Friday News: Pay to not play?

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COOPER OPPOSES GOP PLAN TO BLACKMAIL STATES WHO OPPOSE OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Democratic governors of five Atlantic states are calling on Congress to reject a proposal to impose heavy fees on states that oppose offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper joined the governors of Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island in signing a letter to party leaders urging a halt to the plan. "North Carolina should not have to pay a ransom to protect our beaches from the dangers of offshore drilling," Cooper said in statement released Thursday. "Our coastal communities generate more than 30,000 jobs and the risk posed by offshore drilling simply isn't worth it." Cooper says North Carolina would have to pay more than $500 million in order to protect its coastline. The proposal would also establish a plan for states that permit drilling to share in the revenue the drilling generates.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article213209204.html

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:

Thursday News: Abusing the Constitution

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NC GOP TAKES WANTS TO PUT INCOME TAX CAP ON NOVEMBER BALLOT: The resurrection Wednesday of a proposal to cap the state's income tax rate also revived tensions at the General Assembly over policy and political rhetoric. The Senate last year approved putting a proposed constitutional amendment before voters to prevent the individual income tax rate from rising above 5.5 percent. The current limit in the state constitution is 10 percent. Current tax rates are 5.499 percent for individuals and 3 percent for corporations, although both are set to slide lower next year. Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, expressed concern that the cap would force the state to raise sales taxes and user fees on people to generate revenue in a future economic downturn, which he said would disproportionately affect lower-income families.
https://www.wral.com/tax-cap-proposal-stirs-up-simmering-legislative-tensions/17625092/

National disgrace

We focus on North Carolina state news, but sometimes a national issue demands our attention. The mass incarceration of more than a thousand child migrants is one of those issues. The Liar in Chief and every Republican who supports him are responsible for this outrage.

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:

Wednesday News: Corrupted, absolutely

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NC REPUBLICANS CONTEMPLATE AMENDMENT TO GRAB MORE POWER FROM GOVERNOR: Legislative leaders are considering a constitutional amendment that would limit Gov. Roy Cooper's power over the state elections board. House Rules Chairman David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican, confirmed the possibility Monday but said details of the amendment are still being worked out. "The elections and ethics board is something that we are indeed looking at in terms of its structure," Lewis told reporters. "I believe that the people of the state are committed to having elections administered in a free and fair way, and that includes free from influence from the chief executive." Lewis wouldn't say who'd appoint elections board members under a constitutional amendment, but said the language would make clear that "it is not an executive agency, it is a quasi-judicial agency that is not subject to the whims of one person."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article213072239.html

Tuesday News: Fight for 15 continues

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34 ARRESTED AS POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO LEGISLATURE: Thirty-four protesters were arrested at the North Carolina Legislative Building on Monday while fighting for higher minimum wages and unions in North Carolina. This is the fifth week of protests by the Poor People's Campaign, a coordinated effort across the country to push the plight of the poor to the top of the agenda in statehouses and the U.S. Congress. The Rev. William J. Barber II, the former head of the state NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday protest movement, co-founded the campaign. The protesters and rally speakers used statistics from the Institute for Policy Studies, the N.C. Housing Coalition, census reports, the state Department of Public Instruction and the N.C. "Quality Counts" report to highlight their concerns. Workers from several fast-food chains and other low-wage earners shared their stories to show how any unexpected illness or time away from work can upend a family budget.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212941824.html

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