WAKE COUNTY MULLS NEEDS-BASED PROPERTY TAX PROGRAM: Local elected leaders mostly agreed Thursday night to work with Wake County nonprofits to help low-income residents pay their tax bills. One Wake, a nonprofit made up of religious organizations, and Habitat of Humanity of Wake County, held an in-person and virtual meeting to pitch their plan for long-time homeowners. Three women shared their stories of living in Rochester Heights and the burden of property taxes on their families. “Sometimes it’s just about time for the next tax bill to come out before I finished paying it,” said Martha Elaine Peebles-Brown, whose father built many of the homes in the historically Black neighborhood. The nonprofits propose a program for homeowners who have lived in their homes for 10 years or more, who earn up to 80% of the area median income and who pay more than 2% of their household income on property taxes. Every city/town needs to do this, frankly. And don't tell me it's not fair, because that's hogwash.
HERE THEY GO AGAIN: North Carolina lawmakers have begun posting draft versions of new congressional maps online, with the options so far indicating that GOP leaders are considering maps that could give their party a sizable advantage in future elections. Democrats have only a thin majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and if Republicans can flip control they can block Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda. To do that, national GOP leaders may be looking to states like North Carolina for help in redistricting. The maps that Republican lawmakers here approve — likely within the next week or two — could be used not just in 2022 but in every election until 2032. The state’s draft congressional maps now posted online include three that appear to have been drawn by GOP leaders of the Senate’s redistricting committee. Two would give Republicans a likely 11-3 advantage in the state’s congressional delegation, based on data from the 2020 presidential election analyzed by the website Dave’s Redistricting App. The other would likely create a 10-4 GOP advantage. We'll see you in court, cheating is a lot harder there.
HEY LOOK, THERE'S A TRAITOR AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Republican Party's new appointee to the North Carolina House was at the U.S. Capitol for the Jan. 6 protest-turned-riot and said he was close enough to the Capitol breach to get hit repeatedly with tear gas. Incoming Rep. Donnie Loftis was the Gaston County Republican Party's choice this week to replace late Rep. Dana Bumgardner, who died earlier this month. Loftis posted a picture of himself to Facebook ahead of the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal Rally," saying he was on a bus headed to Washington, D.C. He followed up with comment, seen in a screenshot provided to WRAL News overnight by a source who said the posts have been deleted. “I got gassed three times and was at the entrance when they breached the door,” Loftis, an Army veteran, posted at the time. “I spoke to many service members, and we all agreed that we didn’t want to be there, but we had no other choice. They don’t get it that they work for us. And I mean that in a respectful way." I'm about to drop a line to the FBI, see if they're interested in good ol' Donnie.
WOMEN SHOULD NOT USE RIDESHARES UBER OR LYFT: Ridehail company Lyft on Thursday released its first ever safety report, disclosing that it received 4,158 reports of sexual assault on its platform in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The disclosure comes more than three years after Lyft and its rival Uber first pledged to release safety reports disclosing incidents of sexual assault and abuse on their platforms after a CNN investigation. The company’s release shows that among the sexual assault reports it received, 360 were reports of rape. It also reported 10 deaths from physical assaults that occurred on its platform over the three years. In May 2018, after CNN’s investigation into sexual assault and abuse incidents by ride-hail drivers, Uber and Lyft both committed to releasing safety transparency reports that would disclose internal data on the most severe incidents on their platforms. By the end of 2019, Uber put out its first report, which revealed it had received 5,981 reports of sexual assault involving passengers and drivers in the two years prior, including 464 reports of rape. Lyft failed to follow through on its own timelines for doing so until now. Grrr.
SUPREME COURT WILL NOT BLOCK TEXAS ABORTION BAN PRIOR TO REVIEW: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will consider legal arguments over the Texas abortion law that is the nation’s most restrictive on Nov. 1, and that the law will remain in effect. The court granted an expedited review of what is called S. B. 8, which the Biden administration in a filing Friday said “has virtually eliminated abortion in Texas after six weeks of pregnancy.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter in the order. She agreed the court should expedite review of the law, but said it should have blocked it until the case is decided. She was also among those who objected when the court allowed the law to go into effect Sept. 1. “Women seeking abortion care in Texas are entitled to relief from this Court now,” Sotomayor wrote. “Because of the Court’s failure to act today, that relief, if it comes, will be too late for many.” She said to consider those who became pregnant the day the law went into effect. “As I write these words, some of those women do not know they are pregnant. When they find out, should they wish to exercise their constitutional right to seek abortion care, they will be unable to do so anywhere in their home State.” She's not wrong, this is affecting women right now. It should have been enjoined until review, not ignored.