RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina General Assembly closed out its session this year on July 26 with a bevy of new legislative initiatives that many say will alter the state.

ncstatesealRepublican House and Senate leadership have said their changes — including lower corporate tax rates and a lowered flat tax for individuals — will make the state stronger. Their critics charge that the state has taken a dangerous turn to the right.

The GOP majority passed a budget that included significant cuts to public education and healthcare, including $8 million in cuts to the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Other initiatives included a stringent voter-identification law that regional and national voting rights advocates have called “mean-spirited” and a “full-scale assault” on voting. New abortion restrictions may also result in the closure of some women’s clinics.

Since April, the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP had led nearly-weekly “Moral Monday” rallies and protests, including civil disobedience. Nearly 1,000 people had already been arrested in the demonstrations before the group’s last planned rally on July 29. The NAACP and other progressive groups have said the Republican legislative initiatives will harm the unemployed, low-income people and children.

Be sure to pick up the Aug. 16 issue of qnotes for a more in-depth wrap of this year’s legislative session.

info: Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@qnotescarolinas.com.

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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@qnotescarolinas.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.