Current Actions

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell the Senate to reject a radical constitutional amendment

    With no public notice, the Senate Rules committee just now passed a new version of House Bill 3 that includes previous provisions from Senate Bill 817 and Senate Bill 607. This bill would amend the Constitution and seriously limit our state’s ability to meet the needs of its people and build thriving communities. The bill could be voted on as early as this afternoon but certainly is likely to be scheduled for early next week. 

    Your Senator needs to hear your concerns about changing the state Constitution today.

    House Bill 3 would now change the constitution to permanently freeze income tax rates in North Carolina at a low and arbitrary rate. This means that the richest people in North Carolina would get an enormous – and permanent – tax break, while North Carolina’s economy suffers. In order to keep funding vital public services, lawmakers will likely have to do things like raise the sales tax, which will eat into middle class families’ paychecks and financially strand those who are struggling to get by or on fixed incomes.

    House Bill 3 would also now limit access to the Rainy Day Fund by requiring supermajority votes to access the state's savings accounts and not giving the Governor access to this important tool to respond to emergencies. Right now, the biggest threat to the state's future is not inadequate Rainy Day Fund contributions, but the tax gimmicks that lawmakers continue to pursue that drain the state of resources to serve the common good and shift the tax load onto average North Carolinians.  By allowing the process of accessing savings in emergencies or downturns to be limited by a new supermajority requirement and removing access for the Governor, such a change to the state Constitution removes another important tool for future lawmakers to balance the state budget.

    Under this constitutional amendment scheme, lawmakers could be forced to:

    • Raise the sales tax to offset the lost revenue
    • Push greater responsibility to local governments for funding public schools and teachers, or raising property taxes
    • Reduce the state’s commitment to ensure that schools, roads, public health and parks are funded 
    • Risk our state's AAA bond rating, which currently keeps borrowing costs low
    • Eliminate income tax deductions that working-class , middle-class and fixed income North Carolina families currently receive
    • Cut spending deeply because of an inability to access the Rainy Day Fund, the state's savings

    We elect our legislators to use their judgment to make North Carolina a stronger state – not to hamper their ability to build and support thriving communities. Tell lawmakers not to amend our state constitution and limit the tools policymakers have to pursue responsible, economy-boosting investments.

  • TAKE ACTION! Ask Your Representative to Vote in Support of Senate Bill 570

    Earlier this week we asked you to voice your support for second chances and ask members of the House Judiciary I Committee to amend Senate Bill 570 to include a provision significantly expanding access to Certificates of Relief. During its meeting yesterday afternoon, members of the House Judiciary I Committee voted unanimously to adopt the Certificate of Relief provision and give Senate Bill 570 a “favorable report.”

    Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford) and Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston) described how the Certificate of Relief provision would restore employment and housing opportunities to thousands of North Carolinians striving to move beyond their criminal histories and, thereby, reduce recidivism, strengthen families, preserve state resources, and make communities across North Carolina safer and more prosperous.

    We expect Senate Bill 570 to go before the full House for a vote next week. While we have powerful allies in Rep. Faircloth, Rep. Daughtry, and Commissioner David Guice, constituent support for a bill often impacts legislators’ votes.

    TAKE ACTION TODAY to voice your support for second chances and Senate Bill 570 to your elected representative!

  • SIGN THE PETITION

    We elect our legislators to use their judgment to make North Carolina a stronger state – not make our natural resources more scarce and vulnerable. Tell lawmakers not to amend our state constitution to benefit the powerful at the expense of the rest of the state and our natural resources.

  • TAKE ACTION! Ask Members of the House Judiciary Committee to Support Second Chances by Expanding Eligibility for Certificates of Relief

    Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford) is working with Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston) to amend Senate Bill 570 to include a provision that would significantly expand eligibility for Certificates of Relief, which relieve certificate holders from many of the civil disabilities and exclusions triggered by criminal records.

    The certificate of relief provision described below will be included in a “proposed committee substitute” (“PCS”) to Senate Bill 570 during the Judiciary Committee’s meeting TOMORROW (Wednesday, June 22). This provision would provide meaningful relief to North Carolinians with multiple misdemeanor and low-level felony (Class G-I) convictions.

    • The Certificate of Relief provision expands eligibility for certificates of relief from first-time convictions to individuals with multiple misdemeanor and/or low-level felony convictions. Put another way, this provision would expand relief to an individual who is striving to move beyond a bad period in his or her life, rather than a bad day. Many individuals in every community across our state are desperate for and deserving of such relief.
    • Established with bipartisan support in 2011, certificates of relief restore employment, housing, and educational opportunities for certificate holders by transforming automatic civil disabilities into discretionary civil disabilities. For example, a certificate of relief would allow an individual automatically barred from receiving certain occupational licenses the opportunity to go before an occupational licensing board for an individualized assessment of his or her suitability for the specific license. A certificate of relief also provides legal protections to employers, landlords, and other decision-makers that employ, house, or provide other opportunities to certificate holders. Unlike an expunction, a conviction for which the certificate is granted remains in the public record and is not erased or obscured in any way. The court of original conviction has the discretion to grant a certificate of relief to an eligible individual if it finds doing so would not pose a risk to the safety or welfare of the public or any individual.

    TAKE ACTION! Please take a moment TODAY to ask members of the House Judiciary Committee to support the PCS that will be introduced during tomorrow’s Judiciary Committee meeting.  

  • SIGN THE PETITION

    Sign our petition today in opposition to Senate Bill 817, Senate Bill 607 or any other TABOR-type legislation that reduces accountability and makes it impossible for North Carolina policymakers to take care of our state's priorities.

  • Tell your legislator: Dads need paid family leave!

    All working parents deserve the support they need to welcome a new child, take care of an ailing spouse, or recover from serious illness. However, a whopping 88% of working people have no access to employer-provided paid leave, meaning that when their families need them most, they have to choose between being there and paying the bills.

    Despite the importance of this issue for working parents, the North Carolina General Assembly has refused to consider legislation providing moms and dads with paid family medical leave. It’s time for legislators to stop paying lip service to families on Father’s Day and instead provide them with the support they need.

    This Father’s Day, tell your legislators to support paid family leave!

  • TAKE ACTION! Ask Members of the House Judiciary Committee to Support Second Chances by Expanding Expunction Relief

    Over the last year, we have worked with the NC Conference of District Attorneys to identify for legislators several changes to North Carolina’s expunction laws that would responsibly broaden access to this crucial relief. On Wednesday, June 15, Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston) will offer several of these proposals as part of a Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) to Senate Bill 570. Members of the Judiciary Committee need to hear our Alliance’s support for these changes directly from you.

    The provisions of the PCS to S570 will restore opportunities for productive citizenship in a manner that safeguards community safety. These reforms will bring NC in line with the “second chance” reliefs available in several other states. The PCS to S570:

    • Reduces the wait time for expunction of a first-time nonviolent misdemeanor from 15 years to 5 years
    • Reduces the wait time for expunction of a first-time nonviolent felony from 15 years to 10 years
    • Provides for the expunction of all dismissed charges if an individual has not been convicted of a felony offense
    • Provides prosecutors and law enforcement officials electronic access to records expunged after December 1, 2016
    • Treats a conviction expunged after December 1, 2016, as a prior record if the person reoffends
    • Establishes a uniform, more accessible procedure for filing expunction petitions

    With these amendments, Senate Bill 570 will provide expunction relief to North Carolinians with first-time nonviolent convictions much sooner. Senate Bill 570 will also provide relief to tens of thousands of community members isolated from employment and housing opportunities because of charges that have been dismissed or disposed “not guilty” but remain on an individual’s criminal record. 

    TAKE ACTION! Please take a moment TODAY to thank Rep. Daughtry for introducing the PCS to Senate Bill 570 and ask other committee members to support these amendments. 


  • TAKE ACTION! Tell the Senate Finance Committee to reject a radical constitutional amendment

    The NC Senate has given tentative approval to proposed constitutional amendment that would seriously limit our state’s ability to meet the needs of its people and build thriving communities. The bill will be voted on tomorrow and your Senator needs to hear from you today.

    Senate Bill 817 would change the constitution to permanently freeze income tax rates in North Carolina. This means that the richest people in North Carolina would get an enormous – and permanent – tax break, while North Carolina’s economy suffers. In order to keep funding vital public services, lawmakers will likely have to do things like raise the sales tax, which will eat into middle class families’ paychecks and financially strand those who are struggling to get by.

    This constitutional amendment is essentially a giveaway to millionaires that will just shift the tax burden to middle- and working-class families. The income tax cuts the state government has passed since 2013 gave the wealthy the biggest benefits, at the expense of the rest of the state. When fully phased in, those income tax cuts will reduce annual revenue by $2 billion – and most of that money will go straight to those who need it the least.

    Under this constitutional amendment scheme, lawmakers would:
    • Raise the sales tax to offset the lost revenue
    • Push greater responsibility to local governments for funding public schools and teachers, or raising property taxes
    • Reduce the state’s commitment to ensure that schools, roads, public health and parks are funded 
    • Risk our state's AAA bond rating, which currently keeps borrowing costs low
    • Eliminate income tax deductions that working-class , middle-class and fixed income North Carolina families currently receive

    We elect our legislators to use their judgment to make North Carolina a stronger state – not to hamper their ability to build and support thriving communities. Tell lawmakers not to amend our state constitution to benefit the powerful at the expense of the rest of the state.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell Senators to oppose HB 657, changes to math courses that disrupt teaching and learning

    The Senate is voting at 2pm today on a new education bill that will unnecessarily disrupt teaching and learning by making misguided changes to the math course of study. HB 657 would require schools to offer two distinct courses of study for math – the current integrated course of study (Math I, II, and III) as well as the old course of study (Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II). 

    HB 657 would be a logistical nightmare for schools, costing the state tens of millions in taxpayer dollars by abandoning past state investments and requiring new spending on teacher training, curriculum and test re-development, and new textbooks all designed to support two separate courses of study.

    Moving students away from the integrated math course of study would have a harmful impact on student achievement, as an integrated approach has led to improved outcomes for students on standardized assessments, higher scores on the ACT, and reduced the achievement gap for underserved students.

    HB 657 also upends the General Assembly’s Session Law 2014-78 and the work by the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC). ASRC recommendations did not include a change in math course sequence. The NC State Board of Education is currently fulfilling ASRC’s Math Recommendations.

    TAKE ACTION NOW!

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell Your Senator to Oppose HB1080, reject unproven intervention for underserved schools

    Tomorrow the Senare Education Committee will consider a bill that could severely harm underserved schools.

    House Bill 1080 would create an “Achievement School District” (ASD), comprised of five schools chosen from the bottom 25% of schools across the state. These schools would either be closed entirely or turned over to charter school operators that are not required to be non-profits and may be located out of state. HB 1080 has already passed the House and is now being voted on by the Senate Education Committee.  

    North Carolina must live up to the unfulfilled constitutional promise that students in these schools will have an opportunity to obtain a sound basic education. The creation of an ASD would further harm these schools and hamper this ability because:

    • ASDs have not improved student performance in other states using this prescriptive approach. The majority of these schools remain in the bottom 5% and continue to lag behind other persistently low-performing schools that were not taken over.
    • ASDs increase staff turnover, which exacerbates the difficulty low-performing schools and districts already have retaining staff.
      • Low-performing schools in North Carolina are making statistically significant progress according to a recent study on the existing program designed to improve low-performing schools known as “Turning Around North Carolina’s Lowest-Achieving Schools” or TALAS. The study found that the primary threat to this progress is the high level of staff turnover that occurs in these schools and the increased level of spending on professional development that is required for new staff members each year. ASDs would make the turnover problem in low-performing schools even worse.
    • Charter school operators do not have experience running this type of school as they are generally prepared to operate schools that open from scratch with students selected through an application process rather than take over existing schools that serve all students in a given attendance zone. 

    North Carolina should instead focus resources on educational interventions with a track record of success. Any effort to improve schools requires interventions tailored to the unique needs of each low performing school, building on the foundation North Carolina created through TALAS.

    HB 1080 rightfully recognizes that much more needs to be done to improve North Carolina’s persistently-underperforming schools. However, these schools need options that are more closely associated with improved student outcomes rather than an unproven intervention impacting a small number of underserved schools if they are to provide all students with the opportunity to learn that the state’s constitution guarantees.

    Contact your Senator today!

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell House K-12 committee to Reject Bill that Diverts Funding from Public Schools

    Oppose House Bill 539, an enormously destructive bill that would have devastating impacts on public education.

    HB 539 would divert millions of dollars of revenue from local public school districts to charter schools. This will allow charter schools to receive funding for services and costs borne exclusively by local public schools. These changes will deprive your local public school of funding at a time when they can least afford it. The progress our local schools have made is at risk following years of budget cuts and funding diversions that have left North Carolina’s schools among the lowest-funded in the nation.

    The House K-12 education committee will be meeting to discuss this bill TODAY and need to hear from you.

    HB 539 would deprive local public schools of the following types of funding:

    • Child nutrition indirect costs, even though charter schools are not required to provide Free or Reduced Price lunch
    • Fees received for use of school programs by outside groups (Includes after and before school programs run by the local school district)
    • Sales Tax Revenue regardless of how it is distributed (this will cause a large diversion of local funding to state-run charter schools in 5 districts)
    • Reimbursements, even though charter schools already receive a portion of funding from the original expenditures that are being reimbursed
    • Gifts and grants that are not restricted by the donor to be held in a specific fund for local schools
      • This will add to the administrative burden of understaffed central offices, requiring local school districts to ask anyone who gives them a grant to include language that expressly exclude charters or expressly restrict the grant to a particular school.
    • Federal appropriations made directly to local schools

    Quality, well-funded public schools are the foundation of North Carolina’s prosperity. Charter schools and local public schools should not be pitted against one another for these dwindling funds.

    Oppose HB 539 to keep funding in local public schools. ACT NOW to protect our state’s educational future against this bill.

  • TAKE ACTION! Ask Members of the House Judiciary Committee to Support Second Chances by Expanding Expunction Relief

    Over the last year, we have worked with the NC Conference of District Attorneys to identify for legislators several changes to North Carolina’s expunction laws that would responsibly broaden access to this crucial relief. On Wednesday, May 18, Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston) will offer several of these proposals as amendments to Senate Bill 570. Committee members need to hear our Alliance’s support for these amendments directly from you.

    The amendments to S570 will restore opportunities for productive citizenship in a manner that safeguards community safety. These reforms will bring NC in line with the “second chance” reliefs available in several southern states. The Amendments to S570 would:

    • Reduce the wait time for expunction of a first-time nonviolent misdemeanor from 15 years to 5 years
    • Reduce the wait time for expunction of a first-time nonviolent felony from 15 years to 10 years
    • Provide for the expunction of all dismissed charges if an individual has not been convicted of a felony offense
    • Provide prosecutors and law enforcement officials electronic access to records expunged after Oct. 1, 2016
    • Treat a conviction expunged after Oct. 1, 2016, as a prior record if the person reoffends
    • Establish a uniform, more accessible procedure for filing expunction petitions

    With these amendments, Senate Bill 570 will provide expunction relief to North Carolinians with first-time nonviolent convictions much sooner. Senate Bill 570 will also provide relief to tens of thousands of community members isolated from employment and housing opportunities based on dismissed charges.

    Please take a moment TODAY to thank Rep. Daughtry for introducing the amendments to Senate Bill 570 and ask other committee members to support these amendments.  

  • TAKE ACTION! Ask Rep. Faircloth to Include Certificate of Relief Provision in the House Budget

    Last year, we worked with Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford) to include a provision in the 2015 Appropriations Act that would have significantly expanded eligibility for certificates of relief (see overview below). This provision passed the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the provision was not included in the Senate version of the Appropriations Act or the final budget signed by Governor McCrory.

    A year later, legislators are once again in the process of composing a budget and we have another opportunity to significantly expand second chance relief. The first step is to persuade Rep. Faircloth to include the same Certificate of Relief provision in this year’s House budget. We need your help to do that before this Thursday’s deadline.

    Why This Matters: Certificate of Relief Provision

    The Certificate of Relief provision expands eligibility for certificates of relief from first-time convictions to individuals with multiple misdemeanor and/or low-level felony convictions (see here). Put another way, this provision would expand relief to an individual who is striving to move beyond a bad period in his or her life, rather than a bad day. Many individuals in every community across our state are desperate for and deserving of such relief.

    Established with bipartisan support in 2011, certificates of relief restore employment, housing, and educational opportunities for certificate holders by transforming automatic civil disabilities into discretionary civil disabilities. For example, a certificate of relief would allow an individual automatically barred from receiving certain occupational licenses the opportunity to go before an occupational licensing board for an individualized assessment of his or her suitability for the specific license. A certificate of relief also provides legal protections to employers, landlords, and other decision-makers that employ, house, or provide other opportunities to certificate holders. Unlike an expunction, a conviction for which the certificate is granted remains publicly reviewable. The court of original conviction has the discretion to grant a certificate of relief to an eligible individual if it finds doing so would not pose a risk to the safety or welfare of the public.

    TAKE ACTION! Please take a moment TODAY to thank Rep. Faircloth for inserting the Certificate of Relief provision into last year’s budget and ask him to include the same Certificate of Relief provision in this year’s House budget. 
         
           

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell NC legislative leaders to raise the bar

    Our lawmakers have enacted a series of costly tax cuts that are now constraining their ability to invest in our state. Now, lawmakers want to put the state budget on auto-pilot, which will further hurt all North Carolinians.

    As they craft a budget for the coming year, state House and Senate leadership plan to tie their spending target to a flawed formula that replaces good judgment with rigid numbers. Legislative leaders decided that state spending can’t increase by more than the percentage growth in population and inflation, and have set their target at a little over $22 billion – below the governor’s budget, which already fell short of what North Carolina needs. 

    We don’t have to guess what will happen if North Carolina commits to this population-plus-inflation formula.
    Colorado put a similar one into place in the 1990s, and a recent report shows that quality of life and education opportunity are seriously suffering as a result. This is a cautionary tale, not a model of success.

    If legislative leaders had taken the time to analyze the situation before deciding on a formula, they would have had to address the crushing constraints that their tax cuts have already placed on public services: 

    • There are over 7,200 at-risk children on the NC Pre-K waiting list.
    • Some classrooms don’t have enough textbooks or basic supplies for children, and many teachers lack access to crucial professional development that can boost educational outcomes.
    • Many neighborhoods lack affordable housing, grocery stores with fresh food, or Main Streets with thriving local businesses.

    Spending is already at historic lows in terms of the size of the state economy, and the proposed target would keep it below pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation. Using such a rigid formula doesn’t allow the budget to catch up and keep up with growing needs, because the formula doesn’t account for our changing population and how that affects services. North Carolina’s older adult population is growing far faster than the population as a whole, meaning the need for Medicaid and community care will grow disproportionately. And this inflation measure reflects the changes in the cost of goods and services that urban households purchase—not changes in the cost of public goods that benefit all of us.

    Taken together, both components of the population-plus-inflation formula would keep state spending at starvation levels, making it impossible to adequately invest in schools, health care, public safety and other building blocks of a strong economy.

    We cannot afford to set a low bar for our future. In order to build an economy that gives everyone a fair shot, we must raise the bar and reinvest to support children, families, and communities.

    Tell lawmakers right now to raise the bar and invest in the things that help all Tar Heels thrive!

  • Take Action: Tell Legislators What Working Moms Really Want!

    As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s a good time to think beyond the flowers, cards and chocolates and consider what really matters for North Carolina’s moms. For the hundreds of thousands of moms working in the state to support their families, having access to family leave, paid sick days, and living wages would make a world of difference.

    Here’s our Mother’s Day wish list for the North Carolina Legislature:

    1. Pass the Caregiver Relief Act (HB 269/SB 337) – This bill would expand eligibility for unpaid, job-protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act to include grandparents, grandchildren and step relatives, making it easier for moms and grandmothers to be there for their family members when they need them most.
    2. Pass the Healthy Families & Workplaces/Paid Sick Days Act (HB 270 and SB 339) – This bill would allow working North Carolinians to earn up to seven paid sick days annually, which could be used to go to the doctor, recover from illness, or care for a sick child.
    3. Raise the minimum wage – Various legislative proposals introduced last year would increase the minimum wage in North Carolina. Raising the wage would allow working moms to better meet the needs of their families.

    Our elected leaders should make sure that working moms in North Carolina have all the tools they need to adequately provide and care for their families.

    Take Action! Tell your legislator to support these pro-family policies and give working moms what they really want.

  • I Pledge to Vote
  • SIGN THE PETITION

    Tell state lawmakers: Ensure that North Carolinians who are doing their best to get by have access to food assistance and job training programs. Sign the petition below.

    SNAP, or food assistance known as FNS, provides the nutritional fuel that people need to build a productive future. Yet North Carolina is reinstating a harsh federal law requiring a time limit on food assistance for nondisabled childless adults threatens that future. As a result, North Carolina may deny up to 100,000 people the help they need to put food on the table over the course of 2016.

    State lawmakers can reverse their decision to permanently ban the state from accessing a waiver from this time limit—and they can invest in job training programs for these vulnerable adults--but convincing them to do so will take pressure from North Carolinians like you, starting right now.

  • Take Action! Tell Governor McCrory and lawmakers to end legal discrimination in NC and repeal HB2

    We can all agree that North Carolina should never tolerate legal discrimination against anyone. Unfortunately, Governor McCrory recently signed HB2, legislation passed by the General Assembly that returns North Carolina to an era where businesses can discriminate against customers and employers can discriminate against workers. 

    Under the North Carolina Constitution, the legislature has the authority to determine what local governments can and cannot do. For decades, however, the General Assembly has provided our municipal and county governments freedom to regulate private businesses in a limited way, including prohibiting discrimination and boosting the wages of the employees of public contractors. The City of Charlotte recently used this authority to pass an important ordinance preventing public and private discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Yet HB2, which was introduced, passed, and signed into law in just 12 hours, permits just this kind of discrimination. Specifically, the bill would:

    • Ban local governments from prohibiting businesses from engaging in any type of discrimination. The draft would effectively overturn Charlotte’s new ordinance, permit private businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgendered residents, and prevent local communities from regulating other types of discrimination by private businesses.
    • Enact sweeping new restrictions on the ability of governments to protect workers and raise wages. Public contracts with private businesses have been an important tool used by local governments to raise wages and ensure basic job standards in their community. In an unprecedented overreach, the bill prohibits local governments from considering wages, benefits, and basic job safety standards when awarding public contracts—in effect telling local governments what they can and can’t do with their own money.
    • Eliminate state law remedies for employees who are fired based on their race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. Specifically, section 3.2 of the bill ended an employee’s private right to sue an employer who fires him or her for any one of these discriminatory reasons. As a result, this leaves employees who are fired simply because they are black or a female or Christian without any effective protections under state law. North Carolina now joins Mississippi as the only state without any state law protecting private sector employees from workplace discrimination

    This legislation is bad news for North Carolina’s economy. It empowers businesses to discriminate and weakens the ability of local governments to raise wages—policies that will do nothing to create jobs or grow an economy that works for everyone.

    Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop discrimination and repeal HB2!

  • Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop taking away our communities’ freedoms!

    We can all agree that North Carolina’s local governments need more freedom to protect their residents against discrimination, defend workers, and build an economy that benefits everyone in their community.

    Unfortunately, the General Assembly has called a special session this week for the sole purpose of taking these freedoms away from our local communities.

    Under the North Carolina Constitution, the legislature has the authority to determine what local governments can and cannot do. For decades, however, the General Assembly has provided our municipal and county governments freedom to regulate private businesses in a limited way, including prohibiting discrimination and boosting the wages of the employees of public contractors. The City of Charlotte recently used this authority to pass an important ordinance preventing public and private discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Yet draft legislation unveiled this morning without any public input takes these freedoms away from our local communities. If it becomes law, the bill would:

    • Ban local governments from prohibiting businesses from engaging in any type of discrimination. The draft would effectively overturn Charlotte’s new ordinance, permit private businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered residents, and prevent local communities from regulating other types of discrimination by private businesses.
    • Enact sweeping new restrictions on the ability of governments to protect workers and raise wages. Public contracts with private businesses have been an important tool used by local governments to raise wages and ensure basic job standards in their community. In an unprecedented overreach, the bill prohibits local governments from considering wages, benefits, and basic job safety standards when awarding public contracts—in effect telling local governments what they can and can’t do with their own money.
    • Eliminate state law remedies for employees who are fired based on their race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. If it becomes law, North Carolina will join Mississippi as the only state without any state law protecting private sector employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age or disability. The bill eliminates an employee’s private right of action to sue an employer who fires him or her for a discriminatory reason. 

    This legislation is bad news for North Carolina’s economy. It empowers businesses to discriminate and weakens the ability of local governments to raise wages—policies that will do nothing to create jobs or grow an economy that works for everyone.

    Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop taking away our communities’ freedoms!

  • Take Action: Tell candidates to lead on paid leave!
    The national momentum for paid family leave and paid sick days is growing.

    States and local governments across the country are adopting policies that allow working people to take care of themselves and their families in the event of illness, welcome a new baby to the family, or recover from surgery without going broke. 

    Business leaders are also speaking up in support of policies that require employers to provide paid sick and medical leave, and research is clear that paid leave is a smart move for businesses.

    Bills on paid family leave and paid sick days are under consideration in Congress and in the legislatures of several states—including North Carolina's. But if we want paid leave to be a reality, we need to make sure our elected officials know how important this issue is to us as constituents.

    Take Action: Ask candidates for their plans on paid leave!

    The U.S. is one of the only nations in the world without some kind of paid leave policy. We can do better. Election season is upon us, and candidates are taking public positions on a range of issues impacting families. Now that the North Carolina primary is over, it’s time to ask candidates how they plan to address the need for paid leave.
  • SIGN THE PETITION! Tell NCGA that cuts to unemployment insurance have hurt NC families and communities

    After the changes enacted in 2013, North Carolina’s unemployment insurance is providing too little for too short a period to too few of North Carolina’s jobless workers.

    • TOO LITTLE: North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in its average weekly benefit amount of $233 which monthly would leave a North Carolina family with one adult, one child more than $1,800 short in meeting their basic needs.
    • TOO SHORT: North Carolina ranks last for its average duration of unemployment insurance of just 11 weeks. It is the only state to allow a maximum of just 13 weeks for all jobless workers.
    • TOO FEW: North Carolina ranks last for the number of jobless workers who receive unemployment insurance. Just 11 percent of jobless North Carolinians receive unemployment insurance.

    Tell the North Carolina General Assembly that they must rebalance the unemployment insurance system so that it supports families and communities with too few jobs to ensure that all can work.

    SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell lawmakers that a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit is the best tool to address the tax shift in North Carolina

    Today—just as North Carolinians began paying sales taxes on more services—leaders at the General Assembly held a press conference to praise all of the tax changes they have enacted since 2013. But we know that large income tax cuts over the last couple of years have primarily benefited those who are already well-off and profitable corporations. Combined with the expanded sales tax, this is making North Carolina’s upside-down tax system worse, not better.

    And despite leaderships’ claims that the series of tax changes are pushing more families up the economic ladder, the truth is that more families are struggling to make ends meet while working low-wage jobs. The tax changes have not created an economy that works for everyone.

    If policymakers truly want to address inequities in our state’s tax code, a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would deliver the greatest impact and reach. Instead, lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the state standard deduction by $2,000. This tax change would reduce the income tax owed by all taxpayers (including millionaires) and does nothing to address the greater share of income that low- and middle-income families pay in sales taxes compared to the wealthy—a worthy goal because state legislators have increased our reliance on the sales tax.

    Help us send a message to state legislators: if they care about the greater tax load that low- and middle-income taxpayers carry, they should put in place a state EITC.

    The refundable state EITC is a more effective tool for promoting equity in North Carolina’s upside-down tax system because it targets working families that earn low-wages and struggle to meet basic needs. Prior to being eliminated in 2014, North Carolina’s EITC reached nearly one million working low-income families and their children. A state EITC has the added benefit of being linked to the federal EITC, one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty tools. It has delivered improved outcomes over decades on labor force participation, earnings for workers, and educational attainment, health, and lifetime earnings for children.

    Here are some key points to lift up when you reach out to your legislators to share your perspective on this important policy for North Carolina’s working families, communities and the economy.

    • A refundable state EITC reduces the impact of regressive sales tax on low-income families. In recent years, state lawmakers expanded the sales tax to more goods and services to partially pay for costly income tax cuts. The regressive sales tax hits low-income North Carolinians particularly hard, as they pay a significant share of their income in sales tax and other local taxes. The EITC helps offset the higher tax responsibility they have overall relative to wealthier taxpayers.
    • Reinstating a refundable state EITC at its prior value would cost half the price tag of the proposed increased standard deduction. Increasing the standard deduction as proposed would reduce state revenue by $205 million for tax year 2017 – the actual cost may actually be higher as a result of tax changes passed since 2013. As such, state lawmakers could reinstate a refundable EITC at 5 percent of the federal credit and reach nearly one million working, low-income North Carolinians at half the cost of this proposal.
    • The EITC is widely recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools nationwide, especially for children. There is increased recognition at the national level that the EITC is the best tool to ensure workers keep more of what they earn and in so doing move families out of poverty

    Raising the standard deduction will not halt the tax shift that has taken place in North Carolina and will not help as state policymakers continue to expand the sales tax to more goods and services while cutting income tax rates. Contact your legislators TODAY to let them know that a refundable state EITC is a better way to address our state’s upside-down tax system and would reach low-income workers in each of the state’s 100 counties.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell your policymakers that the tax shift is real and a refundable EITC for North Carolina’s working families is the better choice.

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell lawmakers that a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit is the best tool to address the upside-down tax code in North Carolina

    This week members of the General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Committee were briefed on a proposal to raise the state standard deduction by $2,000. This tax change would reduce the income tax owed by all taxpayers and will not target low- and middle-income taxpayers or address the greater share of their income paid in sales taxes as state policymakers have increased reliance on the sales tax. If policymakers truly want to address inequities in our state’s tax code, a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would have a greater impact and reach. 

    Help us send a message to the Revenue Laws Committee: if they care about the greater tax load that low- and middle-income taxpayers carry, they should put in place a state EITC.

    The refundable state EITC is a more effective tool for promoting equity in North Carolina’s upside-down tax system because it targets working families that earn low-wages and struggle to meet basic needs.
    Prior to being eliminated in 2014, North Carolina’s EITC reached nearly one million working low-income families and their children. A state EITC has the added benefit of being linked to the federal EITC, one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty tools. It has delivered improved outcomes over decades on labor force participation, earnings for workers, and educational attainment, health, and lifetime earnings for children.

    Here are some key points to lift up when you reach out to members of the Revenue Laws Committee to share your perspective on this important policy for North Carolina’s working families, communities and the economy.

    • A refundable state EITC reduces the impact of regressive sales tax on low-income families. In recent years, state lawmakers expanded the sales tax to more goods and services to partially pay for costly income tax cuts. The regressive sales tax hits low-income North Carolinians particularly hard, as they pay a significant share of their income in sales tax and other local taxes. The EITC helps offset the higher tax responsibility they have overall relative to wealthier taxpayers.
    • Reinstating a refundable state EITC at its prior value would cost half the price tag of the proposed increased standard deduction. Increasing the standard deduction as proposed would reduce state revenue by $205 million for tax year 2017 – the actual cost may actually be higher as a result of tax changes passed since 2013. As such, state lawmakers could reinstate a refundable EITC at 5 percent of the federal credit and reach nearly one million working, low-income North Carolinians at half the cost of this proposal.
    • The EITC is widely recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools nationwide, especially for children. There is increased recognition at the national level that the EITC is the best tool to ensure workers keep more of what they earn and in so doing move families out of poverty.

    Tax changes passed since 2013 that include large income tax cuts that largely benefit the already well-off and profitable corporations have made North Carolina’s upside-down tax system worse. Raising the standard deduction will not halt the tax shift that has taken place in North Carolina. We urge you to contact members of the Revenue Laws Committee TODAY to let them know that a refundable state EITC is a better way to address our state’s upside-down tax system and would reach low-income workers in each of the state’s 100 counties.

    Tell your policymakers that a refundable EITC for North Carolina’s working families is the better choice.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell Senator Burr to support paid family leave!

    The Family Medical Leave Act turns 23 tomorrow, but too many North Carolinians still can’t get time off when they need it most—when they are faced with chronic illness, when they need to care for a newborn, or when they need to take an ailing grandparent to the doctor.

    Twenty-three years on, nine out of 10 working North Carolinians still lack access to paid family leave through their employers. Those same workers sacrifice wages so they can recover from serious illness or pregnancy, or care for a sick child or parent. And for a low-income family with no paid family leave, going just 3.5 days without wages is equivalent to losing a month’s groceries.

    The U.S. is one of the only nations left in the entire world that doesn’t have some type of paid medical leave policy.
    In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable.

    Fortunately, Congress is currently debating two pieces of legislation that can correct this critical gap in our nation’s employment laws. The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R. 1439/S. 786) would provide workers with family medical leave insurance. In exchange for a small premium of less than $5 a week, workers would receive a significant portion of their incomes for up to 12 weeks while they take time off to welcome a newborn or adopted child, recover from pregnancy, or provide care for family members suffering from serious health conditions.

    This bill represents a major step towards ensuring that all workers don’t have to choose between paying bills and recovering from illness, taking care of a newborn or helping an aging parent.

    Last year, Senator Burr voted in support of a non-binding amendment to provide paid sick days for America’s working people, but he has yet to announce his support for the FAMILY Act. Now is the time for Senator Burr to join his colleagues in cosponsoring these important bills.

    Take Action! Ask Senator Burr to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act.

  • SIGN THE PETITION

    The NC Senate has approved putting arbitrary formulas and restrictions into our State Constitution that would make it impossible for lawmakers to respond to the priorities of North Carolinians for quality schools, healthy communities, and vibrant main streets.

    Sign our petition today in opposition to Senate Bill 607 or any other TABOR-type legislation that reduces accountability and makes it impossible for North Carolina policymakers to take care of our state's priorities.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell lawmakers to increase access to higher education for all NC students

    Late last month, Senator Fletcher Hartsell introduced Senate Bill 463, entitled “Increase Access to Education.” This bill calls for any individual who has attended school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation and has received a high school diploma from a school within North Carolina or has obtained a general education diploma (GED) issued in North Carolina to receive resident tuition status.  

    Increasing educational opportunities for all North Carolinians is a win for young people and a win for our state. Access to our state’s colleges will prepare an educated workforce that will increase the state’s collective productivity and strengthen economic growth. Enabling all students to attend college will provide young people with the opportunity to pursue their choice of a career, will reduce dropout rates, and strengthen our future tax base.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell your state Representative and Senator to support increasing access to higher education for all NC students by supporting Senate Bill 463.