The public comment portal on the redrawing of Congressional districts is still open! If you haven't left your comment yet, now is your time to ask the NCGA to:

  • Draw Congressional maps that protect voters of color and other  targeted populations by drawing districts that reflect the requirements  of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th  Amendment
  • Provide ample opportunities in the coming weeks for in-person public  comment and robust debate of new maps that incorporate that feedback in  the creation and alteration of districts
  • End any redistricting processes that use race and partisan considerations to drive how and where we vote.

Join Flip NC for a December 8th SUPER Canvass!  FLIP NC is coordinating with grassroots volunteers across NC for a  statewide SUPER CANVASS on December 8. The message is simple: When we  knock, we win!

Join the Coalition for Health Care of NC on Nov 21 for "Get Out the Vote for Health Care,"  featuring representatives from several Triangle-based progressive GOTV  groups, plus inspiration from Gerald Givens, Jr, of the Raleigh-Apex  NAACP! Find out what YOU can do to support health care reform in 2020!  Stanford Warren Library in Durham, 6:30pm.

In addition to the public comment portal, our friends at Common Cause have passed on that there will be a public hearing on Wednesday, November 13 (that's today!), beginning at 10am in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on the new congressional districts being drafted by the General  Assembly. We encourage everyone who can to be there and speak out for  fair maps and to advocate for districts that preserve communities and put voters ahead of politicians. To prepare for the meeting, or if you're interested,  you can review documents and proposed maps related to the redrawing of congressional districts here.

The joint committee (made of Republicans and Democrats) formed to draw new Congressional maps is producing results that some redistricting advocates are calling “the epitome of bad faith.” Some of the draft maps are even more gerrymandered than the ones currently in use. Mecklenburg, Orange, and parts of Alamance and Wake Counties are “offensively” gerrymandered. The public meeting today will end the committee's work; their maps will go to the House Redistricting and Senate Elections committees when they reconvene later today, to be debated and voted upon, then sent to the House and Senate at large. Hopefully the public will have more opportunities to get involved and give their input, especially since some of the redraws run utterly counter to the court's strong suggestion that the NCGA redo the Congressional districts “in a transparent and bipartisan manner."

The maps in Common Cause v Lewis—the case for the state-level legislative districts-- were accepted were accepted by the court, if you remember, “despite the plaintiffs’ objections to five House county groupings. The plaintiffs are now appealing the decision to accept those county groupings and have asked for expedited review from the state Supreme Court.” And, in a turn of events that surprises absolutely no one, Republican defendants have asked that Justice Anita Earls, our newly appointed state supreme court justice, recuse herself from the appeals process. Their motion, which is over 500 pages, boils down to the fact that Anita Earls is too democratic. I wish I was kidding.

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Governor Cooper has put his name to several bills and withheld it from several more.

He signed:

-SB557, which will increase the state income tax deduction you see next year but require you to pay more sales tax for online purchases.
-SB683, the bill that restores the last Saturday of early voting.
-SB 559, the bill formerly known as the Duke rate hike bill. The final version that Cooper signed does not include the plan for 3-year rate hikes; instead it only changes the way utilities pay for storm repairs.

Read about the other bills Gov. Cooper signed here.

He vetoed SB250, the voter purge bill, which would have used jury duty records to remove people from voter rolls.

Read about the other bills Gov. Cooper vetoed, which mostly have to do with teacher pay, here. It's worth noting that even though these bills would technically have given teachers raises, Michelle reported on Monday that they do not do nearly enough. Gov. Cooper did the right thing in vetoing these bills, because by doing so he reminds the Republicans that their duty is to act in our best interests; not their own.

Apropos of that, we learned last week that “[Senate President pro tem Phil] Berger's campaign has paid at least $55,000 since August 2016 to a company he created, YPD Properties LLC. YPD is a property management company, and it appears to be a pass-through entity for campaign rent payments that ultimately pay the mortgage for a townhouse near downtown that Berger... bought in May 2016.” This is not against the law. Somehow.

But campaign finance watchdog Bob Hall has filed a formal complaint about this with the State Board of Elections, claiming that this manipulation of campaign finance law “converts a legislator's campaign account into a personal piggy bank.”

"Senator Berger is widely considered the cleanest politician in the state," claims Dylan Watts, the Republican Senate caucus director, in defense of Berger's decisions.

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To end with a bit of levity, I really can't write a better introduction to the latest updates on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline investigation than this, so I'll let Rob Schofield's words stand alone.

Tags: (ICYMI, NCGA, redistricting, gerrymandering, campaign finance, voting rights)

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