STATE NEWS BRIEFS 01-18-18
DR. TALBERT O. SHAW, FORMER SHAW UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT, DIES
[RALEIGH] Dr. Talbert O. Shaw, former president of Shaw University, died Tuesday morning, the historically black university announced. Dr. Shaw served the school for 15 years, and is credited with leading it out of dire financial straits that threatened to close its doors. Under Dr. Shaw, the institution also raised its endowment to $15 million, renovated campus buildings, and erected the Talbert O. Shaw Living Learning Center. Dr. Shaw stepped down in 2003.
FORMER NC STATE TROOPER MUST PAY $1.2 MILLION FOR WRECK
[GREENSBORO] A deputy commissioner for the North Carolina Industrial Commission has ordered a former NC highway trooper to pay over $1.2 million to the family of a woman whose vehicle was struck by the trooper’s patrol car in May 2010. Evidence shows that former Trooper J. D. Goodnight was traveling at 95 mph when his vehicle struck a car being driven by Sandra Allmond. There was also a 9-year-old boy who was also killed in the collision. Good night currently works for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Dept.
NC TO REQUIRE MEDICAID BENEFICIARIES TO WORK
[RALEIGH] North Carolina could become one of the first states in the nation that requires Medicaid beneficiaries to work, in exchange for getting free health insurance coverage from the state. The Trump Administration has signaled that it will waive legal restrictions to the federal law governing Medicaid that currently prohibit forcing recipients from working. Kentucky was the first state last week to receive a waiver. North Carolina is the only one of ten states on the list with a Democratic governor.
ADAMS BLASTS TRUMP
OVER “S---THOLES” SLUR
By Cash Michaels
At least one North Carolina congressperson joined a plethora of critics expressing utter outrage over confirmed reports that President Trump, in a meeting with Senate leaders last week, referred to Haiti and African countries as “sh-thole” nations while expressing disdain for the prospect of more immigrants from those nations coming to the United States.
Trump reportedly expressed a greater interest in seeing people from Norway, and overwhelmingly white country, immigrate to America.
“I am personally offended and appalled by today's comments which are yet another example of President Trump's racist ideologies," said Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-12-NC) in a statement January 11th after reports of Trump’s vulgar remark hit the fan. "My concern now is solely with the millions of people and our allies who will be impacted by this administration's policies that are clearly driven by racism. These prejudiced beliefs are a betrayal of our American values and tantamount to an abdication of his basic responsibility to represent all Americans.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Adams added that she would support a call for the censure of Pres. Trump by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-NY), expected to be introduced now that Congress is back in session after the MLK holiday.
“The President’s bigoted fearmongering is not acceptable and his remarks completely warrant total condemnation and censure from Congress. American immigration policy cannot and should not be guided in any way, shape or form by racism,” Richmond and Nadler said in a joint statement last week.
Neither of Rep. Adams’ two Democrat colleagues from North Carolina – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-1-NC) or David Price (D-4-NC) issued statements weighing in on the controversy.
But here in North Carolina, criticism of the president’s acid remarks lingered at Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marches and events, even with state lawmakers on Monday.
“The importance of the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is more clear today than ever before,” said Sen. Angela Bryant (D-Nash), chair of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, said in a statement from the caucus. “This annual call to action and remembrance to oppose racism and discrimination in all its forms is needed to expose and root out the deep-seated beliefs in group domination, superiority and oppression that are still prevalent from the highest governmental levels to the personal level of our day to day interactions.”
That sentiment was shared by the new president of the NCNAACP, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.
“I really don't mean to be trite here but my mother, one of the most intelligent people I know, filled with mother-wit, would often use an economy of words to respond to such an inquiry that works quite well to sum up the derangement of the being who occupies the White House,” Rev. Spearman said. “My mother would say "…an empty wagon makes a lot of noise." In choosing my battles, I am careful not to feed into him. I'd rather ignore #45's ignorance.”
GOP FIGHTS REDISTRICTING RULING;
NCNAACP PROTEST JUDICIAL REDISTRICTING
By Cash Michaels
Not allowing yet another redistricting defeat to stop them during a crucial midterm election year, NC Republican legislative leaders, through their attorneys, have asked the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court to not only stay last week’s devastating federal court ruling striking down their 2016 congressional voting maps as “invidious partisanship” and “illegal,” but have actually also asked the High Court to reinstitute those maps for the upcoming 2018 elections.
A federal three-judge panel blasted Republican lawmakers in their over 200-page opinion last week, saying that they deliberately set out to draw 10 of 13 NC congressional voting districts heavily Republican in 2016, thus denying voters in those districts their constitutional right to elect the representation of their choice. The court ordered that the districts be immediately redrawn by Wednesday, Jan. 24th.
“I applaud the decision of the federal judges,” said Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1). The decision reaffirms my long held belief that Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly drew the congressional map with the express purpose of maximizing the number of Republican congressional districts. Republicans comprise 30 percent of registered voters in North Carolina, yet they crafted a congressional map that would ensure Republican success in ten of thirteen districts, or 76 percent. The Republicans made this case relatively simple when they admitted in court that the congressional map was drawn for partisan political advantage.”
Butterfield continued, “As the Court stated, North Carolina voters have been deprived of a constitutional districting plan for the past decade. So I urge the Republican dominated General Assembly to promptly comply with the Court’s order by developing a fair congressional map that doesn’t disadvantage Democratic voters.”
The federal court also warned that it would hire it’s own special master to draw the map if the GOP didn’t move immediately to fix the problem.
But in an emergency motion to the US Supreme Court Jan. 12th, attorneys for the Republican lawmakers petitioned that that ruling be thrown out by Monday, Jan. 22nd because the congressional maps can’t be adequately redrawn before the upcoming Feb. 12th candidates’ filing period for the 2018 midterm primaries without causing confusion.
The GOP lawmakers didn’t atop there. They also argued that the North Carolina ruling should be stayed until two other partisan redistricting cases being considered before the US Supreme Court, this time in Wisconsin and Maryland, be decided.
Last week’s federal court decision dealt with congressional redistricting, not the similar NC legislative redistricting case that another federal three-judge panel is expected to rule on any day now. That case involved racial gerrymandering, which is also unconstitutional.
Meanwhile the NC NAACP and its coalition partners, led by NCNAACP Pres. Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, demonstrated in front of the legislative building in Raleigh on Jan. 10th to protest the special session called to consider judicial redistricting, which many critics say is based on the same racial gerrymandering criteria the legislative maps were thrown out for, and is targeting many black district court judges for elimination by having them run against each other.
“Our courts should be as free as we can make them from partisan politics,” former NC Associate Supreme Court Justice Patricia Simmons-Goodson told hundreds of cheering protesters, some holding signs saying, “Fair Courts Now,’ and “No Voter Left Behind.”