Monday, June 25, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            North Carolina’s two African-American congresspeople are not pleased that the US Supreme Court has twice decided not to make an important decision concerning the partisan gerrymandering of voting districts.
            Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) blasted the High Court Monday after word came down that it side-stepped the opportunity to rule on Rucho v. Common Cause, which a lower federal court inn 2016 had ruled that Republican lawmakers deliberately created 10 majority GOP congressional districts out of 13, despite voting district data proving that they didn’t have to.
            “Five years ago today, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder,” Congresswoman Adams said in a statement from her office Monday. “On the anniversary of this decision, the Court once again failed to protect our fundamental right to an equal vote by refusing to strike down extreme partisan gerrymandering.  Partisan gerrymandering gives state legislators the power to stack districts for their political gain.  This effectively gives them, not the people, the power to choose their representatives.  This is a threat to our democracy and I am appalled by the Court’s continuous failure to address it.”
            By refusing to hear Rucho v. Common Cause, the High Court effectively sent the case back to the lower federal court that determined the GOP intentionally sought to severely minimize Democratic congressional representation.
            One piece of powerful evidence that helped plaintiffs win the North Carolina case before a three-judge panel, was a statement by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) at the time the 2016 congressional maps were being redrawn.
            “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats,” Lewis, who was in charge of redistricting at the time, said.
            Ironically that redrawing was the result of a court ruling that the 2011 congressional district lines were racially gerrymandered, and thus, unconstitutional.
            This was the second time in two weeks that the US Supreme Court has decided not to wade into the partisan gerrymander issue. It refused to hear the cases involving Wisconsin and Maryland on June 18th, which many, like NC Congressman  G. K. Butterfield, had hoped would set a clear path for North Carolina’s case.
            “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court today decided to put off a decision on the question of political gerrymandering,” Rep. Butterfield said in a statement June 18th. “The Court had an opportunity to issue a landmark decision that would make it clear what constitutes unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering and how to place limits on the practice.  Instead, the Court decided to side-step the issue by sending the cases back to the lower courts, citing procedural grounds.”
            “Voters in North Carolina and across the country deserve to have a voice in the political process,” Congressman Butterfield continued, “… and, as we have seen, extreme partisan gerrymandering puts that in danger.”
On Monday, Congresswoman Adams agreed, and decried the current High Court’s record on voting rights.
            “This session, the Court has made deeply troubling decisions regarding voting rights,” she said. “Faced with this fact, Congress must step up to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.  It is past time for us to come together to ensure full voting rights for every American.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            If anyone had any doubts about how outgoing Durham state Rep. H. M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr. (D) felt about the Republican-sponsored voter I.D. referendum bill which passed second reading Monday night, 74-44, during heated debate, all they had to do was listen to his blistering words aimed squarely towards the “other side.”
            “I’m still the angry person,” Rep. Michaux said during his turn debating the bill on the House floor. “I’m the angry black man…shaped with the short degree of pity! A pity for those who still want to reap their power on suppressing one of the dear rights that this country and state enjoy.”
            Michaux was blasting what other black Democrats Monday evening called a “scheme” by Republicans to get voters in November to approve of voter ID on a public referendum without any details, only to reconvene in December and fashion a voter ID law that will be passed and govern the 2020 elections.
            Republicans counter that the people have a right to say whether they ant voter ID or not, and that 32 other states already have it. The GOP called the bill “common sense legislation.”
            “I pity you because if you can’t get it one way, you’re going to try to get it another way,” the elder, but defiant Michaux, 87, firmly admonished his House Republican colleagues, referring to the GOP’s initial 2013 voter ID law that was eventually struck down by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for targeting black voters for suppression with “surgical precision.”
            “So I pity you that you have to go through extraordinary means in order to retain the power …that voting without ID got you into power you’re in right now,” Rep. Michaux continued, adding that Republicans would rather install photo ID, knowing that many poor people do not have official photographic identification, so that their right to vote is ultimately suppressed.
            Michaux accused the GOP of being afraid to “hustle votes” to win elections, like everyone else.
            Then Rep. Michaux really rhetorically stepped on some Republican toes when he said, “I really feel sorry for you because you’ve got to try to maintain that power because you’re about to lose your party,” a veiled reference to how Pres. Trump has taken over the Republican Party across the country.
            “You don’t have a party now anymore because of what’s happening around this country!”
            That’s when one Republican legislator objected to the House speaker, who then directed Rep. Michaux to stick to debating the bill.
            Michaux rhetorically chuckled, saying he threw a rock, and someone in the crowd “Hollers loud.”
            Michaux repeated his charge that Republicans were using once again using voter suppression, whether they admitted it or not, and he asked that the bill be voted down.
            Despite their denials, at least one prominent Republican has admitted that voter ID was previously used to hold down the black vote.
            In an exclusive interview with The Carolina Timesof Durham last week, Immannuel Jarvis, an African-American and chairman of the Durham County Republican Party, said when asked to respond to the 2016 US Fourth Circuit Court ruling that the 2023 voter ID law targeted black voters with “surgical precision,” Jarvis “And I believe every word of it!”
            “I know that there are people in high places all over the country – some of them are seen, some of them are unseen – who are always devising ways to shut down minorities…,” Jarvis said. “I’ve heard this, and I believe it with all of my heart that it is true…!”
            Jarvis even went on to say that,”…I know that there were, in some places, a group of Republicans…that did do that for that expressed purpose.”
            Jarvis said it was a “year-and-a-half” before the 2013 voter ID law went into effect after it passed, but he reiterated, “ …black people aren’t stupid. We can do what we want to do. We had a year-and-a-half to get an ID to vote when an ID is free…even if racists are putting roadblocks in our way.”
            Monday evening, black House Democrats like Rep. Amos Quick III of Guilford, and Rep. Ed Hanes of Forsyth, joined their elder colleague Rep. Michaux in blasting the voter ID referendum bill, and the Republican motives for reintroducing it after the federal courts struck it down.
            “This is a phantom issue,” Rep. Hanes said of the GOP charge that voter fraud was rampant, we just can’t see it. “It’s something out of a Michael Jackson “Thriller” video.
            “Be careful not to govern by constitutional amendment,” warned Rep. Quick, who also shared data showing that in the only voter ID election North Carolina has had, thus far in March 2016, hundreds of votes were not allowed.
            The Republicans attributed that to “poll worker error.”

            [APEX] An Apex High School teacher is out of a job after a video showed him allegedly choking a student outside of a classroom in May. The teacher, Brian Kelley, resigned his position as an instructor in the Healthy Living Dept., effective June 15th, according to Wake Public Schools. Reportedly, a parent tweeted the video after the incident.

            [KINSTON] The family of  Jaekwon Williams has settled with the insurance carrier for the city of Kinston for the sum of $10 million after he nearly drowned in a lap pool there in August 2014. The boy was found at the bottom of the pool for seven minutes. Williams’ attorney says the then-nine-year-old could not swim, and precautions were not taken to make sure he was safe. He now has permanent brain damage, cannot walk or talk.

            [RALEIGH] Two community groups – Save Our Sons” and “the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Task Force” have filed a federal complaint against the Raleigh Police Dept. for a 2016 arrest involving a man named Rashon McNeil, who police apparently believed to be a suspect named “Lamar.” The RPD has not commented on the complaint at press time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018



            [RALEIGH] The NCNAACP is threatening to, once again, take the NC legislature to court to stop a recently past early voting law that would eliminate the last Saturday in the early voting period – the most popular early voting day for African-Americans in the past two years. The civil rights organization also expects to battle a new bill to put voter ID on a public referendum this November. "We believe that, most recently, the activity in the General Assembly certainly announces to us that there is a continued quest to suppress the votes of African-Americans and minorities," state Dr T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP.
            “We're up to their schemes, we're up to their wiles and we're going to do all that we can to expose them," Spearman continued. "We will use every ounce of strength and energy that we have as North Carolina NAACP to oppose this. If it means litigation, that's certainly something that we will consider."

            [RALEIGH] As the governors of Maryland and Virginia have done, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has also reacted sharply to the national crisis of children being taken from their mothers at border detention centers.
            "The cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response, and I am recalling the three members of the North Carolina National Guard from the border,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement Tuesday. The state had deployed three National Guardsmen and a helicopter to the U.S. southern border.

            [RALEIGH] A federal judge has announced that she is dismissing the lawsuit the NC Democratic Party filed against the NC General Assembly for eliminating NC judicial primaries. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles said she will release her findings next week, but that she will rule in favor to the legislature “with prejudice.” One hundred-twenty candidates filed Monday for judicial seats. Elections are scheduled to be held Nov. 6th.

                                                                KYRON HINTON

                                         TROOPERS CAMERON, BLAKE AND DAVIS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            First there was dashcam video showing at least two North Carolina State troopers, and a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy with a K-9 dog attacking Kyron Dwain Hinton on the night of April 4th in Raleigh.
            Hinton, the video shows, was unarmed, even though officers at the scene were told that he was before they arrived.
            The 29-year-old black man sustained a broken nose, fractured eye socket, and several dog bite injuries after the encounter, and spent three days in the hospital before being transported to the Wake County jail. Charges against him were eventually dropped.
The two troopers, Michael G. Blake, and Tabithia L. Davis, an African-American; along with Wake Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Broadwell, were indicted for felonies by a Wake County grand jury May 15th for their alleged excessive force on Hinton, which included beating him with their flashlights, and unleashing the K-9 dog on the unarmed man.
            Troopers Blake and Davis were subsequently fired by the state Highway Patrol last Friday.
            But now, according to published reports, there is also audio from the dashcam recording from another patrol vehicle on the scene that purportedly reveals that a Highway Patrol supervisor, Sgt. Rodney W. Goswick, may have advised troopers Davis and Blake to lie about the use of force in the incident in their official reports.
            An SBI affidavit, presented in Wake Superior Court last Friday, confirms that Sgt. Goswick told the troopers that he had reviewed the video of their confrontation with Hinton, and that “no use of force was evident.”
            Defense attorneys for the two now ex-state troopers did not object when the revelation was made during the court hearing Friday. In fact, as Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman began to reference the newfound evidence, Judge Graham Shirley cut her off, and indicated that he, in fact, had already heard the controversial audio.
            "Having reviewed the video and audio yourself and the petition, you are aware that there is discussion at the end of it regarding the filing of reports that would have reflected no use of force in this instance?" Freeman asked Judge Shirley in open court.
            "If in fact these individuals went in, as discussed, and filed reports reflecting that they had not used force…,” DA Freeman continued, “… when they clearly have otherwise in the same audio made admissions of using force, then[the law] does not protect a law enforcement officer who comes and fraudulently and falsely files reports of the incident."
Judge Shirley then recited what he says he heard on the recording.
            "[Sgt] Goswick told them specifically what to put in. Ordered them. If you listen to his order, his order didn’t tell him to write the report. His order was 'this is what we're going to put in the report, everybody agree on that', essentially," Judge Shirley said.
            Prosecutors filed motions to have access to both Blake and Davis’ personnel files for trial. It has already been reported that Blake was involved in a previous excessive force case in 2016.
            "(There are) several incidents that the state is already aware of, of prior use of force investigations involving defendant Blake.  It is the state's position, your honor, that this very well may constitute a pattern of conduct which would be admissible against him in a trial of this matter,” D.A. Freeman said.
            Judge Shirley indicated that he will consider the matter, and what personnel material, if any, would be released for trial.
 Meanwhile, Sgt. R. W. Goswick has reportedly been placed on administrative duty by the NC Highway Patrol last Friday, though no official reason was given.
            Defense attorneys for the troopers also petitioned for Kyron Hinton’s medical records to be kept intact, trying to build a case that he had a mental disorder, and
history of drug use. Advocates for Hinton says he suffers from PTSD.
            Hinton is currently facing a possible misdemeanor charge for allegedly kicking a deputy on June 2.

                                                                 SEN. ROBINSON
                                                                SEN. WADDELL


                                                             REP. MICHAUX
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            To no one’s surprise, Republican legislative leaders, in their rush to end the short session, have unveiled some last-minute laws designed to radically affect voting across the state as early as this fall’s midterm elections.
            And just like their predecessors, these voting laws are designed to impact African-American voters just enough to help the GOP maintain their majority in the NC General Assembly, critics say.
            And more are expected.
            Last Friday, the Republican-led NC General Assembly passed Senate Bill 352, which starts early voting in North Carolina this year on Wednesday, Oct. 17thand ends Friday, Nov. 2 – eliminating the final Saturday of early voting, traditionally the most popular early voting day for African-Americans.
            In the state House, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), lauded how the measure was a much-needed boon to early voting across the state.
            What we set out to do was make it more reliable and dependable. The voters in a county would know that their early voting site was open from a certain time to a certain time for 17 days.”
The bill, which was originally related to something else before it was gutted in the middle of the night and rewritten last week, also forces all early voting sites to open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all 100 counties.
            Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) lamented what she called, “…just another attack on freedom…,” when it came the hard fought battle to achieve voting rights historically.
            “This General Assembly should not be in the business of taking away the freedoms of the people of the United States.”
“We should not disenfranchise our voters in any way,” declared state Sen. Joyce Waddell (D-Mecklenburg). This bill unfairly targets poor, working class, and African-American voters.”
Other black Democrats, like Rep. H. M. “Mickey” Michaux, Jr. (D-Durham) in the state House, also fumed, especially after noting in debate that the federal courts had struck down the GOP’s earlier 2013 voter ID/early voting law, calling it “voter suppression” that targeted poor black voters who may not have photo identification, with “surgical precision.”
Michaux repeated the “suppression” charge, as he blasted House Republican colleagues.
            Republicans bristled at that ruling then, now insisting that all they are trying to do is bring uniformity to early voting. 
The measure now goes to Gov. Cooper, who is expected to veto it. GOP lawmakers are expected to override that veto, and the law may ultimately end up in court.
And per the new voter ID bill the GOP has introduced, North Carolinians want the integrity of the voting process protected, they still insist.
            Critics note, however, that while evidence of in-person voter fraud is few and far between, the same can’t be said about mail-in absentee ballots, which the referendum does not address.
            Another issue on the voting front is the US Supreme Court 5-4 upholding of Ohio’s voter purge law. The High Court sided with the Buckeye state in purging voters from its voter registration rolls who filed to vote in two consecutive federal elections, and then did not respond to notice mailed to them.
            NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), in an op-ed published last week, warned that the Supreme Court ruling now gives the greenlight to states like North Carolina to follow Ohio’s example.
            “In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor correctly points out that the conservative majority upheld a law that has been shown to disproportionately disenfranchise low-income and minority voters,” wrote Congressman Butterfield. “The statistics are stark: African-American neighborhoods in downtown Cincinnati had 10 percent of their voters purged due to inactivity since 2012 while only 4 percent of voters in a suburban, majority-white neighborhood were removed.”
            “In North Carolina, this ruling has the potential to prompt Republicans to pass additional voting laws that will disenfranchise low-income and minority voters as it has done over the past seven years,” Butterfield continued.
            “To that end, North Carolinians and all Americans should heed Justice Sotomayor’s call to action: “Communities that are disproportionately affected by unnecessarily harsh registration laws should not tolerate efforts to marginalize their influence in the political process, nor should allies who recognize blatant unfairness stand idly by. Today’s decision forces these communities and their allies to be even more proactive and vigilant in holding their States accountable and working to dismantle the obstacles they face in exercising the fundamental right to vote.”


Tuesday, June 12, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            According to NC House Majority Whip Jon Hardister (R-District 29 – Guilford), “North Carolina is one of 18 states that doesn’t have any form of identification requirements at the polls. In fact, all of our surrounding states require voter ID at the polls.”
            Rep. Hardister, the only North Carolina Republican to respond to a request for comment for this story, continued, “The purpose of voter ID is simply to protect the integrity of our elections process. Many people in North Carolina disagreed with the court ruling that struck down our voter ID laws. In other states that have passed voter ID, such as Georgia, voter participation among minorities has increased steadily. Remember that our law allowed several types of ID to suffice, and if a person did not have a valid form of ID, they could obtain one for free. In the event that someone went to the polls and forgot their ID, they could still vote by completing and signing a provision ballot.”
            Hardister, the new voter ID bill’s cosponsor, concluded, “In this case, we are offering a Constitutional Amendment to the voters so the people can decide directly whether or not they want voter ID requirements at the polls. I am confident that this referendum will pass by a strong margin on the ballot in North Carolina.”
            It should be no surprise that there are many who successfully fought the unconstitutional 2013 NC voter ID law, who have vowed to fight the newest legislative iteration introduced last week by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore.
            This time, apparently in an effort to get around any forthcoming legal challenges, House Bill 1092 – “Constitutional Amendment [to] Require Photo ID to Vote” – would amend the North Carolina Constitution to require voter photo ID. Voters in this November’s 2018 midterm elections, would be asked on their ballots – 
            “[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST – Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting.”
            But this is the part that few are paying attention to.
            If voters this November 6 vote “FOR” the constitutional amendment, the referendum is certified by the state Board of Elections within a few days, and then sent to the state Secretary of State’s Office for permanent record. According to HB 1092, the amendment “…is effective upon certification…and effective when it becomes law.
            All that needs to happen then is the GOP-led legislature to comeback after November, actually then write a new voter ID law, and pass it.
            “This latest proposal by Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly isn’t about protecting our elections.,” says Cong. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1). “It is about suppressing the vote,” noting the fact-filled conclusion by the federal court which knocked the 20-13 voter ID law, saying that it specifically targeted suppressing the African-American vote “…with surgical precision.”
            Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, told mega companies Amazon and Apple not to move operations to North Carolina because of “Legislating state-sponsored discrimination cannot continue without consequence.”
What most expert observers find interesting is that if Republicans were concerned about “…the integrity of our elections process,” as Rep. Hardister says, then they would address the mail-in ballot process, that most white Republicans, not black Democrats or poor people use during elections.
            What is also ironic is that while 34 other states, including those surrounding North Carolina, all require voter ID, a 2016 study by both The Washington Postand News 21of voting in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas since 2012, “…confirmed the academic consensus that in-person voter fraud is simply not a problem,” reported “In none of these states over the past four years has a single personbeen caught impersonating another voter in order to cast an illegitimate ballot.”
   went on to state in its Sept. 2016 article, “The vast majority of voter fraud prosecutions touted by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation involve absentee ballots that were illegally cast. And the only voting fraud schemes with the potential to actually swing elections involved mail-in ballots, not impersonation at the polls.”
            The article continued, “They are purportedly designed to thwart voter impersonation, which, again, is virtually nonexistent. None of North Carolina’s restrictions—or any of the restrictions recently pushed through Republican-dominated legislatures—would stop mail-in ballot fraud.”
“If Republicans were truly serious about eradicating voter fraud, they would severely restrict absentee voting, permitting it only when voters have a good excuse, like illness. Why don’t they do so? Because absentee ballots are widely considered to favor Republicans, just as early, in-person voting is typically viewed as favoring Democrats. The story concluded, “ Republicans don’t want to restrict a voting method that boosts their chances of winning, even though that method leaves more room for fraud.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Black Democratic lawmakers in the state House are on one page when it comes to warning all about the newest attempt by Republican legislative leaders to put voter photo ID back on North Carolina law books, except this time, they want the public to approve it by referendum so that they can come back later and write the new law as they see fit.
            “This is the same discriminatory law that was previously struck down by the courts,” Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) said in a statement, referring to when the federal courts struck down the earlier 20 13 voter ID law, saying that it was designed to suppress the African-American votes. “The attempt to bring it back as a ballot referendum is an end around in order to do something unconstitutional and harmful to free and fair elections.”
            Brockman’s fellow Guilford colleague, Rep. Amos Quick III, agreed, saying that he is “opposed to any change in voter laws that would significantly target African Americans as this voter ID provision was declaimed by the courts.”
Calling out the House bill that Republican House Speaker Tim Moore filed last week, and is expected to sale through the House Republican majority before the short session ends soon, Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, told a news conference in Raleigh Monday, “The Constitutional Amendment proposed in HB1092 should never be in consideration.”
“The 4thCircuit Court of Appeals said it best in the historic decision rejecting the last iteration of this law declaring that it “targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision [and was] enacted with racially discriminatory intent.” That victory is the law of the land. If this bill passes, it places on the ballot whether the people of North Carolina will make it harder for thousands of other North Carolinians to exercise their freedom to vote in an attempted end run around the decision of the courts, and an attempted end run around what is right.”
 “It will not succeed,” Dr. Spearman vowed. “We call on the nation to stand with us as we reject this suppression bill.”
Dr. Spearman’s predecessor as president of the NCNAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber, currently co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign, reminded all that North Carolina what Republicans claim about no protections against voter fraud at the polls is not true.
            “The truth is North Carolinians do have to provide identification to register to vote,” he said in a statement.  “North Carolinians have to give their name at the polls. North Carolinians have to sign a document at the polling places in their community before voting and commit a five-year felony with prison time if you lie.”
            “And the every vote is tallied and given a number,” Rev. Barber added.
            “Lastly there has been no finding of fraud and this process was a partisan agreement years ago,” he concluded. “There was no major cry for voter photo ID until after President Obama won North Carolina in 2008.”


            [RALEIGH] That’s to the Republican legislature cancelling this years judicial primaries, the NC Democratic Party , this week, saw no choice but to endorse several Democratic candidates for various judicial offices in hopes that voters will follow-through with their support. Well-known civil and voting rights attorney Anita Earls, founder of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and candidate for a State Supreme Court seat ; current Court of Appeals judge John Arrowood, Raleigh attorney and Campbell University Law School professor Allegra Collins for NC Court of Appeals; and Raleigh attorney Toby Hampson, also for Court of Appeals.

            [SHARPSBURG] Robert Williams, the embattled mayor of Sharpsburg, alleges that he is the victim of police bias because he’s black. Tuesday evening, in the midst of a town commissioners emergency meeting to address several issues that arose since Mayor Williams’ election in May – including the mayor firing the police chief and defining his authority – Williams reportedly came in and accused local officials and police of being racially biased towards him. He then abruptly left the meeting, pushing a TV news reporter out of the way. The night he was elected, Mayor Williams was charged with DWI, carrying a concealed weapon and two counts of resisting an officer.

            [RALEIGH] The Republican-majority in the NC House joined their GOP colleagues in the state Senate Tuesday by voting 73-44 to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of their $23.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2018-19. That budget goes into effect July 1st, and the short session of the NC General Assembly is now expected to wrap up by the end of June. But not before some mistakes are fixed. Because Republicans passed their budget not allowing amendments and little debate, some important agencies, like the Suicide Prevention Hotline, were not funded. GOP leaders pledge that that will be fixed before the session ends.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            With a projected tough 2018 midterm election ahead in November, Republican legislative leaders made sure that they greased the wheels for quick passage of their $23.9 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
            But that’s not all they “greased.” 
            Whereas in Gov. Cooper’s proposed budget (which was not considered by the Republicans at all) he allotted $2.5 million “…to bolster support services at HBCUs,” proposed Medicaid expansion for an additional 670,000 citizens, and added $9 million in community mental health funding to help combat growing the opioid crisis, the GOP virtually ignored it all, opting, instead to award the home counties of House and Senate leadership with $35 million in “special” discretionary allotments of taxpayer dollars in grants and funding.
            The result, with no amendments and no changes to the budget measure allowed because it was brought to the floor in a conference report, is $500,000 for Cleveland County (home of Republican House Speaker Tim Moore) to host the American Legion Baseball World Series, an annual event since 2011, but either sharp reductions or complete elimination of funding for needed social services for the vast majority of the state’s citizenry.
            The Democrats were not having it.
            “No Democratic input. No amendments allowed,” opined Rep. Amos L Quick III (D-District 58). This is no way to lead North Carolina.”
            Rep. Quick also voted against the GOP budget because it cut $150,000 from NC A&T University.
            “ You make sure you vote in November and encourage others to do the same to break this supermajority that allows [the Republicans] to thumb their nose at a fair, and democratic process,” added Rep. Quick, who is running for re-election this fall.
            Outgoing veteran lawmaker Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux, Jr. called what the Republicans were doing with the budget process “rape,” and he wasn’t sure whether he was in North Carolina, or “North Korea.”
            Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue blasted his GOP colleagues for not raising teacher pay by another $600 million, school safety, water quality protections and workforce training.
            Blue chided the Republicans for protecting tax cuts for the rich, instead of taking care of the most neediest and deserving North Carolinians.
            “With Democrats currently a minority in both chambers, there’s nothing we can do to stop it,” Sen. Blue said in a statement. “But this serves as a reminder of how important the upcoming elections will be in North Carolina.”
            Though he hasn’t indicated what he’ll do yet, Gov. Cooper is expected to veto the Republican budget.  
            The Republican supermajority is expected to override it if he does.