Top of the Morning

Most of the blame for the decision by legislative leaders to slam the door again in the face of the survivors of the state’s horrific eugenics program has been placed on Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. And he deserves a lot of it. 

Berger said there was not enough support in the Senate to include the $11 million for compensation for the eugenics victims in the final version of the budget.  But it didn’t appear he was too thrilled about the idea either, or he could have made sure it was part of the final agreement.

But part of this is the fault of House Speaker Thom Tillis too. Tillis certainly deserves credit for championing the issue and even taking to the House floor to speak out for it, an unusual thing for a House Speaker to do.  But compensation for the victims must never have been his top priority, his must-have provision in final budget negotiations. Read More

Here is the New York Times story on the decision by legislative leaders not to provide any compensation for the victims of the state’s horrific eugenics program.

Republicans did manage to find state money for Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, the private culinary school that former House Speaker Jim Black used to make sure received state support. 

And then there’s the tax cut for millionaires and wealthy lawyers that was supposed to go only to small businesses.

Interesting priorities on Jones Street these days.

House and Senate leaders reached a compromise budget deal late last night and have a news conference scheduled today at 11:00 to release the details. I wonder if this will be part of the discussion.

But for all the fanfare about the cutting-edge crime-fighting plan, lawmakers left out one key ingredient: money to pay for probation officers to supervise the newly released prisoners. No funding has been set aside in either the initial House or Senate versions of the budget.

 

I wonder what was going through the mind of Senator Richard Stevens last night as he joined his Republican colleagues in a vote to override Governor Perdue’s veto of a bill that allows local community college officials to refuse to make low-interest federal loans available to its students.

The original proposal to require community colleges to make the loans available came from a study commission that Stevens co-chaired and from legislation that he himself introduced in 2010.  It passed as part of the Democratic leadership’s budget that year that Stevens supported. 

Steven’s commission rightfully found in 2010 that all students in North Carolina deserved access to the low cost federal loans to help pay for their education and Stevens even pointed that out in the debate last year before inexplicably voting for the Republican legislation to allow colleges to refuse to offer the loans.

Last night Stevens, who is not seeking reelection, voted one more time to deny community college students the financial assistance that just two years ago he said was so important to their future.

The Supreme Court will issue its ruling on the Affordable Care Act in the next two weeks, with most of the attention focused on the individual mandate that requires people to purchase health care if they are not already covered.

The folks on the right continue to howl that the mandate is not only unconstitutional, it represents a Marxist overreach by the government. 

Here is a quote from a presidential candidate who disagrees.

Some of my libertarian friends balk at an individual mandate. But is it libertarian to insist that government pick up the tab for those without insurance or means to pay? An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible — and inhumane.

That’s not President Obama talking. It is  Mitt Romney just six years ago, in an email making the conservative case for the individual health care mandate that was the foundation of his health care reform plan in Massachusetts.