Archives

Uncategorized

Fort BraggThere’s word from the General Assembly that the consumer finance industry is unhappy with state law designed to help protect active members of the military from exploitation. In case you’ve forgotten, the consumer finance industry runs more than 400 storefront shops throughout North Carolina that make loans featuring high interest rates and fees. The loans are often packed with junk insurance products and customers are also routinely “flipped” from one loan to another.

The provision at issue (G.S. 53-180.1) was enacted last year as part of legislation that gave the industry the authority to significantly raise the amounts it charges for loans. While failing to protect the rest of us from these predatory lending practices, the General Assembly was shamed into including some modest protections for military service members, whose paychecks are often targeted by the industry. The provision requires lenders to make sure that they do not extend loans to lower ranking enlisted personnel without at least notifying their commanding officers. It also prevents lenders from trying to collect on loans via phone or email from service members or their spouses while the service member is deployed to a dangerous area.

Now, less than a year after the protections were enacted, it appears that at least some lenders want the law (or its enforcement) weakened. For some time, it has been rumored that industry lobbyists have been working on such an effort and recently, insiders report, an industry representative confirmed the rumor.

In addition to raising the real prospect that junior service members could be exploited before heading off to Afghanistan or some other dangerous venue, such a potential change also raises important political issues in the Senate race between Senator Kay Hagan and House Speaker Thom Tillis. Read More

Uncategorized

Kay HaganAs part of announcing her candidacy for reelection yesterday, Senator Kay Hagan weighed in on the ongoing Duke Energy coal ash disaster that continues to unfold just a few miles down the road from her Greensboro home. You would have thought it would have been a moment on which the embattled Senator would have seized in order to pillory her Republican critics. Heck, it’s not that hard to envision a scenario in which she would have announced her campaign wearing waders in some Dan River muck!

Here’s what she said, instead, about the coal ash crisis as reported by WRAL.com:

“We’ve got to have oversight on the handling, the disposal and the storage of coal ash. When you think that just a broken pipe has caused this amount of leakage, and we know that we have 36 coal ash ponds in North Carolina, it is a serious issue, and we need to study it.”

I’m sorry, Senator. Did you say we need to study the matter? Study??!!

Earth to Kay Hagan: We know what to do about this problem. It’s already being done in South Carolina for Pete’s sake!  North Carolina doesn’t need more study; it needs immediate action and leadership from public officials who care more about the people and environment of the state than the big money campaign contributions of Duke Energy.

One would have thought that a veteran politician like Senator Hagan — someone who’s been in public office for 15 years — would have at least grasped the politics of the current situation (even if the science and policy matters escaped her). Unfortunately (and quite amazingly), this does not appear to be the case.

Uncategorized

One of the nation’s most influential and widely respected pollsters has new and encouraging data for Senator Kay Hagan and all those who support background checks for gun purchasers. In a poll released yesterday, Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling (see the video below) reported the following:

“PPP’s newest round of polling finds that Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu helped their cause for reelection with their recent votes in support of background checks for gun sales. Read More

Uncategorized

Kay HaganRaleigh’s News & Observer reports that she has endorsed masrriage equality.

The article quotes Hagan as saying:

“I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions. But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today. I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren. After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry. It’s time to move forward with this issue.”

Good work. About time.

Uncategorized

Just released this afternoon….

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 February 2013

The NC NAACP once again urges Senators Burr and Hagan to help put an end to the historic exclusion of African American judges from the US District Court for the Eastern District in North Carolina with the pending appointment by the President. There has never been, in our history, a African American Judge on the bench in US District Court for the Eastern District of NC. The NC NAACP issued a letter to the Senators on October 25, 2011 urging the Senators to do the same. And on January 23, 2013 we wrote a private letter to the Senators, this time requesting a meeting to discuss the issue further. Senator Hagan has responded. However we are respectfully awaiting a response from Senator Burr’s office to schedule a meeting. We are now writing Senator Burr publicly with hopes that he will take the time to meet with civil rights leaders representing many of his constituents in NC before any decisions are made

We look forward to both a response for a meeting and for your efforts to right the historic wrongs when it comes to appointments to the US District Courts in North Carolina.

You can read the January letter by clicking here.