Nov 15 ~ Charlotte View: Moral Monday/Forward Together Movement 11/15by Charlotte View Internet Radio | Lifestyle Podcasts

Nov 15 ~ Charlotte View: Moral Monday/Forward Together Movement 11/15 by Charlotte View Internet Radio | Lifestyle Podcasts


Charlotte View openly welcomes Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., Ph.D., who has been hard at work in our Charlotte community bringing the message of the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement. Along with many other leaders in our community, Rodney has shared the mission to spread the word, to encourage the elected officials to do the right thing, and to inspire those in his networks to bear witness in these trying times for North Carolina.
Rodney has been blessed to be able to spread the movement's message to churches, universities, and organizations across the region and, by radio, including Charlotte View, across our nation.
Issues the movement is recognized for and the information we will include in this interview are:
  • The origins, mission and vision of the Movement
  • The challenges, experiences and successes
  • The most important issues they are fighting for, like:
    • the expansion of Medicaid in our state for some 500,000 people in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.
    • Resumption of Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina
  • The upcoming Moral Mondays:
    • on Monday Nov 18th ~ rally/ town hall event to be held at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC at 5pm.
    • Dec 23 the leaders of the movement will personally deliver the message to Governor McCrory during the holiday season that developing policies that hurt the least, lost, and otherwise left out is wrong.

Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Bible
Union Presbyterian Seminary 
Charlotte Campus
5141 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
980 636-1667 (my office)
980 636-1700 (Union office)
Please contact Charlotte View if you wish to have an interview with us
www.charlotteview.net

 

 

Background

In 2012, North Carolina elected a Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and Republicans expanded their majority in both state houses, giving them control of both the legislative and executive branch for the first time since 1870. Since taking office, McCrory has signed into law a number of bills promoting conservative governance, and the legislature has passed or considered a number of other laws which have generated controversy. The bills signed into law by McCrory and proposed legislation have been the target of ongoing "Moral Mondays" civil disobedience protests, organized in part by local religious leaders including William Barber, head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

Issues

Voting rights

Redistricting and proposed voting rights changes have been a focus of the ongoing protests. North Carolina Republicans benefited from a round of redistricting which took place in 2011, and was used in the 2012 election. The redistricting process was upheld by a three-member panel of state judges in early July 2013, and is expected to be appealed 51% of North Carolina voters chose a Democrat for their US house representative, but Republicans won 9 of the 13 seats up for election.
The state House passed legislation which would require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote and repeals same-day voter registration and limits early voting. Legislators also passed "Equalize Voter Rights", a bill which would revoke the tax credit given to parents if their dependent college student registers to vote at their college/university address. This bill would also require all voters to register their vehicles at the same address as their voter registration. The editorial board of the New York Times called this "a blatant effort to reduce Democratic voting strength in college towns like Chapel Hill and Durham."
McCrory has stated he will sign a revised version of the bill which also includes provisions which end same-day voter registration, reduce early voting, and ends a program which allowed high school students to register to vote prior to their 18th birthdays. The bill also changes regulations for registration, requiring voters to appear in person or mail in a form 25 days in advance of the election. When asked how preventing students from registering in advance of their 18th birthdays would prevent voter fraud, McCrory stated "I don't know enough, I'm sorry, I haven't seen that part of the bill."
In August 2013 McCrory signed into law the revised bill, which was the subject of renewed protests. The NAACP filed suit to halt the law from being implemented.

Cuts to social programs

McCrory signed legislation which made North Carolina the 8th state to cut unemployment benefits since the start of the current recession. In addition to cutting maximum weekly unemployment benefits by 35%, and has reduced the maximum number of weeks of assistance to between 12 and 20, down from 26. This prevents 170,000 North Carolinians from benefiting from federal emergency extended benefits, which require a minimum of 26 weeks of state support. This allows the state's unemployment fund, which became bankrupt over the course of the recession, to become solvent three years sooner. This move was criticized for weakening the safety net when the state had the nation's 5th highest unemployment, and for passing up federal support.
In March 2013, McCrory signed a bill which opts the state out of the expanded Medicaid program of the Affordable Care Act of 2009, which would have provided health care coverage to 500,000 North Carolinians, citing concerns about the sustainability of the program. He has also proposed managing Medicaid accounts, by enrolling patients in managed care programs run by private companies.

Tax changes

Legislators are also considering legislation which remove or lower income taxes, and making up for the lost revenue with an increased sales tax. McCrory distanced himself from this proposal, which was criticized by Art Pope, his deputy budget director, as being regressive. The reform passed will result in some families, retirees and small business owners seeing a tax hike under provisions in the bill and all taxpayers will have to pay some additional sales taxes. The largest tax breaks will go to higher-income earners.

Racial Justice Act

McCrory signed into law a bill which repealed the state's Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed inmates facing the death penalty to challenge their sentences on the basis of racial discrimination. His predecessor, Bev Purdue, had previously vetoed similar legislation.

Abortion rights

In early July 2013 the state House unexpectedly attached a number of restrictions on abortion access to a bill described as combating Sharia law. It passed the house less than a day later, but was abandoned after protests and McCrory stated he would not sign it without modifications. An amended version of the restrictions were subsequently added to a motorcycle safety bill. This bill was passed by the state Senate, and became a subject of the protests.
In July 2013 McCrory signed into law legislation which requires abortion providers to meet the same standards as surgical centers, allows health-care providers to decline to perform abortions, and prevents any public health insurance policy for paying for abortions. Abortion-rights groups criticized McCrory, who had stated during his campaign that he would not sign new abortion restrictions.
The day after McCrory signed the bill, he took a plate of chocolate chip cookies to protesters. They were returned to him with a note saying, "Gov. McCrory, will take women’s health care over cookies!"

Public education

As of 2012, the average state teacher in North Carolina earned approximately $9,500 less than the average public school teacher in the US. The 2013 budget for state teachers did not include any raises to base salary. Additionally, the budget phases out tenure for public school teachers by 2018, eliminates future salary increases for teachers who earn master's degrees, and cuts $120 million from the budget for teacher assistants. Cuts to education have been one of the issues raised in the protests.

Protests

Since the start of April, more than 800 demonstrators have been arrested in the course of the protests, and police have estimated weekly attendance at over 2,500. Cited reasons for the protests include legislation recently passed or proposed on changes to Medicaid, changes to voting regulations, school vouchers, tax reform, and abortion. McCrory has criticized the protests as unlawful and a drain on state resources, and has declined to meet with them, later stating "outsiders are coming in and they're going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin." The vast majority of attendees are North Carolina residents.
Once the legislature finished for 2013, protesters moved to the square at Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville. The NAACP and others intended to visit all 13 North Carolina congressional districts. Rev. William Barber, the president of the NAACP's state chapter, said more people needed to register and vote to show their disapproval of state policies.
On August 19, 2013 the Moral Monday protests moved to Charlotte when 2,000 people gathered in Marshall Park for one of the city’s largest protests. Organizers announced plans to return to Marshall Park and a dozen other sites across North Carolina.








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