NC JUSTICE NEWS: Budget Veto + Affordable Care Act + Virtual Charter Schools

July 2, 2012

VETO, VETO, VETO: Legislators override Gov. Perdue's many vetoes

The North Carolina legislature has been a flurry of veto and overriding activity over the last several days – all at the expense of our state’s residents.

Last week Gov. Perdue vetoed the budget put forward by the General Assembly, making it clear that there are choices available in our effort to support a more prosperous North Carolina. Perdue rightfully rejected a budget that fails to make adequate investments in education, the well-being of our seniors and the safety of our environment – all while maintain an ineffective tax break for wealthy North Carolinians.

Unfortunately, despite the potential to achieve a better outcome for North Carolina, the House and Senate succeeded in overriding Gov. Perdue’s veto late Monday evening. Our state leaders voted for a budget that failed to take a balanced approach to the state’s challenges and will be harmful to all North Carolinians.

The override came after a day of equally toxic decisions for our state’s future. First, the North Carolina Senate overturned Gov. Perdue’s veto of the Racial Justice Act appeal, which would dramatically weaken the 2009 Racial Justice Act, and within an hour, the Senate had also overridden Perdue’s veto of the fracking bill. It was a sad day for North Carolina when our lawmakers chose to move the state backwards with a misguided budget, weakened environmental protections for our state, and the dismissal of a law that would help fight racial bias in our justice system.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Court rules to uphold crucial health care law

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld one of the greatest expansions of health care security in U.S. history and in turn extended health insurance to 32 million Americans.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act is a monumental event, but the fight isn’t over. It’s vital to redouble efforts to educate seniors, young people, and small businesses about the benefits of health reform, and move forward with full implementation in our state in a way that best protects the interests of consumers. North Carolina’s economy will benefit greatly from a new influx of Medicaid funds from the federal government and it’s crucial to ensure that this implementation takes place.

Still, the endorsement of health reform by our country’s highest court promises that the worst practices of the insurance industry – from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions to dropping coverage when someone gets sick – may soon be relegated to the rubbish heap of history. The time when everyone will have access to decent health services is drawing near.

VIRTUAL CHARTERS: Judge derails plans to open NC school

A proposed virtual charter school had its plans to open in North Carolina derailed last week after Superior Court judge ruled in favor of state education officials. Wake Superior Court Judge Abraham Jones issued a ruling Friday that found the State Board of Education, the state entity that sets policy for the North Carolina’s public schools, had been legally entitled to ignore an application from a virtual charter school seeking North Carolina taxpayer funds to teach students from their home computers.

The North Carolina Virtual Academy, which would be run by the Virginia-based K12, Inc, had gotten final approval to open this fall from an administrative law judge that found the state education board goofed when it ignored the online-only school’s application. Virtual school education, where students learn from their home computers instead of in classrooms, have had mixed results and K12, Inc., the for-profit company contracted to run the North Carolina charter school, has been accused of putting profits over quality in other states where it runs publicly-funded charter schools.

Read more of Sarah Ovaska’s investigative story here.

CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER CARE: Charlotte breakfast for older adults

Join the NC Justice Center and AARP NC on Monday, July 23 for the next Campaign for Better Care community breakfast and make your voice heard on one of the most important, complex issues in North Carolina today.

The Campaign for Better Care aims to make improvements in the health system for vulnerable older adults and to build a strong, lasting consumer voice for better health care. Come and share your experiences about what you think needs to be changed in our health system, and take advantage of the expertise offered from the AARP and the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP).

The event will be held on Monday, July 23 from 10:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. at the Tyvola Senior Center in Charlotte. To reserve your space, contact Tyvola Senior Center at 704-522-6222 or Nicole Dozier, 919-856-2146 or nicole@ncjustice.org.

 

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