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House Bill 786, the “RECLAIM NC” Act, will be up for a vote soon on the NC House floor.  In spite of the restricted driving permit that could be offered to some immigrants, it is on balance a bill that will be harmful to the immigrant community in North Carolina, and will increase racial profiling even among US citizens. In the midst of so much going on at the General Assembly, this sweeping immigration legislation has not received the attention and scrutiny it deserves.

In community forums about the bill’s provisions around the state — Hendersonville, Raeford, Charlotte, Durham, Greenville, and Wilson so far – advocates have seen that there are a variety of opinions on the bill, but that once immigrant families understood the many negative provisions in the bill and the difficulty of obtaining a “restricted driving permit” under HB 786, they did not support the bill.

Beyond being costly, increasing incarceration of immigrants, and eroding civil liberties for all North Carolinians, there are six specific reasons I believe that legislators should vote AGAINST HB 786: Read More

Student protest 2It’s beginning to look more and more like this will be a spring and summer of protest and direct action against the ongoing corporate takeover of state government. This week featured multiple demonstrations and 20 arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Raleigh.

Now, organizers are calling for another mass demonstration next Tuesday May 7 at 3:00 pm at the General Assembly. Stay tuned for more details.

Meanwhile, click here for information on how you can contribute to the legal defense fund for the students arrested yesterday. You can read more about the students’ positions and decisions by clicking here.

 

 

 

As Chris Fitzsimon noted with some biting and on-the-money humor last week, conservative state political leaders appear to have reached the point in the 2013 legislative session at which they have “jumped the shark.” For those who may not have caught the cultural reference, the phrase derives from a late-20th Century TV sitcom called “Happy Days”; the show was widely seen to have reached its nadir during an episode in which one of the main characters jumped over a shark while water skiing.

For conservatives, it’s hard to point out just one shark-jumping moment in their script, but as Chris notes, the bill to excuse the state from the First Amendment’s establishment clause seems like a strong contender.

Rob Christensen of Raleigh’s News & Observer wrote a rather curious column over the weekend in which he alleged that GOP leaders had basically gotten all the shark-jumping ideas under control, but judging by the agenda for the coming week Read More

Kieran ShanahanYou know things are sliding pretty far right when one of the truest, conservative fire-breathers can’t satisfy the people running things at the General Assembly.

As reported here last week and by lots of other news outlets, conservatives at the General Assembly are pushing legislation to seize control of the Wake County Board of Education (along with several other insufficiently compliant local governmental bodies) by reducing the Board’s authority and rigging its electoral districts and election schedule. Indeed, according to conservative school board member John Tedesco, more such proposals are on the way.

Here, however, is one of the more ironic aspects of this whole shameful set of affairs: the Wake County district maps in question — the ones being redrawn again because the Right doesn’t like the board they produced — were drawn by conservative lawyer, long-time Locke Foundation patron and current McCrory administration official, Kieran Shanahan. Read More

Just about anyone who expresses political and policy opinions in the wild and woolly world of Twitter has a “tweet” or two they’d like to take back. The demands of being current and pithy can be challenging and intoxicating.

Still, some of the stuff posted on the Twitter account of Hans von Spakovsky – the suppposed voter ID expert employed by the Heritage Foundation who will be appearing at this afternoon’s panel of experts at the General Assembly — are enough to make a person wonder about the man’s judgment and stability. (It’s also worth noting that von Spakovsky’s battles are not just confined to fighting with progressives. As this article notes, the man was recently given the boot from a Virginia elections board by a group of GOP judges and taken to the legal woodshed by former Reagan A.G. Richard Thornburg on the matter of the Voting Rights Act.  

Here are just a few of von Spakovsky’s far-ranging and rather incendiary tweets from recent months:

March 6: I’m sure Chavez got great welcome in his fiery new home from his compatriots Joseph, Adolph, & Mao;now waiting for their friend Fidel Read More