The year 2008 seems to be so far away for progressives in North Carolina. Obama won the State, Kay Hagan defeated Elizabeth Dole to take over the Senate Seat of Jesse Helm, Beverly Purdue became the first female Governor of North Carolina, ... etc. North Carolina was on the verge of becoming a true swing state in the Deep South.
Then came 2010. Voters stayed home and the Republicans took over the Senate in NC and gerrymandered the state so badly, the dominance of Republicans in both the state house and senate are almost. In 2012, Republican Governor took control in Raleigh, therefore unleashing the full force of Right Wing politics in North Carolina.
We are not even 3 months into the reign of the Republicans over North Carolina, but every new bill introduced by Republicans just leave us speechless.
The latest House Bill? House Bill 494.
House Bill 494, filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina – or indeed on any Constitutional topic.
Eleven House Republicans have signed on to sponsor the resolution, including Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, and Budget Chairman Justin Burr, R-Stanly.
Since the Republican takeover in 2011, the state Senate chaplain has offered an explicitly Christian invocation virtually every day of session, although many Senators are not Christians. A federal lawsuit was filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In the lawsuit, the ACLU says the board has opened 97 percent of its meetings with explicitly Christian prayers. The lawsuit didn't sit well with the Republicans, who now control everything in North Carolina. They crafted HB 494 and here are some of its highlights.
The Constitution of the United States does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional; therefore, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the power to determine constitutionality and the proper interpretation and proper application of the Constitution is reserved to the states and to the people. Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion.The Tenth Amendment argument, also known as "nullification," has been tried unsuccessfully by states for more than a century to defy everything from the Emancipation Proclamation of the Civil War to President Obama's health care reforms to gun control.
The bill goes on to say:
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.Source:
SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
Given what has happened here the last 3 months, I think NC is well on its way to become the new laboratory for Right Wing policies. The Assembly can basically do whatever they want, since they have an overwhelming majority and a Right Wing Governor. Furthermore, some of the Democrats here will side with Republicans anyway.
Democrats in the state have themselves to blame for this, as the 2008 results gave them a false sense of "security". I think it is time that the National Media starts paying attention to what's going on in North Carolina.