Anton Gunn, Regional Director of the Region IV Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke at a Policy Watch Crucial Conversation lunch recently. One question he was asked was how the new Affordable Care Act will lower health costs. Gunn explained how new efforts like the Partnership for Patients can help:
The latest rumor making the rounds of the Legislative Building and the Tweetosphere is that Republicans are considering the certifiably treacherous step of passing a series of “local bills” to enact mandatory photo ID for voting on a county-by-county basis.
The Governor cannot veto “local bills” — which are supposed to deal with truly local matters and are certainly not supposed to be used as a subterfuge to avoid constitutional requirements for passing statewide legislation. The R’s already employed this trick to evade the Guv’s veto of legislation that would have limited access to federal student loans for community college students.
As Chris Fitzsimon made clear in this morning’s column on the amazingly arrogant House Majority Leader, “This is clearly an ideological crusade now, not a legislative session.”
As reported by Laura Leslie of WRAL and others, it appears that the basic reproductive freedoms of North Carolina women (freedoms like the right not have your decisions about your body interfered with by the man who raped and forcibly impregnated you) are likely in the hands of one person — Wake County Senator Richard Stevens.
Stevens always liked to cast himself as a moderate in his days in the minority. He voted for the Democratic state budget just last year and “took a walk” the first time the abortion bill came up. This, however, will be the acid test. Will Stevens do the right thing (something his moderate suburban constituents would no doubt overwhelmingly support) or will he cast his lot with the theocrats and radical right? Based on his performance thus far this session, it appears that matters are hanging by one helluva thin reed.
(UPDATED: Josh Ellis of State Government Radio reports that Stevens is out all week. With Republican Senator Stan Bingham apparently still opposed to the bill, anti-choice advocates could be out of luck — at least for now).
In Keever’s own district, 80 teaching assistants and 10 custodians lost their jobs last month with Buncombe County Schools because of budget constraints.
Keever, who appears on News & Views this weekend, said of Hayes’ remarks “it’s atrocious that anybody would take joy in somebody losing a job.” Read more
Republican lawmakers and their sycophants keep claiming that they are running the legislature “like a business” these days. Well, if that’s true, the “business” is one of those mysterious, fly-by-night furniture stores that are perpetually “going out of business.”
Between shutting off debate countless times, constantly employing procedural tricks, changing the rules on the fly and, lately, changing the reason they’re even in Raleigh (and how long they plan to stay) on almost daily basis, the endless 2011 session has become a painful and seemingly endless embarrassment.