NCGA

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Happening this morning:

We're almost done with the 6th year of Republican rule in the General Assembly, and the progress they've made in destroying democracy is enough to take your breath away.

Dale Folwell jumps on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon

Because of course he did:

The HIT is an Obamacare tax on health insurance premiums designed to help offset the cost of the tax credits for ACA exchange enrollees. Recognizing the negative impact the tax was having across the nation, Congress worked across the aisle in late 2015 to pass a bipartisan one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, saving the health care system $21.4 billion.

Republicans were expected to tackle the HIT through the repeal of the ACA. The House-approved measure to repeal and replace the failing law and the two main Senate bills all included provisions to end this irresponsible tax. But, unfortunately, congressional lawmakers weren’t able to pass the legislation.

At its core this is a GOP "divide and conquer" tactic. Without the HIT, the funding for subsidies will disappear, immediately followed by the subsidies themselves. And millions of Americans will no longer be able to afford plans offered through the ACA Marketplace. As far as Folwell's grossly inaccurate claim about the ACA being a "failing law," it's actually he and other Republicans who are making it fail. And they will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of North Carolinians in the long run, so before any of you braniacs at SEANC decide to pat him on the back for this, step back and look at the bigger picture.

Wilmington resident files potential class-action lawsuit over GenX

Sometimes waiting for official actions is not enough:

Filed in Federal District Court in Wilmington on behalf of city resident Brent Nix, the suit seeks health monitoring for illnesses that may be caused by GenX and similar contaminants released into the Cape Fear River from Chemours’s plant 160 km upriver in Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, it seeks compensation for lost property value on behalf of Nix and as many as 100,000 additional plaintiffs should the court certify the case as a class-action suit.

According to the suit, “defendants have negligently and otherwise acted to cause toxic chemicals to be released from the Fayetteville Works Site, which then traveled to and contaminated and damaged the properties and household water supplies of plaintiff and class members, and exposed them to toxic chemicals.”

Go get 'em, Brent. These corporate polluters have been playing (and mostly winning) the game of profits outpacing the legal costs of bad behavior for way too long, and civil court may be the only way to force them into a "Come to Jesus" moment to change their ways.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The most important thing many of you can do today:

I've been following the early vote daily numbers in some of these primaries, and the turnout has been less than stellar. If you don't vote in the primary, you may show up at the general election and *not* see the person or persons you were rooting for. Don't let that happen.

The unmitigated arrogance of the power-mad NC GOP

Stripping more authority from Governor Cooper:

Counting the costs of substance abuse in NC communities

More funding is desperately needed from state government:

The number of children in the Person County foster care system continues to rise, primarily due to substance abuse, county officials said this week. This spring, there were 82 children in the custody of Person County Department of Social Services, and 55 were displaced due to a caregiver’s drug or alcohol use.

“Substance abuse is not just affecting people using drugs,” Person County DSS Director Carlton Paylor said during an event in Roxboro on Tuesday that was billed as a “mental health town hall” and attended by about 40 people. “It’s affecting the kids,” he said. “This is like a generational curse. It keeps going on and on and on.”

For those of you who haven't been touched by this crisis (your numbers are likely dwindling), consider yourself lucky. Most of our 100 counties have little or nothing in the form of treatment facilities for substance abuse, putting even more of a burden on what few rural hospitals still manage to operate. Something as intense as a 4-week rehab program requires a 50+ mile travel, but even worse, waiting several weeks for a bed to become available. And that wait, more than anything else, often ends up being a fatal roadblock. And here's an aspect that needs to be remembered:

The NRA has invested over ten million in Burr & Tillis

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Don't expect any sensible gun regulations any time soon:

NRA groups have spent nearly $7 million on behalf of Burr. That includes $5.6 million that NRA groups spent last year against his Democratic opponent, Deborah Ross. That was more than the NRA spent against any candidate with the exception of Hillary Clinton.

And Tillis has gotten $4.5 million in help, including independent expenditures against his 2014 opponent, then-incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan.

Considering there have been 273 mass shootings (4 or more people shot) in the last year, it's not a huge stretch to describe this as blood money. You know what else this signifies? The NRA was scared shitless they could lose these statewide races in North Carolina. You know, like they did when Roy Cooper retook the Governor's mansion for the Democratic Party. Think on that.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon criticizes DEQ for problems he helped create

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Slash their staff, and then blame them for getting behind:

From the get-go, the committee meeting felt contentious and at times, contradictory. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Duplin County, declared there would be no discussion of the Department of Environmental Quality’s financial straits, noting that “the media and other people for political purposes have made funding part of this issue.”

But there’s no getting around the expense and future financial commitment that would be required to monitor and fix the state’s surface water and drinking water pollutions. The budget cuts inflicted upon DEQ are now legendary, although Dixon seemed unfazed by that fact. “There is a 41 percent backlog in permit reviews,” Dixon said, addressing Assistant DEQ Secretary Sheila Holman. “Does the department have an ongoing internal efficiency analysis?” Dixon: “I’m a farmer and know efficiencies.”

Uh, no. If you were that damn efficient, you wouldn't need Federal farm subsidies and fat checks from Big Ag lobbyists and lawyers. I get so tired of these Republicans dodging the questions about their de-funding of DENR/DEQ. If you want a lot of the dirty details, you'll find them in this (massive pdf) Legislative efficiency report from 2014, which explores in-depth many of the lost positions. But it's depressing as hell, so you may want to skip it.

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