Wake Dems Weekly Update: Maps go to court

WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 17

September 1, 2017
 

We are sending out good thoughts to the people of Texas as they deal with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. If you would like to help out, please visit Charity Navigator to find a list of organizations to which you can donate.

REDISTRICTING

Here at home, the main topic of debate for the last few weeks has been how far Republicans will go to preserve their gerrymandered supermajority and how much they will tempt fate with the federal courts in doing so.

Well, this week, they gave us the answer. They presented and passed a set of maps for the House and Senate that are intentionally designed to prolong their partisan advantage and which do not address the racial gerrymandering problems which the courts ordered them to solve.

In Wake County, Republicans are clearly bent on protecting their own vulnerable Rep. Nelson Dollar and Chris Malone, as well as Sen. John Alexander and Tamara Barringer, while targeting our Rep. Joe John. But given the way the winds are blowing and the strength of our candidates, those Republicans and plenty more who would normally be safe had better strap in.

The court still has to review the maps for compliance with their ruling, and because Republicans seemingly thumbed their noses at the court, there is some hope they throw the maps out. If judges reject them, there is a good chance the court will draw their own map or adopt some portion of theplaintiffs’ map, rather than giving legislators another shot. In that case, the lines should be fairer.

Regardless, it’s game on for 2018.

UP NEXT

The General Assembly adjourned yesterday until October 4th at noon. At that time, they can take up just about any topic, including a potential new voter ID bill, further overrides of Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, judicial gerrymandering, possible redraws of Wake’s school board and county commission maps, and even impeachment of Elaine Marshall.

We hope you and your family have a relaxing temporary respite from legislative horror this Labor Day weekend!

Wake Dems Weekly Update: Maps coming next week

WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 15

August 15, 2017
 

The world was focused on the state to our north this weekend as Neo-Nazi terrorists killed a peaceful protester, injured at least 19 others, and unleashed hatred and violence on people of color, Jews, and other minorities.

But the incident quickly brought to mind a Republican-sponsored bill which passed the NC House along party lines back in April which would have legally protected drivers who plow into people exercising their First Amendment rights. 67 House Republicans voted for it--all but three of those present--including Wake County’s Chris Malone and Linda Hunt Williams. Luckily, the bill stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.

Some Republicans were quick to tap out 140 characters condemning the facists’ actions, but as we are often reminded, actions speak louder than words.

REDISTRICTING

Last Thursday, the joint redistricting committee met to pass the criteria by which the same well-compensated consultant who drew the unconstitutional state legislative lines would design the new maps. Democrats put forward suggestions to ensure that African-Americans are not packed into as few districts as possible, that GOP partisan advantage is not the goal, and other measures, but they were all dismissed along party lines. Instead, Republicans decided that race would not be a factor at all, which seems to fly in the face of the court ruling which got us here in the first place. In fact, it may be a deliberate attempt to delay the process with further litigation.

Sometime early next week, we are likely to finally see the new racial gerrymanders Republicans hope to subject voters to next fall. Sources suggest there will be public hearings on Tuesday the 22nd and then final votes either Thursday the 24th or Friday the 25th.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Because Republicans refused to include Gov. Cooper’s $150 school supply stipend for teachers in their budget, he’s taking matters into his own hands and launching a school supply drive. The governor encourages all North Carolinians to donate supplies at their nearest State Employees Credit Union branch or at any government building by September 9th.

Members of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s State Executive Committee or any other Democrats may also bring items to the meeting in Burlington this Saturday the 19th.

NEXT TIME

Legislators return this Friday the 18th at noon for what may be a skeleton session. We will have more for you next week on the new maps and any other business the Republicans spring on us.

Wake Dems Weekly Update: Voter ID returns

WAKE DEMS WEEKLY UPDATE, Vol. 1, No. 14

July 16, 2017
 

Summer used to be a quieter time in the political calendar. You could relax on the beach and read a novel filled with intrigue and nefarious characters. These days, you only have to look to the Republican-led General Assembly for real-life versions of these stories.

Despite the NCGA being out of session, Republicans are still meeting behind closed doors to plot their schemes for this fall’s sessions.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Remember that voter ID bill that was struck down by the courts? We haven’t seen the end of it. Republicans have been working for months to revive some form of voter ID, and they’re now floating the idea of putting it on the ballotas a state constitutional amendment in 2018. They’re hoping to motivate their supporters to turn out in a midterm election that is otherwise trending against them, by tapping into Trumpian fears of “illegals” voting. They also hope a popular referendum will make the law harder to challenge in the courts. We will likely see a bill during the September session.

Looking into a bleak future

We knew Republicans have been taking us down a dangerous fiscal path. Gov. Cooper warned that this year’s budget “may be the most fiscally irresponsible budget I've ever seen.” But this week we learned the extent of that irresponsibility. At the request of our Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, nonpartisan legislative staff produced a report on the budget outlook for the next five years. What came back was shocking: projected annual budget deficits of at least $1 billion starting in 2019, thanks to the massive tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations Republicans have been passing for the last four years. That means that in order to balance the budget, as required by law, legislators will have to find $1 billion each year in either cuts or middle-class tax hikes. This is the end game of the Republican playbook.

The report’s assumptions are based purely on inflation and continuing the spending levels of this year’s budget, which are meager enough. Staff did not project any further investments in education or our people’s other core needs.So the deficits will in reality be even larger. It looks like NC is quickly headed over the same cliff as Louisiana and Kansas, where schools and the middle class have for years paid the price for Republicans’ ill-conceived trickle-down failure.

Legislative redistricting back in federal court

Mark your calendars for July 27th. The U.S. District Court in Greensboro has ordered all parties to be in court to present their arguments and witnesses in relation to legislative redistricting. After the hearing, the court will determine the timing for redrawing, including a possible special election. We will be watching, and will provide more information in a future update.

Municipal Elections Update

Filing for this fall’s municipal elections opened last Friday, July 7th, and runs until next Friday, July 21st, at noon. We will have further updates after filing closes, but if you or someone you know is interested in running, particularly in the non-Raleigh municipalities, just reply to this email.