99 Reasons to FLIP NC
NC Republicans have passed so much extreme legislation since taking control of the NC General Assembly in 2010 that it can be hard to keep track of all of the damage they have done to our state. But hope is on the horizon. If Democrats can break the Republican majority in at least one chamber of the NCGA, a new progressive era can begin in North Carolina.
Here are 99 reasons we’re fighting for democracy and a progressive future for North Carolina.
99. To Restore Funding for the Department of Justice
In an act of petty partisanship, the NC GOP instituted a last-minute cut of $10 million to the state attorney general’s office in their 2017 budget following Democrat Josh Stein’s victory in the 2016 election. These cuts have had serious consequences for the prosecution of criminals and the enforcement of environmental regulations and consumer protections.
98. To End 50-Year Private Contracts for Toll Roads
The Republican-controlled legislature has increasingly turned to use of toll roads to avoid adequately funding public infrastructure, handing out 50-year operating contracts to the private firms that build them. Five more toll roads are planned, including three in Charlotte area.
97. To Restore the Racial Justice Act
In 2013, the GOP-controlled legislature repealed the Racial Justice Act, which provided a path for inmates on death row to avoid execution if racial bias was a significant factor in their cases. The law was originally passed in 2009 following clear evidence of racial bias in the application of the death penalty and the exoneration of a number of African Americans who had been wrongfully convicted by all-white juries.
96. Because the GOP Wanted to Immunize Drivers Who Run over Protesters
In 2017, the GOP-controlled NC House overwhelmingly passed House Bill 330, which grants civil and criminal immunity to motorists who “unintentionally” hit protestors. Following the death of an innocent protestor in Charlottesville from a vicious motor vehicle assault, the bill thankfully never became law.
95. For Justice for the Victims of Sexual Assault
The Republican-controlled legislature refused to provide funding to even begin testing a statewide backlog of over 15,000 untested rape kits containing DNA samples and other evidence collected following sexual assaults. NC now leads with the highest reported number of untested rape kits.
94. To Provide Equitable and Adequate Disaster Relief
In the words of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, “The poorest of the poor in North Carolina are the ones who are being hurt the most by these floods,” yet the GOP-controlled legislature’s response to the almost $5 billion in damages and economics losses caused by Hurricane Matthew has been frustratingly slow and woefully inadequate.
93. To Bring Back the Estate Tax
In 2013, the GOP-controlled legislature repealed the estate tax, shifting the tax burden from the super-rich to the poor by raising sales taxes to help fill the gap. The repeal is estimated to have cost our state $300 million in revenue from 2013 to 2017.
92. To End the Blind Protection of Confederate Monuments
A 2015 bill passed by the Republican-controlled NCGA and signed by Republican Gov. McCrory blocks local governments from removing or relocating confederate monuments, protecting these symbols of white supremacy and oppression and providing yet another example of the GOP-controlled state legislature’s continual interference in local decision making.
91. To Stop ‘Company’ Charter Schools
In 2017, the GOP-controlled legislature passed House Bill 800, which permit a businesses to secure up to half the slots in a local charter school for its employees in exchange for a $50k donation. This bill opens the door for companies to essentially create publicly funded private schools for their employees.
90. To Finally Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
In May 2018, Illinois became the 37th of the needed 38th states to ratify the amendment. Forty-six years after it was passed, NC should provide the final vote needed to ratify the ERA at long last.
89. To End the Politicization of Our Public University System
Over the past several years, the GOP-controlled legislature made changes that sharply politicized the UNC Board of Governors, which used its power to cripple the system’s support for civil rights, closing the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity; barring the Center for Civil Rights from engaging in litigation; and creating a new campus “free-speech” policy with strong penalties for student protestors.
88. To Stop State-Mandated Cooperation with ICE
In 2017, Republicans in the NC Senate passed legislation that, among other measures, would have removed state funding for any local jurisdiction that failed to cooperate fully with ICE. Thankfully, this legislation has not yet become law.
87. Because Corporate Pipelines Shouldn’t Have the Right to Seize Private Property
In 2018, the GOP-dominated legislature overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto to pass Senate Bill 16, which gives private pipelines that originate outside of NC the state power of condemnation. The bill paves the way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to seize private property in NC. The pipeline would require the blasting, excavation, and removal of mountaintops along 38 miles of Appalachian ridgelines as part of the construction.
86. To Extend NC’s Hate Crime Law to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Despite growing concerns about violence against the LGBTQ community, the GOP-dominated NCGA has blocked consideration of Democratic legislation that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, disability and gender to the scope of the state’s hate crimes law.
85. To End Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement
Democratic representatives have filed bills in several recent legislative sessions that would prohibit racial profiling by law enforcement officers. GOP legislators have blocked these bills from even being considered.
84. Because NC Shouldn’t Have the Least Generous Unemployment Benefits in the U.S.
Under the GOP, unemployment insurance in NC has fallen to the worst in the nation. NC’s average weekly benefit of $247 ranks dead last, and the duration of benefits ranks 49th.
83. To End Special Protections for Corporate Hog Farms
NC is home to an estimated 10M pigs, which produce waste equivalent to 100M humans, polluting ground water, rivers, and streams, and – when aerosolized – the air. In 2018, the GOP-controlled legislature stripped away the right of people living near pig farms to sue neighboring agricultural businesses even in the most egregious and blatant cases of air and water pollution.
82. To Pass Red-Flag Gun Legislation
The NC GOP has refused to consider red-flag gun legislation, which enables family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to take guns from a person who is a danger to themselves or others. Similar laws have passed with bipartisan support in many other states.
81. To Take the Opioid Crisis Seriously
In 2016, four of the top twenty-five cities in the US for opioid abuse were in NC, including Wilmington in the top spot (11.6 percent opioid abuse rate). Yet the GOP-controlled legislature’s response has been meager, and their failure to expand Medicaid has seriously exacerbated the problem. Gov. Cooper has made addressing the opioid crisis a top priority.
80. To End the Death Penalty
Since 2009, five states have abolished the death penalty given the incredible rate of wrongful convictions and the stark racial bias in its use. NC should be next.
79. Because Our Kids Shouldn’t Be Going to School in Trailers
NC currently has $8 billion in unmet needs for school construction and renovation. Yet Republicans in the state legislature refuse to provide much-needed funding – either directly or by putting a school construction bond on the ballot to let voters decide. Simply put, the NC GOP has prioritized tax cuts for corporations and the rich over adequately funding our schools.
78. To Stop Statewide Partisan Judicial Redistricting
In a haphazard process earlier this summer, the GOP-controlled NCGA overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto to change the way judges are elected in eleven urban counties. The new approach is designed to increase the number of conservative judges and decrease the number of African American and female judges. More changes are likely if we do not break the GOP supermajority in 2018.
77. To Lower Health Care Costs
North Carolinians pay more for health care than residents of any other state. The Republican-controlled state legislature contributed significantly to these high costs by failing to expand Medicaid under the ACA and by allowing others to remain on non-ACA-compliant plans, flooding our health care exchange with people with expensive chronic conditions. Subsequent losses by insurance companies have caused many to exit the exchange, leaving only one provider, and therefore no competition, in 95% of North Carolina’s counties. Health insurance could be much cheaper and more accessible for millions of residents if the NC GOP stopped working to destroy our health insurance markets.
76. To Restore the Earned-Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit provides a tax credit for the low-wage workers and was adopted on a bipartisan basis across the country as an alternative to welfare. In 2013, the GOP-controlled legislature repealed NC’s EITC, making NC the first state to do so in over 30 years, while simultaneously cutting taxes for corporations and the rich. The NC Republican Party’s values could not be any clearer.
75. To Provide Funding for Victims of Domestic Violence
In 2012, the NC legislature sharply cut funding for domestic violence programs across the state. Current funding levels make it hard for many women to find emergency housing in local shelters for themselves and their children, creating further barriers to escaping an abusive partner.
74. To Keep Unregulated Contaminants Out of Our Drinking Water
The Chemours and DuPont companies have discharged unknown quantities of the chemical Gen X, used in Teflon and other products, into the Cape Fear River, contaminating drinking water for Wilmington, Fayetteville, and other coastal areas. GenX is closely related to a chemical it replaced called C8 – which DuPont used for years even after discovering that it caused cancer, birth defects, and other serious health concerns. After multiple failed attempts to address the issue, the Republican-controlled legislature finally allocated a small amount of money to provide access to clean drinking water for those impacted by GenX contamination and to fund the state’s efforts to address emerging compounds and their threat to safe drinking water. Much more funding and regulation is needed to protect consumers from corporations that dump unregulated toxins into our air and water.
73. To Stop the Continued Weakening of our Gun Laws
Since gaining power, Republicans have worked relentlessly to weaken NC’s gun laws. In the 2017-18 legislative session, the NC House passed House Bill 746, which allows for concealed carry without a permit, eliminates mandatory training, and reduces the age limit to 18. This bill has yet to pass the NC Senate.
72. Because NC Shouldn’t Have the Lowest Corporate Tax Rate in the Country
Since taking control of the NCGA, Republicans have reduced the corporate tax rate from 6.9% to 2.5%, decreasing revenues by hundreds of millions per year. NC now has the lowest corporate tax rate in the country.
71. To End the Criminalization of Poverty
In 2017, the NCGA passed legislation making it much more difficult for courts to waive court fines and fees for those who can’t affort to pay. Without waivers, such fines and fees lead to the incarceration of the poor simply because they cannot pay, essentially creating modern-day debtors prison.
70. To Support Light Rail and Public Transportation
The Republican leadership in the NCGA passed a budget in 2018 that would make it impossible for North Carolina to secure federal funding for light rail projects, putting on hold potential light rail lines in Charlotte and the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project and causing the state to forfeit $1.2 billion in federal funding for light rail infrastructure. While the GOP-controlled legislature subsequently passed a slight fix to their budget, allowing the Durham-Orange project to proceed for now, it continues to put enormous federal resources at risk. The growing density of NC’s major metropolitan areas calls for more public transportation to reduce traffic and provide economic access to employment centers for low-income workers.
69. To Expand Mental Health Services
Since seizing control of the NCGA, Republicans have enacted large funding cuts for mental health services, including over $100 million per year from regional mental health facilities. Cutting funding for mental health services is counterproductive, leading to much larger future health care costs.
68. For Fair Representation in Washington
Republicans have used their control of the NCGA to draw Congressional maps that are extremely gerrymandered by political party. As a result, despite being evenly divided politically, NC’s congressional delegation consists of 10 Republicans and only 3 Democrats. Breaking the GOP majority in the NCGA by 2020 would mean fair maps and a likely 7-7 split in 2022 as NC adds a 14th seat due to population growth – a 4-seat gain in the US House of Representatives.
67. To Stop the Re-Segregation of Our Schools
Racial and economic segregation in NC’s schools has risen sharply over the past decade, and the GOP-controlled legislature continues to introduce new legislation that would greatly exacerbate the problem, including expanding corporate charter schools and allowing predominantly white communities to secede from current school districts.
66. To Allow Peaceful Protest at the NCGA
Since taking control of the legislature in 2010, Republican lawmakers have placed severe restrictions on protests at the NCGA, leading to well over 1,000 arrests. The right to peacefully protest our government is a bedrock of our democracy and shouldn’t be hindered at our state legislative building.
65. To Stop the Threat of Supreme Court Packing
Democrats currently hold a 4-3 advantage on the NC Supreme Court but face the threat of a GOP court-packing scheme to take over the judicial branch. The NC GOP used its supermajority in the NCGA to add a Constitutional Amendment to the ballot that would shift the power to appoint judges from the governor to the legislature and add two new Supreme Court seats – to which the GOP-controlled legislature would appoint the new justices in a lame-duck session at the end of 2018.
64. To Prevent Off-Shore Oil Drilling along the Outer Banks
NC Senators Burr and Tillis and many Republicans in the NCGA are strong proponents of drilling off the Outer Banks. With Trump’s push to expand off-shore drilling along the Atlantic Coast, we need leaders who will work to protect our coast and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
63. Because the Motorcycle Abortion Bill Shouldn’t be a Thing
In 2013, Republican legislators infamously attached abortion restrictions to a motorcycle safety bill, revealing the new language just minutes before the vote. The resulting changes in state law sharply restricted abortion access by prohibiting abortion coverage in health-care plans offered through the health insurance exchange, restricting the use of medical abortions, and requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, a measure designed to make it cost prohibitive to operate clinics.
62. To End Solitary Confinement
While North Carolina has made some progress in reducing the use of solitary confinement, which induces and worsens mental health conditions and has been increasingly defined as torture, the practice is still widespread, with some prisoners housed in solitary confinement for over a decade. Democrats in the NC House have introduce legislation to sharply curtail its use.
61. For a Living Wage
North Carolina has the lowest allowable minimum wage at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. In 2014, the GOP-controlled legislature passed a law restricting municipalities from establishing higher minimum wage standards. Over 30 percent of NC’s workforce earns a wage below $11.34 per hour and would benefit directly from a modest increase to the minimum wage.
60. Because Landfills and Farms Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Spray Toxins into the Air
In 2017, Republicans in the NC House and Senate overwhelmingly passed House Bill 576, which would allow landfills to spray leachate, or contaminated water from the bottom of the landfill, into the air over the landfill. Environmentalists believe that over 190 contaminants, including some carcinogens, would escape through evaporation in NC's humid climate, making their way into our air and waterways. Thankfully, Gov. Cooper vetoed the bill.
59. To End Class-Size Chaos
In 2017, Republican legislators enacted new rules requiring school districts to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 without providing any additional funding to local school districts to fund the required changes. In response to significant pressure as districts scrambled to meet this unfunded mandate by laying off p.e., art, and music teachers and teachers for higher grade levels, the NCGA finally provided some funding for teaching positions in 2018 – but not for the additional classrooms needed to meet the mandate. It’s time to fully fund classroom needs and end class-size chaos for good.
58. To Prevent Partisan Restrictions on Early Voting
Beginning with the 2013 ‘monster’ voter law (#31) and continuing with legislation enacted just before the 2016 and 2018 elections, the NC GOP has repeatedly enacted policies designed to make early voting more difficult by shortening the number of days and sites and, in a move targeted squarely at African-American voters, eliminating Sunday voting. We should be doing everything we can to make voting easier, not harder.
57. Because Early Childhood Education Improves Lives and Saves Money
Early childhood education is one of the most effective ways to improve lives. Not only does it help children to thrive academically, it also reduces teen pregnancy, incarceration, welfare use, and health care costs – a huge return on investment by every measure. Democrats in the NC Senate have proposed a bill that would greatly increase resources for the state’s birth-through-eight early learning system.
56. For Net Neutrality
Now that net neutrality is no longer protected at the national level, state level protections are needed. Democrats in the NC Senate have proposed legislation that would reinstate net neutrality protections in North Carolina.
55. To Bring Back North Carolina’s Middle Class
North Carolina’s economy is one of extremes, with growth in both high- and low-wage jobs over the past 15 years but an actual decline in the number of middle-class jobs, despite the state’s rapidly growing population. While Republicans in the NCGA have prioritized tax cuts for large corporations and the super wealthy, they have left not only the poor but also the middle class behind.
54. To End Racial Gerrymandering for Good
In 2011, Republicans in the NCGA drew maps for Congress, NC House, and NC Senate that were all subsequently ruled unconstitutional, because they illegally packed African-American voters into a small number of districts, thereby diluting the power of their votes. In each instance, the NCGA was eventually forced to re-draw their maps, but only after long legal delays that allowed multiple elections to occur with unconstitutional maps, essentially rewarding the NC GOP for their blatant racism.
53. To Keep Our Schools Safe
While mass school shootings occur on an almost weekly basis across the country, the NC GOP has refused to take any concrete action to keep our children safe. In addition to common-sense gun legislation (#13), Gov. Cooper and Democrats in the NCGA have proposed adding significant funding to the budget for safety upgrades to public schools and college campuses; to add 500 additional school counselor, psychologist, and nurse positions; and to pay for additional school resource officers.
52. To Provide Reproductive Choice in Insurance Markets
Over the past six years, the Republican-controlled legislature has placed severe restrictions on insurance policies covering abortion for public employees and those receiving coverage through the ACA’s health care exchange. In both cases, abortion can be covered only if the woman's life is endangered or in cases of rape or incest. North Carolinians should receive full reproductive health care coverage regardless of the way in which they receive their health insurance.
51. To Keep Our Judicial Elections Non-Partisan
The GOP-controlled legislature eliminated public funding for judicial elections in 2013 and made them partisan in 2017, reversing a movement that began over twenty years ago to take politics out of judicial elections to keep our courts fair and independent.
50. To Stop the GOP’s Anti-Immigrant Legislation
Republicans in the NCGA continue to propose and pass toxic anti-immigrant legislation. In 2015, Gov. McCrory signed House Bill 318, preventing counties and municipalities from curbing local law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE (#88), requiring state and local government agencies to use E-Verify, and barring government agencies or law enforcement from using consular or embassy documents to verify someone's identity or residence. In the most recent legislative session, Republicans in the Senate passed SB 145, which would require local cooperation with ICE and turn highway patrol officers into immigration officers, while Republicans in the House passed HB 35, which would require almost all businesses outside the domestic and farm sector to use E-Verify, locking many immigrants into these low-wage sectors. Thankfully neither bill has yet become law.
49. To Address the Growing Need for Affordable Housing
Over 500,000 North Carolinians already pay more than half their income in rent. As rent continues to rise in NC’s major metropolitan areas, the NCGA needs to allocate more funding for affordable housing and, at the very least, end restrictions on local governments that prevent them from using common strategies to promote the construction of affordable housing. Democrats in the NCGA have proposed Senate Bill 748, which would sharply increase funding for affordable housing.
48. To Hold Duke Power Accountable for Polluting Our Water
Duke Energy has 110 million tons of coal ash – which contains incredibly high levels mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals that cause cancer and neurological problems – stored in leaking ponds around the state. In 2014, 39,000 tons spilled into the Dan River near Eden, coating the riverbed in toxins and contaminating ground and surface water. Despite acknowledging leaks at eleven plants across the state, the company faces few consequences. In April of 2018, Duke Energy agreed to pay $156,000 for polluting ground and surface waters around three power plants, an amount comparable to a couple of days’ salary for the company's CEO, Lynn Good.
47. To Raise Teacher Salaries
Teacher salaries in North Carolina have ranked among the worst in the country since the GOP took control of the NCGA – anywhere from 39th-47th depending on the year. After accounting for inflation, salaries today remain about $5,000 less than in 2008. NC routinely loses teachers to other nearby states that pay their teachers more. Higher teacher salaries attract better teachers and improve student performance, both of which are badly needed in North Carolina.
46. To Increase Female Representation in Raleigh
Women currently make up only 25 percent of our representation in the NCGA. There are many outstanding progressive female candidates running for the NC House and NC Senate in 2018, providing a chance to sharply increase the number of women in the NCGA and build a bigger bench of experienced female leaders for future statewide races.
45. To Restore Funding for Our Public Colleges and Universities
Due to massive cuts by the GOP-controlled NCGA, state funding for public colleges and universities is 17% lower per student today than it was in 2008. As a result, tuition has increased at 2.5 times the rate of inflation over this same period. Our public universities have long been a crown jewel of our state. It’s time to restore the funding needed to keep them distinguished and affordable.
44. To End the GOP’s Abuse of the Constitutional Amendment Process
The NC GOP has used its supermajorities to place six deceptively-written Constitutional Amendments on the ballot with the aim of seizing the power of appointments for state courts and the board of elections from the Governor; disenfranchising a large group of voters – disproportionately poor, African American, and elderly – by requiring a photo id to vote (#25); and capping income taxes well below what they had been for the highest tax bracket prior to 2013. Amendments to the state constitution that benefit the people of North Carolina should be made following thoughtful deliberation and debate. Instead, the NC GOP has abused the process for blatant partisan power grabs.
43. To Protect Food Assistance for the Working Poor
North Carolina currently ranks 41st in the country in food insecurity, with over 15% of households unable to provide adequate food for one or more of its members; yet, the GOP-controlled NCGA has long sought major cuts to NC’s food stamps program, eliminating access for 105,000 participants in 2015, and threatened to make an additional 133,000 participants ineligible in their proposed 2017 budget. Besides reducing hunger, food assistance has been shown to sharply improve educational and other life outcomes for children.
42. To Stop Fracking in North Carolina
In 2014, Gov. McCrory and the GOP legislature pushed through new rules to allow fracking in NC. The rules were not only overly weak in protecting public health but also completely failed to address air quality concerns, chemical disclosures, or compulsory pooling, an extremely controversial practice in which landowners who do not wish to lease their mineral rights are forced to accept drilling anyway. The GOP legislature also overrode all local moratoriums on drilling – like those in Lee and Chatham Counties – denying a voice to the people most affected by the associated air and water pollution. Fracking has not yet started in NC due to legal issues with the GOP’s maneuvers. NC should be focused on the plentiful sources of renewable energy available in our state and end our obsession with fossil fuels.
41. Because NC Shouldn’t Be the Only State Where No Doesn’t Mean No
In 1979, the NC Supreme Court ruled that a person can't be charged with rape if the partner initially consented to sex but revoked consent after sexual intercourse begins, even if the sex turns violent. Republican legislators have refused to bring to a vote a Democratic bill that would strengthen NC’s sexual assault laws.
40. Because the Wealthiest North Carolinians Didn’t Need a 29% Income Tax Cut
Over the past five years, Republicans have cut the top income tax rate from 7.75% to 5.5%, a 29 percent cut for the wealthiest North Carolinians, while eliminating the earned-income tax credit (#75) and enacting regressive sales taxes.
39. To Stop the Privatization of Our School System
Over the past seven years, Republicans in the NCGA have taken many steps towards privatizing our school system, including expanding a private school voucher program (in which more than 90% of the schools receiving money were religious schools), funding the rapid growth of charter schools (up 75% since 2010), and requiring mandatory public school takeovers by corporate charters. All of these programs divert resources from traditional public schools, leaving funding for public schools in NC near the worst in the country (#29).
38. To Stop the GOP’s Endless Unconstitutional Legislation
Since gaining supermajorities in both chambers of the NCGA in 2012, Republican lawmakers have passed a continuous stream of unconstitutional legislation, including their monster voter law (#31), racially and partisan gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts (#54), attempts to seize power from the executive branch (#27), and so on. The GOP-controlled legislature’s power grabs have been so extreme that it was even sued by a governor from the majority’s own party in McCrory v. Berger. Exasperatingly, the GOP often benefits from its unconstitutional legislation during the course of the lengthy legal battles required to contest their illegal laws – while taxpayers pay the literal price, footing the bill for tens of millions in legal fees.
37. To Protect Reproductive Choice
Since taking control of the NCGA in 2010, the GOP has passed a long list of restrictions on reproductive choice including severe limits on insurance coverage for abortion (#52), mandatory long waiting periods and restrictions on medication-based abortion (#63). These new laws, along with the fact that 90% of NC counties do not have any facilities that provide abortions, severely limit reproductive choice for many North Carolinians, especially those with limited ability to travel.
36. To Ensure Fair Elections
In the days immediately following Roy Cooper’s election, the GOP-controlled legislature moved to strip the Governor of his authority to appoint a majority on the State Board of Elections – authority that had been in place for nearly 50 years. The NC GOP has passed three different bills with this aim over the past two years, the first two of which were declared unconstitutional, and proposed a Constitutional Amendment for the 2018 ballot, all with the goal of moving authority to appoint election boards from the Governor to the state legislature.
35. To Protect Our Coast
From supporting off-shore drilling (#64), to banning the study of sea-level rise, to overturning a popular local ban on plastic bags in the Outer Banks, to failing to adequately address coastal erosion, the GOP-controlled state legislature has put our coast at risk. This failure to protect our beautiful coast is a tragedy for future generations.
34. To End Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering
In 2011 and again in 2017, NC GOP lawmakers used detailed board of elections data to draw congressional and legislative maps that are among the most politically gerrymandered in the history of the United States. As a result, although NC is roughly evenly divided, Republicans hold a 10-3 advantage in US Congress and supermajorities in both the NC House and NC Senate, allowing the NC GOP to pass extreme and anti-democratic legislation with no concern about the governor’s veto. The only sure way get fair maps in NC is for Democrats to reclaim the majority in at least one chamber of the NCGA for a seat at the table when maps are redrawn following the 2020 Census.
33. To Fully Repeal HB2 and Let NC Cities Write Their Own Labor Laws
In addition to enshrining LGBTQ discrimination in state law, HB2 also restricts municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies of any kind, setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labor, or making certain regulations for city workers – in yet another of example of legislative overreach into local affairs by the NC GOP.
32. To Fully Repeal HB2 and End LGBTQ Discrimination
Proposed and signed into law in less than 12 hours, HB2 became widely known for the restrictions on transgender bathroom use that made our state “a pioneer in bigotry”. But its impact is much broader. The bill also bars NC cities and towns from enacting anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, making it legal for private companies throughout the state to fire anyone because they are gay. Full repeal of HB2 is not enough. We need full legal protection from discrimination for LGBTQ North Carolinians across our state.
31. Because the NC GOP Passed the Most Restrictive Voting Law NC since Jim Crow
In 2013, the GOP-controlled legislature passed the “monster voter law,” which cut early voting by a week, eliminated out-of-precinct voting, and required voters to show specific types of photo ID – restrictions that election board data showed would disproportionately affect African Americans and other minorities. In declaring the law unconstitutional, the Federal Appeals Court called it “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow” and charged that Republican lawmakers had targeted “African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
30. To Improve the Health of Pregnant Women and Babies
North Carolina ranks #43 in the country in the fraction of women aged 18-44 who have health insurance, so it may not be surprising to learn that NC women get below-average care during pregnancy and that the health of babies born in NC ranks near the bottom in every category, including #41 in low birthweight, #44 in neonatal mortality, and #43 in infant mortality. The NC GOP’s failure to expand Medicaid (#22) and sabotaging of our health care exchange (#77) has contributed greatly to the poor health and mortality of pregnant women and babies in NC.
29. Because NC Shouldn’t Be Anywhere Near the Bottom in Public School Spending
While education spending in other states has rebounded since the recession, the GOP-controlled legislature has failed to increase spending in NC. In 2016, North Carolina’s per pupil school spending was still below 2008 levels and ranked 45th in the country, significantly below much poorer states like South Carolina, Kentucky and Louisiana. According to one recent study, North Carolina’s public schools have dropped from the Top 20 in the county to 40th due largely to insufficient funding.
28. To Decriminalize Marijuana
Despite 80% support by North Carolinians for medicinal use and 45% for recreational use, NC remains one of 20 states that totally restricts the use of marijuana. Democratic bills introduced in the 2017-18 legislative session would decriminalize possession for personal use, but the NC GOP has completely blocked these bills. Given the strong racial bias in the enforcement of drug laws, decriminalizing marijuana would be a major step towards racial justice in NC.
27. To Protect the Separation of Powers
Having created legislative maps that are extremely gerrymandered in its favor, the Republican legislature moved to weaken the executive and judicial branches of government and concentrate more power in the legislative branch. Their power grab has included: attempting to take over the state board of elections (#35), creating new obstacles to the Governor’s appointment power to fill positions in the Executive Branch, forming unconstitutional commissions to manage pollution from coal plants and fracking (#38), redrawing judicial maps (#78), and interfering with judicial elections. We need to protect the basic checks and balances on our state government.
26. To Make Smart Public Investments for a Growing State
Since taking over the NCGA in 2010, Republican legislators have sharply reduced government spending on everything from schools to infrastructure, failing to make the investments necessary for the next generation of North Carolinians. State spending as a fraction of total personal income has declined over 20% since 2008 as a result of continued tax cuts that have largely benefited corporations and the wealthy. It’s time to invest in North Carolina’s future.
25. Because Voter ID Has Nothing to Do with Voter Fraud
The Republican Party has created and promoted a false narrative about widespread voter fraud to stoke fear and galvanize support for voter ID while hiding their true intent: to disenfranchise African-American, poor, and elderly voters. After their 2013 monster voter law (#31) was declared unconstitutional due to the precision with which it targeted African-American voters, the NC GOP placed a Voter ID Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November. If it passes, North Carolina will join Mississippi as the only states to enshrine this odious form of systematic disenfranchisement in their constitutions.
24. To End NCGA Restrictions on Local Decision Making
Because local governments in North Carolina ultimately get much of their authority from the state, the GOP has been able to use its unchecked power at the state level to intervene in local affairs in myriad ways, placing restrictions on anti-discrimination (#33), minimum-wage (#32), environmental (#35), natural-resource (#42), housing (#49), education, and election laws.
23. To Restore Progressive Taxation
Over the past six years, Republicans have used their supermajorities in the NCGA to sharply cut taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else. Regressive changes include reducing the corporate tax rate to the lowest in the country (#72), repealing the estate tax (#93), cutting the top income tax rate by almost 30 percent (#40), eliminating the earned income tax credit (#76), and expanding sales taxes to services like car repair that are disproportionately used by the poor. Taken as a whole, the changes have left the total tax bill of low- and middle-income households almost unchanged, while dramatically reducing the taxes paid by the top 1%.
22. For Medicaid Expansion
The failure to expand Medicaid under the ACA is one of the most self-defeating and harmful policies inflicted by the GOP-controlled state legislature on the people of North Carolina. Not only would Medicaid expansion provide health insurance for nearly 500,000 low-income households and their children – saving more than a thousand lives per year – it would also create an additional 35,000 jobs (including a large number of middle- and high-wage jobs in the health care sector) and expand NC’s economy by over $2 billion. The resulting increase in tax revenues would be more than enough to offset the state’s expenses, with the federal government covering 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion. The lack of insurance coverage for the working poor in NC has greatly exacerbated the opioid crisis (#81), led to higher costs in NC’s health insurance exchange (#77) and contributing to extremely poor outcomes for pregnant women and babies in NC (#30). It’s this simple: expanding Medicaid would save thousands of lives and improve life for millions of North Carolinians.
21. For Transparency in Government
Over the past several years, the GOP-controlled NCGA has increasingly moved to using secretive practices for writing and passing extreme legislation. Bills – most famously HB2 (#33) – are often written behind closed doors and then passed within hours, with no time for public comment or for lawmakers to even read the final bill. In 2018, the entire state budget was written in secret by the GOP and passed without allowing any amendments or debate. It’s time to restore transparency and thoughtful debate and deliberation to the NCGA.
20. Because People Should Matter More Than Corporations
Across the broad spectrum of public policy, the NC GOP has favored corporations over North Carolinians. From cutting corporate taxes to the lowest rate in the nation (#72); to protecting polluters like corporate hog farms (#83), Duke Energy (#48), and Chemcour (#74); to expanding corporate charter schools, the NCGA has placed the profits of big corporations above the health and welfare of the people of North Carolina.
19. To Support Renewable Energy
Since taking control of the NCGA, the Republican legislature has stifled renewable energy growth, causing NC to fall behind other states in creating sustainable energy markets. From repealing tax credits for rooftop solar and electric hybrids to the most recent moratorium on new wind turbines, their resistance to renewable energy continues to hurt North Carolina.
18. For Fair and Independent Courts
Over the past five years, the GOP-controlled legislature has passed an increasingly alarming series of legislation aimed at taking control of the courts, first making judicial elections partisan (#51), then changing how judicial elections work in urban counties (#78), and, most recently, putting a deceptively-written Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that would move authority to appoint judges from the executive to the legislative branch (#44). If the 2018 election were to go their way, there would be a serious threat of GOP Supreme Court packing (#65). It is not hyperbole to say that the independence of our courts hangs in the balance on November 6th.
17. To Restore the Social Safety Net and Provide a Way Out of Poverty
Since gaining control of the NCGA in 2010, the GOP has shredded North Carolina’s social safety net, cutting unemployment benefits to the worst in the country (#84), reducing eligibility for food stamps (#43) and child care subsidies for the working poor, failing to expand Medicaid under the ACA (#22), and even overriding Republican Gov. McCrory’s veto to add drug testing to the Work First welfare program. The NC GOP’s policies have made it much more difficult for NC families to climb out of poverty, and, as a result, poverty levels in NC remain higher than before the recession. We can do so much better for the people of North Carolina.
16. For Criminal Justice Reform
While North Carolina’s overall incarceration rate has stabilized over the past decade, enormous racial disparities persist (the ratio of the black incarceration rate to the white incarceration rate is 4.66), and fully 25% of those incarcerated are in jail awaiting trial, a number that has quadrupled since 1988. Incarceration rates could be reduced dramatically by decriminalizing marijuana (#28), ending the criminalization of poverty (#71), preventing racial profiling by law enforcement (#85), and reforming the pre-trial bail and bond systems. In so doing, North Carolina would also become a more just, equitable, and productive society.
15. To Protect Our Air, Water, and Land
Over the past eight years, the NC GOP has overseen a complete dismantling of North Carolina’s environmental protections with devastating effects for our environment, natural habitats, and public health. The long list of GOP achievements includes failing to clean up drinking water sources for the Triangle; removing wetland protections across the state; failing to protect ground and surface water from coal ash (#48) and agricultural (#83) and chemical pollutants (#74); reversing the ban on fracking (#42); reducing the number of air quality monitoring stations; and cutting the budget for conservation land trusts by 80% – among many others. It’s time to bring back the progressive environmental policy that once distinguished our state.
14. For Better Jobs and Better Pay
While high-income earners continue to thrive in North Carolina’s economy, the GOP-controlled legislature has completely failed the poor and middle class. Median household income has actually fallen by over $1,000 in North Carolina since 2007. By comparison, it has grown by 14-15% in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia over this same time period. NC has become a national model of failed GOP tax policy, where large tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy have failed to produce the kinds of jobs and pay that benefit all North Carolinians.
13. For Common Sense Gun Laws
In response to widespread mass shootings, Gov. Cooper and Democrats in the NCGA have proposed several common-sense gun policies, including banning bump stocks, requiring a background check to purchase an assault-style weapon, and red-flag gun legislation (#82). Similar legislation has been enacted on a bipartisan basis in many other states; yet, the NC GOP refuses to consider even the most widely supported ideas for reducing gun violence.
12. Because We Should Welcome Refugees and Immigrants
As the Trump administration takes direct aim at reducing the number of non-white refugees and immigrants – whether documented or not – in our country, North Carolina should resist these racist and xenophobic federal policies to the maximum extent possible. Instead, the GOP-controlled legislature has pursued a toxic immigration agenda (#50), putting immigrants and other ethnic and racial minorities at risk of increased profiling and harassment and raising fear and anxiety for many families. We need immigration policies for our state and country that are fair, humane, and not racially motivated.
11. To Expand Access to Affordable Health Care
Under GOP one-party rule, North Carolina has one of the lowest rates of health insurance coverage (#30) and the highest health care costs (#77) in the country, with devastating consequences for many NC families. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (#22) would provide insurance coverage for an additional 500,000 residents, lower prices for almost everyone, and cost the state nothing. It has taken deliberate action on the part of the GOP to make health care so unavailable and unaffordable in NC. There is no defense for such morally reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible behavior.
10. To Strengthen Public Education
Since seizing control of the NCGA, Republicans legislators have worked to dismantle public education in North Carolina, inflicting incredible harm on a system that was once a crown jewel of our state. While starving the public school system as a whole for resources (#29), cutting teacher pay (#47), placing unfunded mandates on school districts (#59), and failing to provide adequate facilities (#78), the NC GOP has simultaneously transferred funding to 75 new charter schools and set aside funds to support a rapid expansion of private school vouchers (#39). Funding for NC’s public colleges and universities has also been cut by nearly 20% per student since 2008 (#45). All of this has happened while the GOP has enacted enormous tax cuts for corporations (#72) and the wealthy (#23). It’s time to restore the funding that our public education system needs to thrive.
9. To Protect Our Constitution
As the six amendments on the ballot in 2018 prove (#44), North Carolina’s Constitution is extremely vulnerable to Republicans’ supermajorities in the NCGA. The NC GOP is more than willing to deceive and mislead the public to seize more power for themselves and systematically disenfranchise voters. The only sure way to protect our constitution is to defeat all six amendments and break the GOP supermajority in the NCGA on November 6th.
8. For Fair Maps
While the US Supreme Court threw out the congressional and legislative maps the GOP-controlled legislature drew in 2011 because of racial gerrymandering (#54), current maps remain extremely gerrymandered by political party (#34), giving the GOP a 10-3 advantage in D.C. and supermajorities in both the NC House and NC Senate. To get truly fair maps, Democrats need to take back control of at least one chamber of the NCGA by 2021 to have a seat at the table when new maps are drawn following the 2020 Census. Beyond 2021, North Carolina badly needs to establish an independent commission to draw congressional, legislative, and judicial maps that ensure fair representation and create true political competition in as many districts as possible.
7. Because Love is Love
Since taking control of the NCGA in 2010, GOP lawmakers have done everything in their power to block the extension of civil rights to members of the LGBTQ community, including passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2012, preventing local governments from banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity with the infamous House Bill 2 (#33), and blocking the expansion of hate crime legislation to sexual orientation and gender identity (#86). We must fight for equal rights and protections for all North Carolinians.
6. For Equal Rights for Women
North Carolina has a long way to go to ensure the full political, social, and economic equality of women. Political representation remains low (#46), the NC GOP continues to place severe restrictions on women’s health insurance (#52) and reproductive (#37) choices, we badly need more funding to support victims of domestic violence (#75), and the gender wage gap remains at 20% due to weak equal pay policies. Perhaps most emblematic of where North Carolina stands on women’s rights is that NC remains one of only thirteen states not to have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (#90).
5. For Racial Equity and Justice
From voter suppression efforts that targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision” (#31), to policies that undermine education (#10) and re-segregate our schools (#68), to extremely regressive changes to the tax code (#23) and the shredding of the social safety net (#17), the NC GOP has consistently enacted legislation that disproportionately harms African Americans. We need a legislature that will fight for racial equity and justice.
4. To End One-Party Rule in Raleigh
In 2011, the NC GOP used its control of the state legislature to draw maps that were extremely gerrymandered by both race (#54) and political party (#34). These unfair maps have delivered supermajorities for the GOP in both the NC House and NC Senate ever since (#8), rendering the Governor’s veto power useless. With unchecked power, Republican have not only enacted an extreme right-wing policy agenda (#2) but also attacked the basic democratic institutions of our state. It’s long past time to end one-party rule in NC.
3. To Protect the Sacred Right to Vote
From the racist and unconstitutional monster voter law of 2013 (#31) to the newly proposed constitutional amendment to require a yet-to-be-specified form of ID to vote (#25), the GOP has attacked voting rights, aiming to make it difficult for African-American, poor, and elderly North Carolinians to vote, thereby cementing their supermajorities in the NCGA for decades to come. We should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Fifty years ago, many civil rights leaders across the South gave their lives to ensure the right to vote. We need to protect that sacred right.
2. To End the GOP’s War on the Poor
From failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (#22), to cutting funding for public education (#29), to shredding the social safety net (#17), all while providing huge tax cuts for the rich (#23), the NC GOP has passed a wave of regressive policies over the past decade that can only be described as a war on the poor. We need make sure the NCGA works for everyone – not just wealthiest among us.
North Carolinians deserve a government that truly represents the people. From drawing unconstitutional congressional and legislative maps, to creating a structural political advantage, to using their ill-gotten supermajorities in the NCGA (#8) to seize power from the executive and judicial branches of government (#27), to continuous efforts to suppress voting (#3), the GOP-controlled legislature has attacked the basic democratic institutions of our state at every turn. It’s time to restore a functioning democracy to North Carolina.