NCGA

The NCDP's roadmap to victory: Candidate recruitment and voter outreach

Miles to go before we're through:

But without an organized, well-funded, persistent effort by Democrats—and even independents and genuine conservatives who understand how badly the legislature violated basic democratic norms last week, and have since early 2013—all the protests in the world will add up to noise lost in the wind. Planting a flag on the moral high ground may win sympathy. It generally doesn’t win elections. “I can hear protesters chanting in the building,” N.C. Senator Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, tweeted Thursday. “Appreciated, but if we can’t channel this into a solid effort in 2017, it means little.”

Science vs fantasy: Coastal development needs to be curtailed

You can't fight Mother Nature:

Now is no longer the time to build more bridges, allow more sandbag seawalls, move the development line forward after beach nourishment or to allow more beachfront houses to be constructed. Now is the time for the state to begin realistic planning for the long haul – to look beyond the 30-year span of sea-level rise that now governs North Carolina coastal management.

Another annoying history lesson by Rob Christensen

Dude, you're killing me:

The whole business of mass firings in state government pretty much began with the election of Democrat Kerr Scott in 1948, a Jacksonian figure who beat the more conservative machine. North Carolina was a one-party state then so this was factional Democratic warfare.

Counting the costs of petty tyrants in the NCGA

Killing democracy with a thousand cuts:

The legislature, meeting in a last-minute, year-end special session, approved a proposal along party lines Friday that would effectively give Republicans control of the state Board of Elections during election years. Outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the bill into law Friday, despite not issuing any comment on the drama that has been wracking North Carolina politics since Wednesday.

Lawmakers also passed a bill that, for the first time in decades, would require the governor to get approval by the state Senate for his Cabinet appointees and end his ability to appoint members to the board of trustees of the powerful UNC school system. The measure would also drastically reduce the number of state employees the governor can directly hire and fire, from 1,500 to 425.

That last part, about the hiring and firing, can best be described in two words: Invade and entrench. They upped the number to 1,500 for McCrory, so he could insert as many GOP operatives into state government as he pleased. Then they took it away from Cooper, so many of those operatives could stay in place. Which makes this comment by the Bergermeister even more misleading than his usual tripe:

NC's power-mad Republicans once again in national spotlight

Like children running free in a candy store:

The session, complete with fervent protests, was a replay of a common scene over the last four years: Republicans in the legislature introduce a bill; Democrats argue against fiercely; a large number of protestors arrive and demonstrate; but the bills roll on with little impediment, thanks to large Republican majorities in both houses. Those majorities exist in part thanks to gerrymandered districts, some of which were so extreme that a federal court has ordered them redrawn and has shortened the terms of some legislators to a year in order to accommodate special elections in 2017.

Sometimes I get a little jealous of all those people who studiously ignore politics, and go about their day wondering what Victor on General Hospital has been up to or complain about somebody wearing pajamas at Wally World. But then I remember that a lot of those people actually *do* vote, and their inattentiveness is what helps these GOP mini-tyrants stay in office. But not everybody is standing idle, and the folks who drove to Raleigh to fight back deserve a huge round of applause:

Hardship and suffering a big part of McCrory's legacy

And the slashing of unemployment benefits tops the list:

When McCrory came on board, the state still owed money to the feds. But he and the Republicans acted like this was money out of their own pockets. Keep in mind that unemployment funds come from a tax on employers. Businesses pay a tax for each employee, which was going to pay back the owed money to the feds. According to an estimate given to WRAL.com, at the rate of pay, the loan would have been paid off by 2019 to 2020 without any interference from the state politicians.

Yet, the GOP pushed through measures that harmed many people so that there would be less money paid out and the loan could be paid back quickly. Instead of going until 2019 or 2020, the owed money ($2.5 billion) was paid off by May 2015. “The debt to the federal government was a tax on jobs,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. McCrory and Berger said businesses were reluctant to hire new workers because of this additional fee in unemployment expense.

This wasn't just a regressive "austerity" measure, which sounds more like something you'd read in an economist's masters thesis than a call for advocacy. This actually took food off the tables of families statewide, exacerbating an already troubling hunger issue, especially among school-age children. And there was no effort to "gradually" reduce the benefits, to soften the blow to these families. No. That $2.5 billion was a nut they wanted to crack, and crack as swiftly as they could, primarily for bragging rights. And they're "still" bragging about it, including the extra billion they bled out of unemployed workers to set aside for "future" needs. And the current crop of unemployed are still suffering from those draconian cuts, and will be until we can take back the Legislature. You want a good message to push next year? There you go.

GOP shenanigans continue: Another "Special" session begins at 2:00 today

Larry Hall stepping down as House Minority Leader

And it's a hard pair of shoes to fill:

“I am not seeking the position at this time,” he said. “That’s kind of the commitment I made when I ran the first time that I would serve only two terms, and I’m trying to uphold that commitment.”

Hall says it’s an unofficial traditional in the House Democratic caucus for the leader to step down after two terms. “It’s good for other folks to have opportunity in leadership, and that’s the reason for that tradition,” he said. “I feel good about the time we had and what we did and the foundation we laid, and I think we’ll continue to be successful.”

He's been a bright, shining light in an otherwise dim room over the last four years, and has kept progressive ideals alive for others to see and reflect upon. He also just sent a couple of messages yesterday, to his Democratic colleagues and whoever will step forward to take the reigns. Those messages came in the form of two bills, one to extend early voting days, and the other to enact nonpartisan redistricting reform. Both of those would empower voters, as opposed to manipulating them and marginalizing them, like the GOP constantly tries to do. It's good politics, and it's good government, and finding and maintaining that balance is the key to regaining control of the General Assembly.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

All eyes are on Raleigh this morning:

Unfortunately, I can't use the word "unprecedented" to describe this, because the idea of giving lawmakers information ahead of time so they can digest it went out the window a long time ago. But considering they've had several weeks to craft language dealing with disaster relief, this does not bode well.

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