Republicans ignore state constitution and the law

It took me two tries, but I finally got Rep. Nelson Dollar, through his legislative assistance, to admit that the General Assembly has not complied with the law requiring them to pass a budget by June 30. Or at least I think I have.

In my first e-mail to Mr. Dollar I asked: The General Assembly has not yet passed the state budget. Am I correct in believing that state law requires you to pass a budget by June 30? Or is that a self-imposed deadline? Has the GA failed to pass a budget by June 30 before?

The answer from Candace Slate, Legislative Assistant was:

“Thank you for your e-mail. A Continuing Resolution was passed HB336 allowing for the budget passage to July 31, 2013. This type of Resolution has occurred many times over the years. This Resolution allows for the State Budget Director to continue the expenditures for the operation of government until the new budget is passed.

To which I replied: Thanks for your prompt reply. I know that is what the General Assembly has done. But my question is, is there a state statute or GA policy that requires the budget to be passed by June 30, since the state’s fiscal year starts July 1. Funding state government operation with a continuing resolution, no matter how temporary, does not seem to me to be the most efficient way to run things.

And the final answer was: “This is required under the State Budget Act and was sent to me by our Fiscal Research staff: § 143C-5-4. Enactment deadline. The General Assembly shall enact the Current Operations Appropriations Act by June 15 of odd-numbered years and by June 30 of even-numbered years in which a Current Operations Appropriations Act is enacted. (2006-203, s. 3.)

So, I think he’s admitting that the GA did not comply with the statute. Unless they consider a continuing resolution a “current operations appropriations act.”

However, I must give Representative Dollar credit for promptly responding to my constituent queries. As this took less than three hours, and he’s responded to previous queries just as promptly.

Politicians distort the plain meaning of words

So N.C. Republicans have finally agreed on which Ponzi scheme they’re going to use to con North Carolinians into thinking they’re cutting taxes.

Yippie.

Democrats, predictably, are screaming about how this plan will hurt “the poor” and reward “the rich.” Even some conservatives, to their credit, see the sham.

But everyone is taking about the issue in Newspeak.

Republican and Democrat politicians don’t speak the same language as everyday folk. Listen to how they talk about tax “cuts.” They maintain government “loses” money through “loopholes” and tax exemptions. The implication is clear. You don’t own the money you earn. How else could government lose something it doesn’t own?

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Keep the Tree of Liberty refreshed

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

libertytreeThese words from the Declaration of Independence are familiar to most Americans (I hope). They’ll be prominent in the media and during Fourth of July celebrations this week. Some may even read the next few sentences.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

But few will read the rest of this paragraph:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

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Restore the Fourth on the Fourth

Libertarians can commemorate Independence Day by joining protesters in cities across America who will gather on July 4, to demand that the U.S. government adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits demanded by the Fourth Amendment.

restore_the_fourth_logoTwo of these events will be held in Raleigh, starting at 10 a.m. at the N.C. State Capitol, 1 Edenton St., and in Charlotte, starting at 9:00 a.m. at the corner of Trade and Tryon in Uptown Charlotte.

The rallies are being organized by Restore the Fourth, a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonviolent movement spurred by revelations made by whistle blower Edward Snowden of the government’s widespread practice of spying on Americans without a warrant.

The July 4 demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government.

Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Carla Howell will speak at 12:30 p.m.. at the Washington, D.C., rally being held at McPherson Square from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. Libertarian candidate for Virginia House of Delegates District 53, Anthony Tellez, will speak at 1:15 p.m.

U.S. appeals court says ‘caveman diet’ blogger can speak

The Carolina Journal’s Sara Burrows reports that the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has reversed a trial judge’s decision to dismiss Charlotte-area “paleo diet” blogger Steve Cooksey’s free speech case.

The N.C. Board of Dietetics/Nutrition tried to censor Cooksey’s blog Diabetics Warrior because they alleged he was giving dietary advise without a license when he wrote about the diet of cavemen.

Read more at Carolina Journal Online.

Watch a video on the case by the Institute for Justice.

An outsiders view of Moral Mondays

The rounds of charges and counter-charges swirling around the Moral Monday demonstrations illustrate just how low political discourse in our state has fallen. It’s like children exchanging insults on a playground: “I know you are, but what am I.”

This farce is the inevitable result of a political system designed as a duopoly, with Democrats and Republicans taking turns being in charge, yet offering few differences between themselves.

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Bill would allow forced annexation of ‘doughnut holes’

The Stop NC Annexation Coalition has issued a “heads up” to annexation opponents concerning a bill to allow Wake County to forcibly annex areas considered to be “doughnut holes.”

H.B. 486 Wake Municipalities/Doughnut Annexations would allow municipalities in Wake County to forcibly annex so-called “doughnut holes,” areas that municipality has surrounded by annexation.

In 2011, the General Assembly approved a bill to require municipalities to conduct a referendum to allow affected residents to vote on annexation. Previously, the law allowed for a petition signed by 60 percent of affected-area landowners to halt the forced annexation.

“The stealth erosion of the new annexation laws has begun,” said Cathy Heath, StopNCAnnexation Coalition director.

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Free Voter Freedom Act from Senate rules committee

From Free the Vote North Carolina

The legislative session is coming to a close, but HB 794  Voter Freedom Act is stuck in the Senate Rules Committee.  This bill was sponsored by the Free the Vote Coalition, an alliance of groups spanning the political spectrum that includes the Libertarian Party of North Carolina.

The original bill would have dramatically lowered our state’s high ballot access barriers. We agreed with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Saine, when he urged us to support transforming the bill into a study bill in order to get it passed. And it did pass the House with an overwhelming 109-5 vote.

That was a month ago. Since then, both houses have been busy working on various budget and tax reform bills. The bill has been left dormant in the Senate Rules Committee.

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Libertarian state convention focuses on growth, activism

Liberty in action was the theme and focus of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina annual state convention held in Flat Rock over the weekend.

J.J. Summerell, who was reelected state chair, noted that the 50 percent increase in party membership in 2012 can be attributed to the growing dissatisfaction of voters with the Republican and Democratic parties. “A healthy part of that growth can also be attributed to youth groups such as Students for Liberty, which are spreading like wildfire on college campuses,” he added.

That activism was evident at the convention. During the Saturday session, there were a series of seminars and discussion groups on various topics, including fund raising, candidate recruitment and training, team building, and communicating libertarian ideas.

Carla Howell, Libertarian Party executive director, conducted a training session on the LP’s new training initiative “Who’s Driving.”

The game is designed to teach Libertarian candidates, activists and spokespersons in the most fundamental skill needed to be effective communicators: controlling the agenda.

During his state of the party address, Summerell talked about the developing 2020 political plan. “The goal is simple: to win one seat in the state Senate and four seats in the state House by 2020, making statewide races viable for the LPNC in 2020 and beyond,” he said.

In the business portion of the convention, in addition to re-electing Summerell, John Caveny was re-elected treasurer. New officers elected were Alex Vuchnich of Charlotte, vice chair and Barbara Howe of Oxford, recording secretary.

The convention also elected eight at-large members of the executive committee. They are: Jon Byers, Arden; Britton Correll, Waxhaw; Ginny Godfrey, Morganton; Kevin Innes, Morganton; Brian Irving, Cary; Jason Melehani, Durham; Bjørn Pedersen, Chapel Hill, and; Erik Raudsep, Durham.

The convention made some changes to the bylaws, including replacing “Robert’s Rules of Order” with “Democratic Rules of Order” as the party’s parliamentary authority.

Media coverage

Hendersonville News Times – NC Libertarians converge in Flat Rock

‘Broken system’ subject of Constitutional Caucus symposium

The Citizens Constitutional Caucus is planning a day-long symposium to discuss “Preparing and Passing Constitutional Legislation in a Broken System.” Richard Fry, a nationally-recognized Constitutional expert, will conduct the session.

The symposium will be June 28 at the Hampton Inn, (I-40 Exit 290) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a break for lunch. Cost is $15 prepaid, $20 at the door. There will also be a town hall discussion from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The caucus will hold its second quarterly meeting the next day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hampton Inn.

“What we citizens are experiencing with our political systems in America is what I call a representative disconnect,” Fry said. “The majority of our ‘public servants’ either do not understand or do not care that after supporting and defending the Constitution, securing our fundamental rights, their job is to do what the majority of citizens want, not what they think is best for us, within the bounds of the Constitution.”

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