And the Moral Monday protestors were not only in expressing their outrage at Tillis and GOP state legislature:After a silent protest at the General Assembly last week, demonstrators turned up the volume on Tuesday in a sit-in at House Speaker Thom Tillis' office.
Members of the "Moral Monday" movement gathered at the Legislative Building to pray outside Tillis' office, and more than a dozen protesters went inside bearing signs with sections of the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions regarding their rights to assemble and petition their legislators.
Police were called in to persuade the protesters to leave instead of waiting to speak with Tillis, who was presiding over the afternoon House session.
The signs are in response to rules regarding public decorum in the Legislative Building that lawmakers adopted two weeks ago. The rules allow police to arrest people if they “disturb or act in a manner that will imminently disturb the General Assembly.” - WRAL, 5/27/14
Here's a little more info:The sit-in was part of a lobbying day organized by the state NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement, the same groups behind the Moral Mondays protests.
Volunteers planned to talk to every lawmaker about "returning public policy to the moral center," according to an announcement about the event.
They want lawmakers to expand Medicaid, restore the earned income tax credit, extend unemployment benefits, increased support for teachers and public schools, strengthen environmental regulations and create a tax code that does not benefit corporations over people.
"By visiting each and every state legislator in person, we hope to remind them that their political choices are more than just policy debates - they are hurting real people," said Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP.
Tillis is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat, Sen. Kay Hagan.
He has said he plans to run on his record in the General Assembly.
The GOP-controlled legislature cut taxes last year and passed a controversial law requiring voters to have identification in 2016. The law also ended Election Day voter registration, straight-party ticket voting and reduce the early voting period by about a week. - Citizen-Times, 5/27/14
And these protests could bite Tillis on the ass in the general election:With the discipline, strategy, and organization that have come to define the Moral Monday movement, the gathered entered the Legislative Building and small groups entered offices, attempting to directly lobby legislators. Many of the groups ended up having in-depth conversations with secretaries and aides, but at least one Republican, Charles Jeter R-Mecklenberg, came out and defended his policy positions to the citizens, saying, “I voted against my caucus on a couple of issues!”
Upstairs on the roof of the Legislative building, Reverend Barber held a small conference and said a prayer with a group of young, mostly black fast food workers from the coalition NC Raise Up!—workers pushing for a $15 minimum wage—who had committed themselves to doing a non-violent civil disobedience in Speaker of the House and now Senate hopeful Thom Tillis’s office.
A group of about 8 fast food workers with NC Raise Up! and faith leaders made their way into Thom Tillis’s office and staged a sit-in. General Assembly police came with video recorders, taping the crowd, and pushing back the media while those sitting in sang “We Shall Not Be Moved” and other spirituals.
Raleigh Police were called into the upstairs rotunda and a stand-off situation around the sit-in in Rep. Tillis’s office was initiated—GA staff shooed off the media and closed the door of the office, without arresting those inside—for three hours, Raleigh police stood blocking the office, the sit-in protestors inside, with the Moral Monday supporters waiting outside in solidarity. To avoid a media spectacle, GA police decided to wait them out. The Moral Monday movement had pizza delivered. - Indy Week, 5/27/14
For a guy who wants to run on his record in the General Assembly, it's no wonder Tillis wants to keep his time there short:Tillis, who has been a frequent target of the movement's rhetoric, recently won the Republican nomination for the state's U.S. senate seat and will face off against incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in the general election. Recent polls have the two candidates within a margin of error. Moral Monday leaders are committed to focusing on state races during the midterms, but Tillis's role in state politics -- plus the group's plans to do extensive voter registration -- could mean that the protests will bleed into the Senate campaign.
The North Carolina General Assembly has the approval of 28 percent of residents, according at an Elon University survey from early May. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has an approval rating of 36 percent.
Last week marked the beginning of the General Assembly's legislative session for the year. It also featured the first Moral Monday protest of 2014. About 1,500 people walked silently through the state Capitol.
"Last week we said it would be the final time we were quiet in the people's house," said Barber.
Tillis's campaign and the North Carolina Republican Party had not responded to requests for comment by time of publication, but Tillis has been critical of the movement's methods. "There are so many positive things we can do if we can lower the volume and sit down and talk and show some mutual respect,'' Tillis told the New York Times last year.
Earlier this month, Mitt Romney endorsed Tillis in the Senate race. "Thom is a conservative who has been solving problems in North Carolina as Speaker of the House and I am confident he will do the same in Washington," Romney said in a statement. "I am convinced by his record of conservative results that he is the right candidate to help Republicans win a majority in the U.S. Senate in 2014."
Jeb Bush also endorsed Tillis, citing his successes in the North Carolina General Assembly, and Tillis's supporters have major resources to support his candidacy. Other conservative groups in the state have been giving generous support to conservative state legislators. - Washington Post, 5/27/14
Senator Hagan will need these protestors to come out in November and help her beat Tillis. Especially since she is on their side when it comes to the issues. If you would like to donate and get involved with hagan's campaign, you can do so here:In January, Tillis told The New York Times that he wanted this session to "be the shortest it can be."
Tillis has said his main priority this session would be addressing teacher pay. State Democrats argue he is attempting to moderate his public profile with a less inflammatory agenda.
"Speaker Tillis may be looking for political band-aids after the damage he did to North Carolina last legislative session, but there's no escaping his record of public education cuts, raising taxes on the middle class, and rejecting health care for 500,000 North Carolinians," state Democratic Party spokesman Ben Ray told The Huffington Post in an email.
The Rev. William Barber, who is president of North Carolina's NAACP, rejected Republican attempts to characterize the movement as a tool of the Democratic Party.
"We are black. We are white. We are young. We are old. We are Democrats. We are Republicans," Barber said Tuesday, according to WRAL. "We are North Carolina. We are here to stay, and we are not going away." - Huffington Post, 5/27/14