Friday, January 30, 2015

Memo to the GOP State House : Where are the Women?

The State House demographic data are now posted on the NC General Assembly website - Here are some fun facts:

--There are 26 women serving out of 170 House Members. Twelve of these are Republicans. 

--Of the 38 Standing Committees, there are thirteen (13) Senate Standing Committees either chaired or co-chaired by a woman. 

--There are two (2) women in the Republican leadership. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Great State of Tom Apodaca

Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) serves on 12 of the 23 Senate Standing Committees. 
     --He is the sole Chair of 2: Rules and Ways & Means. 
     --He is a Co-Chair of 3: Appropriations on Education/Higher Education, Insurance & Pensions and Retirement. 
     --He is a regular Member of 7: Appropriations on Base Budget, Appropriations on Justice & Public Safety, Commerce, Education/Higher Education, Finance, Judiciary I and Redistricting. 

The daily calendar is under his purview as is the general flow of bills. As Rules Chair, Sen. Apodaca decides in which committee bills will be heard, and if they will be heard. It is also up to him whether a bill is debated on the Floor and what day. 

His Committee assignments and his leadership responsibilities cover most of the issues expected to be hot this Session.

When you see Sen. Apodaca's name in the media the word "powerful" will likely be used as a modifier to "Rules Chair" every time. Indeed, he is. 

Memo to the GOP State Senate: Where are the Women?

The State Senate demographic data are now posted on the NC General Assembly website - Here are some fun facts:

--There are 11 women serving out of 50 Senators. Five of the 11 are Republicans. 

--Of the 23 Standing Committees, there are zero (0) Senate Standing Committees chaired by a woman. 

--Of the 23 Standing Committees, there are two (2) Senate Standing Committees co-chaired by women. 

--There are zero (0) women in the Republican leadership. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Heard A Rumor

I have been around the NC General Assembly long enough to know that it thrives on rumors. Many of them are phony trial balloons and many turn out to be accurate predictions of the future. This week, there is a rumor that Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam (R-Wake) will be appointed to a judgeship by Governor Pat McCrory. While it might be a relief to get such narrow and closed-minded ideology out of the Legislature, his departure would not solve the problem completely.

As I've observed for 20 years, Rep. Stam seems to spend an inordinate amount of his time and intelligence on proposals that are hateful, discriminatory and potentially unconstitutional. This is a man with an agenda who has used his considerable power to see it achieved. North Carolinians are paying an enormous price in legal fees - through our taxes - to defend his vanity and that of the NC GOP. 

His fingerprints are on legislation to deny healthcare to women, provide medically inaccurate sex education to our students, exclude the very people from protection against bullying who need it most, blatant partisan political retaliation directed at the teachers' professional association, allow the state to sanction one political viewpoint over another, allow public funds to be used to pay for private and parochial school tuition and create statutory barriers to the ballot box. 

The idea that he would move from the legislative branch to be an activist judge is intolerable.