NCGA

The Second Chance Act will improve lives and reduce recidivism

Rehabilitation and reintegration into society are not just words:

Social, economic and environmental factors play a bigger role in a person’s health outcomes, they argue. Housing, employment, education, transportation and access to healthy food are known as “social determinants of health.”

But people with criminal records face barriers to accessing some key health determinants, such as housing and employment. The “Second Chance Act” moving through the North Carolina legislature would help remove some barriers for people with certain nonviolent criminal records and make it easier for these folks to access the things that make them healthier.

Everybody reading this has broken the law at one point or another. And most of us have actually endangered the lives of others in doing so (driving while impaired, excessive speeding). Making a living and caring for your family is difficult enough in today's economy, and it's virtually impossible to do so with a criminal record. This bill would provide some relief from that:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

More notes from the Kakistocracy:

Well, at least she didn't push any Amway products on them...

Neo-Confederates clash with students (again) in Chapel Hill

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And once again, dude shows up with a gun and is allowed to leave with it:

After two incidents in which opponents pushed each other, Chapel Hill police brought in portable plastic barriers to separate the two groups. “You are evil and nasty,” Wendy Hayslett, a “Confederate” protester told the students and their supporters, shouting into a bullhorn. The anti-racists answered with chants of “Go home, Nazis.”

One protester arrived late with a handgun holstered on his hip. He carried a Confederate flag and a sign that said, “WARNING. LEAVE SOUTHERN MONUMENTS ALONE.” A member of the Heirs group invited him to join them, but police cautioned him he could not come onto the site with the gun. He left and came back without it.

Watch the video. They got into several scuffles before the police showed up and placed barriers between them. But here's the kicker: The Town of Chapel Hill issued the Confederate group a permit, so they knew when and where this was going to happen. Police should have been there before this began, not after the pushing and shoving took place. Even the Lost Cause Snowflakes were surprised at that oversight:

Everything that's wrong with NC Republicans in one picture

The NC GOP's sustained attack on local control

Municipal governments may soon be just a fond memory:

These bills significantly favor the interests of homebuilders and Realtors, but at what would be the great expense of communities across North Carolina, and here in Moore County. One of those bills we’ve already discussed here: State Sen. Tom McInnis’ bill preventing municipalities from regulating tree removal. McInnis says he’s no longer pushing his bill, but it remains ominously in the mix.

Other pending legislation is even more grievous. One bill would prohibit municipalities from regulating the minimum square footage of homes, something that has long been the purview of local government. Another bill would roll back reasons a municipal code enforcement officer may consider a building unsafe. And still another would extend the tax exemption to homebuilders from three to five years for unsold houses, and restrict a town’s ability to make a builder clean up a dilapidated site that violates an ordinance.

I've been dealing with the issue of property rights (heavily) for the last 15 months or so, and I can safely say it's a tremendous balancing act. But one thing is certain; when citizen groups get involved in the process (as opposed to one or two ranters) on a local level, they can influence said process. Nobody gets everything they want, but that is itself a sign that property rights are being respected. But apparently some Legislators simply do not understand that:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke would cap the #2 worst contaminating site in the nation

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Their judgment simply cannot be trusted:

A new environmental report points to a threat to ground water in 39 states, including a local facility as the second worst in the nation. The report confirms the worries people living near Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station have been concerned about for years.

The report claims coal ash dumps in Belmont are leaking cobalt into groundwater, more than 500 times above safe levels, along with other pollutants. Exposure to cobalt can cause thyroid damage.

It can also lead to cardiomyopathy and blood thickening, which are even worse than they sound. Throw Arsenic into that cocktail, and you've got a drink that's definitely not recommended by doctors. But the real moral to this story: This is one of the sites that Duke Energy has decided could be capped in place safely, and is now suing DEQ to block its ruling to excavate it. From the report itself:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Rape culture just got a kick in the pants:

Hopefully that unanimous vote will keep the NC Senate from messing around with it...

Mental Health Protection Act: It's (long past) time to ban Conversion Therapy

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These children don't need to be "fixed," they need to be loved for who they are:

The bill (HB 516/SB 426) would protect young people in North Carolina from the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Techniques can be extreme and barbaric, including institutionalizing young people against their will, using electroshock treatment and encouraging young people to feel shame about a central part of themselves. The emotional and psychological trauma inflicted on LGBTQ minors often follows them for the rest of their lives.

It's hard to believe we're still having this discussion in 2019, but here we are. I don't have a problem with "religious freedom," until it crosses the line into abuse. And that includes "blasting," where a bunch of zealots stand around a young person yelling in their ears. Don't take my word for it, listen to the survivors:

Big Brother is watching: Election observer bill goes too far

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When conspiracy theorists are allowed all up in your bidness:

Election observers shall have the explicit right to:(1) Begin observation duties from the time the judge enters the polling location until all ballot containers are officially sealed and the voting enclosure is secured for the day.1

(2) Hear the name and address of each voter when the voter first announces the voter's name at the initial check-in table and ask any election official to repeat the name or address of the voter if the observer was unable to hear the voter's name or address when it was initially announced.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start:

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