In case you missed it, Dr. Silva Mathema of the Center for American Progress has authored a brief but scathing report of the new law targeting immigrants that Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign this afternoon in Greensboro. According to “North Carolina’s Dangerous Stance on Immigration Threatens Community Trust,” House Bill 318 has the potential to do enormous damage:

“The bill, known officially as the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act,” includes two provisions that would damage trust between the state’s extensive immigrant community and local government agencies, including law enforcement. H.B. 318 would prohibit North Carolina cities from passing community trust policies, known as sanctuary city ordinances, that seek to build trust by limiting local law enforcement’s cooperation with the federal government over civil immigration matters. The legislation would also prevent law enforcement and other government agencies from accepting identification cards issued by foreign governments, an option many law enforcement agencies use in their routine policing.”

The bill is, according to Mathema, of the same ilk as Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 of a few years back:

“The country has been down this road before and has seen the results of similar legislation in a number of states. In 2010, Arizona passed S.B. 1070, which authorized local law enforcement to check an individual’s immigration status during routine policing and raised concerns over institutionalized racial profiling. As a result, Latino businesses began to leave the area, and trust between law enforcement and the immigrant community eroded. A 2010 report by the Center for American Progress estimated that Arizona lost at least $141 million in revenue from conference cancellations in the first year alone. The Supreme Court struck down much of S.B. 1070 in 2012, and lower courts have followed suit by striking down similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Utah.

Although distinct from S.B. 1070, North Carolina’s H.B. 318 poses similar dangers, including having a chilling effect on immigrants and their loved ones. Local law enforcement officials rely on all residents for information to solve crimes; policies that weaken this relationship dissuade individuals from cooperating and ultimately make law enforcement more difficult. Given North Carolina’s history of active participation in programs that entangle local law enforcement in efforts to enforce federal immigration law, the state’s immigrant communities know all too well the harmful impact that these policies can have on their communities. Local government and law enforcement agencies have spent many years building positive relationships within the growing immigrant community; H.B. 318 would severely undermine these efforts.”

Dr. Mathema’s bottom line analysis: Read More

Pat McCrory 4

Gov. Pat McCrory

Donald van der vaart

NCDEQ Sec. Donald van der Vaart

In the through-the-looking-glass world inhabited by modern American politicians and activists of the right, climate change and the contributing role played by humans and their consumption of carbon-based fuels is a left-wing myth. Like the fierce tobacco defenders of the last century who for so long loudly proclaimed that the jury was still out on cigarettes and health, there is scarcely a prominent conservative politician with the courage to acknowledge the obvious — even when they know better. With rare exceptions — Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire are two of the most prominent to publicly break with Koch-funded orthodoxy — denial and obfuscation are the name of the game.

Some politicians, however, seem to want to have it both ways. Take North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for example. Since taking office, McCrory has regularly regurgitated the official right-wing lines that there is no conclusive evidence, that current warming may be the result of other natural forces, blah, blah, blah.  Recently, the Guv has even gone so far as to join forces with other conservative governors to oppose the Obama administration’s late and inadequate efforts to combat climate change — an EPA initiative known as the Clean Power Plan.

But here’s the weird thing: In the process of decrying the Clean Power Plan, McCrory has acknowledged the role of humans in climate change. This is from the McCrory administration’s official statement explaining its battle against the Clean Power Plan (in which it claims the issue is already being addressed at the state level):

“For the first time in more than 18 years North Carolina’s air quality meets all federal clean air standards and the state has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 25 percent since 2005, all without federal intervention.”

Did you catch that? The McCrory administration is already taking credit for “reduced greenhouse gas emissions.” Earth to the Governor: Greenhouse gases are what cause climate change. That’s what makes them bad and worth reducing. Don’t take my word for it; read Merriam-Webster: Read More


You’d think if he was going to sign a bill that’s been widely condemned in editorials across the state and decried by every major environmental organization in North Carolina, he’d at least have the courage to stand up, face the cameras and explain himself.

Unfortunately, that’s not how Pat McCrory rolls. Instead the Guv simply buried the Polluter Protection Act in a list of several bills signed late last Friday when the media had already pretty much packed up shop for the week. All in all, it was a fitting way to usher in a new and hugely destructive law that was crafted in secret by corporate lobbyists and rammed through the General Assembly with as little public input as possible.

The Monday newsletter of the League of Conservation Voters explains once more what’s in this mess of a new law:

Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday left no doubt where he stands. By signing HB 765, the 2015 “rules reform” bill now widely known as the Polluter Protection Act, McCrory acted to protect polluters at the cost of greatly increased danger to the health, clean water, and clean air of all North Carolinians. Read More


In case you missed it, columnist Susan Ladd of the Greensboro News & Record hit a home run this week with an outstanding essay entitled “We are citizens of North Carolina, not customers.” Here’s Ladd:

“I’m not a customer.

I thought it was an odd choice of words when Gov. Pat McCrory first said on the campaign trail three years ago that he intended to treat the citizens of North Carolina like ‘customers.’

McCrory has used that metaphor frequently during his term, most recently lauding the state’s customer service improvements at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

You can use the customer metaphor for residents and taxpayers, but it is a shallow and ultimately unsatisfactory interpretation of the relationship between people and the government of the state in which they live.

A customer is someone who receives a good or service in exchange for monetary compensation.

It’s clear now what the governor meant when he talked about customers. If you carry the metaphor to its logical conclusion, you can see he has done exactly as he promised.

Your best customers get the best service and the best deals. In politics, those are the customers who can make generous campaign donations, such as oil and gas companies that want to reap the state’s natural resources through fracking and offshore oil drilling. The residents of beach communities and counties targeted for fracking — who only pay taxes, after all — got the bum’s rush.

People without food, the people without jobs, the people without insurance were left to struggle on their own. Because businesses get to choose their customers, I guess that’s the equivalent of ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service.’”

As Ladd goes on to explain, she is:

  • “a resident of Greensboro, and as such I should be able to have a voice in how my leaders are elected.”
  • “a citizen who has the rights and protections that belong to all Americans.”
  • “a constituent, a part of the whole that makes up North Carolina’s voting population.’
  • “a stakeholder in the natural resources of the state, part owner of the water, land and air, who deserves more of a say about how those precious resources are used than the companies who want to exploit them without regard to damaging the environment.”

And finally, here’s her excellent conclusion:

“McCrory made a big splash last week about streamlining and improving customer service at the DMV. That’s great, but making it easier to renew my driver’s license is a poor trade-off for selling the rest of the state to the highest bidder.”

Read the entire piece by clicking here.


Another day, another average North Carolinian removed from an event featuring the state’s governor in a public venue for no good reason. The Kinston Free Press has the latest story:

“Tharol Branch, a candidate for Kinston City Council, was arrested Wednesday after being removed from an invitation-only speaking event for Gov. Pat McCrory at Lenoir Community College.

Branch said he came to the college to see McCrory speak after his own event was cancelled to accommodate the governor.

Richy Huneycutt, director of marketing, recruiting and communication for LCC, said no one at the college has any record of an event scheduled to take place Wednesday, save for McCrory’s appearance.

No classes were cancelled for the event either, she said.

After arriving at LCC, Branch said he was welcomed by staff to the event and allowed to enter after signing in.

After speaking with a number of city and state officials, Branch said he was surrounded by police and told he needed to leave.

Branch said he thought the event was open to the public, and he felt slighted that people who weren’t state officials were allowed to be at the event while he was forced to leave.

Huneycutt said everyone attending the event was there either by invitation or by RSVP.

‘I’m a candidate for city council. If there is something the governor is saying to my community a week before I could possibly be elected, I think that should be valid for me to hear,’ Branch said.

‘This is one more sign of being excluded from things we should be included in.’”

You can read the rest of the story by clicking here.

As N.C. Policy Watch readers will recall, this is hardly the first time in which McCrory has pursued a confusing and unnecessarily restrictive policy for an event at a public venue.

The bottom line: While the Guv and his security people are certainly entitled to some leeway in crowd control at events, the very least they could do is publicize some clear, reasonable (and constitutional) rules ahead of time so that these unnecessary and absurdly heavy-handed ejections of good people come to an end right away.