scharrison's blog

NC Legislature fails the Sunshine test

Kirk Ross drops a whole salvo of truth bombs:

Communications between legislators and also between legislators and staff in the crafting of laws are among the few documents exempt from the state’s public records laws. The legislature’s requirements for county and municipal government agendas, meeting materials to be available well ahead of time does not apply to its own meetings.

The argument for legislative confidentiality, derived from English common law, is that the legislative process requires this privilege in order for agreements to be worked out. It’s a perfectly valid sounding rationale, but so unlimited and unchecked that it has long been intensely abused. It’s used to hide favors, fund pet projects and anonymously insert language into legislation.

I'm not even sure it sounds valid. Think about it: If lawmakers must have secrecy to agree to something, it naturally follows they're concerned about negative consequences if those communications came to light. Whether it's a strategic thing, where they don't want to give potential opponents to the measure a fair warning, or a personal concern, where they don't want to be associated with a controversial and maybe even unconstitutional act, it almost doesn't matter. They know they're on the wrong side of something, and they're trying to conceal it. Not just from other lawmakers, but from the general public. Which brings us back (once again) to the area of ethics, which should be just as important in holding lawmakers accountable as punishable crimes are. Back to the article, and what Kirk describes as the "black box":

Meet Supreme Court candidate Anita Earls

From the Governor on firearm regulations and school shootings

This is what responsible leadership sounds like:

In North Carolina, we also need to strengthen the background check system to make our communities safer and keep guns from violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Right now, anyone buying a handgun in our state has to apply for a permit through the local sheriff’s office, a process that includes a federal background check and an OK from the sheriff. This system allows time for appropriate checks to take place before someone can legally buy a handgun. But our law has a glaring loophole since this background check and permit process isn’t required to buy an assault weapon like an AR-15, the weapon used in Parkland. It should be.

Honestly, this seems like a no-brainer. No matter how the right-wing gun-nutters twist, equating an AR-15 with a hunting rifle or shotgun is patently absurd. Hell, you can't even duck hunt unless your shotgun is plugged to only hold three shells, but thirty high-velocity rounds in each clip is "just fine"? Here's more, which will no doubt infuriate the Ammosexuals:

Trump's assault on the safety net will hit Medicaid first


And the suffering will be beautiful and shiny:

During last year’s fight against efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act, poll after poll showed most Americans opposed Medicaid cuts that would turn back the clock on decades of civil rights progress for people with disabilities.

But in 2018 we face a new looming threat: Medicaid work requirements, recently permitted by the Trump administration in three states: Kentucky, Indiana and — just this week — Arkansas. Work requirements like these could cause serious harm to hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities or serious illnesses, costing many of them their Medicaid coverage.

This is (just one more) reason why taking back the Legislature is so crucial. Trump and his GOP enablers (or is it the other way around?) are determined to cleanse the Federal government of entitlement programs, and they've discovered the best way to do that without suffering at the voting booth is to shift that burden down to the states, 2/3 of which are now controlled by the GOP. And the really disgusting part is, Republicans already know people who really need and deserve this coverage will lose it, but they don't care:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

No justice to be found here:

Burr hasn't had an original thought in his head since he made his first clay ash tray and it broke in half in the kiln. Both he and Devin Nunes consider several people refusing to testify as "no evidence," which makes both of them parties to the collusion itself.

Thinly veiled threats from Duke Energy over discovery of radioactive elements in groundwater

The unmitigated arrogance is breathtaking:

Duke Energgy spokeswoman Erin Culbert took issue with a recent press release from the Waterkeeper Alliance pointing out the high radium levels. She accused the “critic groups” of “drawing conclusions at this early stage to simply use this milestone to advance their agenda.”

“They seek to sign up North Carolinians for the most extreme, most disruptive and most expensive way to close basins, Culbert continued. “That’s not prudent for the environment, communities or families’ energy bills.”

Bolding mine. In a nutshell, she's trying to shift the blame for future higher energy bills from the party responsible for contaminating the water (Duke Energy) onto the shoulders of those who are working diligently to keep people safe from such irresponsible behavior. It doesn't get much more sleazy than that. It's like blaming the person who called 911 about a neighbor's house being on fire. And make no mistake, this particular house fire is out of control:

Asshat of the Week: Kelly Hastings

Apparently there wasn't enough hate circulating around, so it's time for a rerun:

As many will remember, in the General Assembly of North Carolina, we had to nullify a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed, for example, men claiming to be women to indecently expose themselves in front of little girls in public showers and changing facilities. The ordinance basically forced these policies on businesses too. To ensure peace of mind and privacy, we passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2).

Since you brought it up, let's take a look at what else this pile 'o crap legislation did: It blocked municipalities from setting new minimum wage standards, which sure as hell didn't help those little girls you seem to be worried about. And speaking of those little girls, this legislation also blocked municipalities from refining child labor laws within their jurisdictions. So apparently it's okay for those little girls to be exploited economically, but not okay in some imaginary scenario where (for some reason) a transgender woman and a little girl would hop into a shower together. Oh, and we can't forget the part of HB2 that took away a worker's ability to sue his or her employer for discriminatory treatment. That was a real jewel. So take your dog-whistle bigotry and stick it where the sun don't shine, pal.


Subscribe to RSS - scharrison's blog