NCGA

Disabily Rights NC files lawsuit to push for home care

Breaking free from institutional roadblocks:

Advocates for people with disabilities are suing to force North Carolina officials to do more to keep thousands of people out of institutions. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Disability Rights North Carolina says 10,000 people are waiting for services needed to let them live outside institutions.

The group says taxpayers now house disabled people in state-operated or privately run centers costing about $150,000 a year per resident, while providing needed services outside the institutions would be less than $60,000 per year.

Even if those cost numbers were around the break-even mark, "quality of life" issues alone should propel leaders to pursue the home care model. But to save the state $90,000 per-year per-person? That seems like a no-brainer, to me. Unless somebody's profiting from the institutional model and doesn't want that gravy train derailed. Wouldn't be the first time that factor was in play, especially when you take a step back and look at the for-profit prison formula plaguing our nation.

The NC GOP's intentional deception exposed by Supreme Court

Getting your lies tangled up will eventually bite you in the ass:

The State’s contrary story—that politics alone drove decisionmaking—came into the trial mostly through Hofeller’s testimony. Hofeller explained that Rucho and Lewis instructed him, first and
foremost, to make the map as a whole “more favorable to Republican candidates.”

The District Court, however, disbelieved Hofeller’s asserted indifference to the new district’s racial composition. The court recalled Hofeller’s contrary deposition testimony—his statement (repeated in only slightly different words in his expert report) that Rucho and Lewis “decided” to shift African-American voters into District 12 “in order to” ensure preclearance under §5. See 159 F. Supp. 3d, at 619–620; App. 558. And the court explained that even at trial, Hofeller had given testimony that undermined his “blame it on politics” claim.

Before you ask, I don't know. I've only read part of this decision, which upholds the lower court decision, so it appears the maps will need to be redrawn. Or the already re-drawn maps will now be used. Better minds than mine (easily found) need to be mined for an assessment. I'll try to follow-up with more info, but just to be clear: This decision only affects Congressional Districts, not Legislative. Districts 1 and 12, to be exact, but that also means surrounding Districts will be changed as well. Progress.

Fletcher Hartsell sentenced to 8 months in prison

fletcherhartsellmug.jpg

Considering it could have been 20 years, he got lucky:

A former North Carolina lawmaker accused of misusing more than $200,000 in campaign funds on vacations, speeding tickets, haircuts and other items was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to three charges in the case.

Former longtime state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, who represented Cabarrus and Union counties in the 36th Senate district, was sentenced at the end of a hearing that lasted more than an hour in a federal courtroom in Winston-Salem. Much of the hearing focused on arguments made on behalf of the 70-year-old Hartsell about how much time he would serve behind bars.

While I understand the desire for sympathy and clemency from the bench, I find it distasteful to contemplate that when taking a broader look at our criminal justice system. The parade of exonerated Death Row inmates, most of whom were forced to serve 2-3 decades (for crimes they didn't commit) before they were released, and the ugliness of mandatory minimums in the failed War on Drugs, which has sent countless young African-American men to prison for 15-20 years because they had a couple of rocks of crack in their pocket, makes this 8 month sentence seem like a gentle slap on the wrist in comparison. That's just my take, your mileage may vary.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Because hungry children should always be at the top of our list:

And Ralph Hise has the gall to try and justify this:

The power of citizen activism: Greg Flynn shines a light on campaign finance improprieties

If you're fudging your books, he will eventually make you pay for that bad judgment:

In early March, Raleigh political activist Greg Flynn filed complaints with the state board saying the reports don't contain information required by law, have numbers that do not match up and, if correct, would indicate the campaign transferred more than $10,000 to Hise's pocket.

Flynn said this week he doesn't know whether the problems are the result of sloppy bookkeeping or show Hise has used campaign funds to enrich himself. Flynn said he is a Democrat who looks for issues with campaign finance reports filed by candidates from both parties. He said he became interested in Hise's reports when looking into a trip several legislators including Hise took to China that was organized by an industry group.

Trust me when I say, uncovering this information takes time, patience, and a certain level of analytical thinking that escapes most of us. I'd really like to say, "We need to crowdsource this," but I'm not sure this capability can even be taught. I probably don't have it, and I've devoted literally thousands of hours to scrutinizing state and Federal campaign finance records. So I'm giving Greg both a hat-tip and a bow, because this is one of those "services to the public" that just can't be estimated.

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