Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File

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Monday numbers

5---number of days since Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new proposal to repeal and allegedly replace the Affordable Care Act that would dramatically cut federal funding for health care over the next ten years (Louisiana Advocate, September 15, 2017)

12---number of days until the September 30 deadline to pass ACA repeal and replace legislation on a simple-majority vote under the Senate procedure known as reconciliation (Ibid)

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Monday numbers

165---number of public schools that received a grade of A or A+ng on the A-F grading system for the 2016-2017 school year (2016–17 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools, N.C. Department of Public Instruction, September 7, 2017)

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Monday redistricting numbers

83—number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that General Assembly districts drawn in 2011 were illegally gerrymandered based on race (“U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race,” Progressive Pulse, June 6, 2017)

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Charlottesville presents lawmakers with clear choice between right and wrong

Every so often in our political discourse comes a moment that presents elected officials with a crystal clear choice between right and wrong, something that rises far above the usual partisan differences on education, taxes, or health care.

North Carolina now faces one of those moments in the wake of the march in Charlottesville by torch-carrying neo-Nazis and white supremacists chanting racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic slogans and the troubling reaction to the protest by the president of the United States.

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Monday numbers

900 million---amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts passed this year when they are fully in place (“Costly Tax Cuts in New State Budget Continue Precarious Road Ahead for North Carolina, N.C. Budget & Tax Center, August 2017)

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The Follies

Mixed and confusing signals from NC GOPers on confederate monuments

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger finally weighed in Thursday on the horrible events in Charlottesville last weekend with a Facebook post titled, “Reflecting on Charlottesville, Durham and North Carolina Monuments.”

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Americans want the Affordable Care Act improved not undermined

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Charlottesville and the disturbing reaction by President Trump.

Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe that Trump and his administration should do all they can to make the Affordable Care Act work while only 17 percent believe they should try to make the law fail so they can replace it.

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Monday numbers

3---number of states that adopted new state Earned Income Tax Credits in 2017---Montana, Hawaii, and South Carolina (“State EITC Wins Help Spread Prosperity,” Off the Charts Blog, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 10, 2017)

80,000---number of low and moderate income families in Montana who will benefit from a new state refundable EITC (Ibid)

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The Follies

Lawmakers vote to protect themselves and illegal districts

The big story in Raleigh this week was the adoption by a joint House and Senate redistricting committee of the criteria lawmakers will use to redraw legislative districts in the next few weeks after the federal courts found the current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race.

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The scandalous special sessions that subvert our democracy

The General Assembly will convene a special session next week but most people in North Carolina, including the vast majority of the members of House and Senate, have no idea what legislation they will consider while they are in town.

Last week lawmakers met in a one-day special session supposedly to consider overriding a series of vetoes by Governor Roy Cooper. That was the stated purpose anyway.

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Monday numbers

2,466---amount in dollars that per-student state funding in the UNC system is less than the funding level in 2008 when adjusted for inflation (“Funding Down, Tuition Up: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Quality and Affordability at Public Colleges, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 15, 2016)

20---percentage decline in per-pupil funding for the university system from 2008 to 2016 when adjusted for inflation

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UNC Board vote on Civil Rights Center the latest move in an ideological crusade

Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross.

The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason given for forcing Ross to resign.

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Monday numbers

56---number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that General Assembly districts drawn in 2011 were illegally gerrymandered based on race (“U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race,” Progressive Pulse, June 6, 2017)

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Health care for millions and democracy itself is now at risk

It is not just health care for 30 million people at stake these days. Democracy is hanging by a thread too-in Raleigh and in Washington.

First, consider the spectacle of Sen. John McCain, arriving back in Washington Tuesday for the first time since being diagnosed with brain cancer.

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Monday numbers

73---number of days since the Senate passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (N.C. General Assembly, Senate Bill 237 bill status history)

52---number of days since the House passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (Ibid)

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Sorry Republicans, facts matter—in Raleigh and in Washington

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what has been happening in North Carolina for the last seven years, a takeover by far-right ideologues hell-bent on dismantling the fundamental institutions of the government they lead, without regard to the suffering their decisions will inflict on the people they are supposed to represent.

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