WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE: Barefoot blocking HB13

WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 2

Regardless of one’s political stripe or viewpoint, we the people are bonded by the faith that our lawmakers will abide by a fair process conducting the people’s business. But that did not happen last December. This was an affront to our democracy.

--Bob Phillips, Executive Director, Common Cause NC

EDUCATION
Teachers and parents protested in Raleigh this week to oppose HB 13 – Class Size Requirement Changes, which they argue will force teacher layoffs and sacrifice art, music and PE. After many years of GOP cuts to the public school budget, the laudable goal of lowering class size in K-3 challenges the physical limitations of a school building, lack of discretionary funds, and a teacher shortage. “Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill explains the district may have to consider cutting art and music from elementary schools, lay off art and music teachers, reassign students and have 40-student classes to meet new state K-3 class size limits.” The bill passed the House and was stuck in the Senate Rules Committee for weeks until it was referred Friday to the Higher Education Committee, which is chaired by Wake County's own Chad Barefoot. As a member of the Rules Committee, Sen. Barefoot was a key roadblock to HB 13 getting a hearing, and he continues to be.

A WEEK OF GOOD GOVERNMENT BY OUR ‘TWO BOBS’

  1. Executive Director Bob Phillips announced that Common Cause NC and 10 residents of NC filed a lawsuit that alleges that the one-day session on December 15, 2016 – as well as the two bills passed into law that day – is unconstitutional. Read more here.

  2. Executive Director Bob Hall of Democracy NC wants state and federal prosecutors to investigate a “possible conspiracy by the Pat McCrory re-election committee, and the NC Republican Party to use fraudulent charges of voter fraud to harass and intimidate voters, deny them their right to vote, interfere with the elections process, and corrupt the results of the 2016 elections.” Read the report, The Deceit of Voter Fraud, here.

THIS JUST IN – VETO STAMP TIMES TWO
As promised, Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed HB 239 that reduced the NC Court of Appeals from 15 to 12 members. He wrote, “Having three fewer judges will increase the court’s workload and delay timely appeals. Just as bad is the real motivation of Republican legislators, which is to stack the court with judges of their own party. In addition, I believe this legislation is unconstitutional, and we should all be concerned about unwarranted attacks on the judiciary.” Read the governor’s veto message here.

The Governor also vetoed SB 68 that combined the State Board of Elections with the State Ethics Board. This was a “tweaked” bill that answered last month’s 3-judge panel ruling that the General Assembly overstepped their authority by combining these two boards. "This is the same unconstitutional legislation in another package, and it’s an attempt to make it harder for people to register and vote," Governor Cooper said. Read the governor’s veto message here.

CROSSOVER WEEK
Crossover deadline is next Thursday, April 27. That means that next week at the General Assembly will be chaos: long days, unscheduled meetings, cancelled meetings, and recesses, while legislators desperately vie to get their bills passed and sent to the other chamber. Non-appropriation or finance bills that do not pass one chamber are dead for the short session.