|Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House passed an amendment authored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to administer Obamacare’s ‘Multi-State Plan Program.’ The amendment passed with a bipartisan majority by a vote of 223-192.
Section 1334 of the Affordable Care Act requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to contract with at least two national health plans, one of which must be a non-profit plan, to compete directly with private plans in every state. These plans are called multi-state plans, or MSP’s. The law requires they be available in all 50 states as of 2017.
Multi-state plans were intended to drive competition on the health care exchanges. However, the program has failed to meet the Obama administration’s 750,000 enrollment projection or the 50-state statutory requirement. The program has been so unsuccessful that in 2018, there is only one participating state (Arkansas).
Elimination of the program is supported by the OPM and the National Active Retired Federal Employees Association, among other groups. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have also conceded that eliminating funding for the plans will not affect the level of competition or premiums in the insurance market place, nor would it affect any Obamacare subsidies.
Rep. Meadows released the following statement on the amendment:
“The Multi-State Plan program amounts to a textbook waste of taxpayer dollars and needs to be eliminated. It makes no sense for the OPM to dedicate funds to a program that does nothing other than spend money and stifle competition in the marketplace. Bottom line: the program was a poorly conceived provision of an even more poorly conceived bill in Obamacare, and repealing it is a positive step in the right direction of improving America’s healthcare markets. I appreciate the support of my colleagues.”
To watch Rep. Meadows floor speech on the amendment, click here.
Rep. Meadows speaks in support of his amendment
Carolina Journal – It would be easy to dismiss the recurring political battles between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly as pure partisan posturing.
Easy. And wrong.
A dissent from a case decided earlier this year in the N.C. Supreme Court offers a clue about why leaders of the executive and legislative branches have pushed their feud to the foreground of Tar Heel politics.
Sure, Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for another election in November. Much of what they’re saying and doing now is designed to win support for their respective “teams” this fall. (Why else would the governor launch a publicity tour touting a statewide school bond more than a week after lawmakers left Raleigh — shutting down any possibility of placing that bond on the November ballot?)
But regardless of partisan calculations, much of what divides the governor and his legislative foes stems from a fundamental disagreement. Cooper and state House and Senate leaders disagree about their respective roles in running state government. These differences could divide legislative leaders from either major party from a governor of either party.
Click here to read more.
FEE – Aristotle’s arguments on property are still relevant today. Many free-marketeers have forgotten that there are more benefits of private property than mere economic efficiency.
In “The Communist Manifesto,” Karl Marx aptly summarized the implications of a communist society, stating that “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” As an institution, private property has been a crucial factor in the flourishing of Western society and its political thought. However, its defense rarely extends beyond a calculation of its economic benefits. Many defenders of private property simply state that there is no viable alternative system and that private property is simply the best option of a bad bunch. This argument, with its pessimistic tone, hardly inspires much love for the concept of private ownership.
Thankfully, there have been numerous thinkers throughout history who have robustly defended and justified the institution of private property. Such figures are Cicero of Ancient Rome, Thomas Aquinas of medieval Europe, and John Locke of the early modern period.
Who Was Aristotle?
The first extensive defense of private property comes from Aristotle, writing in the 4th century B.C. in response to the idea of communal ownership as espoused by his teacher Plato. Aristotle was a polymath who wrote extensively on ethics, logic, metaphysics, biology, astronomy, and rhetoric, to name a few of his interests. To this day, he is considered one of the most influential philosophers to ever live. In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas referred to Aristotle as “The Philosopher,” demonstrating the immense level of respect Aristotle commanded.
Click here to read more.
Click here to read: Why wealth creation (and private property and property rights) is good for the planet.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
As anyone can read there are no rules, regulations, guide lines, etc. on how to run a Constitutional Convention.
The New American – “The tide has turned. The Convention of States did not win a single state this year,” Janine Hansen, national Constitutional Issues Chairman for Eagle Forum, told The New American Monday night after the latest defeat of the Article V Convention of States (COS) in North Carolina. “That is 18 states.”
And the person Hansen credits above all others in North Carolina for defeating the COS is Wynne Coleman, a tireless leader in the fight against the proposal in the Tarheel State. Coleman is the daughter of the late General Andrew Gatsis, who served for years on the National Council of The John Birch Society, the parent organization for The New American. This author personally heard General Gatsis speak in the 1980s on a national speaking tour for the JBS on the topic of the dangers of the feminist movement on the American military. Wynne’s mother, Alice, was also an activist, heavily involved in the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and 1980s.
Not surprisingly, Wynne Coleman has followed in her parents’ footsteps, and is also a proud member of The John Birch Society. Coleman formed and led a grass-roots committee, No Convention of States North Carolina, dedicated to the defeat of any attempt to call a Constitutional Convention, by whatever name, that she and others fear could lead to a re-writing of the U.S. Constitution.
Click hereto read more.
Click here to learn more about an Article V and make up your own mind.
Short Session in Review
I guess if one were to look back at the session that ended last Friday, one could say that it was the shortest session in recent memory. Under normal circumstances, the “short sessions” traditionally run from mid-May to the mid-to-latter part of July. For a session to last longer than that in an even-numbered year, one only needs to go back to 2002, where the session did not end until November 13 of that year.
The 2018 session can be broken down in three phases. The first phase, of course, was the budget. The second phase was a smattering of local bills, while the third phase was a combination of local bills, veto overrides, and constitutional amendments.
Of course, the process for constitutional amendments are, by no means done. As I stated in the previous two newsletters, the votes taken in the General Assembly only means that voters will have a say as to what gets added to the North Carolina Constitution.
Local bills are bills that, by rules of the legislature, effect fifteen or fewer counties. With few exceptions, local bills generally have either unanimous or near-unanimous support, and does not require the signature of the governor. Some issues that might inspire a local bill might be about personnel policy issues that only effect small counties and municipalities, or the need to establish fire districts in a particular county.
During the session, there were several overrides of gubernatorial vetoes. Here is a summary of some of those bill. Other bills has been covered in previous newsletters.
One of the main missions of the General Assembly since 2011, was untangle businesses’ and entrepreneurs from the ever growing amount of red tape that was hampering growth of the economy. Here are the main provisions of this years’ regulatory reform bill.
- Allow electronic delivery of agency decision documents in contested cases
- Allow temporary food establishments to operate: (i) for up to 30 days, with a possible one-time 15-day extension, and (ii) operate at agritourism businesses
- Change the required office location for the North Carolina Board Of Cosmetic Art Examiners from Raleigh to Wake County
- Amend the law on contracts with automatic renewal clauses to exempt real estate professionals from the applicable requirements
- Make motorcycle financing changes to exempt motorcycles with a purchase price of $7,500 or more from the prohibition on balloon payments
- Clarify registration requirements for employees of alarm system businesses to include those employees who install or service commercial business establishments to those persons who a licensee must register with the Alarm Systems Licensing Board
- Modify the timing for renewable precertification for persons transporting essentials or restoring utilities during emergency declarations
- Require the Division of Mitigation Services to review and revise its bidding and contracting procedures for procurement of mitigation services
- Clarify improvement permit and construction authorization extensions for wastewater systems to provide that for purposes of extending a permit’s duration, site activities begun or completed pursuant to requirements from the local health department under the original permit would not be construed to be altered conditions and cannot constitute a basis for refusal of the permit extension
- Require the Legislative Research Commission to study mandatory connection authority relating to use of the engineer option permit for wastewater · Revise wastewater permitting requirements
- Expand the definition of “accepted wastewater dispersal system” to include approved trench dispersal systems
- Cap Title V air quality permit fees for air curtain burners
- Require the Environmental Management Commission to review local government implementation of certain water quality laws · Authorize replacement of certain temporary erosion control structures
- Authorize certain coastal stormwater program variances
- Allow American eels to be imported from Maryland for aquaculture purposes
- Clarify applicability of institutional controls and notice recordation for aboveground tanks, and modify other requirements for underground storage tanks
- Expand exemptions for certain local governments’ authority to enact flow control
- Clarify landfill life-of-site/franchise requirements for sanitary landfills
- Amend recoverable costs in the fuel clause rider for electric public utilities that have fewer than 150,000 North Carolina retail jurisdictional customers to include the cost of PURPA QF purchased power, and subject them to the current 1% annual cap on cost increases Amend the process for vacancy appointments to the Utilities Commission and the Industrial Commission
- Adjust the number of assistant district attorneys in Prosecutorial Districts 10 and 22
- Exempt the personal property of charter schools from property tax
- Amend legislation regarding maintenance of roads surrounding schools
- Repeal State Board of Education policies inconsistent with State law, as affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court, nd address State Board of Education rules
- Prohibit the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service from revoking or refusing to renew a funeral license under certain circumstances
House Bill 382 would 1) incorporate model act language from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) into North Carolina’s Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act; 2) amend the Surplus Lines Act to allow an insurer to be designated a Domestic Surplus Lines Insurer (“DSLI”) and be domiciled in and write surplus lines insurance in North Carolina; 3) amend the notice provisions in the consent to rate statute and add data collection provisions; and 4) amend and make technical changes to other insurance laws, as recommended by the Department of Insurance.
House Bill 717 would do the following:
- Re-establish judicial divisions, reducing the number of divisions to five from eight, effective July 1, 2018
- Combine Duplin, Jones, Onslow, and Sampson Counties into one district for Superior Court
.Restructure the assignments of Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties to establish two districts for Prosecutorial districts, and establish residency requirements for filing in district court.
- Restructure the assignment of Hoke and Moore Counties to establish a two county district consisting of those counties for Superior, District, and Prosecutorial districts.
- Restructure the assignment of Anson, Richmond, and Scotland Counties to establish a three county district consisting of those counties for Superior, District, and Prosecutorial districts.
- Require that official ballots contain a designation of the seat sought by a candidate when there are two or more vacancies for the office, to be determined by the State Board, provided that the designation is not an individual’s name.
Also in this session, I had a chance to make at least some progress on getting some of my own bills moved.
While the bill did pass the House, the bill did not become law since it got bottled up in the Senate. My hope is that the bill can go through the complete process, and become law next year. This bill stemmed from a challenge of candidacy against the Sheriff of Swain County, Curtis Cochran. The intent of the bill is to put the burden of proof on the challenger, since even candidates should have the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen would.
One bright spot for me in this session was the passage of House Bill 414. The original language was kept intact, but the Outdoor Festival piece was added in the Senate. I supported the addition, and at my behest the House concurred with the Senate version, and was signed by the Governor on June 15th.
Naturally, I would’ve loved to have seen all my other bills move. Sometimes, it may take several sessions before a bill moves through the entire process. All in all, more than half of the bills on which I was a primary sponsor made it to the other chamber. That is not a small feat for any freshman. My hope is all the bills I introduced in 2017 and 2018 can be introduced early next year so that the chances of them moving in the other chamber, and eventually becoming law are improved.
A Dream Come True
This past Saturday, I has the opportunity to join US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, US Senator Thom Tillis, US Rep. Mark Meadows, and the Swain County Leadership in formally receiving the full payment of the $35.2 million that was owed to Swain County by the federal government for the unfinished North Shore Road Project.
I am glad to see that this finally came to fruition, thanks to persistent follow up between myself, Senator Tillis, Congressman Meadows, and Secretary Zinke.
Congressman Mark Meadows, Swain County Commissioner Phil Carson, Rep, Mike Clampitt, Sen. Jim Davis, Rep. Kevin Corbin, US Sen. Thom Tillis, Secretary Ryan Zinke
Please remember that you can reach my office by phone and by email. My phone number is (919) 715-3005, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can listen to the session, or most committee meetings by visiting ncleg.net,and clicking the audio tab.
Progressives = Communists and Socialists and they have taken over the Democrat Party. – Opinion Fremont V Brown III
The Hill – Move over, House Freedom Caucus. Progressive lawmakers are poised to play a pivotal role in the next Congress if Democrats take back the House in November.
That’s because a dozen members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are in line to chair congressional committees, which would give the left-leaning group immense power to influence the chamber’s legislative agenda and strengthen their hand as chief antagonists to President Trump.
The stunning primary victory of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) has also opened up a coveted spot at the leadership table, bolstering the argument that progressives should have more representation in the party’s top ranks.
Some congressional observers are predicting that congressional progressives could emerge as the liberal equivalent of the House Freedom Caucus, a group that has been highly effectively at pushing the GOP further to the right by banding together as a conservative voting bloc.
Click here to read more about why the Republicans must get out and vote to hold the Senate and House.
FEE – Back in the mid-1980s, when I was in the seventh grade, I took an occupational investigation class. If I remember correctly, there was a fairly stout textbook involved that listed nearly all the jobs and professions of the day. Earning a six-figure salary as a pilot stuck in my memory.
At the time, however, I was drawn to the lawyers of L.A. Law and the doctors on St. Elsewhere. I wanted to be an obstetrician like Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. I knew any of these paths could be lucrative, but delivering babies seemed pretty rewarding.
Then I saw a character in a movie utter something about going six figures into debt to attend medical school. I was out.
The Changing Landscape of Higher Education
This came back to me recently when I saw a story on National Public Radio’s website reporting on a growing trend: Earnings in vocational trades are on the rise, while the returns to a college degree are “softening.” There are organic and artificial market signals at the root of this, and I’m not alone in having experienced both.
Click here to read more.
Our July meeting will be held on July 9 at Ryan’s Restaurant, 1000 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC at 6:30 pm.
I look forward to seeing you there!
NC 11th Congressional District GOP
“Be VOCAL, be VISIBLE and VOTE”