NCGA

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.

Workplace discrimination lawsuits much harder under HB2

More expensive and less likely to be resolved:

“For almost 30 years, North Carolinians who have been fired because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability have been able to bring claims in state courts under the common law theory of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy,” Noble said.

“By eliminating employees’ rights to pursue legitimate discrimination claims in N.C. courts, we unnecessarily force our citizens to the federal government and invite excessive federal intrusion into issues that are better handled at the state level,” Noble said.

In tort reform circles, this is a huge deal. North Carolina has joined a very exclusive club blocking discrimination from state courts, one with only Mississippi as a fellow club member. And for those seeking redress from unfair treatment, the journey just got a lot more difficult:

Bigots are losing the battle of the businesses

Not even in the same league:

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign said an additional 20 companies had joined 100 others in signing a letter to McCrory calling for repeal. The LGBT advocacy group delivered the letter to the governor’s office on Thursday. The new additions to the list of opponents include Hyatt, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Northrop Grumman, Ralph Lauren, American Apparel, Qualcomm, Twilio, Udacity, Pandora Media and EMC Corporation.

The Keep N.C. Safe Coalition, which supports the law, has also added more businesses to its list of supporters. They include Archangel Michael Orthodox Christian Bookstore, To Your Health Bakery and Snyder Packaging.

Since Republicans don't seem to be swayed by common sense or statistics, maybe someone should tally up the corporate worth of these two lists, the actual dollars involved. Without even taking the time to scribble on a notepad, it's apparent were talking billions vs a few million at best. Not that the GOP has ever been that sharp when it comes to economics, but this one's a no-brainer.

Rumors of economic blackmail of HP Furniture Market

"You'll shut the hell up if you know what's good for ya'."

The statement may not have been well-received in Raleigh. There have been rumors that, in response, the state could cut some or all of the funding, about $2 million a year, it provides to support transportation and marketing services for the twice-annual furniture show.

"We're heard those rumors, too," Conley said, adding: "We have not heard that from the mouth of any legislator." Nevertheless, does he take the rumors seriously? "Oh, absolutely."

Hat-tip to Teddy for bringing this issue to the fore. And the NC GOP has the audacity to whine about how Federal funding comes with so many "conditions" it amounts to a form of coercion.

Cooper vs. McCrory: Legal eagle and bigoted buzzard

Doing the right thing makes some people angry:

“I am following my oath of office,” Cooper said in a phone interview Thursday. He’s defending nondiscrimination policies adopted by his own office and the Department of State Treasurer, he said. Those policies protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status, which the new law doesn’t. The law supersedes policies of all subdivisions of state government, including his office, violating the doctrine of separation of powers, according to Cooper.

“His excuse that his own internal policies would be affected is wrong,” McCrory said Tuesday of Cooper. “All employment policies for cities and corporations and the attorney general’s own policies remain the same. The attorney general is inventing conflict that simply doesn’t exist.”

It sounds like McCrory is starting to believe his own propaganda, which isn't that surprising considering his mental challenges. The simple fact is, the Governor rushed to sign this legislation mere hours after receiving it, leaving himself no viable argument that he or his staff had even attempted to vet the contents for legality or constitutionality. *If* the bill had been debated in committee(s) and on the floor of the General Assembly over a period of time, the Governor might have reasonably concluded there was nothing amiss. But it wasn't, meaning he and his staff had a greater responsibility for final oversight. Of course, all this is above his head, I'm just talking about what a real Governor would do.

Republican state legislatures: Guns, gays, and forced child-bearing

Forget DC, we need to clean these houses:

Ms. Baker said that a new frontier in gun rights involves laws that let people over 21 carry concealed weapons without permits. In West Virginia, Republican lawmakers passed such a law this month after overriding a veto from the Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin. In Georgia, Republican legislators passed a bill allowing people over 21 to carry concealed weapons onto public college and university campuses. Mr. Deal has indicated that he has concerns about the bill but has not said definitively if he will veto it.

That's a new "frontier" all right, one where walking out your front door exposes you to dangers not evident in most civilized societies. I wonder what twisted logic NC's concealed-carry advocates will cook up to explain this away? You know, the ones who are always harping about how "well-trained" these people must be to obtain said permit. Put your gun away for the moment, so we can see how these intrepid Republican legislators are protecting you from Teh Gays:

Charter takeover of public schools moving forward in NC

Under the seemingly harmless name Achievement School Districts:

Glazer stressed that one of the biggest challenges for ASDs in Tennessee was the fact that they are neighborhood schools. Whatever population the school served before joining the ASD was the same population it served after. Largely, parents didn’t choose the school.

“These are charters that take over neighborhood schools,” he said. “That is not the way that charter schools are meant to operate.”

Despite the rosy presentation by Malika Anderson, there appears to be some serious issues involved with the funding of these takeover projects. She claims the handful of Memphis ASDs secured $100 million in donations from the private sector, but she also says the major capital improvements to the schools will come from the same place they always do, from local school district funding. And I'm assuming the state per-pupil funding will also continue. So where does the $100 million go? These issues come up starting at about the 15:00 mark of this video:

Calling out Ken Goodman and "bipartisan" bigotry

Because nobody else seems interested in rocking the boat:

In regards to the furniture market losing customers, State Representative Ken Goodman tweeted "April Market is not a vacation. It's critical for buyers. They'll come."

He also tweeted. "They manufacture in the most oppressive countries in the world."

In other words, if they don't come, here's an ad hominem reason for us to write them off. Aren't the Main Street Dems supposed to be pro-business? Apparently that only applies to businesses who support the suppression of certain elements in our society. And aren't the Main Street Dems supposed to be all about avoiding social issues and laser-focusing on economic growth? The truth is, they are mainly concerned with cashing in on what they see as a successful political movement by Republicans, and are willing to discard every element of the NCDP Platform in order to do that. Follow me below the fold so we can talk about that Big Tent:

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