Putting a Face on Legislation
Our state and nation are in a time of civil discord. My own preacher, the Rev. Betty… Continue Reading
Yesterday morning the Senate Rules Committee unveiled a committee substitute for SB 10 which would effectively kick off all of the members of several influential commissions, including the Environmental Management Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission, the Utilities Commission, and the Lottery Commission, and then enable the General Assembly and the Governor to appoint new members.
The challenge of faith communities is not to deduct a set of moral principles from scripture that houses a model for a fair tax system. There are no formulas or bureaucratic maps that arise out of biblical texts that we might apply to our current context and tax system that will magically make the system fair. Rather, the biblical texts provide a framework to understand the Christian witness towards the common good and a Christian ethic of love and care for the vulnerable and exploited.
The General Assembly on Monday overrode Governor Perdue’s vetoes of three bills. By doing so they gutted the Racial Justice Act, revised the budget for 2012-13, and moved ahead with fracking. The outcome was not in doubt in the Senate. In fact, several Senate Democrats had excused absences and didn’t even show up for the votes. The drama was in the House.
The News & ObserverDeath penalty opponents and advocates of the state’s Racial Justice Act have embarked on an intense petition drive, letter-writing and email campaign, targeting five Democrats in the state House of Representatives.
The goal is to persuade the representatives to sustain the governor’s Thursday veto of the legislature’s overhaul of the Racial Justice Act.
The General Assembly leadership is committed to having this short session truly be short, and there’s talk of adjourning by early July. In fact, an adjournment resolution was introduced yesterday with a target date of June 19. This session, which starts in May of even-numbered years, is primarily to tweak the second year of the budget adopted the year before. In addition, certain bills which were introduced last year (mostly ones which passed in one house) can be considered. For a new bill to be introduced this year, it must fit into one of a few specific categories, with most new bills having to do with budgetary matters or coming from a study commission which met during the interim. Finally, pending veto overrides are also thought by the House and Senate leadership to be eligible for consideration.
The Spring 2012 Church Council Bulletin includes photographs from the Council’s recent Critical Issues Seminar, an update on items of interest in the General Assembly’s short session, a statement on the passage of Amendment One, the Council’s spring appeal, and more.
Durham Herald-SunThe ballot referendum that could cement the definition of marriage as “the only domestic legal union” into the state Constitution has turned a political debate into a religious one — and is mustering people of faith across North Carolina to the polls.
Durham Herald-SunPilgrim United Church of Christ will host a community series this month on “Faith and the Marriage Amendment,” about the proposed North Carolina Amendment 1. If the ballot measure passes May 8, the only valid domestic union recognized by the state will be marriage of a man and a woman.
Read more: The Herald-Sun – Pilgrim UCC hosting series on Amendment 1
The Washington PostWILMINGTON, N.C. — As the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, North Carolina is the next battleground, with religious groups on both sides bracing for a high-stakes fight on May 8.
Against a recent string of gay-marriage victories in California, Washington state and Maryland, North Carolinians will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment on May 8, the same day as the state Republican primary.
Same-sex marriage has been illegal in the Tar Heel State since 1996; Minnesota also has a marriage amendment planned for a vote in November.
IndyWeek.ComGovernor Bev Perdue kicked off the 2012 budget debate today — and (unofficially) kicked off her 2012 re-electon campaign — with a call for increased school funding. Specifically, she wants 3/4ths of that temporary 1-cent sales tax for education back temporarily.
Raleigh News & ObserverA gathering on a hillside outside a church in West Raleigh late Sunday marked the one-year anniversary since a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., left a federal judge and five other people dead and 13 injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Organizers used the occasion to highlight a shifting focus in what has been a decades-long effort to promote legislation aimed at limiting people’s access to guns.
Instead, there is a growing focus on using churches and other faith-based efforts to promote a change in how the American culture views guns, they said. It’s also an acknowledgement that work in legislatures across the country have been met with resistance to many anti-gun measures.
Raleigh News & ObserverThe N.C. Council of Churches has been working for decades to improve conditions for farm workers in our state. Sadly, too much remains unchanged over that time. Field and poultry workers do backbreaking work, but they don’t have the same protections on the job that everyone else has. Now with the recent filing of a complaint against the N.C. Department of Labor, it appears that even the few laws on the books designed to protect farm workers have been systematically ignored (“Dirty jobs,” Oct. 15 editorial).
NC Policy WatchIt’s no wonder why our political leaders are scrambling to find solutions, even while bumping heads in the process. Both sides want what’s best for America, but the process through which we work to achieve that has become increasingly contentious and politically charged. And I can’t help but believe that our own personal experiences and beliefs, not the persuasive views of political pundits, ultimately determine on which side of an issue we fall and what we deem worth fighting for.
Let me share a story.
As the “Super Committee” begins to negotiate a deal to cut $1.5 trillion from our national budget, the faith community wants to be sure that our North Carolina congressional delegation – Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan as well as our 13 representatives – remember the calling of the God of all creation to provide for the common good. As the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, a native North Carolinian and senior pastor emeritus of New York’s Riverside Church reminds us, budgets are moral documents that determine who eats and who starves.
We are here this morning in support of NC WARN’s requests for safe, healthy and cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to be stipulated as conditions for the proposed merger between Duke Power and Progress Energy. NC WARN, and all the other organizations and individuals testifying, are sharing their expertise and submitting reports that clearly demonstrate a road to the most cost effective solutions for a 21st Century Energy Economy revolving around a comprehensive plan for achieving the maximum attainable energy efficiency in our state.
The General Assembly met for three days last week in its second mini-session following adjournment of the regular long session. This session was supposed to be the “Constitutional Amendments Session,” but when the dust cleared, only one constitutional amendment had been approved – the one which defines marriage so as to exclude people who are gay or lesbian not only from marriage but also from civil unions or other similar committed relationships and which could also prevent local governments and even private companies from granting partner benefits to anyone not in a two-gender marriage
The North Carolina General Assembly has met for its third time this year. This was to be the “Constitutional Amendments Session,” but when adjournment was reached yesterday, the only constitutional amendment which had been passed was the one excluding people who are gay or lesbian from marriage, something that is already statutory law in our state.
The General Assembly returned to Raleigh in July for what was, in reality, Round Two of its 2011 Long Session. The primary tasks were to take up overrides on bills Governor Perdue had vetoed and to adopt redistricting plans for U.S. Congressional districts and for the state House and Senate.
The 2011 session of the General Assembly adjourned around midday on Saturday, June 18. Legislative leaders and the media are trumpeting the efficiency of the session and the fact that this is the earliest adjournment since 1973. But that is misleading since they aren’t really finished with their work. The adjournment resolution calls them back into a special session on July 13. At that time, they will take up the thorny issue of redistricting as well as controversial bills from the just-ended session which remain in conference committees and any bills vetoed by the Governor.
Budget Edition: Last week the chairs of the House Appropriations Subcommittees started revealing their plans for the 2011-13 budget. Not surprisingly, their plans differ in significant ways from the budget proposed by Governor Perdue. The most important difference is that the House leaders will not approve the continuation of any of the emergency tax increases enacted in 2009.
The drumbeat of bad bills continues. Suffice it to say that it’s a tough year for those of us who have advocated for public policy decisions promoting social justice, protecting vulnerable people, and caring for God’s creation. We can’t respond to every bad idea or bad bill. On many of these issues, we feel like we are butting our heads against a wall. Our tendency may be to throw up our hands in despair.
With a $3 billion state budget deficit and high unemployment, you would think that lawmakers would have better things to do than invent meaningless new amendments to the state Constitution. Freshman Representative Kelly Hastings (R-Gaston) has introduced legislation for a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of North Carolina.
Governor Bev Perdue on Saturday vetoed H 2, the misnamed “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill. (It should be called the “Freedom to be Uninsured and Unable to Get Health Care” bill.) The bill was an attack on federal health care reform and purported to remove North Carolinians from the mandated purchase of health insurance, which is the basis of federal reform which will move millions of uninsured Americans into the ranks of the insured.
The 2011 General Assembly convened Wednesday for its long session. The politics of this session will be unlike any we have ever known because Republicans are now in the majority in both the House and Senate, and the Governor – with a veto – is a Democrat. We’ve not been here before.Also in this Raleigh Report: Photo ID to Vote, Health Care Reform, State Budget and more.
The Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HK on J) rally and march will take place on February 12 in Raleigh. A coalition of nearly a hundred social justice and community development organizations, including the North Carolina Council of Churches, have banded together to promote this event for the last several years.
The MIC @ 50 conference will take place on January 14-16, 2011, on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. There is no charge to attend. The purpose of the event is to bring the MIC back into the spotlight as a key factor shaping our society and public life.
I grew up in the South where my Church seldom addressed justice issues. Most of the sermons were about personal behavior and the plan of salvation. In fact, there was a common vocabulary used in churches that suggested Christians should not be “worldly.” It was as if the task of the Church was to save people from the world rather than transform the world. This was a theological way of escaping the justice issues of our racist, segregated society.
In his life and mission, Jesus saw himself as actively preparing and serving the kingdom of God on earth, to
be as it is in heaven. He saw all of his disciples in the same light and as having the same purpose. Nowhere
in the prayer instructions of Jesus is the focus on getting the earth–or ourselves–to heaven. The heart of
the Lord’s Prayer is a request for heaven on earth. While this difference may seem subtle, its truth is at the very center of the call and practice of prayer and discipleship.
The poor, the oppressed, the captives and the blind—those our tradition deems worthy– are increasingly invisible and unheard in our state and national political systems. Signs abound that our republic is not democratic. “The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord,” according to the book of James, but those cries often are muffled in the halls of our North Carolina General Assembly.
In a letter to a friend in the spring of 1776, John Adams said, “We may please ourselves with the prospect of free and popular governments, God grant us the way. But I fear that in every assembly members will obtain an influence by noise rather than sense, by meanness rather than greatness, and by ignorance and not learning, by contracted hearts and not large souls. There is one thing, my dear sir, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed, or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect and veneration introduced for persons of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way.”
We are hiring! We are currently seeking two full-time positions: Fund Development Director and Office Manager. The positions will remain open until filled. Join our team! ncchurches.org/caree…
We must invest in home and community care services to support Black, Latina, Asian, and immigrant women and their communities now! Sign @afsc_org's petition now and show your support!actionnetwork.org/fo…
Join our @healthandfaith program for an event focusing on preventing a navigating burnout. After a year living in a global pandemic, this event is crucial for all of us, whether you are retired, working, clergy, or not. Register at the link: ncchurches.org/event…
Our immigrant family members, neighbors, coworkers + friends deserve a pathway to #citizenship. The Biden administration + Congress can AND must make this happen. Here’s how you can help: bit.ly/2021Citizensh… #ImmigrantsAreEssential
RT @WNCAP Syringe Service Speak Out today - new indoor venue! DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER LEGENDS NIGHTCLUB 330 West Hargett St. Raleigh, NC 27610 #HIV #HepC #SSP #SEP #HarmReductionSavesLives @NCAIDSAction @NCHarmReduction pic.twitter.com/9o7i…
RT @NCAIDSAction Syringe Service Speak Out today - new indoor venue and time! DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER: LEGENDS NIGHTCLUB 330 West Hargett St. Raleigh, NC 27601 4pm- 5:30pm
RT @DurhamHealthNC Take your shot this week to help end the pandemic! Walk-in Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines available Monday-Friday, or you call 919-560-HELP (4357) if you'd prefer to schedule in advance. Free of charge, and no ID needed! Open to everyone 16 and older. pic.twitter.com/6ORF…
RT @ncdhhs Gov. Cooper has proclaimed May as Older Americans Month in NC. Every May, the administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The theme for 2021 is "Communities of Strength." Learn more: governor.nc.gov/docu… pic.twitter.com/1cUE…
RT @ncdhhs Under Gov. Cooper's EO that went into effect last week, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. But remember masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NCDHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult. pic.twitter.com/QfD6…
RT @weact4ej Want to learn more about environmental justice? Take Environmental Justice 101 as part of WE ACT’s award-winning Environmental Health & Justice Leadership Training program this summer. #EnvironmentalJustice Learn more and register here: weact.org/home-3-2/g… pic.twitter.com/fEpn…
RT @OurKidsClimate More brilliant #OurOtherMother artwork from the US campaign. Thank you to Tim Palin and Kyle Beckett for these fantastic pieces. @BrightAgencyUS #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/UTIr…
RT @foe_us HUGE WIN! A top court in the EU just upheld a ban on the use of Bayer products containing neonicotinoids – pesticides that are toxic to bees! This is a victory for pollinators and our food system that relies on them! bloomberg.com/news/a…
RT @keya_chatterjee Who dies in traffic violence? Mostly Black neighbors crossing "arterials" in our neighborhoods & Black/brown kids/elders with respiratory diseases like asthma due to car exhaust. We have to make it survivable to walk/bike/bus or more die b/c the climate crisis is on top of this. twitter.com/nicoleam…