MONDAY 5/1/2017

FEDERAL:

URGENT: STOP CONGRESS FROM TAKING HEALTHCARE AWAY FROM MILLIONS OF PEOPLE

URGENT UPDATE (4/29): House GOP worked hard this weekend to get enough votes to pass the AHCA on Monday, May 1st. They are very close to succeeding, call, email, fax this morning and let your Representative know that this is unacceptable, and that you will work very hard to see they lost their job if they pass this bill.

House Republicans are attempting to revive the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their purported replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The original draft of the AHCA failed to make it to a floor vote because it would have caused 24 million people to lose insurance coverage while making coverage unaffordable for millions of others.

Despite the bill's initial failure, House Republicans Mark Meadows and Tom MacArthur have proposed an amendment to the AHCA in the latest attempt to salvage the ill-conceived bill. The amendment would leave in place the AHCA's rollbacks of Medicaid expansion and premium increases for middle-class and older insurance buyers while giving states the option to end ACA protections for people with preexisting health conditions. Under this amendment, insurers could again refuse to insure people because of their medical history unless states prohibit doing so.

The amendment would also let states waive the ACA's community rating requirements, meaning insurers could charge people higher premiums for health coverage based on their health. Finally, the amendment would let states waive the requirement that insurance plans cover essential health benefits, including maternity care, mental health care, prescription drug coverage, and more, while letting insurance companies once again set lifetime spending caps on these benefits.

Call your House Member.

SCRIPT:

Hi, my name is ___________ and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I'm calling to oppose HR 1628, the American Health Care Act. The latest amendment to the bill strips away essential protections for people with preexisting conditions while doing nothing to fix the AHCA's original problems. The ACA is the law of the the land and Congress is responsible for ensuring the existing health care system works. I will hold YOU accountable for preserving quality, affordable coverage under the ACA. Stop wasting time and taxpayers money on Trumpcare and work to make the ACA better than it already is.  Thank you.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

 

DEMAND A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIA

Urge members of Congress to demand that the Attorney General appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, any collusion or contacts with the Trump campaign, and Trump’s political and financial connections to Russia. In a disturbing new development, it has come to light that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation is in a “woeful state,” and hasn’t even begun to look into the President’s ties to Russia or a assign a single staffer with prosecutorial or investigative backgrounds to the case. The Committee has conducted no interviews with key Trump campaign connections and is working with “casual informality.” This is unacceptable.

Call your three members of Congress.

 

SCRIPT:

Hi, my name is ___________ and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I’m calling to ask [Rep/Sen____] to demand that the Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the president, his ties to Russia and Russian interference in our election. I’m very disturbed to hear that the Senate’s investigation hasn’t assigned any full-time staff and hasn’t even begun to review the President’s ties to Russia. Also, I’m very concerned about Mary McCord’s departure from the DOJ. How can we trust the investigation if no neutral people are left in the DOJ? Does Senator/Representative _______ support this action? Please take down my contact information so that my Representative can get back to me on this very important issue. Thank you.

 

Senator Richard Burr
Washington, DC: (202) 224-3154

Winston-Salem: (336) 631-5125

 

Senator Thom Tillis
Washington, DC: (202) 224-6342 

High Point: (336) 885-0685

 

HOUSE:

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Clemmons, NC (336) 778-0211

Washington, DC (202) 225-2071

 

Rep. Ted Budd

Advance, NC (336) 998-1313

Washington, DC (202-225-4531

 

Rep. Mark Walker

Greensboro, NC (336) 333-5005

Washington, DC (202) 225-3065

 

______________________

STATE:

The Carolina Coup Continues

Remember the special legislative session in December, with its infamous power grab? Many of the bills passed then are being challenged in court, but last week the GOP-led legislature took the coup to new lows. Today, rather than focus on specific bills, we are going to give broad outlines about some of the bills passed that fundamentally alter the balance of power in the state, all toward the legislature. The NCGA has not released a calendar for the coming week, and will not be in session until Monday afternoon. So our calls to action are simple. First, we are going to give you a homework assignment to learn about a small section of the North Carolina Constitution that we think is relevant, and that the GOP is violating. Along with this is a snippet of NC state law that explains the process through which the public must be notified of legislative sessions. Judge for yourself whether the shenanigans of last week, when calendars were posted minutes before sessions that lasted until nearly midnight complied with this law. Next, we are going to thank the selfless and principled Republican judge who stepped down in an effort to block one of the court power grabs.

Bills that strip executive power:

A raft of bills transfer power away from the governor and to the legislature in a host of ways, from appointments to boards of elections, courts, the school system and much more. Individually, each of these bills may seem arcane and small, but taken together, they represent a death by a thousand cuts. Make no mistake: the state GOP is waging partisan war against Cooper, but its actions amount to a near-total usurpation of power by the legislature. Rather than framing this as GOP vs. Cooper, we suggest casting the debate as one of the GOP-led legislature vs. the people and the state constitution. Particularly insidious is the effort to take control over the courts, since this branch of government has been the last defense against a complete takeover of the state. The founders of our nation intended for there to be a balance of power, with each branch checking the others. This fourth-grade civics lesson seems to have been lost on the General Assembly’s leadership.

Bills that strip power from municipalities:

Last year, the legislature attempted to radically alter the Greensboro City Council in ways that would have essentially neutered the power of that Democratically-controlled city. After a protracted legal battle, Greensboro has prevailed for now, but the legislature is at it again, with bills that would strip power from entities as diverse as the Asheville City Council to the Carteret County School Board. And in an effort to ride the sickening wave of anti-immigrant sentiment fanned by the Trump administration, a host of bills would attack cities that were perceived as “sanctuaries.” Winston-Salem, which is proposing a mild “welcoming city” resolution was singled out in floor debate about such a bill. It is bitterly ironic that the party of states’ rights and local control when it comes to the federal government is taking such an Orwellian stance toward municipalities. This smells of hypocrisy and and pure Machiavellian control.

Homework assignment: NC Constitution and state law reading

Read this, and learn for yourself why so many of the bills passed or proposed recently are flatly unconstitutional, both at the state and federal level:

Article III, section 19:

Vacancies.

Unless otherwise provided in this Article, all vacancies occurring in the offices provided for by this Article shall be filled by appointment of the Governor

Article II, section 24:

Prohibited subjects.  The General Assembly shall not enact any local, private, or special act or resolution:

(a) Relating to health, sanitation, and the abatement of nuisances;

(i) Remitting fines, penalties, and forfeitures, or refunding moneys legally paid into the public treasury;

143-318.12.  Public notice of official meetings, section 2:

For any other meeting, except an emergency meeting, the public body shall cause written notice of the meeting stating its purpose (i) to be posted on the principal bulletin board of the public body or, if the public body has no such bulletin board, at the door of its usual meeting room, and (ii) to be mailed, e-mailed, or delivered to each newspaper, wire service, radio station, and television station that has filed a written request for notice with the clerk or secretary of the public body or with some other person designated by the public body. The public body shall also cause notice to be mailed, e-mailed, or delivered to any person, in addition to the representatives of the media listed above, who has filed a written request with the clerk, secretary, or other person designated by the public body. This notice shall be posted and mailed, e-mailed, or delivered at least 48 hours before the time of the meeting. The notice required to be posted on the principal bulletin board or at the door of its usual meeting room shall be posted on the door of the building or on the building in an area accessible to the public if the building containing the principal bulletin board or usual meeting room is closed to the public continuously for 48 hours before the time of the meeting. The public body may require each newspaper, wire service, radio station, and television station submitting a written request for notice to renew the request annually. The public body shall charge a fee to persons other than the media, who request notice, of ten dollars ($10.00) per calendar year, and may require them to renew their requests quarterly. No fee shall be charged for notices sent by e-mail.

Thank you note to Judge J. Douglas McCullough

This conservative Republican retired before one of the new laws could take effect that would have shrunk the number of judges on the Court of Appeals. The legislature was trying to limit the governor’s influence on the court, but McCullough, who was set to retire soon anyway, vacated his spot, allowing Cooper to appoint a judge of his choosing. This is an all too rare example of a public servant putting principle over party, and we want to thank him for it. 

Background: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/04/24/north_carolina_republican_judge_resigns_in_protest_of_his_own_party_s_attack.html

Please send a postcard of thanks to:

Douglas McCullough

℅ Office of the Clerk

Court of Appeals

One West Morgan Street

Raleigh, NC 27601