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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Morning Roundup: N.C. Legislators Return Wednesday for Special Transphobia Session

Posted by on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 8:35 AM

click to enlarge WRAL SCREEN GRAB
  • WRAL screen grab
Good morning, everybody. In today's Roundup, your friendly Republican state lawmakers listened to their social conservative base, and made a decision regarding Charlotte's new LGBT protections that surprises absolutely no one.

1. Forty-two thousand dollars a day. That's how much it will cost for the General Assembly to meet for that special session. But the three-fifths Republican majority in the state legislature has the will to make it happen, especially in an election year. Gotta "protect the children," you know.

As WRAL reports:


House Speaker  emailed members Monday afternoon to notify them that the General Assembly would return to session on Wednesday. Gov. Pat McCrory indicated a short time before that that he wouldn't call a special session, but lawmakers can call a special session themselves if enough of them agree to do so.

The Charlotte ordinance broadly defines how businesses must treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers, but debate over it has focused on a provision that would allow transgendered people to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable.

Lawmakers were pushed by social conservatives who rallied outside the state capitol Monday:


Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes said in a statement read at a news conference that law enforcement would have a hard time enforcing law against indecent exposure and sexual assault because officers couldn't be sure if someone was truly transgender or simply taking advantage of an ordinance such as Charlotte'

"The desires of a handful of people who are struggling with their sexual identity should not cause the majority of people to compromise their safety and privacy in public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms, and it should not place law enforcement personnel in the uncertain position of enforcing a law based on feelings, not facts," Barnes said.

"Feelings. not facts," huh? Good one, sheriff. 


2. The N.C. GOP just censured its first-ever black chairman. For allegedly "overstepping his authority." Yikes. 

ABC News picked this one up:


The state GOP's Central Committee censured Hasan Harnett on Sunday with a "no confidence" resolution partly due to his actions on the party's upcoming convention and its computer system.

"I certainly think that he has not demonstrated the leadership capacity that is needed to be the chairman of the Republican Party," said state Rep. David Lewis, a Republican National Committee member and Central Committee member. He called Harnett's actions the result of either" intentional malfeasance or just ineptitude."

Lewis himself faced an unsuccessful effort by party activists to remove him as an RNC member in January. The committee's resolution alleges Harnett wrongly acted on personnel decisions and improperly evaluated attempts to remove party leaders.

There was pushback, of course:



Daniel Rufty, one of his allies on the Central Committee, called the committee's actions part of a "witch hunt" by party leaders against Harnett's efforts to give more influence to grassroots Republican activists who elected him last June.

"They're out to destroy Harnett, and they've been doing that since day one," Rufty said Monday. The state GOP also said the committee had censured Rufty on Sunday "for false and malicious statements about other Republicans."

Sheesh. What a bunch of drama queens.

3. Renee Ellmers endorses Trump. Well, of course she does. That puts her in the esteemed company of Chachi, so hooray.

From WRAL:

"Initially, I was looking at the candidates who had been governor," Ellmers said

But by the time North Carolina's primary rolled around on March 15, most of the governors – other than John Kasich of Ohio – had dropped out of the race, and her constituents were buzzing about Trump

"I didn't know I was going to be casting my vote for Donald Trump before the day of the primary," she said. "We are servants of the people. Our opinion is just that, an opinion, and we have to listen to what our constituents are saying."

Hmmm. In other Ellmers-related news, from The News & Observer:



Fresh off a loss to incumbent Richard Burr in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Greg Brannon announced Monday that he will enter another Republican primary – this one against Renee Ellmers for a U.S. House seat.

“Congresswoman Ellmers first ran as a tea party conservative,” Brannon said in a news release Monday. “But the John Boehner machine co-opted her almost immediately.”



So, you'd better be that outsider the voters crave, right, Renee? Well-played. 

4. The story of a brown-skinned couple harassed by a poll worker on N.C. primary day made national news. 

Raw Story, to be precise.

Oh, joy.



Rudy Ravindra, a resident of Wilmington, penned an op-ed piece in the Raleigh News & Observer about his experience when he went to cast his ballot during the early voting period.

“I gave my driver’s license to a poll worker, HW. He kept it face down and ordered me to spell my name,” Ravindra explained. “Although I go by Rudy, my legal name is Rudravajhala. In order to save time, I requested HW look at my ID. He barked, ‘You gotta spell it!’ So I took a deep breath and began. ‘R-U-D-‘”

During the encounter itself, there followed a scene reminiscent of an old literacy test — administered by somebody who might’ve had their own problems at passing it. Ravindra described it as a “spelling test.”

And, in horrible breaking news:


5. A Brussels airport and subway were attacked, and dozens were killed.

From Huffington Post: 



Deadly explosions rocked a Brussels airport and train station Tuesday morning, just days after the suspected mastermind of last year’s Paris terror attacks was captured.

Belgian police said that at least 11 people were killed in a bombing and an apparent suicide attack at the Zaventem airport, where gunfire was also reported. An additional 15 were killed in blasts at the Maelbeek metro station, Flemish public broadcaster VRT said, citing transit officials. 

Ugh. I already want to go back to bed. But I can't. And you can't. So let's all keep moving forward, in spite of it all.

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