NC GOP

NC's draconian cuts to unemployment back in spotlight

Which should have been on our radar the whole time:

In 2013, when state businesses owed the federal government $2.5 billion for jobless benefits paid during the recession, lawmakers overhauled the unemployment insurance system to pay back the debt more quickly. The burden fell mostly on people who had lost jobs, leaving North Carolina among the worst states nationwide for helping laid-off workers.

The debt to the federal government was repaid last August, and the state unemployment insurance reserve fund now is about $1.2 billion. Rowe and others say lawmakers should now consider reversing some of the cuts, but the McCrory administration wants to build the reserve to about $2.4 billion to weather future downturns in the state economy.

Do the math, folks. If McCrory reaches his target, that will equate to NC's unemployed workers sacrificing $4.9 billion in weekly benefit payments. Money that would have been injected directly into the state's sluggish economy, while helping families survive. Now do you have maybe the slightest inkling why some of us were somewhat jaded about the Connect NC Bond?

Bait & switch for teachers, McCrory style

A chicken in every pot, unless those nasty wolves snatch it away:

Gov. Pat McCrory presented a package of education spending proposals Tuesday that included a 5 percent average teacher pay raise and bonuses that would average 3.5 percent. Unlike the 2014 event, McCrory made Tuesday’s announcement without legislative leaders and other lawmakers who focus on education in attendance. It is unclear whether leading Republican lawmakers support McCrory’s plan.

Senate leader Phil Berger’s and House Speaker Tim Moore’s offices did not respond to questions. In January, Moore said teacher raises were likely to be in the 2 percent range.

This is all getting so tiresome. McCrory makes promises the Legislature has no intention of honoring (roads, bridges and broadband), giving them both plausible deniability when those promises evaporate into thin air. Kabuki theatre at its finest. And of course the timing is suspect as well:

Federal funding at risk thanks to HB2

The consequences of institutional bigotry are piling up:

The ongoing reviews at the Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services departments are not yet complete, and it is unclear how much federal money might be involved. But the Obama administration’s decision to scrutinize what White House press secretary Josh Earnest described as “both policy and legal questions that are raised by the passage of this law” suggests that the measure signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month could have major implications for his state.

The Transportation Department sends roughly $1 billion to North Carolina a year, while the Education Department provides more than four times that amount.

McCrory and GOP leaders in the General Assembly have nobody to blame but themselves, for these and other economic losses associated with this horrible new law. But instead of taking both responsibility and steps to ameliorate the situation, their obstinance and political posturing will only make it worse:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Where Hulu treads, Netflix is sure to follow:

Cue the right-wingers to make some derogatory comment about the quality of streaming television vs old broadcast networks. And here's another biggie:

Bought and paid for: Rob Bryan's support for school takeovers

When evidence doesn't sway, follow the money:

Despite Tennessee’s results, Representative Rob Bryan says he still finds the idea of an ASD appealing. He says it's a way to attract more charter schools to the state’s low-income communities.

"I would like to create an environment where they [charter management organizations] are interested in coming to North Carolina, whether it’s through an ASD or partnering," Bryan said in an interview after the meeting. "But I think if you don’t get them in here and get them started you won’t have an opportunity to see what they’re able to do."

If you peruse Rep. Bryan's 2015 4th Quarter campaign report, you'll find some very interesting things. Like a check for $7,100 from Oregon's John Bryan (part of which Rob Bryan had to refund because it was over the max), a major player in charter schools NC PolicyWatch exposed five years ago:

HB2's "Severability" clause a shield for discriminating employers

Flying under the legal radar:

Eric Doggett, a Raleigh attorney and chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice’s employment law section, said that he doubts that many legislators fully understood the import of the changes, and would not have included it in the law if they had. He said he hoped that the Legislature might reconsider the matter.

A coalition of civil rights organizations has already announced that it will challenge the more prominent aspects of HB2 on constitutional grounds, and Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he will decline to defend the law in court. The changes to the EEPA are not part of that lawsuit, however, and lawmakers specified in the law that those changes will remain law even if other parts of the law are struck down. Some attorneys expressed concern that the law’s ostensible core might prove short-lived while the employment law provisions survive.

Bolding mine. Many Legislators may not have been aware of the ramifications of HB2, but it's a good bet the ones who crafted the bill were aware. Which is why they included the severability clause. And while I've seen a few GOP apologists say it can be fixed by changing the wording a little bit, I'll believe it when I see it actually happening. But instead of waiting for that unlikely event, *somebody* needs to file a lawsuit specifically targeting that aspect of HB2. If it was an "unintended" consequence of poor bill-drafting (which I seriously doubt), the NCGA will be motivated to fix it to get out from under said lawsuit. But if they did intend to make it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to get civil justice, they need to be forced to explain that to a judge and jury.

Workplace discrimination lawsuits much harder under HB2

More expensive and less likely to be resolved:

“For almost 30 years, North Carolinians who have been fired because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability have been able to bring claims in state courts under the common law theory of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy,” Noble said.

“By eliminating employees’ rights to pursue legitimate discrimination claims in N.C. courts, we unnecessarily force our citizens to the federal government and invite excessive federal intrusion into issues that are better handled at the state level,” Noble said.

In tort reform circles, this is a huge deal. North Carolina has joined a very exclusive club blocking discrimination from state courts, one with only Mississippi as a fellow club member. And for those seeking redress from unfair treatment, the journey just got a lot more difficult:

Bigots are losing the battle of the businesses

Not even in the same league:

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign said an additional 20 companies had joined 100 others in signing a letter to McCrory calling for repeal. The LGBT advocacy group delivered the letter to the governor’s office on Thursday. The new additions to the list of opponents include Hyatt, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Northrop Grumman, Ralph Lauren, American Apparel, Qualcomm, Twilio, Udacity, Pandora Media and EMC Corporation.

The Keep N.C. Safe Coalition, which supports the law, has also added more businesses to its list of supporters. They include Archangel Michael Orthodox Christian Bookstore, To Your Health Bakery and Snyder Packaging.

Since Republicans don't seem to be swayed by common sense or statistics, maybe someone should tally up the corporate worth of these two lists, the actual dollars involved. Without even taking the time to scribble on a notepad, it's apparent were talking billions vs a few million at best. Not that the GOP has ever been that sharp when it comes to economics, but this one's a no-brainer.

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