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.
Republican 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.
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