Coming up this week…

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP will hold a news conference this morning to discuss the decision to endorse marriage equality by the NAACP National Board of Directors over the weekend.

If you missed it, here’s part of that resolution:

‘…the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.’

State budget talks begin in earnest this week with several appropriations subcommittees meeting early Tuesday morning. One worth watching is the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education @ 9:000 a.m.

Last week, Rep. Bryan Holloway urged committee members to bring back their ideas for how they would spend additional funds for education, if any additional money was made available.

Also Tuesday, leaders from Right on Crime, a conservative criminal justice reform initiative, will make the case for more effective juvenile justice placements for North Carolina’s youngest offenders on Tuesday, 10-10:30 a.m. in the General Assembly’s press room.

Right on Crime’s Senior Policy Advisor Marc Levin and retired Texas state representative Jerry Madden will join Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) and Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus, Iredell), the sponsors of NC’s Raise the Age bill (SB 434).
North Carolina is one of only two states that automatically prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

The NC Chamber hosts its 5th Annual Government Affairs Conference this Tuesday – featuring gubernatorial candidates Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton, as well as House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger. The Chamber is expecting more than 350 attendees at Marriott Center (500 Fayetteville St.) in downtown Raleigh.

Tuesday could also bring us one step closer to justice for the state’s eugenics victims, as lawmakers hold a 2:00pm public hearing to get feedback on House Bill 947. The bill, filed on the opening day of the legislative session, proposes the state pay $50,000 to each victim of the state’s forced sterilization program. Past victims of the eugenics program are expected to speak.

On a lighter note, Tuesday is Tech Day at the Legislature. The NC Technology Association will unveil their 2012 public policy agenda. An Exhibitors Showcase will be open to the public highlighting NCTA member companies and what they are doing to make Technology #1 in North Carolina.

This Wednesday is People of Color Justice and Unity Day at the N.C. General Assembly. Member of the HKonJ coalition will begin the day with a 9:00am session at Raleigh’s First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street. The group will then march to the General Assembly, where there will be a press conference at 11:00 a.m.

Organizers are calling on state legislators to fully fund public education, focus on addressing unemployment and poverty, and defend democracy rather than pass laws that will suppress the vote.

Wednesday morning at 10:00am, the Senate Education/Higher Education committee meets to discuss Senate President Phil Berger’s Excellent Public Schools Act (S795). The legislation would among other things establish merit pay, end tenure, and end public financing for the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Over in Durham, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will hold a field hearing Wednesday on prepaid credit cards. Prepaid card have become increasingly popular, with several major banks launching their own prepaid card offerings, but few consumers know that the fees on these cards are unregulated.

Richard Cordray, CFPB’s new director, will attend the noon time meeting at Durham Convention Center, which is open to the public.

In Greenville, Equality NC will hold a ‘Next Steps’ Town Hall Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

This is a chance to learn what Equality NC will be doing over the next few months in the fight for LGBT rights in our state.

Similar events will be held in Kitty Hawk, Rocky Mount, Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte, Hickory, and Asheville over the next several weeks.


And finally, this Thursday the N.C. Justice Center and the N.C. Budget & Tax Center will hold a 10:30 a.m. press conference to discuss the need for the state to work toward a solution for the unemployment insurance system that is both viable and fair for working people and employers alike.

The N.C. Chamber has proposed reducing the maximum length of unemployment benefits paid by the state from 26 weeks to just 20 weeks in an effort to pay down a $2.4 billion debt that North Carolina owes the federal government.

The Unemployment Insurance press conference will be held in the General Assembly’s press conference room.

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