Tikkun Alerts



Each Tikkun Alert identifies the

  • Issue, Concerns
  • Rationale
  • Action to be taken.

To view Tikkun Alerts, click on any of the following:

Defending Food Banks
January 2016
ISSUE: Hunger in Western North Carolina and the essential role of MANNA food bank.

This is not a conventional alert, in the sense of soliciting political action, but it does recommend advocacy of a different sort.

CONCERNS: Carl Mumpower’s weekly column in the January 3 Asheviille Citizen-Times contained a paragraph denigrating food banks such as MANNA, the people who qualify for their assistance, and by inference those citizens and organizations—such as CBHT and its members—who contribute to them. His remarks could be harmful to the extent that people believe them. This is what he wrote:

“The next time a liberal asks you to donate to a food bank, ponder the fact that America’s deeper problem is with food addiction—not hunger. There are earnest exceptions, but most people’s ‘food insecurity’ is a withdrawal symptom. Food banks are a classic example of corruptively fostering dependency as a substitute for the more loving mission of nurturing self-reliance.”[1]

There are in fact links between obesity and poverty but they are not clear-cut. In any case, one issue does not justify dismissing the other.

MANNA packs nearly 5,000 weekend lunches for children in the sixteen Western North Carolina counties that MANNA serves through 211 agency partners, including faith-based institutions. In 2014, MANNA distributed 14.1-million pounds of food to 107,000 people with demonstrated needs. Random sampling produced these demographic results: More than half were working poor. Four of five had incomes of less than $20,000 a year. Among households where no one had been employed in the past six months, 59 percent of food aid recipients were either disabled themselves or giving care to someone else who was, or were in poor health. Most reported having to make the difficult choices between food and paying for transportation, utilities, or health care. It is unpleasant to contemplate their plight should the contributing public withdraw its support. Detailed statistics are accessible on MANNA’s web site under the heading Hunger 101.[2]

ACTION: Sustained public outrage is the best response to radical attacks on legitimate charity. Submit letters to the newspaper deploring and rebutting Mumpower’s remarks. Comments should be short and to the point, preferably 200 words or less, and the more letters the better. This is a link to the newspaper’s letters page:

http://archive.citizen-times.com/interactive/article/99999999/SERVICE/70305038/Sub,ot-Letter-Editor

[1] “Taking some shots at an ivory tower.” Page 5e, Asheville Citizen-Times, Jan. 3, 2016.

[2] http://www.mannafoodbank.org/hunger-101/hia-2014-summary/

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Food Stamps
October 2015
ISSUE: Federal law excludes childless adults between 18 and 50 from receiving supplemental nutritional assistance (food stamps) unless they are working 20 hours a week or participating in a qualified work training program. However, the law allows states to petition for waivers if there are not enough available jobs. North Carolina has obtained such waivers, most recently in July for 77 of the 100 counties where unemployment averages 8.1 percent. But in the waning days of its 2015 session, the General Assembly enacted legislation prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from requesting any further waivers. This would apply even in the event of a recession that put many more people out of work.

CONCERNS: If Governor Pat McCrory signs this legislation into law, as many as 105,000 people would lose food stamps averaging $30 per week. This is federal money in question, not North Carolina state revenue, so it would save the state nothing. The only apparent inspiration for the bill is an ideology that holds jobless people responsible for their own circumstances. The legislation does not take into account whether there are shortages of available jobs or qualified work training programs. It is cut from the same cloth as the General Assembly’s earlier decisions to severely curtail unemployment insurance and refuse federal funding to expand Medicaid.

This legislation (House Bill 318) also contains controversial and unwise restrictions on the ability of local government, including law enforcement, to accept and make use of foreign identification cards.

ACTION: Call on Governor McCrory to veto House Bill 318.

Contact form: http://governor.nc.gov/contact/email-governor

SOURCES: www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015;10/06/cutting-off-food-assistance-to-the-poor-really/

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article36606366.html

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Health Coverage
July 2015
ISSUE: Access to affordable health care is fundamental to the health and well-being of families. But in NC, 500,000 adults fall into a health coverage gap – denied the opportunity to have affordable insurance made available in a majority of states under the Affordable Care Act.

Of the 500,000 adults that could be covered by an expansion plan (using Medicaid), an estimated 27% are parents with children in the home. And a majority of those parents (64%) are in the workforce – many employed in restaurants, retail, and medical service jobs.

CONCERNS: Working parents and their children would receive significant help with health insurance coverage if North Carolina implements a plan to accept federal Medicaid funding set aside for North Carolina, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) and NC Child. In the report, researchers point to several studies that establish the direct connection between insurance coverage for parents and the health of their children.

It has also been shown that beyond the health benefits to our state, our economy would get a boost by an expansion of Medicaid. According to the Cone Health Foundation report, Buncombe County would add 1,500 new jobs and see $5.4M in new tax revenue by 2020.

ACTION: Gov. McCrory to come forward with a plan to close the coverage gap in North Carolina. We need to act now to save lives, save money, and build a healthy future.

SOURCES:

Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County

https://actionnetwork.org/groups/advocates

Cone Health Foundation

https://www.conehealth.com/app/files/public/4202/The-Economic-and-Employment-Costs-of-Not-Expanding-Medicaid-in-North-Carolina.pdf

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Environment
July 2015
ISSUE: The environment upon which all life on earth depends is in trouble on many fronts: from climate change on a global scale to regional and local construction projects that pose dangers to our air and water. Despite nearly universal public concern, the North Carolina General Assembly is entertaining far-reaching changes to law and policy that would be extremely harmful to the environment and to the public interest. The process, in this instance, is as troublesome as the consequences. The Senate added many provisions to an innocuous House-passed bill (HB 765) dealing with the transportation of gravel, turning it into 50 pages euphemistically titled “regulatory reform.” A more accurate term would be “regulatory revocation.” An editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal” aptly described it as a polluter protection bill. The massive changes proposed by the Senate will not necessarily receive thorough review in the House of Representatives. Other harmful provisions are embodied in the Senate’s version of the budget, which ought never to be the vehicle for major changes in state law.[i]

CONCERNS: Potentially the most damaging in HB 765 is a provision that would force citizens who challenge government decisions in court to pay the state’s legal expenses if they lose the case. Present law allows courts to assess such fees only upon finding that the claims were frivolous. The legislation would eliminate the court’s discretion, subjecting the public to huge penalties for exercising their rights even when the complaints were well-founded.

Other objectionable features include:

  • Allowing polluters to “self-audit” and avoid penalties for unlawful behavior if they “self-report.”
  • Expand a law that allows only incomplete cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination.
  • Change the state “Brownfields” law to the possible advantage of a landowner who caused contamination.
  • Allow engineers to self-permit septic tanks and other wastewater systems, eliminating oversight by local health departments
  • Allow applicants for air pollution permits to proceed despite pending legal challenges from people who would be affected.
  • Weaken protections for isolated wetlands and intermittent streams.
  • Allow more development to be considered “low density” under coastal storm water rules.
  • Repeal recycling requirements for discarded computer equipment and televisions by eliminating the taxes that support this free-to-the-public program.
  • Repeal idling restrictions on heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Close roughly half of the state air quality monitors.

Among other things, the Senate budget reduces the civil penalty for violation of sedimentation pollution rules, diverts millions of dollars from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, phases out the cleanup program for non-commercial underground storage tanks, weakens coastal barrier island shoreline protection by allowing beachfront property owners to install sandbags if their neighbors have them, and degrades the conservation function of the state parks system by transferring it from the Department of Environmental and Natural Protection to the Department of Cultural Resources. [ii]

ACTION: Contact your North Carolina legislators. Urge them to reject HB 765 along with any and all substantive changes to environmental policy embedded in the Senate budget.

[i] http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/07/07/a-breathtaking-literally-attack-on-the-environment

[ii] Legislative Watch: Bad Budget Blues, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, June 22, 2015,

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Climate Change
June 2015
ISSUE: The world faces grave consequences from climate change, to which greenhouse gasses from man-made carbon emissions are a major contributing factor. Pope Francis has addressed this crisis in his encyclical Laudato Si Praise be to you, my Lord, an appeal to all humanity “about our common home.” The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has hailed the Pope’s historic initiative. From RAC’s statement:

“As Jews and as fellow people of faith, we see in the papal encyclical another crucial step forwards towards demonstrating to our leaders that climate change is a moral issue and that mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the vulnerable is our faithful duty.”

“Doomsday predictions,” the encyclical says, “can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. …The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.”

A current report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates gains that would be realized in the year 2100 in our country alone from concerted global action to mitigate greenhouse gases. Here are just a few of them:

  • 57,000 fewer deaths from poor air quality.
  • 12,000 fewer deaths, in just 49 selected cities, from extreme temperatures.
  • At least $4.2-billion in avoided spending on road and bridge construction and repair.
  • At least $50-billion in avoided spending to adapt urban drainage systems.
  • At least $110-billion in avoided damages from lost labor due to extreme heat.
  • About $3.1-billion in avoided damages from sea level rise and storm surge.
  • At least $2.6-billion in avoided damages from impaired water quality. [1]

Your Tikkun Olam Committee will be considering means to more fully inform the congregation and the community on this issue, which, to a greater extent than any other, is fully and literally about repairing the world.

CONCERNS: But in Congress, pending legislation goes in all the wrong directions. A customs bill would bar the president from submitting any trade treaty that addresses the issues of climate change or immigration. This has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. On June 24th, the House is expected to approve legislation that would give governors the authority to exempt their states from the EPA’s pending carbon reduction rule and would suspend the rule entirely until the completion of all litigation attacking it. This week also, the House is considering a $30-billion bill to fund EPA and the Interior Department that would flatly ban the carbon rule and other important measures, including a stricter proposed standard for smog[2]. This will impede the administration’s policy of using existing EPA authority to reduce greenhouse gases. In addition to directly harming our country, enactment of these proposals would have the rest of the world, in advance of the United Nations Climate Change conference scheduled in Paris this fall, question whether the United States is an advocate of necessary measures to save the world.

ACTION: Contact members of Congress. Insist that they oppose any legislation to restrict the EPA or the president’s authority to negotiate climate change provisions in trade agreements. Voice specific objections to the House’s EPA budget bill.

SOURCES:

[1] http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/frontmatter.pdf

2 Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2015, “Climate Clashes Resume in Washington,” WSJcom.


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Child Care Subsidy Program
April 2015
ISSUE: The child care subsidy program is a double dose of help for both working parents and their children. Parents with vouchers can afford quality care for their children while they work or go to school.

Last year, the NC Legislature changed the eligibility guidelines for the program that have had an adverse effect on working parents and providers.

CONCERN: The change last year in the eligibility guidelines has left some families without a voucher or paying additional copayments. These guidelines need to be changed.

RATIONALE: House Bill 832 is a step in the right direction to correcting these unintended consequences. This bill, “Revise Certain Policies/Child Care Subsidy,” brings back partial copays for part-time care and doesn’t penalize relatives (like grandparents) that are caring for children with vouchers.

It is very important that this bill be passed.

ACTION: Action needs to be taken now. To support in getting this bill passed, sign the petition to pass House Bill 832. See below.

SOURCES:

House Bill 832:

http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/HTML/H832v1.html

Petition to pass House Bill 832:

http://statevoices.salsalabs.com/o/512/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=969

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Pursuing Justice
April 2014
ISSUE: Under Senate tradition, the Judiciary Committee cannot grant a nominee a hearing unless both senators of the nominee’s state consent. Jennifer P. May-Parker, an assistant U.S. attorney, had been nominated ten months ago to fill the longest-standing vacancy on the federal bench. If confirmed as a U.S. District Court judge, she would be the first African-American to serve in that office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and only the second woman.

She has received the “blue slip” approval from Senator Kay Hagan long ago. However, Senator Richard Burr, who himself had originally recommended May-Parker for consideration2, has not yet given final approval, nor has he given an explanation1.

CONCERNS: The judgeship has been vacant since January 1, 2006, constituting what is officially considered a “judicial emergency” for residents of forty-four of North Carolina’s counties whose cases are denied speedy justice. More than 25 percent of the district’s residents are African-American. May-Parker’s qualifications are indisputable. In a telephone conversation with a member of the Tikkun Olam Committee on April 1, a spokesperson for Senator Burr said he is having “ongoing discussions” with the White House regarding the situation and that his policy is to refuse to comment on such discussions.

According to the New York Times, the blue slip tradition is holding up no fewer than eleven judicial nominees and there are not even nominees for another thirty judgeships because it is clear a senator would object3. The tradition has not always been absolute, however, and there would be precedent for the Judiciary Committee chairman to disregard it so long as the White House agrees to consult with an objecting senator. 3

RATIONALE: Judaism is dedicated to equal justice and equal opportunity for all citizens. The admonition “justice, justice shall you pursue” is flouted when a qualified nominee cannot even obtain a hearing and cases languish for lack of a judge to hear them.

.SOURCES: See footnotes.

ACTION: (1) Contact Senator Burr. Urge him to allow a hearing for Jennifer May-Parker. (2) Contact Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Urge him to proceed with a hearing, notwithstanding the lack of a blue slip, in the same way that Senator Orrin Hatch did when he chaired the committee during the George W. Bush administration. (3) Contact Senator Kay Hagan. Urge her to encourage Chairman Leahy to schedule a hearing.

[1] www.NewsObserver.com searchword: may-parker accessed April 1, 2013

2 http:www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/03/11/senator-burrs-shameful-stonewalling/ accessed April 1, 2014

3 New York Times, “The Senate’s Discourtesy to Judges,” March 30, 2014

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Obstructing Justice
April 2014
ISSUE: Senator Richard Burr is preventing a confirmation hearing for Jennifer P. May-Parker, an assistant U.S. attorney, whom President Obama nominated ten months ago to fill the longest-standing vacancy on the federal bench. If confirmed as a U.S. District Court judge, she would be the first African-American to serve in that office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and only the second woman. Under Senate tradition, the Judiciary Committee cannot grant her a hearing unless both North Carolina senators consent. Sen. Kay Hagan sent in her “blue slip” long ago but Burr refuses and will not explain why. [1] In a letter to the president dated July 21, 2009, Burr himself recommended May-Parker “for your consideration” along with another candidate for the vacancy.[2]

CONCERNS: The judgeship has been vacant since January 1, 2006, constituting what is officially considered a “judicial emergency” for residents of forty-four of North Carolina’s counties whose cases are denied speedy justice. More than 25 percent of the district’s residents are African-American. May-Parker’s qualifications are indisputable. In a telephone conversation with a member of the Tikkun Olam Committee on April 1, a spokesperson for Senator Burr said he is having “ongoing discussions” with the White House regarding the situation and that his policy is to refuse to comment on such discussions. This suggests the possibility: that he is attempting to leverage May-Parker’s appointment for something else. Another possibility is that he is stonewalling to keep the position open until after the 2016 election in which he hopes a president more in tune with his own philosophies would be elected. According to the New York Times, the blue slip tradition is holding up no fewer than eleven judicial nominees and there are not even nominees for another thirty judgeships because it is clear a senator would object. The tradition has not always been absolute, however, and there would be precedent for the Judiciary Committee chairman to disregard it so long as the White House agrees to consult with an objecting senator. [3]

RATIONALE: Judaism is dedicated to equal justice and equal opportunity for all citizens. The admonition “justice, justice shall you pursue” is flouted when a qualified nominee cannot even obtain a hearing and cases languish for lack of a judge to hear them.

SOURCES: See footnotes.

ACTION: (1) Contact Senator Burr. Urge him to allow a hearing for Jennifer May-Parker. (2) Contact Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Urge him to proceed with a hearing, notwithstanding the lack of a blue slip, in the same way that Senator Orrin Hatch did when he chaired the committee during the George W. Bush administration. (3) Contact Senator Kay Hagan. Urge her to encourage Chairman Leahy to schedule a hearing.

[1] www.NewsObserver.com searchword: may-parker accessed April 1, 2013

[2] http:www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/03/11/senator-burrs-shameful-stonewalling/ accessed April 1, 2014

[3] New York Times, “The Senate’s Discourtesy to Judges,” March 30, 2014

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SNAP
September 2013
ISSUE: Members of the US House of Representatives plan to vote on a bill this week that would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

CONCERNS: This bill will cut the SNAP program by $40 Billion over the next 10 years. At a time when unemployment remains high, this would eliminate basic food assistance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, almost half of whom are children.

RATIONALE: At a time when unemployment remains high, this would eliminate basic food assistance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, almost half of whom are children.

ACTION: Contact your US House Representative to vote against this bill. Since time is of the essence, please act asap.

SOURCE(S): North Carolina Justice Center


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Farm Bill
June 2013
ISSUE:  Congress is currently considering legislation that will affect if and how millions of Americans keep food on the table.  The Farm Bill, which sets much of U.S. food and agriculture policy, is currently making its way through Congress.

Anti-hunger programs governed by the Farm Bill, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), help millions of individuals and families keep food on the table in spite of harsh economic conditions.

CONCERNS:  Current proposals will slash SNAP funding by over $20 billion spread over ten years in the House and by over $4 billion in the Senate.  These are real cuts that will have a damaging effect on real families, with the majority of SNAP benefits helping families with children, senior and people with disabilities.

RATIONALE:  The Torah and Jewish tradition are explicit in the command that we feed the hungry and help eradicate hunger from our society.  Our Jewish tradition further teaches us that we must fight hunger not individually, but rather by working together as a community.

ACTION:  This Wednesday (6/5/13), the Senate will begin voting on the Farm Bill. The current version proposes, among other things, over $4 billion in cuts to the SNAP program (formerly food stamps) over the next 10 years.

SOURCE(S):

http://action.rac.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9920

http://blogs.rj.org/rac/2013/05/31/your-voice-matters-protect-anti-hunger-programs-before-the-wednesday-vote/


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Racial Justice
June 2013
ISSUE: The General Assembly has voted to repeal North Carolina’s landmark Racial Justice Act. The vehicle, Senate Bill 306, needs only minor agreement between the two houses before it is sent to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has indicated he approves of it. This follows upon 2012 legislation that severely weakened the law.

CONCERNS: A 2010 study of North Carolina capital trials revealed that prosecutors used peremptory challenges (without cause) to exclude qualified black prospective jurors at a rate two and a half times that of whites. Other studies nationally have shown that the killers of white victims are significantly more likely to face execution than those whose victims were black. North Carolina has attempted to address such injustice by enacting the nation’s first law that empowers a judge to commute a sentence to life in prison when the condemned person can demonstrate racial bias contributed to the death penalty. Four inmates have prevailed so far under the Racial Justice Act.; 161 remain on death row. Many more challenges are pending, but it cannot be assumed that most or even many will succeed. Opponents claim, however, that the law needlessly delays executions and is being invoked by prisoners whose claims are not genuine. However, the sufficiency of their evidence is a question properly to be decided by judges, not legislators.

RATIONALE: Reform Judaism is strongly opposed to capital punishment. In practical terms, the death penalty is problematic because of its uneven application, its vulnerability to racial bias, the great cost of carrying it out as opposed to life in prison, and the absence of proof that it is a more effective deterrent. Although complete repeal is not a presently viable prospect in North Carolina, as it was recently in Connecticut and Maryland, it is of great concern to Reform Jews that NC is close to rescinding a statute that addresses one of the most serious objections to the death penalty.

ACTION: Contact Gov. Pat McCrory. Urge him to reconsider his support for this unwise legislation and to veto it instead.

http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact

or http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/email-pat

SOURCE(S):

http://www.wral.com/house-votes-to-roll-back-racial-justice-act-/12516075/

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-and-death-penalty


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Voting Rights
May 2013
ISSUE The North Carolina state legislator has proposed several voter ID bills; namely, H 589, H 451, SB 428, SB 666, SB 721.

CONCERNS: These proposed bills which, if passed, will limit the people’s right to vote. They will

  • (H 589) require potentially hundreds of thousands of voters who are not motorists to visit driver license offices–an inconvenience especially for the elderly–and pay $10 for a photo ID. Even with a financial hardship exemption clause, this still violates the plain meaning of the 24th Amendment, which prohibits the imposition of “a poll tax or other tax” as a voting requirement,
  • (H 451) shorten early voting, eliminate same-day registration during early voting, make judicial campaigns partisan, and repeal their public financing,
  • (SB 428) cut early voting by a week and prohibit Sunday voting,
  • (SB 666) deny dependent tax exemptions to parents of children who register at another address, such as a college campus,
  • (SB 721) deny voting privileges to ex-felons who have paid their debt to society.

RATIONALE: These bills are bound to disenfranchise many voters and discourage others from voting. As Jews, we celebrate a proud tradition of fairness with regard to voting and elections. Voting in our democracy is the right that secures all others, and to deny the vote strikes at the heart of citizenship.

ACTION: Contact your state representatives to express your opposition to these bills.

SOURCE(S):


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School Voucher
April 2013
ISSUE:The NC House of Representatives has introduced a bill (HB 944) to implement a school voucher system in North Carolina. The bill has been referred to the Education Committee which, if approved, will be sent to the Appropriations Committee. The intent of this bill is to provide scholarships to families for their children to attend private schools.

CONCERNS:The major concerns of this bill are that

  1. it is a violation of separation of church and state, threatening the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,
  2. it will divert sorely needed funds from the needs to improve education in our public schools.

With this voucher bill, the government can exert control over religious institutions by “putting strings” on eligibility for these “scholarships.” Public schools are the heart of American identity, where diversity has been a landmark that has made this nation great.

In the words of the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism,

“To defend the future of public education and the important separation between church and state, opposition to voucher proposals must continue to come from religious communities.”

ACTION:Contact your state representatives to express your opposition to this bill.

SOURCES:Information from the Religious Action Center:

http://rac.org/advocacy/issues/issuevouch/

Information on School Voucher Bill (HB 944):

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/04/16/school-voucher-bill-filed-would-channel-taxpayer-funds-to-private-institutions/


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Gun Violence
March 2013
ISSUE:  The United States Senate contemplates legislation that would mitigate the grave incidence of gun violence in our country. In the North Carolina General Assembly, on the other hand, there are pending at least six bills that are pro-gun and potentially harmful to public safety.

Federal: The U.S. Senate is expected to consider next month a bill to increase penalties for individuals–so-called straw purchasers–who buy and furnish weapons to others, such as felons, who are prohibited from buying them. It may also include expanded background checks, as recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided not to send to the floor the committee’s legislation to ban many types of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Cal, may offer the substance of these as amendments on the floor. There are presently no numbers for these bills.

State: Legislation of concern at Raleigh includes:

H 63: A House resolution opposing all of the Obama administration’s proposals on handgun violence.

H 246: A state constitutional amendment that would remove existing language which establishes the General Assembly’s power to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons, and add to the constitution a provision allowing anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon at places now prohibited, including courts, parades, demonstrations, and establishments that serve alcohol;

H 310, which would eliminate the discretion presently held by sheriffs to deny a concealed weapon permit to anyone with a “physical or mental handicap that prevents safe handling of a gun.” The sheriffs would be compelled to rely entirely on the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

S 59, which would authorize school boards to provide armed guards, including volunteers, at each school in their districts

S 146, which would permit employees and volunteers at private schools to bring guns on campus, and allow individuals with permits to take guns to church services held at any public or private school site

S 190, which would allow any adult with a concealed weapon permit to keep it in a locked vehicle on school property

These bills are described at greater length on the North Carolina Council of Churches web site referenced below.

CONCERNS: The federal legislation does not go very far to address the national problem demonstrated by multiple tragedies, including the mass murder of school children and teachers in Connecticut. It is timely–indeed urgent–for citizens to express their support for the legislation that Senator Reid intends to take to the floor and for the amendments that Senator Feinstein may propose.

There is no prospect for constructive legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly at Raleigh, but neither is there any justification–except from the standpoint of those who oppose all firearms regulation–to weaken the state constitution, establish a constitutional right to carry weapons into bars, courthouses, demonstrations and other particularly sensitive venues, or to prohibit sheriffs from applying their knowledge of local factors to the issuance of handgun permits. (There is a deficit of mental health information in the national background check database.) As for armed guards on school premises, the rationale cannot reasonably stretch to include volunteers who lack the training required of professional law enforcement officers.

RATIONALE: America’s rate of firearms violence dwarfs that of any other modern, economically developed nation. This is the direct consequence of political policymakers having been intimidated and paralyzed by a strong pro-gun lobby. This situation persists despite a seemingly endless succession of mass shootings and daily, unheralded individual tragedies that cost approximately 30,000 lives a year.  Although the New York Times has reported that the share of American households with guns has declined over the past four years, the influence of those who oppose reasonable restrictions remains fierce and unrelenting. The situation calls for concerted activity to persuade federal and state policymakers that public opinion and the public interest favor the federal measures described above and oppose the legislation pending in the North Carolina General Assembly.

ACTION: Contact our senators and representatives in Congress and our state legislators in Raleigh.

SOURCE(S):

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/20/us-usa-guns-senate idUSBRE92I11G20130320

http://www.ncchurches.org/2013/03/raleigh-report-march-19-2013/

http://rac.org/advocacy/issues/issuegc/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/us/politics/senate-gun-bill-will-exclude-assault-weapons-ban.html?ref=todayspap

http://us.yhs4.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=slate+gun+deaths&fr=ush-mail&hspart=att&hsimp=yhs-att_001&type=yahoo_header_mailclassic

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/us/rate-of-gun-ownership-is-down-survey-shows.html?_r=2&

http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/the-gun-report-march-20-2013/?nl=opinion&emc=edit_ty_20130320


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