The General Assembly has returned for another mini-session, this one scheduled to last a couple of days. (The one in early November concerned itself with revising the newly re-drawn districts for the US House of Representatives and the state Senate and House after it was discovered that thousands of NC residents had been completely left out of the new districts. Whoopsie.)
Two issues of particular importance are likely to come up in this week.
1) The effort to gut the state’s Racial Justice Act, which permits those sentenced to death to use statistical evidence to show that race figured in their sentence. The NC Council of Churches worked hard for this important legislation and strongly opposes weakening or gutting it before it has been given a chance to prove itself worthwhile. For more about the challenge and about reasons to oppose the challenge, see this article from the News & Observer.
To support the Racial Justice Act, contact your state senator immediately (by e-mail or phone) and ask him/her to oppose any effort to weaken it. Also contact the Governor to encourage her to veto the bill if it should pass.
2) An effort to override the Governor’s veto of S 709, the bill that would open the door to hydraulic fracking for natural gas and offshore drilling for oil in NC. The Senate has already voted to override. A House vote could come in this mini-session. For more information, see the position paper from the Council’s Rural Life Committee.
To oppose offshore oil drilling and onshore fracking, contact your state representative immediately and ask him/her to support the Governor’s override of S 709.
To Contact your State Legislators
By telephone: All legislative offices can be reached through the legislative switchboard – (919) 733-4111.
By e-mail: Legislative e-mail addresses follow the pattern of <first name dot last email@example.com>. (Example: Speaker Thom Tillis’ address is Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net.) If you have any question about the spelling of your legislator’s name or whether your legislator’s e-mail address uses a nickname, you can confirm addresses at the General Assembly’s website. Click on “House” or “Senate” and look for Member Lists.
To find out who your legislators are, go to the General Assembly’s website. You will find a variety of ways to search, including through your nine-digit ZIP Code. (And there’s a link to the Postal Service if you don’t know yours.) For those without Internet access, local Boards of Elections can be asked for assistance.
To Contact the Governor
By phone: (919) 733-4240
By Fax: (919) 733-2120
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
– George Reed, Executive Director