Archives

[TEN BEST]

by Eric Ginsburg

TEN WORST THINGS ABOUT NEWSTATE LAWS RANDOMLY COMPILED

Education

Where to begin: An end to teacher tenure, reducing teacher certification requirements for charter schools, thousands of jobs cut including teachers and teachers assistants…. It’s not a great time to be a teacher, student or parent. A friend said yesterday that it seems like the NC General Assembly is trying to dismantle public education in a far-right tiny government paradigm, but the governor and Republicans claim they’re putting more money into the public school system overall.

Guns

Speaking of schools, what the education system is really lacking is armed ex-soldiers and ex-cops patrolling the hallways. Most people probably missed the new law allowing the creation of these school squads with arrest authority and an exemption from legal liability, legal-aid lawyer Lewis Pitts said. It’s hard not to picture a bunch of George Zimmerman types cruising schools, so the goal now is to stop any school districts from actually taking up the state’s offer.

Sen. Trudy Wade

Former Greensboro Councilwoman Trudy Wade may be representing us at the state level, but home is on her mind. Wade pushed through legislation to turn Guilford County School Board races into partisan contests; something that it’s hard to claim is in the best interest of the students. She still found time to come up with an atrocious landfill bill that makes us think that, depending on who is elected to city council, we might be talking about the White Street landfill again soon.

The governor

We briefly mused about which Pat McCrory we’d get as governor, but it’s quickly become apparent that we’re stuck with the Art Pope puppet. Between his backtrack on abortion, providing salary hikes to his inner circle, the I’m-too-busy-playing-catch-to-meet garbage and a Marie Antoinette gaffe bringing cookies to protestors, it’s like four more years of Bush on a state level.

Unemployment, assistance

Slashes to unemployment received widespread coverage, but there’s also the end of the state earned-income tax credit for low-income and working families. The income supplement for struggling families is still available federally. The state will now drug-test people who receive temporary assistance for needy families if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” of usage, said Carol Brooke with the NC Justice Center. All this while the tax code is rewritten to further enrich elites and target already-marginalized people.

Workers

The state legislature banned cities and counties from enacting laws that require contractors working with the municipality to pay a living wage. The law shoots down practices in Asheville and Durham that are already on the books. The legislature modified the state’s personnel act, removing protection for public employees who are demoted or whose jobs are taken away, Brooke said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the change applied to state employees or all public employees in North Carolina.

Another law, one that McCrory may veto, would limit farm workers’ ability to organize, a direct attack on the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. Voting The elimination of same-day registration, a cutback in the number of days for early voting and the implementation of a completely unnecessary voter ID to stop virtually nonexistent voter fraud. Can anyone coherently argue that this is anything more than an attempt to keep people — namely poor, black Democrats or any who match one of those descriptors — from the polls? I didn’t think so. Some changes take effect in 2014, but voter ID won’t be fully in place until 2016.

Racial Justice Act

The legislature appealed the act allowing death-row inmates to challenge their sentences by showing that race played a significant role in their cases. Persistent sentencing disparities and a broken legal system made the law necessary as a minor correction to widespread injustice just a few years ago. The Republican majority in the General Assembly had already limited the act a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Abortion

Anytime that #motorcyclevagina catches on, it should be a moment of lighthearted hilarity. Instead, we’re the punch line. An abortion bill, the latest right-wing attack on rationality, somehow found its way into a completely unrelated bill. Even people who strongly support limiting abortion should be able to agree that there are much more pressing problems facing North Carolinians, like poverty, education and equal protection under the law.

Business and jobs

Unemployment is up in Guilford County, and it’s hard to point to any progress for jobs or business on a statewide level. Instead, we fell from 4 to 12 on CNBC’s list of Best States for Business. One factor: being ranked 30 out of 50 for quality of life. Gee, I can think of a few things that may have contributed to that….

Share: