Legislature Reconvenes – New Committee Chairs Appointed

The legislature reconvened on Wednesday and new committee appointments were made.  The committees – and committee chairs – that will be particularly important for criminal justice issues are listed below.

Take a minute to see if a member from your area is listed as one of the full or subcommittee chairs.  You can also click on the links to see if  someone from your area is a member of one of these key committees.

Send us an email at info@justicepolicycenter.org if you are willing to help educate key members from your area on critical issues.

HOUSE
Full Appropriations Chairs

Dollar (Wake), Arp (Union), Faircloth (Guilford), Johnson (Cabarrus),  Lambeth (Forsyth)

Rep. Faircloth is a former Justice and Public Safety chair and will continue a JPS focus as a full chair.

Justice and Public Safety Appropriations Chairs
Boles (Moore), Davis (New Hanover), McNeil (Moore), Turner (Iredell)

Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations
Brisson (Bladen, Johnson, Sampson), Dobson (Avery, McDowell, Mitchell), Malone (Wake), Murphy (Pitt)

Judiciary I – Davis (New Hanover)
Judiciary II – Blust (Guilford)
Judiciary III – Co-Chairs  –  Jordan (Ashe, Watauga), Zachary (Alexander, Wilkes, Yadkin)
Judiciary IV – Co-Chairs -Blackwell (Ashe, Watauga), Burr (Montgomery, Stanly, Avery)

SENATE
Full Appropriations Chairs
Brown (Jones, Onslow), Harrington (Gaston), B. Jackson (Duplin, Johnston, Sampson)

Justice and Public Safety Chairs
Daniel (Burke, Cleveland),  Randleman (Stokes, Surry, Wilkes), Sanderson (Cartaret, Craven, Pamlico)

Senate Judiciary
Co-Chairs – Barringer (Wake), Daniel (Burke, Cleveland), Randleman (Stokes, Surry, Wilkes)

HK on J March Set for Feb 11

Join the NAACP and more than 200 coalition partners in downtown Raleigh for the annual Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HK on J)  Moral March. Together we will march for a more fair and just North Carolina.

Saturday, Feb. 11, Downtown Raleigh, 2 East South St.

This is a great chance to make your voice heard on important issues  such as racial justice and fairness in the courts, voting rights, immigrant rights, healthcare and medicaid expansion.

Re-entry Grants Awarded

In mid-January, the Department of Public Safety awarded Re-entry contracts to  four additional “Intermediate Agencies” areas of the state.   Five areas are currently funded.

The new areas and agencies are:

  • Leading into New Communities –  New Hanover
  • Durham County – Durham
  • Family Resource Center South Atlantic – Wake
  • Freedom Life Ministries –  McDowell

Agencies received $150,000 each to coordinate local re-entry councils and job development for the re-entry population.

We are delighted to see funding for Re-entry Council work move forward.  All funding is expected to be short term and agencies are expected to identify local funding.  We would like to see some state funds be allocated to this purpose  to insure the continuation of the Councils.

Senate Rules on Gov. Cooper’s Cabinet Confirmation – Part 2

After issuing a very general set of Rules in early January that will govern the manner in which the Senate would give advice and consent, Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet appointees, President Pro Tem Phil Berger appears to be prepared to provide more specifics about the process.

Gov. Cooper’s team has pointed out that there is no clear procedure for the Senate signing off on cabinet approvals.  This and related issues have already landed in court as Gov. Cooper works to appoint his cabinet.

We’ll keep you posted on details of these proceedings in future Updates, which you can sign up for today at the bottom of the page under “Learn and Act.”

Senate Rules on Gov. Cooper’s Cabinet Confirmation

When the General Assembly convened for the long session on January 11, 2017, the atmosphere among the legislators was congenial and light. A far cry from the atmosphere during the special sessions that rounded out 2016. While most of the day was swearing ins, lofty speeches, and ceremony, the Senate adopted one very important and new rule, Rule 49.

Rule 49 spells out the process or lack there of, for confirming gubernatorial nominees, a new law passed during the surprise special session. The Principal Clerk of the Senate reads the nomination to the Senate. Next, the chairperson of the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate refers the nomination to the committee he or she deems appropriate. The chair of the committee the nomination is referred to, then determines the process the committee will use to consider the nominee. This undetermined committee may or may not, present a report of its recommendation to the Senate.

The lack of specificity in this rule can be a curse or a blessing, depending on how it is interpreted. We will have to wait to see what this process looks like in practice before making a definitive decision. What can be agreed upon by all is that it is in the best interest of North Carolina for the confirmations process of the gubernatorial cabinet to be put in place as soon as possible.

You can download and read all the Senate rules.

General Assembly Second Surprise Special Session Adjourns With No Repeal of the Bathroom Law

What many political activists thought would be an early holiday gift turned out to be a lump of coal.  The North Carolina General Assembly returned to Raleigh last Wednesday under the auspices of repealing the notorious Bathroom Law that hangs, like an anchor, around the neck of North Carolina’s economy and reputation around the country and the world. After nearly 10 hours in session, at the expense of North Carolina tax payers, they adjourned having accomplished nothing, failing to secure the necessary votes in the Senate to pass a repeal option acceptable to all stakeholders.

The failed session was hastily called after the Charlotte City Counsel unexpectedly rescinded the city ordinance that was the catalyst for HB2. While many onlookers were disappointed by the failure of the General Assembly to negotiate a full repeal, that was not the only failure of the day.  North Carolina’s General Assembly failed to exercise the most important skills necessary for a fully functioning government: diplomacy and reasonableness.  Without those two things, this failed session was only an appetizer for what we can expect in the long session, which begins January 11, 2017.

Contact your legislators and let them know, you want to see more cooperation and less obstruction from your elected officials.

Read the full account of the special session.