NC GOP worried about long lines, pantsuits, and Satan

ncgopThe folks at the N.C. Republican Party sent out a few interesting tweets this week, one of them from Communications Director Kami Mueller who was apparently worried about the long lines at some early voting sites on Thursday, the first day of early voting. She gave people a number to call for voting assistance.

That would be the same Republican Party that fought efforts to expand early voting, defended plans by local elections boards to open only one early voting site in their counties and last week even opposed the move to expand the voter registration deadline in counties affected by the flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Now all of a sudden they are worried about long lines at the polls.

It wasn’t Mueller’s only tweet of note. She was busy on social media during this week’s presidential debate too, firing off all sorts of offensive tweets and retweets, several about the pantsuit that Hillary Clinton was wearing. Then there was this one about halfway through the debate.

At least they are staying classy over there at Republican Party headquarters.

And finally on the Kami Mueller front, she seems to think that evil is everywhere in North Carolina judging from her comments on a recent panel discussion in Raleigh held by The Sam James Institute.

The discussion was billed as a “Gospel and Politics Forum” and towards the end of the presentation Mueller recounted Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent meeting about HB2 with conservative pastors and Tony Perkins, the head of the far-right Family Research Council.

It’s troubling company for McCrory to keep. Perkins has a long history of homophobia. He  has blamed the legalization of same-sex marriage for the destruction caused by hurricanes—part of God’s wrath—and pushed the Republican Party to endorse gay “conversion therapy” in its platform.

Muller was sharing the details of McCrory’s meeting with the audience and lamenting that people have told McCrory they support his defense of HB2 but were afraid to make that support public.

That, Mueller said, was evidence that “Satan is using means to bully and shame us as believers into not standing up for what is right.”


Speaker Moore admits the alleged deal on HB2 was a sham

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore

Two weeks ago Raleigh was buzzing about an alleged deal to repeal HB2, the anti-LGBTQ law that has demonized a group of people and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs.

The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association announced it was brokering an agreement under which the Charlotte City Council would repeal its nondiscrimination ordinance and then Gov. McCrory would call the General Assembly into special session to repeal HB2 and hopefully stop more economic losses in the state.

Legislative leaders were reportedly on board. That was the announcement anyway.

LGBTQ activists were understandably skeptical of the promise and in the end so was Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the majority of the city council. They decided not to repeal the common sense ordinance that protected LGBTQ people in Charlotte from discrimination in employment and public accommodations, including allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity—which more than 200 cities already allow.

The city council’s wise decision to refuse to take back its vote prompted a torrent of criticism from Republicans who said Roberts and the other Democrats on the council had torpedoed a deal to repeal HB2 and were putting political considerations ahead of what is best for the state.

Well now it turns out the deal was a sham. House Speaker Tim Moore was asked about the deal this week on Capital Tonight on Time Warner Cable News (the discussion begins around 3:40 into the interview) and here was his response. Read more


The startlingly bad record of the General Assembly on Civil Liberties

The ACLU of North Carolina released its legislative report card on civil liberties today and it is not a pretty picture. Here is how ACLU-NC Policy Counsel Susanna Birdsong put it.

Simply put, the General Assembly has had an abysmal record on civil liberties in recent years. These recent bills, many of which became law, represent unprecedented attacks on civil liberties that have collectively restricted personal freedom, bodily autonomy, and equality under the law for countless North Carolinians.

The report card includes a list of some of the worst bills passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, starting with one that continues to demonize a group of people and damage the state economy.

Remove legal protections for and encourage discrimination against LGBTQ people, particularly transgender men and transgender women (HB2)

Triple the mandatory waiting period for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to 72 hours, the longest waiting period in the country (HB465)

Give law enforcement broad authority to keep body and dash camera footage from the public (HB972)

Fuel anti-immigrant sentiments and make it harder for immigrants to identify themselves to government officials (HB318)

Remove transparency and oversight from the administration of the death penalty in an effort to jump-start executions (HB774)

You can find out how your legislator voted on civil liberties legislation by checking out the full ACLU-NC report card here.


U.S. Supreme Court rejects McCrory’s plea to reinstate much of voter suppression law

It looks like the November election will proceed without most of the 2013 voter suppression law in place. The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by Gov. Pat McCrory to stay the recent decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out much of the law.

The Associated Press has a good first take on the ruling.

It’s another victory for voting rights and means we will have a fairer election this fall, as scary as that apparently is for one political party in the state.


McCrory signs flawed budget that includes massive new spending on unaccountable voucher scheme

To no one’s surprise Gov. Pat McCrory today signed the flawed budget passed by the General Assembly a few weeks ago. McCrory signed the bill at a public elementary school in Monroe to highlight the salary increases for teachers in the spending plan.

But the budget also includes a massive increase in funding for the school voucher scheme that directs taxpayer money away from public schools like the one McCrory visited today to almost completely unaccountable private schools and religious academies, many of which openly discriminate against LGBT students and teach bizarre theories as science including the claim that humans and dinosaurs co-existed on earth.

As NC Policy Watch’s Billy Ball reported last month, the budget spends $34.8 million more dollars on the voucher scheme this year and increases the funding every year until it reaches $134.8 million in 2026-2027.

That’s an awful lot of of public money for unaccountable private schools to teach students things that aren’t true.