We are more than three weeks into the new fiscal year and the state is still without a budget thanks to Governor Roy Cooper's Medicaid expansion-or-nothing ultimatum. Thankfully there isn't a government shutdown like we have seen at the federal level because a few years ago we passed a law that continues state spending at last year's levels if there is not a new budget on July 1st. However, Governor Cooper's refusal to support any budget that doesn't include Medicaid expansion means that important new budget priorities like school construction funding, raises for teachers and state employees, disaster relief funding and funds to clear the rape kit backlog will not be enacted. We offered to hold a special session dedicated exclusively to health care issues including the Governor's top priority of solutions that provide access to health coverage for the working poor, but that wasn't good enough for the Governor. He has indicated to me that Medicaid expansion is a condition for any budget to pass, so he continues to hold up the entire state budget over this one issue. It's time for Governor Cooper to stop the hostage-taking and participate in a good faith budget negotiation, free from ultimatums.
Court Voter ID Ruling
Last week, a bipartisan three judge panel thwarted an attempt by a group of liberal activists to delay implementation of voter ID which was approved by a majority of North Carolinians at the polls last November. After more than 55 percent of voters supported the Voter ID Constitutional Amendment, the General Assembly passed eminently reasonable implementing legislation that guards against election fraud while allowing a broad range of photo IDs and making it simple, easy, and free to obtain a photo ID. Just minutes after we passed that bill, this lawsuit was filed in a boldfaced attempt to find liberal judges willing to overrule the will of the people. Thankfully the activist plaintiffs did not receive what they were seeking from the court as the three judge panel denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction to delay voter ID while their frivolous lawsuit plays out. A delay would likely have meant that the 2020 elections would be carried out with no voter ID law in place, leaving the Presidential and US Senate elections vulnerable to voter fraud. Not only did the court deny the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction, they also dismissed five of the six claims made by the plaintiffs in their lawsuit and ruled that the sixth was unlikely to succeed. This was a huge win for the people of North Carolina who delivered a clear mandate last fall that they want common-sense protections against voter fraud, but the fight isn't over yet. The plaintiffs have filed an appeal, continuing their attempt to subvert the vote of the people. Rest assured that we will fight back to deliver the election security that you voted for.
State Redistricting Case
Last week, the trial in a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Democratic Party to overturn Republican-drawn legislative maps began in Raleigh. This suit is just the latest Democratic effort to "sue til blue"
and use partisan courts to deliver the victory they have been unable to achieve at the ballot box. This is part of a nationwide strategy by Democratic activist groups who under the guise of "fair maps"
and ending "partisan gerrymandering"
are attempting to use Democratic state courts to strip small towns and rural voters of their political influence in favor of urban interests. These groups target states, like North Carolina, that have concentrated pockets of city Democrats and broad swaths of rural Republicans, and then advance a flawed proportional representation argument that a 50/50 statewide vote means that Democrats should hold 50 percent of the state legislative and congressional seats. For the most part so far, lawyers for the Democratic Party have bored the court with "expert"
testimony comprised of what U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has called "sociological gobbledygook."
This included testimony that shows Democrats cherry-picked election data to rig their results and "expert"
testimony that contradicted their own Democratic Senate leader. This just shows that Democrats will use any means necessary in their attempt to convince a court to draw new maps favorable to Democrats that overturn longstanding political precedent in the United States and continues their war on small towns and rural voters.