Sunday, November 24, 2019



[RALEIGH] Until a Wake Superior Court three-judge panel decides that new congressional redistricting maps are constitutional and ready to be used in the upcoming 2020 elections, candidates for Congress will not be allowed to file on December 2nd, the beginning of the filing period for the March 2020 primaries. State lawmakers recently completed and approved new congressional maps,  only to have them immediately challenged by Democrats in court as remaining partisan gerrymanders. No word on when the court will render a final decision on the maps.

[PITTSBORO] In the aftermath of the Confederate statue in Pittsboro being taken down in Chatham County, an Elon University poll shows that a majority of North Carolinians surveyed are in favor of monuments to the Confederacy remaining up on public property, despite strong opinions that they represent white supremacy. Sixty-five ph ercent of respondents approve of the statues staying out, as opposed to just 35% wanting them taken down.  Seventy-three percent, however, said that they want the statues to remain with added plaques to provide historical context.

[WHITEVILLE] A retired female prison guard has sued the NC Dept. of Correction, claiming that she was paid less than two male colleagues, even though they were all at the same level. Captain Melissa Evans retired from the Columbus Correctional Institute last April after almost 30 years, but claims she made $4,000 to $5,000 less annually than two male counterparts, according to her suit in federal court.  A spokesman for the medium-security prison said he couldn’t comment on pending litigation.


                                              SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN)

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

For N.C. A&T University, the loss is $1,621,622.00.
NC Central University is also losing, to the tune of $1,358,898.00
And Shaw University in Raleigh can certainly use the $809,352.00 it is missing out of.
In all, ten historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina, not to mention many more across the country, will not see  a penny of federal funding they are supposed to receive from the Future Act - a federal law, established in 2008,  which reauthorizes “…$255 million in critical funding for “Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the next two years, including $85 million for HBCUs,” according to Rep. Alma Adam’s (D-NC-12) office.
“This legislation provides HBCUs, tribal Colleges, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and others funding to strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, improve infrastructure and equip campuses with the technology they need to prepare students for 21st century jobs,” Rep. Adams’ office continued.
As co-chair of the Congressional Bi-partisan HBCU Caucus, alumna of NC A &T University, and former employee at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro for forty years, it was expected that Adams would be the lead sponsor of key legislation supportive of HBCUs, especially in North Carolina.
And indeed, her reauthorization of the Future Act passed the US House in September with bipartisan support just weeks before the Sept. 30th deadline, and was sent to the U.S. Senate for final approval before becoming law.
But that’s where the legislation stalled, when Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) chairman of the Senate Education Committee, stopped it from proceeding, saying that he preferred “a long-term solution,” as opposed to a reauthorization. Beyond Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), no other Senate Republicans were interested in passing the measure.
Many saw Sen. Alexander’s move as a way to gain leverage for issues he wants addressed before passage, and have asked him to reconsider in light of the damage the loss of funding would do for all 102 HBCUs across the nation.
“We should pass the bipartisan Future Act instead of playing politics with valuable and under-resourced institutions,” said ranking committee member Sen. Patty Murray (D- Wash) on the Senate floor.
Rep. Adams, who cosponsored the House bill with North Carolina Republican colleague Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro, was also not pleased.
“It is shocking and illogical that Sen. Alexander has refused to do his job and pass this vital legislation, critical for the success of HBCUs and students of color,” Rep. Adams said in a statement, adding, “This is devastating.”
The HBCUs desperately needing the funding, also weighed in.
North Carolina Central University supports the immediate passage of the Future Act that has provided critical to our university and nearly all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),” said Dr. Michael D. Page, Director of External Affairs and Government Relations at NCCU.

                                       ATTY. DARYL ATKINSON

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

You unfortunately committed a felon when you were young, and have served your time.
But according to North Carolina law, as long as you are still legally classified as a felon due to probation or parole, even after you’ve served your sentence and have been released from prison, you do not have the right to vote.
For over 70,000 formerly incarcerated North Carolinians, this is their reality. They say the law mandating their citizenship disenfranchisement is unfair and unconstitutional, and last week, a lawsuit was filed to have that 1971 measure overturned. 
“This fight is deeply personal to me,” Dennis Gaddy, an ex-felon and executive director of Community Success Initiative (CSI), a nonprofit organization that works with the formerly incarcerated to help them re-enter society, told reporters last week during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
“When North Carolina excluded from it’s democracy people with past convictions living in a community, working and contributing to society, but still under probation and parole, [the state] excluded me and the people I devote my life to serving,” Gaddy, who is also lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, continued.
For seven years, under the statute we challenge today, I lost that sacred right, even after I fully returned to society,” Gaddy added. “We serve as lead plaintiff here today to end this unconstitutional policy and bring a sense of hope to those North Carolinians who are seeking to reintegrate into our communities and society against great odds.”
CSI, along with the NC NAACP and Justice Served NC, another nonprofit advocacy group, filed the suit November 20th in Wake Superior Court against Republican legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections, “…seeking to re-enfranchise approximately 70,000 North Carolinians previously convicted of felonies who have had their right to vote taken away under an unconstitutional probation or post-release disenfranchisement law,” according to Forward Justice, a non-profit civil rights law firm in Durham.
“As the plaintiffs explain in their lawsuit, North Carolina General Statute § 13-1 violates at least four guarantees of the North Carolina Constitution: the Free Elections Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly Clauses, and the Ban on Property Qualifications Clause. The plaintiffs ask the court to enjoin, or prohibit, the statute’s restriction on North Carolinians currently under state supervision from registering and exercising their right to vote.”
Plaintiffs allege that the statute places a restriction on the electorate’s ability to vote in North Carolina based on impermissible race and class-based classifications.
“The importance of the right to vote cannot be overstated,” explained Diana Powell, Executive Director of Justice Served, “Quite simply, the vote is our voice in our own lives. It gives us a say over the direction of our elected officials and the policies that govern our daily experience. This right should not be conditioned on paying fees, restitution and fines, or other terms of probation and parole, while our neighbors and family members with past convictions are otherwise actively participating and contributing in our community, trying to raise children and grandchildren, trying to live lives that are healthy, and safe. Every week, I work with people who are in this situation – they deserve and they need a say in their own life and this lawsuit is a necessary step in our work to ensure that reality.”
“It is time for a new day in North Carolina, where we say no more to this racist disenfranchisement policy that is not only unconstitutional in its origins and impact, but that dishonors our democratic commitment to ensuring that North Carolina elections reflect the will of the people,” said Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman,  president of the NC NAACP . 
“The struggle over who has access to the right to vote has always been a fight over who is included in the ‘we’ of ‘we the people’,” explained attorney Daryl Atkinson, co-Director of Forward Justice. “Our Constitution requires that the state of North Carolina recognize that people living in our communities, regardless of past felony conviction, are a part of that ‘we’ and the votes and basic citizenship of more than 70,000 North Carolinians cannot be denied. As we seek an expedited review of our claims and full relief for those injured under this unconstitutional scheme, we are proud to represent these courageous plaintiffs, who in one voice are telling the state today that the time of illegal disenfranchisement based on conviction status is over in North Carolina.”

Monday, November 18, 2019



[PITTSBORO] After 112 years,  the controversial bronze Confederate statute in downtown Pittsboro has been removed after weeks of bitter demonstrations, and even confrontations, yielding several arrests. The monument was taken down by work crews in the middle of the night Wednesday morning when traffic was light. Published reports said about 75  “…onlookers applauded and cheered.” A Superior Court judge lifted an injunction allowing county officials to remove the statue.

[RALEIGH] The NC Supreme Court last week declined to review newly redrawn redistricting maps proposed to govern the 2020 elections, even though plaintiffs charged that at lease eight districts were will partisan gerrymanders. So now, this maps will be used in state elections in 2020. The three-judge panel that initially ordered a redrawing after finding the original maps to be partisan gerrymanders, approved the new maps, but plaintiffs appealed to the state Supreme Court, which declined to rule. Candidates can now begin filing for state office as of December 2nd.

[RALEIGH’ The Triangle Business Journal is reporting that Shaw University may soon begin selling off “non-core” properties in downtown Raleigh in order to raise more much-needed revenues to avert another “financial crisis” and “survive, stabilize and thrive.”  A special panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute recently recommended that the HBCU sell all “non-strategic” real estate assets to order to “…fund a plan for revitalization and sustainable growth.”
According to the panel, because Shaw is constantly in a state of fiscal crisis, in addition to having to maintain a crumbling physical plant, if it doesn’t address the situation by creating a vital revenue stream, it could “..cease to exist.” It needs to raise 410 million in the next six months.

                               FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

No sooner had both houses of the NC General Assembly last week voted to approve a new remedial Congressional redistricting map at the urging of a three-judge panel, did a national group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and former Pres. Barack Obama,  jump into the fray, “…supporting a group of individual plaintiffs …who are challenging the partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 2016 congressional map. The suit seeks to establish a new, fair map for use in the 2020 elections.”
The National Redistricting Foundation is supporting lawsuits against Republican legislatures across the South, including North Carolina, where plaintiffs charge African Americans and Democrats were cheated by extreme partisan gerrymandering, even to the point, in some cases, of violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“The congressional map passed by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature simply replaces one partisan gerrymander with a new one. This new map fails to respond to the court’s order by continuing to split communities of interest, packing voters in urban areas, and manipulating the district lines to provide Republicans with an unfair partisan advantage,” said Holder.
The 2016 Congressional map drawn by Republicans created ten GOP congressional districts and three Democratic districts. They were challenged in Wake County Superior Court, yielding an order to redraw the maps.
The new maps approved last week would now change the configuration to eight Republican districts and five Democratic districts, if approved by the three-judge panel. 
But the new maps were instantly challenged on Nov. 15th, and all parties involved ordered to file motions for summary judgement then, with arguments scheduled to be heard on December 2, the same day that official filing for the March 2020 primaries are to begin.



The NC NAACP has gone back to federal court in a motion filed November 15th, defending it’s original motion for a preliminary injunction against Senate Bill 824 - AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSTITUTIONAL  AMENDMENT  REQUIRING  PHOTOGRAPHIC IDENTIFICATION TO VOTE. 
The goal - to ultimately stop implementation the law before the March 2020 NC primaries, and the November 2020 elections.
In the motion filed against Governor Roy Cooper (but directed primarily at Republican legislative leaders in the NC General Assembly) in the US District Court for the Middle District, the state NAACP called SB824,  “the product of racially discriminatory intent by the majority party in the North Carolina General Assembly, which sought too preserve its legislative advantage by deterring Black and Latino voters , who tend to support the other party, from voting….” the motion contends.
“The record further demonstrates that Blacks and Latinos disproportionately lack the photo identification needed to vote under 824
And that the law therefore imposes additional and unnecessary burdens that both hinder and prevents them from casting ballots,” the NCNAACP motion for preliminary injunction continued.
“For these reasons, SB824 violates both the [1965] Voting Rights Act  and the [U.S.] Constitution.”
The motion counters defendants’ arguments for justifying the voter ID law, which was authorized in 2018 when North Carolina voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring that a such a measure be passed.
“Defendants speculate that the availability of free ID cards and the Reasonable Impediment Declaration (“RID”) eliminate the demonstrable disparate impact that SB824 imposes on Black and Latino voters.”
The NCNAACP, however, says that evidence shows that such actions “…would not have any material impact on the disparate numbers of Black and Latino voters who lack qualifying ID….and critically, add to the burdens minority voters face in casting their ballots, thereby abridging their right to vote in that manner.”
“For the reasons set forth above….,” the motion states at it’s conclusion, “… Plaintiffs request that this Court enter a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the provisions of SB 824 that impose voter-identification requirements, that expand the number of poll observers, and that loosen eligibility requirement for people who can challenge ballots in the March 2020 elections pending the outcome of a trial on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


[WASH., D.C.] Congresswoman Alma Adams [D-NC-12] issued this statement right before the Byron Allen versus Comcast Corp. case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.
“Today, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the matter of Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media — a case that implicates the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1866,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams. “This law is the foundation of all civil rights protections and represents the first time the United States began to live up to its promise to be a beacon of liberty for all people.”
“I oppose any and all attempts to weaken this law in any shape or form. To do so would further open our society to the intolerable discrimination that limits opportunity for too many, particularly African-Americans and other people of color. I urge the Court to rule narrowly in this case, and not threaten the freedoms and liberties that all Americans, of all races and colors, rightfully expect from their government.”

[BURLINGTON] The ACLU of North Carolina, ACLU and the Civil Rights Corp. filed a federal class action lawsuit this week against the Alamance county chief district and senior resident Superior Court judges, magistrates and sheriff for violating the constitutional rights of of three defendants who were subject to a cash bail when they were jailed. The suit maintains that poor people who are constitutionally presumed innocent until proven guilty, but cannot afford the cash bond imposed. The suit maintains that rich people have no problem getting out of jail, while the poor cannot.

[RALEIGH] State Supt. Of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, a Republican,  has decided after one term that he’s had enough, and now wants to serve as North Carolina’s next lieutenant governor. The current occupant of that office, Dan Forest, is running to unseat Gov. Roy Cooper in the 2020 elections, thus leaving the office open for Johnson and six other Republicans to vie for.  Five Democrats also plan to file for the office once the filing period begins on December 2nd.


                                                            PROF. IRVING JOYNER

                             WHY THE ALLEN v COMCAST SUPREME 
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

According to at least one North Carolina legal expert, black billionaire entertainment mogul Byron Allen’s $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit case against cable giant Comcast Corporation, is about much more than the former comedian being able to further line his pockets after purchasing eleven television stations, a regional sports network and the Weather Channel.
There are tens of thousands of black-owned small businesses here in North Carolina alone, along with millions more across Black America, who vitally depend on contracts with white-owned companies and government agencies. 
If you’re black, and are denied an apartment lease you believe primarily, though not exclusively because of your race, the ultimate decision in this case will affect your ability to prove that in a court of law.
What the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case Wednesday, ultimately decides, could have extraordinary ramifications for them, and civil rights overall, in proving future racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination cases.
Thus, the case is much bigger than Allen or Comcast, and is seen as an uphill battle for Allen.
Allen’s attorneys argue that Comcast, which owns numerous cable systems across the nation, as well as NBCUniversal, NBC Television and MSNBC on cable, has refused for eight years to license lifestyle cable and digital channels owned by his Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN) to run on it’s system, even though Comcast has licensed $25 billion worth of programming from predominately-white entertainment companies, including 80 “lesser-known” channels since 2010. 
Allen, recalling that one Comcast executive originally told him they didn’t want to “…create anymore Bob Johnsons (the black founder of BET),” alleges that racial discrimination is the reason, because he has met every requirement Comcast has put forth for his channels to qualify for carriage.
Comcast counters that it has a stellar record of diversity in all areas of it’s business practices, denies all claims of racial bias, and charges that Allen’s ESN, “….lacked sufficient commercial promise.”
Allen replied that Verizon, AT&T Uverse and Direct TV are carrying his channels, so apparently they don’t think so.
When Allen’s attorneys sued in federal court in 2015,  they cited a Reconstruction era law - 42 USC Section 1981 (otherwise known as 1866 Civil Rights Act), originally designed to protect freed enslaved Africans at the end of the Civil War, as key.
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens,…”Section 1981 says, in part.
Today, Section 1981 gives teeth to outlawing employment discrimination.
Atty. Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, and expert on civil rights litigation, says the Allen/Comcast case will test the “vitality” of Section 1981 like never before.
The issue has to do with whether a litigant is required to prove “intentional” discrimination or must merely show that the “effect” of the challenged action discriminated against a specific person of color. A decision that intentional discrimination is required would limit the reach of the law, but would be consistent with other similar decisions that the Supreme Court has issued in past interpretations of discrimination laws, Joyner, who is also a professor at NCCU School of Law in Durham, says.
“For example, in the voting rights context, the Court ruled that intentional discrimination was required to establish a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This decision was remedied when Congress amended the Act to authorize a finding of discrimination based upon the “effect” of the offensive conduct.
In other words, that racial discrimination was the broader ultimate impact, based on a motivational factor.
The fact that the case was heard before the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media (Allen) , in addition to lawyers from Pres. Trump’s U.S. Justice Dept. siding with Comcast against Allen - even to the point of arguing part of Comcast’s defense before the High Court - is further troubling, says Prof. Joyner and other legal experts, because it shows the Trump Administration’s zeal for dismantling traditional civil rights protections.
“You have one of the biggest media companies in the world, which has been beating up Donald Trump for racism…, “Allen told Black Enterprise magazine,”… and now they are saying, we will work together to maintain institutionalized racism in America, in this amicus brief they delivered.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American industry’s biggest lobbyist, is also weighing in on behalf of Comcast, saying, “…choices made in the workplace can be “inherently subjective,” and that by making Comcast prove a negative from the get-go — that discrimination isn’t any factor in decision-making — such a standard will impose unwarranted litigation costs and reputational harm on companies throughout the country. Given lingering racial inequity in many walks of life, a standard like the one Allen demands is seen as a threat to the establishment,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter.
Conservatives want the court to mandate that racial discrimination must be proven to be the full, 100% reason why a contract is denied to a black-owned company, known legally as the but-for causation factor, which most legal experts agree is nearly an impossible standard to prove without a defendant company voluntarily admitting to it.
Thus, the ability of African Americans to be able to prove that race is a motivational factor, not a but-for factor, in being denied a business contract, is at stake.
Atty. Antoine Marshall of Raleigh, a candidate for the NC House and graduate of Wake Forest University Law School, identifies the danger of Allen losing his Supreme Court case.
If Allen loses, and the Supreme Court finds that plaintiffs must prove but-for causation, it could prevent many cases from going forward. It would require a "smoking gun" in the pleading for a plaintiff to bring his case forward. And we know that no company or entity would be dumb enough to state "I'm doing this because you're black!" so they can avoid discrimination claims by stating any vague plausible business decision as the reason. "It's not because you're black, but we feel our customers wouldn't respond to the channels you're offering."
Atty Marshall continued, “ If Allen wins, he doesn't win his $20 billion suit. No, his case is sent back to District Court where now he gets to go through discovery (depose witnesses, get records of communications, etc.) to try to prove a racial animus component vital to his case, because as of right now he doesn't have any evidence of racial discrimination aside from raw contracting numbers.”
Allen’s legal battle against Comcast, and also Charter Communications around the same issue, has previously been dismissed by at least one federal court due to lack of evidence of intention racial discrimination.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finally gave Allen a ruling he liked, saying that he need only prove that racial discrimination was only a factor in Comcast denying him a contract - the direct opposite of what Comcast and Trump’s Justice Dept. argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Congressional Black Caucus, and major civil rights organizations (including the NAACP, which was originally a defendant in the suit because it originally supported Comcast) are not so much supporting Byron Allen’s case, but rather, what they see as an attack on Section 1981, and are urging Comcast to withdraw it’s defense, fearing the worst.
The High Court’s decision could be released early next year.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019



WILMINGTON - African American candidate Kevin Spears will be the new face on the Wilmington City Council next term after coming in second in a ten-candidate field. Spears, 36, came in second to Councilwoman Margaret Haynes with 14.4 percent per unofficial returns Tuesday evening. Incumbent Neil Anderson came in third, but only by six votes over incumbent Paul Lawler. A recount may be in the offing. All races will be finalized by Nov. 15th.
Mayor Bill Saffo won a sixth term in office, defeating challenger Devon Scott by less than 700 votes. Voter turnout for Tuesday’s municipal election was just  19 percent.
In nearby areas, Carolina Beach elected it’s first female mayor, LeAnn Pierce, as will as Lynn Barbee and Jay Healy to the Town Council.
         In noteworthy statewide contests, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel won a second term with 83% of the vote. And Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, the Queen City's first African American female mayor, was easily selected to a second term with 77% of the vote.


[GREENSBORO] It was Nov. 3rd, 1979, when demonstrators held a “Death to the Klan” rally in a public housing complex, when suddenly cars showed up, and a number of Ku Klux Klan members and American Nazis brandished weapons, and engaged in a shootout five members of the Communist Workers Party dead, and ten injured. The shootout lasted just 88 seconds, but forty years later, is infamously known as the Greensboro Massacre. A subsequent investigation proved that Greensboro police actually vacated the area before the Klan attack. After two criminal trials, no KKK member was ever convicted.

[RALEIGH] It’s back to the drawing board for Republican legislative leaders who created the “Read to Achieve” program in 2012 for the purpose of having more students reading at grade level at the end of third grade. But according to the recent 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the program ha failed to raise reading levels in North Carolina. In fact, reading scores are now lower than before the program was instituted. This far, North Carolina has spent $150 million on the program, a pet project of NC Senate Pres. Pro-Team Phil Berger.

[RALEIGH] After years of planning and discussions, ground will be broken at the intersection of Wilmington and Lane streets between the Governor’s Mansion and the Legislative Building for a park an monument honoring North Carolina’s historic African Americans. The North Carolina Freedom Park will be the first park dedicated to African Americans in the state government complex. The park was designed by the late architect Phil Freelon. Construction is expected to take a year, which means it should be open for families from across the state and nation in 2021.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

As you read this, the NC House and Senate sessions, which began on Jan. 9th,  have adjourned.
But that doesn’t mean the 2019 long session of the NC General Assembly is over. In fact, according to a joint resolution, legislators are expected back on Nov. 13th, reportedly to work on redrawing congressional redistricting maps, as ordered by a three-judge Wake Superior Court panel.
That is now creating a continuing hardship on Democratic state senators, particularly African American Senate lawmakers, who may have to jettison holiday plans with family.
“The sad thing is you can’t predict any of the times we’re going to be there such that we can plan for family stuff,” a Democratic senator opined. “My kids are grown, but I really feel bad for younger legislators who didn’t get a chance to spend they summer with their kids.”
“And now we’re approaching fall and winter holidays, and heck, we don’t know when we’re going to adjourn.”
Most people forget that the “short” session of the NC General Assembly did not adjourn for good until December 29th, 2018, and that’s because Republicans called one of several special sessions to deal with the four of six constitutional amendments that were passed in the midterm elections.
There is no hard and fast deadline for completing the maps, and yet, the December 2 filing for the March 2020 primaries is literally right around the corner, meaning that the court may have to push the primaries back some to accommodate the legislative redistricting and approval process. No one knows how long state lawmakers may take once they come back late next week.
“They don’t care,” a frustrated Democratic senator said of the Republican majority.
But once they do finish  this year,  the 2019 long session of the NC General Assembly will come to an end…right?
Wrong. State lawmakers have been told that they must come back Tuesday, January 14th to finish any “outstanding” business from this session.
In fact, among the reasons cited in the recent joint resolution to extend the 2019 regular session was “Bills returned by the Governor with his objections…solely for the purpose of considering overriding of the veto upon reconsideration of the bill.”
Democratic lawmakers who have spoken off-the-record are beyond frustrated with Republican leadership because the way it looks now, the long legislative session of 2019 actually won’t be completed until sometime in January 2020...maybe…all because the GOP is trying to figure out a way to trick enough weary Democratic senators to either be late, or absent so that Republicans can finally override Gov. Cooper’s veto of their budget proposal over the absence of Medicaid expansion, and ratify it into law.
Democrats maintain that’s exactly what happened in the state House they were led to believe that no vote would be taken on September 11th pertaining to the veto, and Republicans were able to override Cooper’s veto with a depleted number of Democratic House members present.
More than seven Democrats - the number needed to swing over and vote with Republicans for the veto override - were absent from the chambers then, creating a subsequent ruckus that actually made national news.
Now Senate Republicans only need one Senate Democrat to vote with them for the override, but Senate Dems have vowed that that is just not going to happen. Last Thursday on Oct. 31st - the day Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger [R- Rockingham] vowed would be adjournment day, state senators were called into session, and then Republicans recessed five times in hopes that at least one Democrat would fail to make it back to their seat in time for a call vote on the veto, but to the GOP’s dismay, no matter where they were, Senate Democrats made it back, standing firm not to hand Republicans another victory.
“It literally meant chasing down members,” one Senate Democrat said afterwards.
Senate Dems were warned that a vote could happen days earlier, but when it didn’t, they knew anything could happen before the Oct. 31st adjournment, and were ready.
Senate Pro tem Berger even floated the notion publicly that Gov. Cooper had threatened Senate Dems that if they didn’t hold tight, he would find primary opponents against them.
“That was a lie,” an angry, resentful Senate Democrat said of Berger’s apparent pressure tactic.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

It was last February when Wake Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins delivered perhaps one of the most shocking rulings in recent state history:
“An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution,” he ruled when he threw out the 2018 ratified voter ID,  and cap on state income tax amendments that had been passed in the 2018 midterm elections.
The ruling was music to the ears of plaintiffs, the NCNAACP, which had sued to stop the amendments. The civil rights organization had effectively argued North Carolina’s 2017 legislative maps were illegal because they had been drawn by an unconstitutional racially gerrymandered NC legislature, which did not have the authority, the NCNAACP said, to place the amendments on the ballot.
In effect, does a constitutionally illegal state legislature have the right to rewrite the NC Constitution?
Outraged Republican legislative leaders - feeling that Judge Collins had no right to rule on their constitutional legitimacy -  appealed the ruling to a three-judge panel of the state Appellate Court, and last week, both sides argued their respective side.
An attorney for Republican lawmakers maintained that it would be impractical to undo every law state lawmakers passed subsequent to being ruled racially gerrymandered by a federal court, and doing so would open a floodgate of litigation against other legislation passed by the GOP supermajority at that time.
But an attorney representing the NCNAACP countered that they are not targeting every law passed, but rather just the legislature’s right to place the six constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot for ratification by voters, four of which passed, and two of which were being challenged.
While Republicans argued that if the federal court which ruled the legislature unconstitutionally elected wanted new elections, it could have ordered new elections. But the NCNAACP attorney countered that the federal court did see the need for a new election, but couldn’t order one because there wasn’t time to reasonably hold one.
The three-judge panel was comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat. Regardless of the decision, the case is likely to be appealed to the NC Supreme Court, which has a 6-1 Democrat majority.