Archive for North Carolina
We’re not exactly envious of the state of Oklahoma where Charlie Pierce ends his regular peek into the Laboratories of Democracy. Let’s just say there’s some serious experimentin’ he’s missed going on in the Tarheel State. A major donor Republican donor earlier this week put a fountain pen to his temple and told North Carolina’s GOP legislators that if he doesn’t get the tax and spending cuts he wants, their $25,000 donation gets it:
Raleigh businessman Bob Luddy, who chairs the board of the conservative Civitas Institute think tank and is an influential financial supporter of conservative candidates, emailed a sharp critique of the House budget to House Republicans, who are in the majority.
The NCSBE’s has issued proposed rules for applying NC’s new photo ID law. Democracy NC summarizes:
WHAT ARE THE RULES: Democracy NC believes the rules are relatively good in the context of a very bad law. Here are some highlights:
- The address on the ID does not matter; it can be different from your registration address.
- Names on the ID and registration roll should be “substantially similar.” Variations are okay, such as: parts of the name in different order or missing or with hyphens, or a maiden and a married name on the ID and voter roll.
- Changes in your appearance from the photo are expected – hair color, weight, aging, etc.
- The three top precinct workers at the poll (called judges) must ALL agree that the ID does not resemble the voter for it to be rejected. If any one of those precinct judges says it is OK, then it’s OK.
- A voter may provide additional documents to help the judges decide in the voter’s favor.
- If the ID is rejected, the voter can cast a pro-visional ballot, but it won’t count unless the voter presents a photo ID within a few days. (This is the worst part of the ID law.)
- Curbside voters who vote from a car may use a wider range of IDs, such as a utility bill or document from a government agency with their name and address. Curbside voters must swear they can’t stand in line or walk to the poll due to their “age or physical difficulty.”
An analysis posted Thursday at Daily Kos found that since Pat McCrory moved into the North Carolina governor’s mansion, voter registration applications received through state public service agencies (as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993) have fallen off drastically. DocDawg and colleagues did some data mining:
Finding 1: A systematic sharp decline in new voter registrations originating from Public Assistance (PA) programs began on or about January 2013 and continues to this dayFigure 1, below, summarizes statewide new voter registrations originating from PA programs, by month, and compares these with new voter registrations originating from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).Fig. 1: North Carolina new voter registrations originating via Public Assistance programs (top panel) and via the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (bottom panel) from May 2010 through March 2015. Red and green horizontal lines indicate overall averages for the periods May 2010 through December 2012 (green lines; “Pre-McCrory Average”) and January 2013 through March 2015 (red lines; “McCrory Average”). Months for which reports are missing, or contain incomplete data, are excluded from these averages (5/2010, 9/2010, 3/2011, 5/2011, 8/2011, 5/2012, 6/2012, and 3/2015).
In all, “an overall deficit of 39,177 ‘missing voters’ (i.e., NC citizens who would have been registered had this decline not occurred).” Checking for benign explanations, the study finds that the decline does not appear to be connected to an improving economy and “occurs statewide, not merely in a handful of counties.”
From Progressive Pulse:
A new analysis of voter registration data shows that under the McCrory administration, North Carolina may be systematically failing to provide state residents with the opportunity to register to vote when they apply for public assistance — such as food stamps or welfare — in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.
Commonly called the “Motor Voter Law,” the Act requires public assistance agencies and motor vehicle offices to provide voter registration services whenever someone applies for benefits, renews or recertifies benefits, or changes an address with the agency, unless the person declines these services in writing.
Affected programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (“WIC”), the Medicaid program, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”).
House Bill 222 Retention Elections/Appellate Division passed the NC House last week and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. According to the Carolina Journal, here’s how retention elections for appellate level judges would work (emphasis mine):
Under the legislation, appellate judges would continue to take office initially by winning a two-candidate election. To serve a second or subsequent term, however, a “retention” election would be held at the end of the term, with voters asking to approve or disapprove the jurist. Any judges who do not get the approval of 50 percent or more of the voters would leave office, and the governor would appoint a replacement who would serve until the next general election, where he or she could win a full term in a two-candidate election. Retention elections would apply only to judges who have been elected, not to those who were appointed to the bench by the governor.
The process for replacing judges who were defeated in a retention election would be the same as that for judges who retire, resign, die in office, or are removed during their terms.
Which is to say, the governor gets to appoint replacements until the next general election, roughly two years. All three of Buncombe County’s House Democrats voted for the bill.
Judges having to raise money and campaign for office has always seemed a bit seedy. But while this bill would bring North Carolina closer to the Missouri Plan used in several states, where judges are appointed after vetting by a panel, it doesn’t quite get there.
At Timestamp 19:45.
From Rep. Brian Turner’s office:
On Saturday April 25th Rep. Brian Turner will host his second in a series of Town Hall meetings for the constituents of House District 116. The Town Hall will be held at the Leicester Community Center at 3:00 PM.
Who: Representative Brian Turner
What: Town Hall Meeting Regarding the Long Session When: Saturday, April 25th 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Leicester Community Center
This week’s in-box brought news that one North Carolina Republican, Rep. Chuck McGrady, is re-introducing a bill to permit benefit corporations or B-corps in the state. It has failed to advance in past legislative sessions. B-corps, as I understand them, give directors legal protection for decisions that consider community stakeholders’ interests, not shareholders’ alone. Twenty-eight other states and the District of Columbia permit them:
Under current corporate law in North Carolina, corporations are not allowed to serve a purpose beyond maximizing profit for its shareholders. The North Carolina Benefit Corporation Act, however, would allow businesses to accomplish goals that go beyond the bottom line.
“It’s a for-profit entity that can do nonprofit work,” McGrady said. “They’ve got other purposes. They’re not all about the highest value for the stakeholders.”
For those growing up in the 1960s, Eddie Haskell from the sitcom “Leave It to Beaver” was our archetype for the conniving, two-faced schemer. Superficially polite — over-polite — when parents were present, he dropped the facade and became his true, devious self whenever the adults left the room. IIRC, at the end of one episode, Eddie gets his comeuppance. As he is led away, he is still working his Mr. Innocent routine, mystified that it seems not to be sparing him punishment. Wally Cleaver turns to his little brother and observes, “Everybody’s wise to Eddie except Eddie.”
It’s not a new observation that conservative politics often exhibits the same public/private, two-faced quality. This week’s sideshow in Indiana over its Religious Freedom Restoration Act bought Eddie to mind again. Protestations that the bill meant to protect religious practice rather than license discrimination were just as transparent.
In the sitcom, Ward and June Cleaver always play along with Eddie’s innocent act, never confronting him about being a fraud, and tacitly encouraging him to keep lying. In real life, don’t our Wards and Junes of the press do the same?
A radio newscast last night reported that RFRA supporters in Indiana complained that the changes made to the law yesterday under national pressure had stripped the law of its religious protections. That is, the right of business owners to use their religious belief to discriminate against customers.
Remember me warning you about Thom’s Tholl Road? Coming soon to an interstate near you? Via Barry Summers. Introduced in the NC Senate:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT to direct the department of transportation to study ways to fund improvements to interstate 95.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Study. – The Department of Transportation shall study ways to fund improvements to Interstate 95 from the South Carolina to Virginia borders, including the feasibility of establishing tolls and managed lanes.
It’s been “studied” since 2010 at least:
Here’s the group that was fighting it in 2012: http://notollsi95.com/