NCGA

NC Republicans pushing junk health insurance as alternative to ACA

The free market might just kill you if you're not careful:

The legislation would allow nonprofit organizations that have existed for at least 10 years, and which offer membership in all 100 counties, to offer their members health benefit plans. Unlike other health insurance plans and coverage offered by employers, these benefit plans wouldn’t be required to cover a minimum set of health care services. And plans could be priced at different levels so that people with pre-existing health conditions would be charged more or else not have their pre-existing conditions covered.

“It creates a false sense of security,” said Peg O’Connell, a lobbyist for a number of public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society. “If you think you’ve got insurance and you don’t, or you think you’re insured for something like cancer or heart disease. And then you file a claim and they suddenly say, ‘That was a pre-existing condition, we’re not going to cover it’ or ‘We might not cover it for a year, like we did before the Affordable Care Act was passed.’”

Honestly, I'm surprised it took them this long to come up with such an "initiative." This is not radically different than the GOP's support of payday lenders and other borderline fraudulent activities, since the responsibility for making the "proper choice" falls directly on the shoulders of those who will be suffering. That's the Republican way: Sink or swim. Of course, they're not going to be standing by to help when you start drowning, because teaching you to swim is not their true goal. Walking away from responsibility is really all they're after. But this isn't just a belief in the non-existent invisible hand, it's part of a concerted effort to destroy Obamacare once and for all:

Fifteen minutes to read and analyze forty pages

$3 Billion for roads but only $1.3 Million for contaminated water

On the plus side, when you drive to the store for bottled water, the ride will be smooth:

A method to accelerate local and regional road-building projects in North Carolina by authorizing up to $3 billion in debt has made it through the General Assembly.

The legislation that permits the borrowing is heading to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk following Tuesday's House vote of 94-21. Cooper is expected to sign the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously last week and would represent a rare moment of bipartisanship between the executive and legislative branches.

There's little doubt we need to spend more money on our roads, but we should also dedicate a healthy chunk of that to alternative forms of transportation, like buses and trains, and even bicycle-friendly roadways. But when you have billion-dollar private industries contaminating our fresh water resources, and developing new chemical compounds faster than we can try to pronounce their titles, regaining control of that situation is a government imperative. We need to see some bi-partisan movement on that a hell of a lot more than we need cooperation on road building and maintenance. And low-balling DEQ on their desperately needed equipment is a recipe for disaster:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Going down the same crooked road again:

Not to mention, putting something "vague" in the NC Constitution is a recipe for a legal nightmare. But of course Republicans don't care about things like that, they thrive in an environment of uncertainty.

Frustrated Brent Jackson plays the Bible card during hog nuisance debate

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When you have no legitimate argument, it's time for, "What about Adam?"

Near the end of an hour-long debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Brent Jackson sounded exasperated. “I shouldn’t have to defend this dang bill,” he said, his voice cracking as if he were leading a tent revival. “There’s not a dang one of you all that has not eaten today or this week … Read the book of Genesis. Adam was a farmer.”

As the story goes, Adam did have a garden, and later a few livestock. But nowhere does Genesis say Adam raised 7,000 hogs in confinement barns a quarter-mile from his neighbors, built smelly, open-air waste lagoons the size of a football field and sprayed manure on that field, allowing the fecal bacteria to drift to and land on adjacent houses.

Pretty sure Adam didn't have *any* neighbors, much less ones who lived close enough to be bothered by his farming techniques. And of course we can't forget Cain slew Abel with what was very likely a farm tool, so if Adam's farming techniques were anything like his parenting skills, you know. Might have been some problems there. But blasphemy aside, this piece of hog manure legislation is what Brent Jackson is so self-righteously defending:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Making our schools both more religious and more dangerous:

It's almost like GOP leaders asked themselves, "Let's see, what can we do to make it look like we care about school safety, but doesn't cost much money?"

Homeless in NC: Gastonia to tear down "nuisance" hotel

Some residents have lived there for decades:

The city of Gastonia takes the keys Friday of a motel it declared a nuisance and bought for $1.2 million in December 2016. Owner Jay Patel, who paid $825,000 for the motel in April 2014, started telling guests three months ago that on Monday morning they would all have to find a new place to live.

After 60 years, the Budget Inn will give way to the city’s multi-million dollar plans for a Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District and stadium that city leaders hope will bring new life to west Gastonia. City leaders hope the district, which will be called “FUSE,” connects a reinvigorated downtown with the redevelopment that transformed the Loray Mill from the site of the deadly 1929 textile strike into luxury loft apartments and retail space.

As many reading this already know, I've become deeply involved in downtown revitalization efforts in my small town. I'm all for new development and re-development of existing and sometimes historical structures, but I'm also very keen on watching out for that 18%-20% who live at or below poverty level. In this particular case, it doesn't appear the City of Gastonia is lifting a finger to help relocate these folks, something that any responsible government body should at least attempt to do:

Justin Burr wants to track what films were shown in schools

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We'll have to be more careful with our Liberal Socialist Indoctrination Program (LSIP):

AN ACT TO REQUIRE LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO REPORT MOVIES SHOWN IN SCHOOLS DURING INSTRUCTIONAL TIME.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1.(a) Each local board of education and each charter school shall report in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by September 1, 2018, on each movie shown during instructional time at each school in the local school administrative unit or at each charter school during the 2017-2018 school year in the months of November, December, January, April, May, and June.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to provide for collection and summarization of data in accordance with this act.

If you're wondering about those dates, join the club. This bill was filed three days ago, but it seeks data from the previous school year. Data that was not (previously) required of teachers to compile. Yes, most of those teachers could probably tell you exactly what was taught on a specific day by perusing their schedules, and could probably tell you off the top of their heads what films were shown. But the timing of this tells me Justin Burr has a burr up his butt about something. Like, some irate evangelical parent told him about some evil film that was shown (Evolution!), and he's on a crusade to root out that evil. Whatever the case, get a life, dude. Are you upset you couldn't punish judges all across the state, so now you're going after teachers? I'll take that silence as a "yes."

The re-segregation of NC schools just got a jump-start

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Four Mecklenburg towns will build their own lily-white charter schools:

Despite warnings that it could resegregate North Carolina schools, a bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday. The N.C. Senate tentatively approved House Bill 514 after a sometimes heated debate over the local and statewide implications of the measure.

Supporters said the bill would give suburban parents options and ensure that towns frustrated by a lack of CMS facilities and resources can provide their own in the form of town-run charter schools. The bill, which originally affected only Matthews, was expanded to include Cornelius, Huntersville and Mint Hill.

Republican leaders in the NCGA are transparently hypocritical. When towns or cities try to develop policies or programs that are progressive in nature, that lift up those in the community in most need of lifting, the heavy hand of authority reaches down from Raleigh and strangles those efforts. But when towns want to do something horrifically regressive, like separating the races and creating "havens" for the students of affluent white residents, those same Republican leaders are giddy at the prospect. And apparently they're hoping other towns across the state get on board with this new (yet very old) segregation approach:

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