Thursday News: Duke simmers edition


PROTEST AND POWER AT DUKE (inside Higher Ed) -- Anger over the fallout from a powerful administrator hitting an employee with his car leads to takeover of administration building and debate over treatment of workers. University makes concessions, but sit-in continues. At Ohio State, a sit-in starts.

DUKE PROTESTERS REJECT OFFER BY UNIVERSITY'S PRESIDENT (AP) -- Duke University students participating in a sit-in have rejected a proposed initiative by the university to raise the minimum wage for its workers and hire an outside expert to review employee grievance procedures.

AFP NC loses another Legislative battle

Librarians are just fine as they are, thank you very much:

North Carolina legislators have backed off a proposal to eliminate state licensing requirements for a dozen occupations and consolidate other occupational boards.

Members of the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee meeting Tuesday shelved draft legislation for the upcoming General Assembly session, which starts April 25. The decision for inaction came after people associated with the boards or the professions regulated spoke at the committee and urged lawmakers not to move forward.

Oh, let me pick the next obscure and idiotic issue for you to pursue: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Why is there only one approved method for CPR? Big-government overreach, that's why. How many people die each year because we refuse to allow the free market to develop alternative methods? In New Zealand a few years ago, a little girl jumped on her grandfather's chest because she thought he was ignoring her, and his heart started right up again. But the Liberal media who are in bed with wealthy CPR instructors quashed that story, for fear it would eat into their profits. Act now to open the process, because when you're lying on the restaurant floor turning blue, while people are looking around at each other, it may be too late.

Bait & switch for teachers, McCrory style

A chicken in every pot, unless those nasty wolves snatch it away:

Gov. Pat McCrory presented a package of education spending proposals Tuesday that included a 5 percent average teacher pay raise and bonuses that would average 3.5 percent. Unlike the 2014 event, McCrory made Tuesday’s announcement without legislative leaders and other lawmakers who focus on education in attendance. It is unclear whether leading Republican lawmakers support McCrory’s plan.

Senate leader Phil Berger’s and House Speaker Tim Moore’s offices did not respond to questions. In January, Moore said teacher raises were likely to be in the 2 percent range.

This is all getting so tiresome. McCrory makes promises the Legislature has no intention of honoring (roads, bridges and broadband), giving them both plausible deniability when those promises evaporate into thin air. Kabuki theatre at its finest. And of course the timing is suspect as well:

Wednesday News: Hapless functionary edition

AS PAYPAL CANCELS EXPANSION, CONSEQUENCES OF NC'S ANTI-LGBT GET REAL (LA Times) -- The first raindrops are now falling on the state's parade. PayPal, the San Jose-based payment processing company, announced Tuesday that it's cancelling a planned expansion in Charlotte, the state's largest city. That means the loss of a $3.6-million investment this year alone and 400 jobs paying an average of $50,000.

SKVARLA DOESN’T FORESEE ECONOMIC FALLOUT FROM HB2 (Triangle Business Journal) -- Even as private companies continued to threaten an exit from North Carolina due to the passage of House Bill 2, North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary John Skvarla says he doesn’t expect the legislation to negatively impact the state's economy.

Federal funding at risk thanks to HB2

The consequences of institutional bigotry are piling up:

The ongoing reviews at the Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services departments are not yet complete, and it is unclear how much federal money might be involved. But the Obama administration’s decision to scrutinize what White House press secretary Josh Earnest described as “both policy and legal questions that are raised by the passage of this law” suggests that the measure signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month could have major implications for his state.

The Transportation Department sends roughly $1 billion to North Carolina a year, while the Education Department provides more than four times that amount.

McCrory and GOP leaders in the General Assembly have nobody to blame but themselves, for these and other economic losses associated with this horrible new law. But instead of taking both responsibility and steps to ameliorate the situation, their obstinance and political posturing will only make it worse:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Where Hulu treads, Netflix is sure to follow:

Cue the right-wingers to make some derogatory comment about the quality of streaming television vs old broadcast networks. And here's another biggie:

Tuesday News: Delaying the inevitable edition


EMBATTLED NCGOP CHAIRMAN WANTS TO POSTPONE MEETING WHERE HE MIGHT BE OUSTED (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett said Monday that he doesn’t want the party’s leadership committee to meet this month amid efforts to remove him from his position.

Bought and paid for: Rob Bryan's support for school takeovers

When evidence doesn't sway, follow the money:

Despite Tennessee’s results, Representative Rob Bryan says he still finds the idea of an ASD appealing. He says it's a way to attract more charter schools to the state’s low-income communities.

"I would like to create an environment where they [charter management organizations] are interested in coming to North Carolina, whether it’s through an ASD or partnering," Bryan said in an interview after the meeting. "But I think if you don’t get them in here and get them started you won’t have an opportunity to see what they’re able to do."

If you peruse Rep. Bryan's 2015 4th Quarter campaign report, you'll find some very interesting things. Like a check for $7,100 from Oregon's John Bryan (part of which Rob Bryan had to refund because it was over the max), a major player in charter schools NC PolicyWatch exposed five years ago:

HB2's "Severability" clause a shield for discriminating employers

Flying under the legal radar:

Eric Doggett, a Raleigh attorney and chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice’s employment law section, said that he doubts that many legislators fully understood the import of the changes, and would not have included it in the law if they had. He said he hoped that the Legislature might reconsider the matter.

A coalition of civil rights organizations has already announced that it will challenge the more prominent aspects of HB2 on constitutional grounds, and Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he will decline to defend the law in court. The changes to the EEPA are not part of that lawsuit, however, and lawmakers specified in the law that those changes will remain law even if other parts of the law are struck down. Some attorneys expressed concern that the law’s ostensible core might prove short-lived while the employment law provisions survive.

Bolding mine. Many Legislators may not have been aware of the ramifications of HB2, but it's a good bet the ones who crafted the bill were aware. Which is why they included the severability clause. And while I've seen a few GOP apologists say it can be fixed by changing the wording a little bit, I'll believe it when I see it actually happening. But instead of waiting for that unlikely event, *somebody* needs to file a lawsuit specifically targeting that aspect of HB2. If it was an "unintended" consequence of poor bill-drafting (which I seriously doubt), the NCGA will be motivated to fix it to get out from under said lawsuit. But if they did intend to make it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to get civil justice, they need to be forced to explain that to a judge and jury.


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