Blistering editorial on #NCGA big-government bullying tactics

And the courage of those who stood up to them:

Before ending its session early Wednesday morning, members of the legislature took one more crack at government overreach, trying to pass measures that would limit the authority and decision-making ability of local city and county governments. And they did so through underhanded methods that should put them to shame.

Fortunately, watchdogs from the media and advocacy groups, as well as other legislators, were paying attention, and the Rules Committee killed the bill.

Unfortunately, there have been many more bills that weren't killed in Committee, that passed floor votes, and were signed by the Governor, that were just as deserving of shame as this piece of Legislation. Including this unnecessarily cruel attack on unemployed hungry people:

SNAP benefits are limited under federal law to three months out of every three years for childless, non-disabled adults unless they are working at least half time, participating in a qualified job training program for 20 hours a week, or in workfare. This time limit applies regardless of whether these individuals are actually able to find employment or training opportunities.

This can obviously work a great hardship. In North Carolina, for example, 83 counties actually have more jobless workers than job openings.

Thankfully, federal allows states to suspend the time limit in areas with high unemployment. As a result, every state except Delaware has waived the time limit for at least part of their state at some point. During the recent recession, many states qualified for state-wide waivers from the time limit. Most states will have to reimpose the time limit for at least part of their state in 2016. North Carolina has already applied for a waiver for 77 of the state’s 100 counties — i.e. the ones with high unemployment rates.

Absurdly, however, under the new provision (click here and scroll to page 6) the Department of Health and Human Services would be barred from applying for a waiver, effectively reimposing the time limit even though parts of the state qualify for a waiver due to high unemployment. This unnecessarily restricts food assistance for poor childless adults in areas where the economy has not yet fully recovered.

This has nothing to do with "budget trimming" or any other fiscal concerns state managers might have, it's purely ideological. Ideologically punitive, that is. To punish someone based on a prejudicial assessment of their perceived motivations. And the really sad thing is, these lawmakers will receive pats on the back from their equally prejudiced supporters. And like little children, when you reinforce their bad behavior, it will only get worse.

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More bullying: this time with support of NC Court of Appeals

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Just posted on Twitter by NC Policy Watch

Martha Brock