Notes from the Capitol: November

Union County Pulse

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened Nov. 7, quickly dealing with some errors in the recently passed redistricting legislation. Apparently a coding error in the computer software resulted when legislators drew the new legislative district lines required every ten years to reflect population changes. Neither side caught the errors when they developed their respective maps presented in the General Assembly. The errors resulted in about 3 percent of the population not being accounted for in a legislative or congressional district. Although the plan adopted by the NCGA had already received pre-clearance from the U.S. Dept. of Justice as being in accord with the Voting Rights Act, it was necessary to implement the clarifications to insure everyone was accounted for.

Although no other substantive action took place during this one-day session, the General Assembly agreed to again re-convene the last week of November and also in February and April before coming together for the “short session” beginning on May 1, 2012. As should be expected, there is much unfinished business to be done.

There are at least four of the Governor’s vetoes that have yet to be addressed, some needed changes to be considered on bills already passed and a large number of bills still pending from the last session. Among the vetoes to be considered for override are the Photo ID to Vote, the Energy Jobs Act also known as the Fracking Bill and “No Dues Check-off for School Employees.”

Of particular interest are two bills dealing with public education in North Carolina. First, an additional five days of classroom instruction were inserted into a Technical Amendments bill dealing with the 2011-13 General Fund Budget. Second, the “School and Teacher Paperwork Reduction Act” included a change in the way that teachers are paid. Both bills were well-meaning and generally effective, but both included provisions that have aroused considerable angst among our teachers and administrators in Union County.

I continue to meet regularly with individuals and groups across Union County in order to be held accountable for my actions in the legislature and to urge more involvement in the public process. Good government is a participatory activity. We must all play a part in this process and speak up for ourselves and our community. We cannot expect the other guy to do it, we each must be the other guy and do it ourselves. Everyone is busy dealing with family, careers and personal challenges. Me too! But we cannot avoid being involved in politics because politics impacts our daily lives, the lives of our children and the community in which we live. It affects our income, the roads on which we drive and the air that we breath. Just by making a phone call, signing a petition or sending an email, you can affect public policy. Be an informed voter, set an example for your children and help put this county, state and country on a track that will raise both expectations and results.

Please call my office in Raleigh at 919-733-2406 or email me at to schedule a time for me to come to your home, office, organization or school. I will make presentations, answer questions and engage in debate on any relevant issue. You can follow me on facebook©, and Twitter™ or visit my website at

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