White House’s Plan for the Postal Service: Fix It, Then Privatize It

The Trump administration on Thursday called for the privatization of the U.S. Postal Service, an agency with 600,000 federal employees and whose creation was codified by the Constitution.

The White House made the proposal in its wide-ranging plan to reorganize the federal government. Privatizing the postal service was among 32 distinct ideas it said would help agencies run more efficiently. It first called for reforms to the Postal Service that would create a more sustainable business model, but those changes would be made only for leverage to then sell the entire agency to the private sector. The proposal comes as a task force created by President Trump is working on a series of reforms to put USPS on firmer financial footing, which it will deliver in a report by Aug. 10.

USPS is continuing to expand its delivery network despite a significant decline in mail volume, the administration said, and can “no longer support he obligations created by its enormous infrastructure and personnel requirements.” The mailing agency is required by law to offer its services to every address in the country and has reported losses of more than $1 billion for 11 consecutive years.

“A privatized Postal Service would have a substantially lower cost structure, be able to adapt to changing customer needs and make business decisions free from political interference, and have access to private capital markets to fund operational improvements without burdening taxpayers,” the White House said. “The private operation would be incentivized to innovate and improve services to Americans in every community.”

Click here to read more.

Rep. Meadows Introduces the Equal Protection of Unaccompanied Minors Act

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has introduced the “Equal Protection of Unaccompanied Minors Act”—a bill to resolve loopholes in the U.S.’s immigration border enforcement system, allowing for better resolution to the issue of family separation at the border.

The bill increases multiple enforcement mechanisms for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better prevent those seeking to take advantage of the asylum system. It targets asylum fraud by adjusting the “credible fear standard” for enforcement officers and barring aliens from entry if they are found to knowingly make a false or frivolous application for asylum.  This will cut down on attempts to use the asylum system to illegally enter the U.S. Furthermore, it requires dangerous criminal aliens, subject to final orders of removal, to remain in detention until they are physically removed from the U.S. The bill would also allow for alien gang members, alien gang associates, and aliens who participate in gang-related activities to be detained and removed by the DHS, cutting down on the issue of violent crime.

The bill more easily allows for family units to stay together by clarifying U.S. policies of family detention and the treatment standards of unaccompanied immigrant children. First, it clarifies the Flores Settlement of 1997, by ensuring that accompanied minors of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border are not separated from their parent or legal guardian while in custody of Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The bill will ensure the safe and expeditious return to the unaccompanied child’s home country, unless the child has a legitimate asylum claim. Additionally, the law would direct the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the DHS to retain better information about unaccompanied children at the border to better ensure their safe return.

Rep. Meadows released the following statement on the bill:

“The President’s agenda of cracking down on illegal immigration is critical, and yet many of us, including the President, agree: there is a better way to solve the complications of illegal immigration proceedings than separating children from their parents at the border. U.S. border officials need better tools to control the system, keep out violent criminals, and identify those who may be seeking to illegitimately take advantage of our asylum laws. By cutting down on asylum fraud, we can keep families together without running a greater risk of traffickers or violent criminals using children to take advantage of the rules.

 We need to better enforce our immigration laws, but we can do so while keeping parents and children together. I believe my bill will help do that. I look forward to working with my colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, to find a compromise where we can solve this issue together.”

News & Updates From Senator Edwards

News & Updates From Senator Edwards
Please Direct Reply or Message to Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net

From my Senate Desk

The NC Legislature convened for our short session on May 16. The first two weeks of the session were dedicated primarily towards the budget. This part of session has been widely recapped through the media and by other legislators, so at this time I will only add that both the House and the Senate have now overridden the Governor’s veto. The Governor’s budget include a tax increase and roughly a $470 million deficit due to a half billion dollar ‘spreadsheet error.’ The budget I supported invests $700 million additional dollars in public education, raises teacher pay by 6.5%, directs $200 million to other deserving state employees, and continues to grow our savings reserve.
In the most two weeks we have been working furiously to finalize statewide bills that must be sent to the governor. Later in this newsletter I will highlight some of those in which I think most followers would have the greatest interest.
I Will Meet With
Educators At Home
Approximately 19,000 teachers stayed out of work and forced schools to close around the state so they could descend on Raleigh May 16th. I am pleased that few from WNC made the choice to inconvenience their students, families, and educational staff.
I would like the opportunity to hear from teachers without them having to lose a personal day, or travel to Raleigh. If you are an educator and would be willing to meet with me to share your ideas or concerns please contact my local office at (828) 785-4177 or edwardsla@ncleg.net. I will happily meet you at my Hendersonville office at a time that will be convenient for you including early mornings, days, evenings, or weekends.
School Safety at the Forefront
During this session the legislature has focused much of our attention to improve the safety of our school children. No parent should have to worry about their children when they drop them off at school each day. The tragedies that have been occurring demand action and we have responded.
In the budget, the legislature increased access to mental health professionals, provided additional funding for school resource officers and worked to help fund the creation of an app allowing students to report incidents or behaviors that make them feel unsafe. In this year’s budget we provided $35 million to these efforts.
HB670- Protect Educational Property was presented to the Governor on June 15th. This bill increases the criminal penalty for communicating threats of mass violence on educational property or places of religious worship from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class H Felony. Additionally, it raises the punishment for making a false report about an act of mass violence on a school or place of religious worship a Class H Felony. The defendant of any crimes listed above would be required to be placed on supervised probation for at least one year, complete a minimum of 30 hours of community service, obtain a mental health evaluation, and comply with any treatment recommended as a result of the mental health evaluation. Upon completion of the conditions, the defendant would receive a discharge and dismissal of charges and would be eligible to apply for expunction of the charges. This bill received almost unanimous support.
While there is still work to be done, I am pleased with these bold actions and aside from the budgetary items they have received bi-partisan support.
Reduced Class Room Testing and Ensuring Low-Income Students Have Access to Advanced Courses
One of the most common issues I hear from teachers and parents is the over emphasis on testing of students, and the belief that reduced testing would offer time to focus on teaching. This week both the Senate and the House passed legislation which I supported that takes steps to reduce the testing burden on students in North Carolina and helps provide additional learning opportunities to thousands of children from low-income families across the state.
HB986 directs the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to study and make recommendations on ways to reduce local testing for students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade.
I am dedicated to improve outcomes for students in North Carolina, and after listening to teachers from around the state who are concerned that too much time is spent on testing, I believe that this bill is a first step towards reducing that testing burden.
The bill also makes changes to how students are enrolled in advanced math courses by directing that any student in grade 3 or above who achieves a “superior “score on their end-of-grade math test will automatically be enrolled in an advanced math course the following year.
These changes come after an investigation by the [Raleigh] News and Observer and Charlotte Observer last year found thousands of low-income children who achieve “superior” marks on end-of-grade tests are more likely to be excluded from advanced classes than their peers from families with higher incomes.
The NC Farm Act of 2018 Helps Protect the Right to Farm
This week both the Senate and the House pass the N.C. Farm Act of 2018. I supported this bill. It contains numerous provisions aimed at supporting the state’s largest industry and ensuring that farmers have the intended legal protections in the state’s right to farm law.
Senate Bill 711 clarifies provisions of the current right to farm law in order to protect farmers against unfounded nuisance lawsuits, often brought by out-of-state lawyers, attempting to put them out of business.
The Heroin
& Opioid Prevention & Enforcement
Act- HOPE
On June 14 we presented SB616: Heroin & Opioid Prevention & Enforcement Act or the HOPE Act of 2018 to the Governor. This vital piece of legislation which I supported is an extension of the STOP Act which went into law last. The STOP Act limits opioid prescribing.
In 2017, 64,000 people in the United States died due to the opioid epidemic sweeping our nation. 3 North Carolinians die each day of an opioid overdose. All three counties in our district from 2010-2017 had 6-10 unintentional opioid-related overdoses per 100,000 people. The HOPE Act will give law enforcement the tools needed to help combat the growing opioid problem.
The HOPE Act protects patient safety by making it a class G felony for a first responder or home health worker to steal a patients drugs. It also makes it a class E felony for a healthcare provider to steal drugs by diluting a patient’s drugs or substituting a different drug than what the patient is supposed to receive. The HOPE act also creates a new criminal offense “death by distribution of a dangerous drug”, to hold drug traffickers and dealers responsible if they distribute drugs that aide in the death of another person.
The HOPE Act invests $10 million per year in community-based drug treatment and recovery services to help law enforcement’s efforts to bring low-level, non-violent offenders into treatment. It also invests $1 million per year to the life-saving overdose reversal drug naloxone, and $160,000 a year in the state drug take-back program SafeKids NC/Operation Medicine Drop.
While these two bills are just the beginning, I am proud to have supported their passage. I am confident that these steps will help combat the continued spread of opioid abuse will help ease the epidemic sweeping our state and District 48.
Not Paid for Using Government Funds
Please Direct Reply or Message to Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net
Chuck Edwards for NC Senate, 2115 Legislative Building, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Mike’s Weekly Message, 119th District, North Carolina

A Sprint, Not a Marathon

Based on the pace of this week’s activities, it’s not hard to guess that the short session will is going to start a wind-down point. Where that wind-down point begins is hard to tell, but when the pace picks up like this, you just know that the end is session is not far off. Right now, the speculation is that we are on track for an adjournment by June 30th.

Bill Spotlight

Update on Local Bills

House Bill 414 Official Fly Fishing Museum/Outdoor Festival

This is one of the first bills that I introduced early in the 2017 session. The bill designates Swain County as the home of the fly fishing museum of the Southern Appalachians.

Currently, North Carolina does not have an official location for a fly fishing museum. Other locations, however, have been adopted by the State as official designations, including the Asheboro Municipal Airport as the official location of the North Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Aviation Museum, and the Wilmington International Airport as the official location of the North Carolina Museum of Aviation.

One change took place while the bill was in the Senate. At the request of Sen. Cathy Dunn (R-Southmont), the North Carolina Outdoor Festival held in Montgomery County was designated the official outdoor festival of the State.

On Wednesday, the bill was presented to the Governor for his signature.

 House Bill 611 Employment Contract Exemption

The language in this bill was removed and modified from my original House Bill 1023. As you might recall from last week’s newsletter, the bill I filed sought to address the disputed issue over spouses of school superintendents being employed by the school system. There’s one very important difference.

Originally the bill was designated for Jackson and Swain Counties. When it became apparent that there were similar situations in the eastern part of the state, I agreed to have a definition encompass their counties as well.

After some back and forth, it was finally agreed that a provision would now encompass all school systems in the state. Subsection 3a of Section One of the bill reads as follows:

Any employment relationship between a local board of education and the spouse of the superintendent of that local school administrative unit, if that employment relationship has been approved by that board in an open session meeting pursuant to the board’s policy adopted as provided in G.S. 115C-47(17a).

 Section 115C-47 is known as the Powers and Duties generally pertaining to local boards of education. To fully understand the context, Chapter 115c-47(17a) of the General Statute reads as follows:

To adopt anti-nepotism policies. – Local boards of education shall adopt policies requiring that before any immediate family, as defined in G.S. 115C-12.2, of any board of education member or central office staff administrator, including directors, supervisors, specialists, staff officers, assistant superintendents, area superintendents, superintendents, or principals, shall be em

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The North Carolina Left could lose nearly $20 million next week.

Civitas Institute Friday, June 15, 2018 – The North Carolina Left could lose nearly $20 million next week.

Now is your chance to help make it happen.

On June 20th, the North Carolina Court of Appeals will hear Civitas’ lawsuit against the massive environmental slush fund created by Mike Easley and managed by Roy Cooper.

For nearly 20 years as Attorney General, Roy Cooper administered a grant-making scheme that gave roughly $2 million per year mostly to liberal environmental groups.

The money comes from a 2000 agreement between the North Carolina Department of Justice and Smithfield Foods.

Both Smithfield Foods and the Attorney General’s office claim that this agreement was a voluntary agreement to enhance North Carolina’s environmental protections…

…The truth is that Smithfield wanted to avoid enforcement concerning their environmental record.

The North Carolina Constitution requires that all fines and forfeitures – and settlements – go towards public schools. But this fund, which amounts to a $50 million settlement, has gone to environmentalist causes – some of which supported Roy Cooper’s political ambitions.

With your help, if we are victorious next week, it will mean that nearly $20 million of the fund will be re-directed to the public schools of North Carolina where it belongs.

Civitas has been fighting to get rid of this slush fund for more than two years now. In that time, we’ve learned a great deal about how the money was allocated, the special interests and insiders that benefited, and how this funding scheme has damaged, rather than enhanced, the environment.

It’s time to eliminate this slush fund and send a message to the DOJ that North Carolinians won’t stand for these kinds of strong-arm, Chicago-style shakedowns.

Your gift today will help build Civitas’ legal war chest and ensure that whatever the outcome next week, Civitas will be prepared to continue the fight against corruption and graft.

Donate here right away!

Sincerely,

Donald Bryson
President & CEO
Civitas Institute

History on the case…………

On October 18, 2016 the Civitas Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) filed suit against Roy Cooper in his capacity as North Carolina attorney general, alleging he illegally diverted money from public education to special interest groups.

The Bottom Line

The North Carolina Constitution, as well as a 2005 NC Supreme Court decision, require all fines and forfeitures be directed to public schools. The Civitas Center for Law and Freedom lawsuit alleges that Roy Cooper, in his capacity as attorney general, directed funds resulting from a 1999 agreement with Smithfield Foods that appear to be equivalent to fines and forfeitures to favored environmental groups.

Click here to read more.

How Saving Grows the Economy—Explained with Comics

FEE – Back in the 1980s, Irwin Schiff, the late anti-tax activist, political prisoner, and father of free-market pundit Peter Schiff, wrote a marvelous comic book titled How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t, which teaches economic principles through a light-hearted story.

The comic starts with three islanders—Able, Baker, and Charlie—who live off of fish, which they catch in the sea. They have no tools to aid them, so they must fish with their bare hands. Fish, to the islanders, is a consumers’ good: something that is used to pursue their goals directly (in this case, the goals of satisfying hunger and not starving). But, fish can only be a consumers’ good when it is ready for consumption. The fish do the islanders no good while they are still swimming in the sea. So the islanders must engage in production. They must produce the product of “fish on a plate,” which is the true consumers’ good.

To produce “fish on the plate,” the islanders must use productive resources, or factors of production. One factor the islanders must use is their own labor. In this case, their labor is the act of fishing: using their eyes to spot the fish and their hands to grab them. Another factor they must use is land, or natural resources: in this case, “fish in the sea.” “Fishing labor” + “fish in the sea” = “Fish on the plate.”

Using only their bare hands, the islanders can only produce one fish per day, which is very low productivity.

Click here to read more.

Mike’s Weekly Message, Representative for 119th District, North Carolina House

Mike’s Weekly Message

A Shift in Focus

 

Last week, the focus was almost entirely on the state budget. This week, the focus has shifted to other bills covering a whole range of issues from school safety to matters only effecting local issues. It should be noted, however, that the budget is not entirely off the radar. Yesterday, the North Carolina Senate overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto of the budget, and the Speaker announced that the House is likely to follow suit next Tuesday.

Bill Spotlight

Local Bills

Senate Bill 15/ (see also House Bill 1023)

For clarifying purposes, the local bill in this pairing is House Bill 1023 (Spouse Employee and Local Sales Tax/ Certain Counties). While the bill has not moved in committee, it is important to understand that part of this bill’s purpose was met in other bill.

Here’s the background. Last summer, it had come to my attention that a school superintendent might have accidentally been in violation of statute since his wife was simultaneously employed by the school system. There was no intent to violate the law, and the superintendent opted to retire so that his wife could remain employed.

In subsequent conversations I had with legal experts and other local stakeholders, a remedy was suggested that would solve the problem.

In all candor, Swain County, along with a certain number of other counties, have very small populations when compared to Wake and Mecklenburg County, and I think such a prohibition in these small counties are unreasonably restrictive.

Upon filing the bill, I was approached by Sen. Don Davis (D-Greenville) about including other counties in the east. The result was section 2 of Senate Bill 15, which simply reads as follows:

“G.S. 14-234 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

50 “(d7) This section does not apply to employment contracts between a local board of

education and the spouse of the superintendent of a county local school administrative unit located in a county having a population of 65,000 or fewer according to the most recent official federal census or of a city local school administrative unit located in whole or in part in a city having a population of 15,000 or fewer according to the most recent official federal census.”

As to the other part of House Bill 1023, the quarter-cent sales tax for Swain County to be used only for public school capital outlays for construction, repair, renovation, and safety and security purposes, I am hopeful that part of the bill can be moved forward soon.

House Bill 1089 Change Burden of Proof/Candidacy Challenge

This bill is the result of a challenge brought up against a candidate in our district. Much has been made of it in the media, so there is no need to replay that particular incident. The bill simply states that the burden of proof in a candidacy challenge rests with the challenger of said candidacy.

 

School Safety Bills

Background: House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) appointed the members of the House Select Committee on School Safety in an effort to find real solutions and establish real preventative measures to enhance school safety for students and staff. The committee was chaired by Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn) and Rep. John Torbett (R-Stanley).

Two weeks ago, there were several bills filed upon recommendation from that committee. To view the report of the committee, click here. In this report, you’ll find the recommendations of the committee, as well as draft legislation.

I will report on these bills as they make their way on to the House floor. In the mean time, here is a list of all of the filed bills for your review, as well their current status.

H932 Anonymous Safety Tip Line Application. H 05/17/2018 Ref to the Com on Education – K-12, if favorable, Appropriations H933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure. S 06/06/2018 Re-ref to Health Care. If fav, re-ref to Rules and Operations of the Senate *H934 Threat Assessment Teams. S 06/06/2018 Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate *H935 Add Piedmont Community Charter School to SHP. H 06/06/2018 Placed On Cal For 06/07/2018 H937 SROs Defined/Training Standards. H 05/17/2018 Ref To Com On Education – K-12 H938 Various School Safety Changes. S 06/05/2018 Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate H939 School Building Vulnerability Assessments. H 05/17/2018 Ref To Com On Education – K-12 H940 SRO Rpt by LBEs to Center for Safer Schools. H 05/17/2018 Ref To Com On Education – K-12 H941 Increase Funding for SRO Grant. H 05/17/2018 Ref to the Com on Education – K-12, if favorable, Appropriations

House Bill 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure

The lead sponsor on this bill Rep. Josh Dobson (R-Nebo). House Bill 933 the General Statutes to eequires the State Board of Education to issue a school psychologist license to any individual who either meets the criteria for licensure established by the State Board, or who holds the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential issued by the National Association of School Psychologists.

 

House Bill 934 Threat Assessment Teams

This bill also contains recommendations of the state House Select Committee on School Safety to improve classroom security and protect students.

The bill adds a new subdivision defining “public school unit” to include local school administrative units, charter schools, regional schools, and schools operated by specified state agencies.

House Bill 934 creates the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools (The Center). The functions of the center are as follows.

(1) serve as a resource for public schools by conducting research, sponsoring workshops, and providing information;

(2) provide training for public school personnel;

(3) disseminate information to public schools on effective school safety initiatives;

(4) collect and analyze North Carolina school safety data;

(5) encourage development of partnerships between public and private sectors to promote school safety;

(6) provide technical assistance to North Carolina public schools in development of school safety initiatives;

(7) develop model policies for threat assessment teams for public schools, including procedures for the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior poses a threat to school safety. The Center must work with the Task Force for Safer Schools, local law enforcement agencies, and other government agencies.

Section 3 directs the creation of threat assessment teams by the local board of education and governing body of each public school unit. The threat assessment teams are responsible for assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may pose a threat to school safety consistent with the model policies created by the Center. These policies must include procedures for referral to health care providers for evaluation and treatment, where appropriate.

Section 4 requires the creation of peer-to-peer student counseling programs. Local boards of education must require the creation of peer-to-peer student mentoring, counseling, and support programs established at all schools with grades six or higher. Such programs are encouraged to be created for other grades as well.

Section 5 of the bill provides $1 million to the Department of Public Instruction for one-time grants to local school administrative units for training and materials for peer-to-peer mentoring, counseling, and support programs in schools serving students in grades six and higher.

The State Board of Education must award grants of these monies to local school administrative units in the amount of $5,000 per school for training and materials for evidence-based peer-to-peer student mentoring, counseling, and support programs as identified by the Center for Safer Schools.

The State Board of Education must award grants to applicants in the order in which they are received. An initial grant may not exceed $20,000 per local school administrative unit. If funds remain after the initial grants have been awarded, the Board may award a second round of grants using the same criteria. Applications for grants from local school administrative units in Tier 1 counties must be given priority in awarding initial grants.

House Bill 938 Various School Safety Changes

This bill also contains recommendations of the state House Select Committee on School Safety to improve classroom security and protect students.

All schools with grades six or higher, and in other grades as appropriate, would coordinate and provide training for peer-to-peer student support programs under the proposal.

The bill also requires the Center for Safer Schools to develop facility vulnerability assessments in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Public Safety.

 

The school vulnerability assessments would be integrated with the School Risk and Response Management System (SRRMS) as part of a School Risk Management Plan (SRMP).  Local school systems would be required to apply the tool to each school building annually.

H.B. 938 also expands school resource offer (SRO) training and continuing education programs.  The training standards would be required to include diversity and equity, tactical, and mental health training.

It also requires all public schools, including charter, regional, laboratory, and innovative schools, as well as the Schools for the Deaf, the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the School of Science and Mathematics, and the School of the Arts, to meet all the school safety requirements that apply to traditional public schools.

Military Dependents and In-State Tuition

 

A question had come up about military dependents (normally a spouse or child of someone serving in the military) receiving the in-state or out-of-state tuition rate. To get that question, I reached out to the Legislative Liaison of Community College System, and this what the statute states.

Section 116-143.3c of the North Carolina General Statutes states the following:

dependent relative of a member of the Armed Forces who is abiding in this State incident to active military duty, as defined by the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina and by the State Board of Community Colleges while sharing the abode of that member shall be eligible to be charged the in-State tuition rate.

Updates from the Southwest Commission

 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day- Walks to be Held Throughout the Region

The Southwestern Commission’s Area Agency on Aging is helping partners organize Elder Abuse Awareness Walks in each of our region’s counties and the Qualla Boundary. These walks will take place at the following locations at 6:00 PM on Friday, June 15, 2018.

Cherokee County: River Walk, Murphy Valley River Park (ball fields), Andrews

Clay County: VFW Park, Hayesville

Graham County: Robbinsville High School Track, Robbinsville

Haywood County: Downtown, Waynesville (Begin at the Justice Center)

Jackson County: Jackson County Department on Aging, Sylva

Macon County: Crawford Senior Center, Franklin

Swain County: Downtown, Bryson City (Begin at the Gazebo behind the Old Swain County Court House)

Cherokee: Downtown, Cherokee

We hope to see you there!

NC Rural Center Announces New Lending Opportunity for NC Small Businesses

The NC Rural Center recently launched a new small businesses lending organization for North Carolina.Thread Capital is a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that all residents of North Carolina have access to the resources they need to start and grow businesses. Thread Capital provides access to capital, coaching, and connections in the belief that with these tools entrepreneurs will create jobs and promote more equitable economic mobility in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Southwestern Commission’s Executive Director Sarah Thompson has been named Chair of Thread Capital and will serve along side other community and economic development leaders from across rural North Carolina.

Thread Capital operates as a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center. For more information, click HERE.

Community Outreach Across the Region

The NCWorks Career Center offices for Jackson, Swain, and Macon counties packed 425 boxes for the CareNet Backpack Program. These backpacks will be used to feed children who might otherwise go hungry, providing them with nutritionally dense food options. Way to go, team!

For more information on how Southwestern Commission Workforce Development Department works with NCWorks Career Centers across the region, click HERE.

Town Hall Reminders

This month, since we were not able to schedule a town hall meeting for the month of May, the town halls for Jackson and Swain Counties will take place on June 15 and June 29, respectively. The Jackson County town hall will take place at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Swain County Town Hall will take place from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Swain County Administration building in the District Courtroom.

The Jackson County Public Library is located at 310 Keener Street in Sylva. The Swain County Administration Building is located at 100 Mitchell Street in Bryson City.

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 mike.clampitt@ncleg.net. Also, you can listen to the session, or most committee meetings by visiting ncleg.net,and clicking the audio tab.

NC’s Stealth Voting Machine Monopoly

[Update June 5, 2018–SB 486 passed a second and third reading in Monday night’s legislative session. No lawmakers offered to amend the portion of the law addressed in this article. ~ jd]

Jun 4, 2018 (Raleigh) — Tonight at the Legislature, North Carolina’s lower chamber will conduct a third vote on an election reform bill that’s full of surprises, but one quiet little $10 million nugget will effectively mandate a single source for our state’s election machines, forcing all 100 counties to buy the same brand of equipment at non-competitive prices.

Peeling back the bill’s hidden meaning.

While common sense says that companies selling election equipment should warranty their work, up to the cost of a new election. The bone of contention involves how big an election.

For decades, North Carolina has required competing companies to post a bond covering the cost of a “statewide” election, specifically $10 million. While that all seems fair at first blush, it’s a red herring designed to drive out all competition. The failure of a voting machine in any given county would never require a new statewide election. Such a failure usually results in a manual recount. At worst, it forces a new county-wide election.

Vendors [must post a] bond or letter of credit …in the amount determined by the State Board as sufficient for the cost of a new statewide election or in the amount of ten million dollars ($10,000,000),
whichever is greater.” (SECTION 3.6A. G.S. 163A-1115(a)(1))

Click here to read more.