The Protect North Carolina Workers Act is one of the remaining piece of legislation on the governor’s desk, following the nine month session. And before deciding whether the bill should become law, Susan Ladd says Governor McCrory should consider the confusion this bill will create at the county level.

While HB 318 would impact food stamp recipients,the Greensboro News & Record columnist explains this bill would also negatively affect immigrants:


Consular IDs would be banned under HB 318

Case in point: House Bill 318, which among other things, banned consular cards and IDs created by communities or nonprofits, such as the FaithAction IDs, as acceptable forms of identification.

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen and other registers of deed across the state are scrambling to figure out whether they are bound by the language of this bill and how they will deal with Hispanic residents seeking marriage licenses and birth certificates for their children if Gov. Pat McCrory signs it into law. The vast majority of Hispanics use — you guessed it — consular IDs to apply for both these vital documents.

“It would have a significant impact on Hispanics,” Thigpen said. “Even some Hispanics who are citizens use the consular card. The question is, to what extent are we going to deny an applicant who has an unapproved ID, who otherwise has the right to marry?”

His office conducts an average of 20 marriages each day, and Hispanics using consular cards account for several of those.

“So much time and energy was put into making consular cards a good standard of identification,” Thigpen said. “There’s been a lot of work to make sure those cards are secure and solid. If we can’t use that, what does that mean? Do we then accept your power bill? If we can’t use that, are we relying on a less-secure form of identification?”

There is no explicit guidance in existing statutes about what kind of identification the register of deeds office can accept, but most offices use a common set of guidelines. House Bill 318, however, covers “any government official,” which likely would include employees of the register of deeds.

For Thigpen, it’s another headache from a legislature that is focused more on its next election slogan — “I’m tough on immigration” — than the practical effects this bill might have.

“It was not well thought out, and there was no discussion with our folks,” Thigpen said. “We didn’t know it was coming, and haven’t had time to discuss the implications of it.”

Read More


AftertheStorm_5Governor Pat McCrory has been busy this week touring storm damaged parts of our state from weekend flooding.

When he returns to Raleigh he will find 31 bills on his desk from the recently concluded legislative session requiring his attention.

Many McCrory will no doubt sign. A few others — like HB 318 and HB 765 — he faces mounting pressure to veto.  Of course, the governor could simply wait and allow those bills to become law without his signature.

Here’s the complete list, as compiled by legislative staffers:


Bill Short Title Action Date Action Text
H8 Court of Appeals Election Modifications. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H126 Mortgage Origination Support Registration. H 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/1/2015
H215 Procedure for Waiver of Jury Trial. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H318 Protect North Carolina Workers Act. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H327 EMS Personnel Technical Changes. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H361 = S667 Principle-Based Reserving/Revise Ins. Laws. H 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/24/2015
H558 Reserve & Nat. Guard/Military Affairs Comm. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H647 Epi Pens in All Child-Serving Businesses. H 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/30/2015
H679 UNC Self-Liquidating Projects. H 09/25/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/25/2015
H698 Baby Carlie Nugent Bill. H 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/24/2015
H709 NCNG Tuition Assistance Benefit Amendment. H 09/22/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/22/2015
H712 Pilot Project/Used Needle Disposal. H 09/22/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/22/2015
H765 Regulatory Reform Act of 2015. H 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/1/2015
H850 Eastern Band of Cherokees/Law Enforcement. H 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 9/24/2015
H924 Highway Safety/Other Changes. H 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/1/2015
H943 Connect NC Bond Act of 2015. H 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/1/2015
S37 = H19 Waive Tuition/Fallen Officer Was Guardian. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S97 = H522 State Advisory Council on Indian Education. S 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/24/2015
S195 Motor Vehicle Service Agreement Amendments. S 09/29/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/29/2015
S238 = H187 Stalking by GPS/Criminal Offense. S 09/29/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/29/2015
S279 Amend Qualifications/Practice of Counseling. S 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/01/2015
S313 Industrial Hemp. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S370 E-Signatures/Vehicle Title and Registration. S 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/24/2015
S379 Cemeteries Located on State Property. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S472 Local Incentives for Historic Rehabilitation. S 09/24/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/24/2015
S519 = H764 Amend Child Custody Laws. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S524 Grad Requirements/Sports Pilot. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S670 Term Limits for BOG Members. S 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/01/2015
S676 Autism Health Insurance Coverage. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015
S694 Reegan’s Rule/Enforce Pharm. Ben. Mgt. S 10/01/2015 Pres. To Gov. 10/01/2015
S698 Legacy Medical Care Facility/CON Exempt. S 09/30/2015 Pres. To Gov. 09/30/2015


Commentary, News

It’s been just about a week since legislators wrapped up the session and left Governor Pat McCrory to decide which bills he will sign into law and which he will veto.

One of the most controversial bills remaining on his desk is House Bill 318, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act.

As Rob Schofield explains in his latest Weekly Briefing, HB 318 might be one of the most “spiteful and contemptuous” bills of the session for how it treats jobless adults who are down-on-their luck:

…consider the following amazing facts about the legislation in question:

  • Under current federal law (something that is, itself, an outrageously stingy component of mid-1990’s “welfare reform”), so-called “able-bodied” adults between 18 and 50 without children can only receive SNAP benefits (aka Food Stamps) for 90 days unless they are working at least 20 hours per week or are participating in a qualified work training program.
  • The federal law does, however, wisely allow an exception in places in which states request a waiver of the requirement because of lack of available jobs.
  • In North Carolina, where large swaths of the state remain mired in Great Recession level unemployment, the Department of Health and Human Services has applied for and received several such waivers — the most recent of which was submitted in July of this year for 77 counties.
  • The bill in question, which currently sits on Governor McCrory’s desk awaiting action, would forbid DHHS from seeking any such waivers in the future.
  • If fully signed into law, as many as 105,000 people would see their benefits cut off.
  • These benefits provide an average of something on the order of $30 per week in food assistance – all of which is paid by the federal government.

In other words, if the bill is approved by the Governor, North Carolina could cut off food assistance to as many as 105,000 people in the 77 hardest hit counties of the nation’s fifth hungriest state. The new rule would go into effect next year. (It should be noted that the same bill (House Bill 318) also includes highly controversial and destructive changes that would limit the ability of local governments to accept and make use of foreign identification cards – something that’s especially useful for local law enforcement officers in communities with significant undocumented populations.)

The bill has also won the disapproval of the the head of the NC Association of Food Banks. Click below to hear Alan Briggs discuss HB 318, or listen to the full radio interview on the main Policy Watch website. (And be sure to read Rob Schofield’s full column here.)

YouTube Preview Image
Commentary, News

Final48Hours1. Not much to celebrate about the legislative session’s final days
The 2015 session of the General Assembly adjourned just after 4:00 Wednesday morning, ending several days of frenzied activity that left many observers scrambling to figure out exactly what happened, much like surveying the damage in a neighborhood the morning after a ferocious overnight storm. And it may take a while.

Many of the news accounts of the session’s tumultuous last days left many progressive advocates breathing a sigh of relief that several especially regressive proposals ultimately failed, abandoned because lawmakers ran out of time or simply couldn’t muster enough support.

The Senate passed legislation Monday night that would divert more funding from traditional public schools to charters—even federal money that pays for school lunches that charters are not required to provide—but the proposal stalled in the House. [Continue Reading…]

Bonus video: Lengthy legislative session wraps-up with some controversial provisions saved for 2016

2. Last minute education proposals that didn’t survive the 2015 legislative session

One of the longest legislative sessions in more than a decade (possibly the longest since 2002) came to a close during the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Here’s a quick update on some last minute controversial proposals affecting public education that ultimately didn’t become law.

Charter school funding 

Sen. Jerry Tillman breathed new life back into a proposal heard earlier this session that would have diverted funds typically reserved for traditional public schools over to charter schools.

Using the ‘gut and amend’ process, Tillman shoved the complicated language into a House bill that was previously about school playgrounds a week and a half before the close of session. Loads of push back ensued from the school boards association, school administrators and other education advocates.[Continue Reading…]

wb-92920153. Will McCrory veto legislative leaders’ brazen power grab?

Last minute political slush fund bill draws opposition from across the spectrum

It should probably come as no surprise given the relentless drive of North Carolina conservatives to accumulate political power and silence their opponents, but there’s still something remarkably brazen about the late session campaign finance law change that lawmakers sent to Governor McCrory last Friday.

As reported in numerous venues (this summary by reporter Mark Binker of WRAL was one of the better ones), lawmakers appended the controversial provision onto a bill that would change next year’s primary election from May to March (itself a controversial and questionable change). The provision would allow the leader of each political party caucus of the House of Representatives and Senate (i.e. the Speaker of the House, the Senate President Pro Tem, and the minority leaders in both houses) to establish a separate, “affiliated party committee” to support the election of candidates of that leader’s political party. [Continue Reading…]

NCPW-CC-2014-08-21-SCOTUS-web4. First Monday in October: The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court term

The U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday with several cases set for argument and others waiting in the wings. The high court’s docket for the term is by no means set, and the justices are likely to consider, among others, controversial cases involving abortion rights, immigration and religious freedom exemptions from contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Here are a few of the noteworthy cases the high court has already agreed to hear.

One person, one vote

Who should states count when tabulating populations for redistricting purposes? That’s the question presented in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case that’s as much about state’s rights as it is about voting rights. [Continue Reading…]

dhhs-4005. Federal criminal probe ongoing at North Carolina’s health agency

Aldona Wos may no longer be the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, but there’s still plenty of interest in how she ran the agency.

In particular, a federal grand jury wants to know how several contracts were awarded to members of her inner circle, as well as to a consulting firm that took over much of the management of the state’s Medicaid program.

The grand jury is also looking at a troubled Medicaid billing unit that was the subject of several audits that found the supervisor wasted more than $1.6 million in unnecessary overtime and the hiring of friends, family and her church members. The federal probe was first reported by the News & Observer late Friday.

DHHS spokesman Jim Jones said the agency is complying with the federal investigation. [Continue Reading…]


lw-819Numbers released this week from the state Department of Public Instruction show the state’s teacher turnover rate edged higher in 2014-15 to stand at 14.84%

That’s slightly higher than last year’s rate, and represents 14,255 teachers who opted to leave their current position.

Over 30% of those who left the classroom reported plans to stay in education, but move to a different LEA, shift to a charter or private school, or explore a non-teaching, administrative or coaching position. More than 1,000 said they left to teach in another state.

Another 1,209 said they were dissatisfied with teaching and would be changing careers.

Districts with the highest percentage of teachers leaving the classroom included: Northampton County, Washington County, Bertie County, and Warren County. In each of those four districts the teacher turnover rate exceeded 30%.

Read the full report here.

Turover rates 2010-2015