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As expected, Republican members of the North Carolina House Finance Committee quickly approved a massive overhaul of state unemployment insurance law this morning. In just over an hour and half, the Committee explained, debated, considered amendments to and received limited public comment on a 68-page measure that imposes the most draconian cuts to unemployment insurance that experts believe has ever happened in the United States. Gluttons for punishment can watch a video the whole embarrassing show at WRAL.com.

There were so many errors, untruths and offensive moments during  the meeting that it’s hard to know where to begin in describing it. Here are just a few: Read More

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Mitch SetzerIf you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the folks now running the North Carolina General Assembly in action (like House Finance Committte co-chair Rep. Mitch Setzer – pictured at left) and have a little time at mid-morning today, check out WRAL.com at around 9:15. You’ll get to see what it looks and sounds like when a committee with 50 or so members tries to digest and amend a 68 page bill that will impose the most draconian cuts in unemployment insurance in modern U.S. history — all in about an hour and a half.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll even let members off the public speak for a minute or two each before they jam the thing through on a voice vote.

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Dan Crawford of the N.C. League of Conservation Voters distributed the following statement this morning: 

RALEIGH, N.C. – In anticipation of the NC General Assembly’s return on January 30, an analysis of the 2012 Conservation Legislative Scorecard reveals a disturbing trend in regard to the new leadership and the environment. The scorecard published by NC League of Conservation Voters gives each state legislator a score of 0 to 100 based on his or her votes on key environmental bills during each legislative session.

The newly appointed leaders of House committees affecting the environment earned an average of 28% in the 2011-12 session, well below the overall House average of 42%, itself down from 67% in the 2009-10 session. Key roles in the House include the Environment Committee, the Transportation Committee, the Public Utilities Committee, the Regulatory Reform Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.

More disturbing than the House scores, Read More

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Take The 350 ChallengeCommunity leaders challenge Gov. McCrory to live on reduced unemployment benefits for one week

Group says Governor has no idea how much pain he will cause lower and middle class families with new law.

Raleigh, NC – A group of community leaders and advocates are calling on newly-elected Governor McCrory to literally put his money where his mouth is and commit to live for one week on the maximum unemployment benefit of $350 that is being proposed by the North Carolina General Assembly. Read More

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Looking to get a handle on the kinds of initiatives the 2013 session of the North Carolina General Assembly is likely to feature? Then, checkout Tuesday’s meeting of the Revenue Laws Study Committee. It is expected that the committee will take up (and perhaps formally endorse) a proposal drafted mostly in secret with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce late in 2012 that would eviscerate the state unemployment insurance system and impose massive reductions in benefits and eligibility of a kind never imposed before anywhere else in the United States.

If the committee balks and evidences at least some caution, this could be an indication that there is some hope for the 2013 session in some areas. If it plows ahead as expected, you’ll have a strong signal that the Pope-ites are in full control and fully committed to repealing decades of progress in North Carolina. 

Stay tuned.