NC JUSTICE NEWS: The 2015 Legislative Session + School Vouchers + Moral March on Raleigh

January 13, 2015

THE 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: An agenda for achieving economic stability

The North Carolina General Assembly will convene for a new legislative session tomorrow, January 14. The start of the session arrives at a time when North Carolina’s economy is out of balance. Far too many striving families cannot make ends meet and too many communities lack the tools and opportunities they need to succeed and thrive. Enacting policies that put these families and communities first should be the top priority of state leaders throughout the 2015 legislative session.

The NC Justice Center's 2015 legislative agenda puts forth practical and proven solutions that will reduce obstacles to economic stability for families and communities and put North Carolina’s economy back on track, including:

  • Adopting revenue systems that are equitable, adequate, support economic opportunity, and grow the economy and weather economic downturns;
  • Improving North Carolina's health care system;
  • Increasing access to safe, decent and affordable housing;
  • Protecting consumers from abusive and predatory lending and debt-collection practices;
  • And ensuring a sound basic education for all children.

Be sure to keep an eye on NC Policy Watch throughout the session as the team covers the daily happenings at the NC General Assembly. Investigative reporter Sarah Ovaska is also introducing readers to the newest members of the NC General Assembly, including Sen. Tom McKinnis and Rep. Larry Yarborough.

SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Appeal over constitutionality of program arrives in Feb.

With the voucher appeal hearing taking place next month, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on what we know about the law’s effects. Here are some highlights from NC Policy Watch’s reporting over the last several months:

As a quick recap, 25 plaintiffs from across the state filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court on December 11, 2013, challenging the constitutionality of the school voucher law passed by the General Assembly during the 2013 legislative session. In February 2014, Judge Hobgood granted a preliminary injunction halting North Carolina's unconstitutional voucher program and ruled in August that the program violates the state's constitution. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ordered the state to disburse school vouchers to current recipients starting in September. In October, however, the NC State Supreme Court bypassed the Court of Appeals to take up the fight over the constitutionality of the voucher program. Stay tuned for developments on this ongoing and crucial battle.

SAVE THE DATE: Mass Moral March & HKonJ People's Assembly on 2/14/15

Join the NAACP, NC Justice Center and more than 100 coalition partners for the 9th Annual Mass Moral March & HKonJ People's Assembly in Raleigh on Saturday, February 14.

This year's Love & Justice Movement Agenda covers a wide array of issues that affect the lives of everyday North Carolinians:

  • Voting Rights: The expansion and protection of voting rights for all
  • Labor Rights: Raising the minimum wage, economic justice, and union rights
  • Education Equality: Funding for quality public schools and support for HBCUs
  • Health Care for All: Medicaid expansion, women's health, and environmental justice
  • Equal Protection Under the Law: Justice without regard for race, creed, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or immigration status
  • Criminal Justice & Police Reform

The pre-rally begins at 9:00 a.m. at 2 South Street in downtown Raleigh (across from the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium). The march begins at 10:00 a.m., with the assembly commencing near the State Capitol on Fayetteville Street.

Stay tuned for information on the Week of Action at the NC General Assembly during the week of February 9-13 and the Pre-Moral March Service on February 13.

Feel the love and join us this Valentine's Day for this historic event.

HEALTH FORUM: Join a community conversation on the ACA in Wilson

As the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in our state, North Carolina lawmakers have blocked the Medicaid program from being expanded. This means that 500,000 working adults remain uninsured this year.

Join the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition for a conversation in Wilson with community partners Sen. Angela Bryant, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, St. John AMEZ Church, Wilson County Dept. of Social Services, and Wilson Medical Center. We'll discuss the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, how Medicaid expansion would help your community, and implementation of the online marketplace, including Special Enrollment Period and open enrollment.

Help us spread the word and join us on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the St. John AMEZ Church located at 119 Pender Street in Wilson. Dinner will be served.

Call or email to reserve your place: Nicole Dozier, 919-856-2146 or nicole@ncjustice.org.

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