Saturday News: GOP attack on the poor, chapter 47

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NC LAWMAKERS CHANNEL TRUMP WITH MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS: The matter is one of several policy items that House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are hashing out as they wrangle over the $24 billion budget. The change appears to be a Senate priority without support from key budget writers in the House. "We're talking about it," Berger, R-Rockingham, confirmed Wednesday evening as he emerged from budget talks for a dinner break. The potential Medicaid requirements would affect about 60,000 people, according to state Rep. Donny Lambeth
, R-Forsyth, a House budget chairman as well as a chairman on the House Health and Health Care Reform committees. The change would require approval from the federal government, but the Trump administration has indicated it's open to similar changes.
https://www.wral.com/medicaid-work-requirements-a-sticking-point-in-budget-talks/17575822/

Phil Berger gets his Democratic opponent disqualified

I had to grab an excerpt from a %$#@& Facebook post, because for some reason NC's news outlets don't think the most powerful man in the General Assembly pulling a Vladimir Putin is newsworthy:

The Republicans on the panel - defying all logic - voted against Mangrum today, and the case will now go to the State Board of Elections. The Republicans on the panel gave reasons based on speculation and innuendo - not on the law. I believe it was a circus. We have reached bottom, and Berger's gang is covered in dirt. Shame on them. SHAME.

This is a good story for an aggressive reporter to cover. And I suspect it starts, as always, with fear of losing power and dark money fueling the efforts to keep it. I sent a recap to Rachel Maddow. Someone needs to expose this!!!

Hell, it doesn't even need to be an "aggressive" reporter, just somebody to publish the pertinent details would be a good start. This is now headed to the State Board, where hopefully wiser and less partisan heads will prevail. We'll see. But this is a prime example of why Berger & Moore screwing around with election boards should have been completely tossed by the courts. Here's some background on yesterday's bent decision:

Friday News: Teacher Cops?

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GOP BILL AIMS TO TRAIN TEACHERS AS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS: A trio of Republican legislators want to set aside $9 million for the "School Security Act of 2018," which would offer a 5 percent salary boost to up to 3,000 teachers who complete the state's training programs and become school resource officers. A school resource officer is a certified law enforcement officer who is permanently assigned to provide coverage to a school or a set of schools. If the teacher qualifies and successfully completes training to become a "teacher resource officer," he or she "shall have the same powers as municipal and county police officers to make arrests for both felonies and misdemeanors and to charge for infractions." Schools could determine whether their teacher-resource officers would carry firearms. And a teacher's identity as a school resource officer would be confidential under state law, meaning the public wouldn't know which teachers doubled as officers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article211862369.html

Thursday News: The new Jim Crow

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NC'S AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS ARE ARRESTED OR SUSPENDED AT ALARMING RATE: In North Carolina, black students are nearly six times more likely to be arrested at school and school activities than white students, according to recently released federal data analyzed by WRAL News. That disparity is among the worst in the country. Law enforcement arrested more than 600 North Carolina students on public school grounds, during off-campus school activities or on school transportation during the 2015-16 school year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education. In North Carolina, 9.2 out of every 10,000 black students were arrested, compared to 1.6 white students. Only three other states – West Virginia, Iowa and Rhode Island – had a higher disparity between the arrest rates of black and white students. About 147 out of every 1,000 black students were suspended from North Carolina schools in 2015-16. That's compared to about 44 white students out of every 1,000.
https://www.wral.com/nc-s-alarming-disparity-of-black-student-arrests-among-worst-in-country/17515727/

Corruption, thy name is James Womack

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And strangely enough, he seems to be exerting undue influence on himself:

Last August, five people had written to to the commission, alleging that they had been unfairly prohibited from applying for drilling permits in Lee County because of a local ordinance establishing a temporary moratorium on fracking. In their petition, the complainants asked the commission to essentially overrule Lee County government and allow them to frack for natural gas on their land.

Yet all of the complainants holding the metaphorical sword over Womack’s head are his friends, neighbors or professional colleagues — relationships that could jeopardize his impartiality in granting a hearing or voting on whether to undermine Lee County’s authority. And questions about Womack’s potential role in the drafting the individual complaints raises further concerns about the depth of his involvement in promoting fracking in his home county.

Okay, so: Republicans pull this kind of crap all the time, by recruiting "regular citizens" (who also are usually local Party acolytes) to file complaints about this or that, to provide an excuse for GOP elected officials to take action. See the 2016 voter fraud fiasco for background, in which several local "citizens" filed voter challenges in an effort to undermine/overturn Roy Cooper's victory over Pat McCrory. But in this case, it's glaringly obvious that Womack is in cahoots with local landowners eager to start poking holes in the ground, regardless of what the duly elected county government says:

Trump drinks in adoration from anti-abortion crowd

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The panderer-in-chief is looking for an extremist edge in the 2018 mid-terms:

“Every day between now and November we must work together to elect more lawmakers who share our values, cherish our heritage, and proudly stand for life,” Trump said. He summed it up for the roomful of enthusiastic supporters: “The story is, ’18 midterms, we need Republicans.” Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. But now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” has been offering catnip to conservative voters.

Last week, the administration unveiled a new push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics. The initiative, which was formally unveiled Tuesday, is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

Women's rights are being attacked on all fronts, which is why it's more important than ever for Democrats to not only hold fast to their principles, but push back against these misogynistic and regressive movements. I'm not a big fan of "purity tests" for candidates or elected officials, but this is one issue where no compromise will be accepted. And I'm pretty sure such a compromise would backfire on you anyway:

Wednesday News: Autocracy

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REPUBLICANS EXCLUDE DEMOCRATS FROM SECRETIVE BUDGET AMENDMENT PROCESS: Democrats are upset that Republican legislators are mostly excluding them from state budget talks, as it's unlikely any proposed changes will be adopted once the budget is revealed. Republican leaders plan to gut an old bill and amend it as a "conference report" to include their budget plans, meaning state lawmakers will have no method for amending the legislation. Republicans hold a supermajority in the House and Senate, so it's unclear whether Democratic proposals would be adopted. Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson, the House minority leader, said the Republicans plan amounts to a "secretive process that will prevent input and consideration" from all legislators.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article211666184.html

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