Saturday, August 4, 2007
Democratic Lawmakers - a "Do Something", not "Do Nothing" Session
Let me go ahead and admit that I am understandably biased on this post: I'm a former Democratic House member who is married to an outstanding current Democratic House member, works in State government on the legislature's front lines, and serves in several roles in county, district and State party committees.
Instead of a bias, it is more accurate to say that those connections afford me an encyclopedia of more first-hand information than your casual observer, pundit or commentator.
So, consider the great accomplishments of the 2007 legislature, and its Democratic majorities in both chambers:
Enacted additional campaign finance reforms
Enacted reforms in legislative ethics and election law changes
Enacted another pilot public financing program for certain Statewide candidates
Enacted changes in State law that remove the burden of the Medicaid match from counties - (This measure is one I first began working on 10 years ago when only a handful of rural counties were pleading for the change; like many changes, it took time and the addition of a majority of other counties before there was change)
Enacted a high risk insurance pool
Adopted a $20 Billion state budget that provides more resources for education than ever before, and includes more options for counties in need of constructing more public schools
Enacted significant legislation regarding solid waste disposal and limiting the negative impacts of mega-dumps
Enacted legislation that makes NC a leader in energy conservation, promotion of alternative fuels, etc.
Enacted legislation that provides for greater access to public records
Enacted pay raises for State employees and educators
Enacted mental health parity legislation
Enacted legislation that helps combat rate evaders (i.e., the tens of thousands of out-of-state folks - mostly from New York and New Jersey - who fraudulently purchase automobile insurance in NC)
Adopted resolutions where the State formally apologized for slavery, the 1898 Wilmington race riot, and its eugenics program
... and many other positive initiatives.
Notwithstanding, many Republicans - or at least the highly-partisan, right-wingers - will decry the above and say that the 2007 session was a failure because it did not pass legislation seeking a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage. (There is already a statute on the books addressing this topic.)
Those same Republicans and some pundits have labeled this a "Do-Nothing" legislative session.
I beg to differ. If anything, the Democratic leaders in Raleigh made this a "Do Something" session. And they did it quite well.