Daily dose: Tillis shafts female veterans edition

Tillis, GOP Use Veterans Bill To Attack Planned Parenthood (Huffington Post) -- A bill that would have helped female military veterans receive fertility treatments and counseling on Wednesday fell prey to the Republican war against Planned Parenthood. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) abruptly pulled her bill to end a ban on fertility treatments for female veterans receiving care at VA hospitals from the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee after Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) attached amendments targeting Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations. Tillis on Wednesday said he introduced the amendments because he believes the VA should focus on existing problems in the VA health system rather than introducing new programs.

VIVA trial continues, Senator Josh Stein takes the stand

A witness to the outrage:

In its original form, H.B. 589 only added a photo ID requirement to voting. The bill was under 20 pages long. H.B. 589 sat untouched in the Senate for three months, Stein said. On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights act, which required certain states to submit major election law changes for "preclearance," or federal approval.

As a member of the Rules Committee, Stein expected to receive a copy of the new bill before the July 23 discussion. He was at home on the evening of July 22 when he checked his work email at around 9 p.m.
A copy of the new version of H.B. 589 was waiting for him. He was stunned. H.B. 589 had grown from under 20 pages to 57.

When opportunity knocked, Republicans answered the door with a gleam in their eyes. But as we've all learned in the last few years, an opportunity for Republicans usually equates to a loss of opportunity for others, and it's quite often the less fortunate on the losing end.

Presnell Strikes Again

While Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) and Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D-Haywood) were in Waynesville this week mourning the tragic death of Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone, Rep. Michelle Presnell (R-Yancey) again persuaded House GOP leaders to block a bill that would allow the Town of Waynesville and the Lake Junaluska Assembly to merge in a friendly annexation. Somehow, with overwhelming majorities in both houses, Ms. Presnell still attempts to place blame for the bill's failure on my friend Joe Sam Queen.

DENR doesn't want expanded water protections

And is suing the EPA to stop them from doing so:

DENR officials said in their lawsuit, filed Monday in a federal court in Georgia, that the new definition could expand the jurisdiction by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers over a significant portion of North Carolina. The move would stifle economic growth with little environmental benefit, they said.

"North Carolina’s water quality programs, many of which go beyond federal requirements, are a model for the nation and have contributed to the steady improvement of the quality of the state’s waters," DENR general counsel Sam Hayes said in a statement.

Really? I guess that's why the Jordan Lake Rules have yet to be implemented, making NC something like ten years late in taking positive steps to improve the impaired status of the reservoir. The bottom line is, when waters flow, they flow into our drinking water system. And since about 60% of our drinking water flows through intermittent streams and other "non-navigable" water systems, we either expand our quality control into those areas or continue to struggle to process enough potable water for our needs. And contrary to the scare tactics employed by ALEC and their agri-business cohorts, farm ponds will not be included in this expansion:

Daily dose: Frivolous Governor edition


Media coalition sues McCrory administration over records (WRAL-TV) -- A coalition of media and public policy groups filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory's administration Tuesday over access to public records.

McCrory responds to “frivolous” public records lawsuit (Jones & Blount) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s office responded to what he called a “frivolous” lawsuit filed against him today by the News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer, Capital Broadcasting (WRAL), the Southern Environmental Law Center, and N.C. Policy Watch, among other plaintiffs.

6 NC GOP Representatives support the firing of unwed mothers

Welcome back to the 19th Century:

H.R. 2802 This Act may be cited as the “First Amendment Defense Act”.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Bolding mine. This is not a hypothetical. There are several civil cases of "wrongful termination" pending right now filed by women who were fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock. While most of these women were employed by religious institutions, their previous employers were already allowed some protections in making personnel decisions based on religious grounds. But this bill would broadly expand the exemptions to include contractors, sub-contractors, grant recipients, pretty much any corporation that does business with the Federal government. And Holding, Walker, Hudson, Rouzer, Pittenger, and Meadows all think this is a good idea. In any sane world, they would have their chairs pulled out from under them in the next election because of this. But the Magic 8-Ball sez, "Yeah, and I'd like for you to stop shaking me, but that's not going to happen."

Daily dose: Monumental foolishness edition

Controversial NC Confederate memorial bill gets tentative approval (AP) — A controversial bill to preserve North Carolina's historical monuments has been given tentative approval after overcoming objections from those in the legislature who say it protects Confederate memorials.

Bill protecting Confederate monuments gets tentative House nod (WRAL-TV) -- House members voted 70-37 in favor of a bill that would require legislative approval in order to remove "objects of remembrance," including Confederate memorials, from public property.

This is Our Selma: Why I March for Voting Rights

Two years ago, I became one of more than 1,000 people arrested for civil disobedience as part of the Moral Monday Movement.

I was protesting the extremist conservative majority in the NC General Assembly that was attacking everything that I love about North Carolina. They restricted access to abortion and contraception, attacked public education and the environment, raised taxes on low income people to give tax cuts to the wealthy, refused to expand Medicaid, reduced unemployment benefits, and passed the country’s worst-ever voter suppression bill (HB 589).

This month the legal case against the voter suppression bill finally went to court. And when the call went out to join the Mass Moral March for Voting Rights in Winston-Salem on July 13th to support the challenge to the bill, I knew I would go. Here’s why.


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