's blessing on the bill might-- probably does-- come with conditions, but as yet we don't know what those are. We'll be watching this carefully; if we've learned anything from Republican leadership, it's that if anyone seems too well-behaved or if passage of a bill seems too easy to be real, it probably is.

In the meantime, you know what to do: contact your legislators and urge them to join Berger and support HB393.

It's not every day you get both sides of an issue as fraught as the gun debate to agree on something, but North Carolina has managed to do it. Both gun advocates and anti-gun activists are incensed by the revelation that some 145,000 convictions in North Carolina were never reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which authorities used to determine who is eligible to buy a gun or not. The discrepancy, now cleared up, had two origins: first, local law enforcement did not always report arrests to the SBI, thereby creating a record that could be tracked and thus entered into the NICS. Then, once many of them had been entered, it created a backlog of data that was only cleared recently. It's about time North Carolina became noteworthy for positive impacts rather than negative ones.

Fortunately, Governor Roy Cooper and the DEQ are trying to help us achieve just that. In response to Trump's horrid gutting of the Endangered Species Act and because North Carolina's future depends on it, they have rolled out a Clean Energy Plan that builds on Gov. Cooper's 2018 executive order to cut all greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2025. The plan would:

-Reduce electric power sector greenhouse gas emissions between 60% and 70% below 2005 levels by 2030
-Work towards zero emissions by 2050
-Enact a new law either capping carbon dioxide emissions in the electric power sector or requiring a percentage reduction
-Require a new analysis when companies want to build new fossil fuel plants that considers carbon impacts, both to the environment and to public health, changing the math regulators use to determine whether new plants should be approved.
-Set a date by which "uneconomical" coal power plants must close

The plan is open to public comment from now until September 9. As far as I'm concerned, there is no worthier cause than slowing the advance of climate change and managing our environment so that we can all survive in it.

There's more potential good news on the healthcare side of things-- no, not Medicaid Expansion. We all wish. It's looking likely that Governor Cooper will veto SB86, the bill that will allow small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance that they can then offer outside of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Though quite a few Democrats supported it, it's bad news for many North Carolinians. Here's why. While you're emailing Governor Cooper about HB370, ask him to veto this bill that would block access to necessary care like maternity care, and do not have out-of-pocket spending caps.

What is it about Republicans and not wanting to pay their taxes? Mark Meadows is on the hook for $6200 in delinquent property taxes he's owed since 2013. Yes, the same Mark Meadows that leads the House Freedom Caucus, and has been a Trump supporter since the beginning. I guess we can only blame him for following the example his Dear Leader has set.

(Just kidding, we can blame him for much more than that.)

The environment has gained another advocate, this time in a very needed place: the race to beat Thom Tillis in 2020. Cal Cunningham “is a former NC [League of Conservation Voters] board member, a waste-reduction business executive, and a former state Senator who helped pass the landmark Clean Smokestacks Act.” If you feel so inclined, support Cal Cunningham by following the link above or visiting his website to learn of other ways to get involved.

Tags: ICYMI, NCGA, 2020 elections, NC-09, voter issue: environment, gun control

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