Monday marks the deadline for victims of North Carolina’s eugenics program to apply for compensation. eugenics_bw2

Some 7500 men and women were involuntarily sterilized in North Carolina between 1929 and 1974 under the authority of the state Eugenics Board.  It’s estimated fewer than 2,000 of those individuals are still alive.

Last year lawmakers set aside $10 million in compensation, which will be divided equally among certified living victims and awarded June 30, 2015.

For more on the eugenics compensation program, listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s recent radio interview with attorney Elizabeth Haddix from the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights. The Center has been providing pro bono legal help to the potential claimants.

Additional information (including the form to apply for compensation) can be found at the Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims.

House lawmakers approved an amendment to a broader charter school modification bill Thursday that  bars discrimination against students.Ramsey Amendment

The legislation, introduced by Buncombe County Republican Rep. Nathan Ramsey, came two days after another non-discrimination amendment was derailed after Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam stated on the House floor that pedophilia and necrophilia were sexual orientations.

While several Democrats had hoped to see more specific protective language in the overall bill, the measure passed unanimously (115-0).

Rep. Marcus Brandon, the only openly gay state legislator, reminded his colleagues that gay and lesbian North Carolinians deserve these protections:

“You still have a whole group of your citizens that are treated as second-class citizens,”explained the Guilford County Democrat. “There are no protections, except for federal law and statutes for the LBGT community. Regardless of how you feel about the situation, we still are Americans..and still entitled to all the privileges thereof.”

Senate Bill 793 now moves to the Senate. To hear part of the debate on Ramsey’s amendment, click below:

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  • Jones StreetThe Budget – Legislators have just a week left in the fiscal year to reach a compromise on their 2014-15 budget. Click here for a House and Senate Comparison Report on the competing plans. And we should learn shortly whether the budget talks will be open to the public, as Sen. Tom Apodaca suggested to the Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill.
  • Mega Moral Monday – The NC NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement have pledged to stage their largest demonstration of the short legislative session this afternoon. After an abbreviated program at 5:00pm on Halifax Mall, the protesters will head into the Legislative Building, divide up into breakout groups and hold what they are describing as ‘Sit-Ins, Stand-Ins, Teach-Ins, Plan-Ins and Pray-Ins.’ Rev. William Barber offered a preview in this opinion piece that appeared over the weekend in the News & Observer.
  • Coal Ash – On Tuesday the full Senate will take up Senate Bill 729, the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. The measure would require the state’s highest risk coal ash ponds be shut down in the next five years, with all sites shut down within the next 15 years. Some environmentalists worry the bill does not go far enough and allows for the possibility of capping those sites and leaving the ash in place. The meeting gets underway at 10:00 a.m. in Room 1228/1327 of the Legislative Building.
  • Opportunity Scholarships – On Wednesday, the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (located in the located in Research Triangle Park) will hold its selection lottery to determine which applicants will get “opportunity scholarships” for the fall. Approximately 2,400 students will receive funding in the first year. Voucher supporters on Jones Street are pressing for another $8 million to expand the program. (For more on the scholarship program, check out this three-part series by education reporter Lindsay Wagner.)
  • NC GEAR – Last year state lawmakers approved $4 million to fund the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiative, or NC GEAR. This afternoon, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee will hear a presentation by Deputy Director Joe Coletti on NC GEAR’s purpose, cost, and the remaining tasks. (Coletti is the former budget policy chief at the John Locke Foundation.) In advance of the committee meeting, the governor’s office rolled out a press release this morning pledging that:

    All [efficiency] proposals will be reviewed by the NC GEAR analysts and consultants. The strongest concepts will be evaluated further and included in the final report to the governor and General Assembly next February.  Some proposals will be included in the governor’s budget. Others will be offered to the Legislature for its consideration.

    Stay tuned…it’s gonna be another busy week in Raleigh!

State budget negotiations will spill over into next week as lawmakers remain at odds over Medicaid and the best approach for funding raises for teachers and state workers.

Rep. Verla Insko believes legislative leaders may have a difficult time reaching a consensus after last year’s budget cut taxes “too much, too fast.”:

“One of the proposals this year was to reduce funding for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” explained the Orange County legislator. “Why would you take a population that deserves help and needs help and remove [services]?”

“The economics is what we talk about a lot…but the real sad thing is we don’t think about the impact on human beings.  These are our children and our community, and we are undermining their ability to have a productive life.”

Rep. Insko appears this weekend on N.C. Policy Watch’s News & Views to discuss the budget, school vouchers, and support for the university system.

For a preview of her radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:

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Click here for more on how the Senate and House budget proposals would impact programs for young children and working parents.