NC JUSTICE NEWS: Compromise Budget + Arizona Immigration Law + Election Briefs for 2012

June 26, 2012

STATE BUDGET: Senate, House compromise is compromise for NC

When the details of the state budget were released last week, our state lawmakers' chosen path for North Carolina's future became clear. They chose to not adequately address the education of our children and protect the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens.

The budget will fund state investments at 11.4 percent below pre-recession levels. Lawmakers were quick to boast that its spending plan restores $251 million in recurring state dollars to K-12 public education. What they didn't mention was that the state will lose $258 million in expiring federal Edujobs this year, and local school districts will still face additional cuts – all translating into an overall $81 million cut for K-12 education.

Instead of raising revenue to rebuild a foundation for economic opportunity, lawmakers chose to protect a $336 million tax break for profitable big businesses and wealthy North Carolinians. They chose to lay off teachers and teacher assistants, issue fewer dollars to repair and maintain our roads and bridges, and cut the Housing Trust Fund. Rather than offering a true compromise for difficult times in our state, lawmakers chose to approve a budget that will only compromise our economic future.

ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW: What the ruling means for NC

The Supreme Court confirmed on Monday that immigration is a federal issue, and that Congress – not the states – need to act.

The court rejected a provision of the Arizona law that made it a crime to seek or hold a job as an unauthorized worker, offering some hope for day laborers and individuals who are simply trying to find work and support their families. Unfortunately, the court allowed the so-called “show me your papers” provision to stand temporarily, requiring law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they “reasonably suspect” of being unlawfully present and whom they have stopped for another lawful reason. This leaves the window open for law enforcement to racially profile individuals. Racial profiling is already happening and will continue to occur in North Carolina, and the ruling does not change that reality for people of color across the state. However, the court made it clear that the statute could face challenges if it can be shown that law enforcement officers are illegally racially profiling or detaining persons solely on the basis of suspected immigration violations.

More than anything, the ruling shows that a state has no place to be implementing immigration laws – and that such actions do not stand up to scrutiny. We urge North Carolina legislators to reject any legislation that would try to follow Arizona’s example. The state cannot afford to waste valuable resources at a time when the state faces real, immediate challenges, such as unemployment and our underfunded education system.

ELECTION 2012: Focusing on the real challenges facing NC

During the campaign season, candidates often talk about issues that aren't actually important to the well-being and prosperity of the people in North Carolina.

We hope to change that. The North Carolina Justice Center election briefs will provide you with information about some of the most pressing challenges facing the state. Learn more about the intricacies of larger issues such as public education, health care, and quality jobs, as well as the topics candidates often ignore, including the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, predatory lending, and wage theft.

Print them out, and take them with you when you go to campaign events. Ask the questions that will force candidates to move beyond talking points and rhetoric.

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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