BlueNC's blog

Thursday News: Patently irresponsible

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TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BILL QUASHED BY CONSERVATIVES: Corbin said when he introduced the proposed ban this winter he expected it would be difficult to persuade conservatives like himself that it was worth impinging on people’s personal freedom. He said he understands the hesitation among legislators. “I’m very aware that this bill would affect 7 million drivers in North Carolina. It’s a big deal,” he said. “When you have a bill that affects the public so widely, it should be scrutinized.” Corbin and his allies in the Senate sought to have the blanket ban restored, and hoped to do it in the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee. Instead, Corbin said he learned secondhand that the committee’s leaders had decided not to bring it up for consideration. The committee’s three chairmen — John Alexander Jr., Chuck Edwards and Rick Gunn — did not respond to a request for comment.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232236132.html

Wednesday News: What are they trying to hide?

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NC GOP FIGHTING HARD TO SUPPRESS MAPMAKER'S FILES IN GERRYMANDERING SUIT: Republican lawmakers “had specifically promised the court that their mapmaker would not even possess racial data,” let alone use it, said Daniel Jacobson, one of the lawyers for the people and groups suing to overturn the maps. And Hofeller’s files, Jacobson said, will show that Hofeller broke the rules and did consider voters’ race when dividing them between districts. “It’s hard to imagine evidence that would be more directly responsive” to the key parts of the trial, Jacobson said. The maps in question were drawn in 2017, to replace a previous set of maps — also drawn by Hofeller, in 2011 — that were ruled unconstitutional due to racial gerrymandering. The state’s Republican legislative leaders strongly object to the files being used in court for this case.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232190617.html

Tuesday News: Gerrymandering on trial, again

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STATE-LEVEL PARTISAN REDISTRICTING LAWSUIT MOVES FORWARD: A lawsuit challenging North Carolina's legislative districts for having excessively political boundaries is going to trial, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it has no authority to rule on partisan gerrymandering claims. What's different about the case in Raleigh is that it's getting heard in state court, and the claims are based on alleged violations of the North Carolina Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court's majority opinion last week involving North Carolina's congressional map focused only on federal courts. The state lawsuit challenging state House and Senate districts is scheduled to go to trial July 15. A big issue during Tuesday's pretrial hearing will be whether a Republican consultant's private files will be allowed as evidence.
https://www.wral.com/gop-consultants-private-files-viewed-in-gerrymandering-case/18486375/

Monday News: Theocracy

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DAN FOREST WANTS TO PREACH HIS WAY INTO GOVERNOR'S MANSION: In his speech, Forest encouraged the congregation to get involved in politics. He suggested that the Bible predicted the current political polarization and that God would “heal” the country if Christians prayed for forgiveness. He compared current culture to 2 Timothy Chapter 3 of the Bible which, in the New International Version translation, says “There will be terrible times in the last days.” He offered his assessment of multiculturalism shortly after mentioning Satan’s intentions to divide the country. And then he outlined his hope for the nation. If “Christians will humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and get on our knees and ask a loving and forgiving God to forgive us, he promises to heal our land. And he promises that he’ll give us a better land,” Forest said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232077907.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SPEAKER MOORE'S OPPOSITION TO MEDICAID EXPANSION IS PREJUDICED FANTASY: To take Moore’s word for it, people who can’t afford health care are dodging work and looking for a free ride. First, the poor who earn below the poverty level and cannot or do not work ALREADY qualify for Medicaid. Second, Nearly all of the North Carolinians who would qualify for Medicaid under expansion DO HAVE JOBS. Many work hard at more than one. It is just that the jobs are so low paying, these families barely earn above the poverty level. Still, they earn too much to qualify for the current program. These are people live day-to-day at the edge of a financial cliff. These families are just one missed paycheck, or serious health event, away from economic calamity. They are Moore’s neighbors – more than 6,000 in Cleveland County. They are Senate leader Phil Berger’s neighbors too. There are 16,300 in the four counties he represents.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-speaker-moore-s-opposition-to-medicaid-expansion-is-prejudiced-fantas...

Saturday News: Misplaced priorities

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GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES GOP STATE BUDGET: One day after state lawmakers approved a $24 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts next week, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the plan Friday. "This budget, as written, doesn't move us forward," Cooper said at an Executive Mansion news conference as he was surrounded by dozens of Democratic lawmakers and others. "I want to sign a budget that will move us forward." Republicans lost their veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate last fall, and although a handful of Democrats in both chambers voted for the bill, Republicans would have to pull at least four more House Democrats over to their side to override the veto. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said Democratic lawmakers are united behind Cooper and will sustain his veto in a potential override attempt. Sens. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, Ben Clark, D-Hoke, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, who all voted for the budget this week, were at the news conference.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-vetoes-state-budget-calling-it-an-astonishing-failure/18479819/

Friday News: Logical fallacies

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REPUBLICANS SAY COURT DECISION IS VICTORY FOR VOTERS (WHO ARE BEING MARGINALIZED): When it comes to drawing maps, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan said legislators are more easily held accountable than judges. “We want elected representatives who are accountable to the people making decisions on district lines, not unelected bureaucrats,” the Ohio Republican said. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican, suggested the gerrymandering complaint was part of disingenuous “sue till blue” strategy by Democrats. The Supreme Court ruling, which overturned a lower court’s decision, “is a rebuke of the activist judges who attempt to make laws, win elections and suppress the voices of voters from the bench.” N.C. Rep. David Lewis, a Republican from Harnett County, called the ruling “a complete vindication of our state and of the fair and open process that we ran.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232017482.html

Thursday News: Say what?

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GOP BUDGET GIVES $1.5 MILLION TO DAN FOREST TO STUDY DRONES: Half of the $1.5 million would go toward studying the potential for drones and eVTOL aircraft use in North Carolina. The lieutenant governor’s office is instructed to interview “leaders in aviation, telecommunications, education, health care, transportation, fuel technologies, emergency management, military, agriculture, planning, and venture capital to determine opportunities” for those aircraft systems. The other half of the money is to “organize and convene a summit.” But the money may be used to hire staff, consultants and vendors to conduct the study. An interim report on the study would be due to a legislative committee by next April and more complete research would be due to the eVTOL summit by October 2020. The demand to operate eVTOL vehicles in North Carolina is unclear.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231981907.html

Wednesday News: Common sense prevails

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CONTROVERSIAL WIND ENERGY BAN REMOVED FROM LEGISLATION: A freeze on new wind turbines the Senate approved for wide swaths of the state is gone from a new proposal on regulating wind turbines. House and Senate negotiators removed the moratorium the Senate approved in Senate bill 377 and added an addition to the state permitting process by requiring the state to ask for more information from military commanders. Companies that want to erect wind turbines must already seek local, state and federal approval. The bill approved by a House committee Tuesday was described as a compromise between the House and Senate. It is a drastic change from the ban on wind turbines Sen. Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican, first proposed.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231930593.html

Tuesday News: White Supremacist playbook

NC SENATE PASSES ICE BILL THAT COULD REMOVE BLACK SHERIFFS: HB370 has a provision for the removal from office of sheriffs who do not cooperate with the ICE on the detainers. Cooper, in a statement released from his office mid-afternoon, said dangerous criminals can already be locked up and prosecuted, but that the bill was “about scoring political points and using fear to divide us.” The Rev. Anthony Spearman, the president of the state NAACP, said during the morning press conference that the legislation was meant to target the black sheriffs. He called it “a tactic straight off the pages of the white supremacist playbook.” He said voters in the counties that elected the sheriffs “have all said that we want sheriffs who will not be slaves to the immigration and enforcement authorities that tear this nation apart.”
https://www.journalnow.com/news/local/n-c-senate-approves-ice-cooperation-bill-paul-lowe-a/article_1...

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