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ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
RESOLUTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
APPROVED APRIL 9, 2011
Local Resolutions 3
In Support of the New Proposed Men’s Transitional Housing Facility in Chapel Hill 3
Honoring The Life of Rob Hogan 4
County and Regional Transportation 5
In Support of ¼ of 1 Cent Sales Tax to Support a Locally Owned Economy to Help Resolve Some of our Most Pressing Issues 5
Criminal justice 7
Support of Due Process for Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists 7
US Loss of Moral Bearings Regarding Due Process for Detainees 8
Raise the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction from 16 to 18 9
Repealing the Death Penalty in North Carolina 11
Opposing NC House Bill 343 entitled “The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” 12
The Democratic Party 13
Implementing the NC Democratic Party Plan of Organization’s Resolutions Process 13
In Memoriam of Geraldine Ferraro 14
Economic Justice 15
Urging Austerity Only to Those Who Can Most Afford It and Seeking a Re-direction of Federal War Money Towards the Support of Communities 15
Resolution to Support Comprehensive Fiscal Responsibility and Reform 16
In Support of the North Carolina Benefit Corporation Act 17
Progressive income tax 18
Opposing Changes to the Compensation That a Jury Can Award 18
High Quality Early Care and Education for Children 19
In Support of Higher Education for Immigrant Students 20
In Opposition to Privatizing Public Education 21
Opposing Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 22
Opposing a Voter Photo ID Requirement in North Carolina 23
Fair and Open Redistricting 24
Charging Stations 25
Protect North Carolina’s Beaches 26
Foreign Affairs 27
Nuclear Arms Control & Reduction 27
Support a Drawdown of the U.S. Military Presence in Afghanistan 28
Condemning US Support for Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land 29
Bringing a Just Peace to the Middle East: Israel and Palestine 30
Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care 32
Support the Consolidation of NC State Healthcare Administration Systems 32
Opposition to NC HB 115: The NC Healthcare Insurance Giveaway Act 32
Opposition to the Privatization of Medicaid 33
Support for a Regional, Population-based Health Benefit Exchange System 35
Supporting Mandatory Background Checks for All Firearm Purchasers 35
Human Rights 36
Freedom of Religion 36
Marriage Rights 37
Collective Bargaining Rights of Public Employees 38
Improve farm child labor and migrant worker rights 38
Oppose Efforts to Erode the Rights of Injured Workers and Motorists in North Carolina 39
Protect our Public workers and Public Services 39
In Support of Wisconsin Public Workers 41
Proposed Changes to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System 41
IN SUPPORT OF THE NEW PROPOSED MEN’S TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FACILITY IN CHAPEL HILL
Whereas over the past 20 years the Inter-Faith Council has been operating in the Town of Chapel Hill’s old municipal building by providing “warehouse” style emergency housing services to men suffering from homelessness; and
Whereas over the past 11 years the Inter-Faith Council has been actively searching for land to develop a new men’s transitional housing facility; and
Whereas the Inter-Faith Council provides critical social services to residents of Orange County who are socio-economically disadvantaged and voiceless; and
Whereas the Inter-Faith Council, in partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill, has been offered a tract of land to develop a men’s transitional housing facility by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and
Whereas the proposed transitional housing facility, the Community House, will provide long-term residential programs and a continuum of services for Orange County residents which will include:
• Safe, stable living accommodations
• Services, new skills and personal guides for independent living
• Substance abuse education and counseling
• On-Site medical, dental and mental health treatment
• 20 start-up beds (two 10-bed dormitories)
• 32 transitional housing beds
• Food services/dining for residents at the facility
• Job coaches, counselors, agency partners
• Referrals to community agencies
Whereas the proximity of this site has many advantages including close proximity to the Orange County Southern Human Services Center, accessibility to public transit, and the support and partnership of the United Church of Christ; and
Whereas this is a defining moment to stand up and provide for the most vulnerable members in our community; and
Whereas there are additional needs, particularly for emergency shelter, the proposed facility will not provide;
Be it therefore resolved that Orange County Democrats call on members of the Chapel Hill Town Council to support the Inter-Faith Council’s proposed transitional men’s homeless facility and to continue to work to support additional facilities beyond this proposed shelter.
HONORING THE LIFE OF ROB HOGAN
To Honor the Life of Robert Clay Hogan, Jr. and appoint him to the honorary position of Ambassador of Goodwill for the Hogan Farms Precinct
Whereas Robert Clay Hogan, Jr. was a ninth generation farmer and a dairy farmer on Lake Hogan Farms, land that he once farmed with his grandfather, father, uncle and cousin;
Whereas Rob, as he was affectionately known to his family and many friends, was the daily keeper and caretaker of UNC-Chapel Hill’s mascot Ramses and ensured the blue-horned sheep attended every UNC home football game;
Whereas Rob loved to camp, boat, hunt, collect arrowheads, walk the fields of his beautiful Magnolia View Farm off of Old 86 in Chapel Hill, and share his deep passion for the outdoors with others;
Whereas Rob was a community leader known throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro as a humble, caring, charming, witty, wise, honest, generous, decent, and industrious neighbor always ready to extend a warm hug or handshake to others;
Whereas Rob was a devoted husband to wife Ann, with whom he built his farming business, and devoted father to sons Daniel, James, and Henry, all helping hands on the Magnolia View Farm;
Whereas the Chapel Hill News wrote in September 2010, “If people can ever be said to embody a place, the Hogans embody this one. They are the kind of people we are proud to have as neighbors.”
Whereas Orange County’s Hogan Farms Precinct and its polling place at the Lake Hogan Farms Club House are on land once farmed by Rob and other family members, as well as descendants of the Hogan family going all the way back to 1750;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party hereby recognizes Robert Clay Hogan Jr. as a devoted family man, farmer, outdoorsman, and community leader, and hereby appoints him posthumously to the honorary position of Ambassador of Goodwill for the Hogan Farms Precinct.
COUNTY AND REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION
Whereas, North Carolina's growth rate, and particularly the rate of increase in urban areas such as the Research Triangle and Orange County, is projected to grow exponentially and therefore is threatening to overwhelm our existing transportation infrastructure; and
Whereas, the 2010 US Census for North Carolina indicates an increase of 1,489,077 persons, or +18.5% more than in 2000, and the Research Triangle counties of Orange, Durham and Wake now have a population of at least 1,302 381 persons; and
Whereas, Orange County is reported to have had 133,801 persons as of April 1, 2010- a net increase of 18,265 persons since 2000 (or approximately 1826 people a year); and
Whereas, the North Carolina legislature considered and adopted an authorization, signed by the Governor, to authorize Orange County Commissioners to present to the voters of the county a proposal to assign sales tax revenue of 0.5% to fund multimodal transportation projects; and
Whereas, existing traditional county government tax sources are not sufficient to adequately finance the planning, development and implementation of the improved transportation infrastructure necessary for Orange County and the Research Triangle region in the 21st century;
Therefore be it resolved, that the Democratic Party of Orange County strongly urges the Orange County Board of Commissioners to schedule a referendum seeking public consent to provide through the Sales Tax needed resources for evaluating, planning and implementing additional transportation options for the County and the region; and
Be it further resolved that the County Board of Commissioners take immediate responsibility for presenting to the Citizens of Orange County the importance of this issue and its significance for the long term future of the County.
IN SUPPORT OF ¼ OF 1 CENT SALES TAX TO SUPPORT A LOCALLY OWNED ECONOMY TO HELP RESOLVE SOME OF OUR MOST PRESSING ISSUES
Whereas county commissioners are considering a ¼ cent sales tax to be put to referendum on November 8, 2011.
Whereas the proposed sales tax will not apply to groceries and prescription medicine
Whereas it is projected the one-quarter cent county sales and use tax would generate approximately $2,500,000 for Orange County on an annual basis.
Whereas in the previous referendum seeking this sales tax, 42.5% of funding generated was to be allocated for economic development purposes.
Whereas economic development of the kind that is based in locally owned businesses produce significantly more positive effects then economic development that is focused on recruitment of businesses in economic zones that are far from where people live. For example:
1. Significantly more money re-circulates in your community when you buy from locally owned, rather than nationally owned, business: More money stays in the community because locally owned businesses purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. Purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as your community's tax base.
2. Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in most communities provide the most new jobs to residents.
3. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of a community's distinctive character: The unique character of any town or region is what people love about it, and what tourists come to visit. Richard Moe, president of the National Historic Preservation Trust, says, “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.”
4. People who own local businesses often live in the community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
5. Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.
6. A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
7. Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases, requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
8. A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest in and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
9. Nonprofit organizations receive an average 350 percent greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.
10. Businesses in town centers or within municipalities require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to stores locating in peripheries.
Whereas the county is pursuing an economic development that focuses resources around highway corridors, specifically I-85 and HWY 70;
Whereas the county in May 2010 estimated a need to invest roughly 11 million over six years, with about 80% supporting water/wastewater build-out, approximately 20% supporting economic development tool kit, and less than 5% for data acquisition and analysis.
Whereas a portion of the ¼ of 1 cent sales tax will be put towards education;
Whereas the state of North Carolina has a budget shortfall, and education is a likely place where cuts will occur;
Therefore be it resolved that the NC Orange County Democratic Party supports an increase of ¼ cent sales tax and an allocation of a part of that increase towards education;
Be it further resolved that the OCDP supports allocation of money towards economic development that is based on support for locally owned businesses.
Be it further resolved that development of retail, commercial and industrial infrastructure should be located near town centers where access to services is most readily and affordably available to these businesses and where these businesses will be most sustainably accessible to where most people live.
Be it further resolved that along with retail, commercial and industrial, further establishing a locally based food economy should also be a goal of county economic development and the use of these funds.
Be it further resolved that a county-wide process for engaging the community to assess community needs should be implemented to identify types of businesses that are most needed by our community. Thereafter, economic development money can be prioritized towards the development and support for businesses that may provide or best address these identified needs.
SUPPORT OF DUE PROCESS FOR ANTI-WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS
Whereas on September 24, 2010, the FBI coordinated national actions when it raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis; served subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to 14 activists from several groups including the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization; carried out raids in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan; and intimidated activists in California, Wisconsin and North Carolina; and
Whereas the FBI maintained an undercover agent in one of these groups since early 2008 when these and other activists came together to organize the 2008 anti-war marches during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul; and who while pretending to be an active member of one of these groups, raised money for the groups, befriended members of one of the groups, delivered internal reports to her superiors of group members' plans to visit Palestine and Israel; these plans were passed along to the Israeli Government, which denied entry to two private citizens of the United States, who were planning to meet with members of the Union of Palestinian Women's Committee;
Whereas the subpoenas claim that the grand jury is investigating violations of the 1996 law on the issue of "material support" of "designated foreign terrorist organizations; and
Whereas the FBI confiscated computers, email and mailing lists, cell phones, cameras, videos, books, and passports; and no charges have to date been filed; and
Whereas such actions and intimidations against activists who happen openly to oppose elements of U.S. foreign policy are in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States and expose a fundamental threat to our individual freedoms as citizens of the United States; and
Whereas these actions appear to be a part of a continuing broader program of “Assessments” of groups and individuals for criminal and terrorist behavior maintained by the United States Government, which, for example, in a recent 4 month period (December 2008-March 2009) started preliminary reviews of some 11,667 individual citizens and which resulted in continuing investigation reviews of only 427.
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party call on President Barack Obama, and Attorney General Eric Holder and the Congress of the United States to restore fully all constitutional rights that have been abridged and to investigate these well documented claims and take appropriate action.
US LOSS OF MORAL BEARINGS REGARDING DUE PROCESS FOR DETAINEES
Whereas, the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution states Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances; and
Whereas, the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution affirms the right of the people to the security in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures; and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation; and
Whereas, the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution declares in all criminal prosecution, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense; and
Whereas, the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution states excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; and
Whereas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 includes: in Article 5, No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; in Article 10, Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of the rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him; and
Whereas, for more than 20 years human rights organizations have been raising the issue of the increasingly inhuman practices in federal and state prisons, and as recently as in March 2011 the United States Government has responded to inquiries from the United Nations Human Rights Council as to U.S. compliance with the terms of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; and
Whereas, on March 7, 2011, President Obama issued an executive order that permits ongoing indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees while establishing a periodic administrative review process for them and also announced the administration will lift the ban on bringing new military commissions charges against detainees that don’t already have ongoing cases in the substandard system;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina calls on President Barack Obama, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to require humane treatment of all detainees, pro-actively to seek to prevent miscarriages of justice on all residents, citizens, and detainees held by the US government, to prosecute those responsible for violating the rights of detainees, to shut down expeditiously Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to end the use of military commissions, and to prosecute terrorism suspects to the fullest extent of the law in the Federal criminal courts.
RAISE THE AGE OF JUVENILE COURT JURISDICTION FROM 16 TO 18
Whereas North Carolina is one of only two states in the United States that automatically charges, tries, sentences, probates and incarcerates 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult criminal system, and the only state that denies them the ability to appeal for return to the juvenile system; and
Whereas studies clearly show that the brains of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds are still in their developmental stage and that the frontal cortex, the rational part of the brain, and the amygdale, the seat of emotions, are being pre-wired during adolescence, a process that is not complete until age twenty-one or twenty-two or even later; therefore, most youthful offenders have limited impulse control and judgment is often impaired by insufficiently developed reasoning skills; and
Whereas transfer to the adult criminal court system alters the legal process by which a minor is tried because criminal court is based on a formal adversarial model, while juvenile court is based on a cooperative treatment model, which means that the approximately 30,000 sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who move through the North Carolina’s criminal court system are denied much needed resources for appropriate rehabilitation that would be available to them under the juvenile system, such as access to court counselors, assessments, rehabilitative services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, education, and family counseling; and
Whereas studies show that young offenders who go into juvenile systems are less likely to commit future crimes and, in North Carolina, focusing on the appropriate treatment of juveniles has led to a 10-year low in the crime rate among children aged 15 and younger; and
Whereas as many as 84% of youthful offenders in the adult system receive probation because of the minor crimes they commit, and with the probation system placing few demands on offenders or their families are, therefore, not held accountable for their actions nor offered necessary rehabilitation services and are thus more likely to become repeat offenders; and
Whereas juveniles convicted by the criminal court system face significant barriers throughout their lives when seeking higher education, securing employment, joining the military, or obtaining housing, while their counterparts in other states who were convicted of similar charges under the juvenile system had their records expunged; and
Whereas youthful offenders who are put into adult correctional systems are often victimized and negatively influenced by adult inmates and thus are twice as likely to commit future crimes and are likely to become more violent over time; and
Whereas about 86% of offenses committed by 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult system were misdemeanors in 2004 (the most recent year for which data are available) which equaled more than 28,000 misdemeanor teen cases in the already over-burdened adult system with detrimental outcomes for many of the youthful offenders; and
Whereas for these reasons the bipartisan Youth Accountability Planning Task Force recommended in January 2011 that our state raise the age at which we send youthful offenders who commit non-serious crimes to the adult system from 16 to 18; and
Whereas a benefit analysis commissioned by the same Task Force found that yearly savings based on an anticipated reduction in recidivism and a reduction in the number of crimes that will be avoided and the resulting benefits to victims and to taxpayers would total around $50 million; and
Whereas in North Carolina a disproportionate percentage of arrests are biased against people of color--particularly African-American and Latinos--and result in wrongful convictions and hence wrongful incarcerations, a systemic problem that has been admitted and is now being addressed by the Racial Justice Act of 2009;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges the NC Legislature to follow the recommendation of the bipartisan Youth Accountability Planning Task Force and raise the age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction from 16 to 18 and adequately fund the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urge the NC Legislature to expand the recommendation of the Task Force to apply also to minors charged with serious crimes because the proven bias against children of color and the numerous studies showing that juveniles cannot be held to the same level of accountability as adults make clear that incarcerating these children with adults constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, denies them essential services, and causes irreversible harm; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges Governor Perdue to keep the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention a separate entity as its overall function is much broader than the umbrella of Public Safety would encompass, and the proposed merger would likely limit the scope and flexibility of the Department’s objectives in education, health care, and family support.
REPEALING THE DEATH PENALTY IN NORTH CAROLINA
Whereas capital punishment costs North Carolina taxpayers 11 million dollars annually according to a recent study published by Duke University based on figures from 2005 and 2006, with this cost not taking into account extra in-kind expenses;
Whereas an earlier study from Duke University (1993) demonstrated that the death penalty then cost North Carolina 2.7 million dollars per execution above the costs of life imprisonment, with the majority of the costs at the trial level;
Whereas the FBI Uniform Crime report of 2009 demonstrated that the death penalty had not proved to be a deterrent to capital crimes;
Whereas North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act of 2009 acknowledged the egregious racism reflected in the sentences of African-Americans;
Whereas race continues to be a powerful factor in the perception of crime and the punishment with 83 of the 158 currently on death row in this state African-American; with a 2001 report showing that the odds of their having gotten a death sentence was three and one half times greater if the victim was white rather than black;
Whereas the capital punishment system has resulted in the conviction and sentencing to death of persons who were later shown to be innocent of any crime, due to such factors as 1) the surfacing of previously withheld information, 2) supposed eye witnesses either retracting their accounts or those accounts being proved to have been erroneous, 3) confessions of the actual perpetrators or 4) DNA testing at a later date irrefutably proving their innocence;
Whereas the state of Illinois in March 2011 abolished the death penalty, and became the sixteenth state to reject capital punishment, purely on the basis of the inaccuracy of many convictions;
Whereas the Innocence Project documents 267 persons exonerated in this country whose post-conviction DNA test proved their having been sentenced to death wrongfully, with 159 of these wrongfully accused being African-American;
Whereas most of the civilized world has long since abolished the death penalty while the United States was fifth of all the nations in the world in the number (46) of people executed in 2010, surpassed only by China---2000+, Iran---252+, North Korea---60+, and Yemen---53+;
Whereas as of 2010, 3261 people were on death row in the United States, with over 4.8% in North Carolina, which has about 3% of the country’s population;
Whereas the worldwide economic recession has reduced our state’s resources to support programs that do benefit its citizens;
Be it therefore resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urgently asks for the commuting of the death sentence for all people now on death row and the repeal of the death penalty by the NC legislature.
OPPOSING NC HOUSE BILL 343 ENTITLED “THE SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS ACT”
Whereas our nation was founded on principles of human rights and equality and has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants and recognizing the importance of their many contributions to our nation’s rich and varied economic, cultural, social, political and religious life; and
Whereas the 14th Amendment to our Constitution affirms the inherent dignity and humanity of foreign-born US residents, regardless of their immigration status; and
Whereas Congress’s persistent failure to overhaul the broken immigration system and initiate much-needed comprehensive immigration reform is forcing states and local governments to address the myriad problems of a dysfunctional immigration system; and
Whereas enforcement-only solutions undermine real public safety and do not protect North Carolinians from the problems associated with unauthorized immigration as no state law can fix the root problem of an unworkable immigration system; and
Whereas many of the issues raised in HB 343 are already more than adequately addressed by Secure Communities, a federal immigration program covering all 100 North Carolina Counties that authorizes and trains local law enforcement to identify and turn over criminal noncitizens to ICE for detention and removal from the United States; and
Whereas HB 343 goes far beyond the scope of federal law enforcement by making it a crime not to be able to produce documentation to prove one's immigration status if stopped by the police while at the same time limiting the number and types of documents that could be used to prove legal residence; and
Whereas any law enforcement officer shall be indemnified by the law enforcement officer's agency against reasonable costs and expenses brought on by lawsuits of citizens and residents whose rights that officer violated while enforcing HB 343 and arrests; and
Whereas any resident may bring a civil action against a law enforcement department or individual officer who does not enforce the 29 prohibitions contained in HB 343 to their liking; and
Whereas HB 343 would require employers to use e-verify to screen all of their employees, contractors and subcontractors, and thereby make job creation even more expensive and burdensome at a time when we are in a jobs crisis; and
Whereas HB 343 encourages a discriminatory vigilante attitude against certain minorities and their supporters as it requires law enforcement as well as city and county employees, including Social Services, Public Health and Public Education workers, to report anyone whom they suspect of being undocumented, and allows people to file anonymous complaints against their neighbors, co-workers, employers, teachers, etc., and a district attorney or the state's attorney general would be required to investigate; and
Whereas denying undocumented immigrants access to English Language Learners and other classes in our community college and university systems imperils all of us as workers and residents, since those who cannot understand basic safety and health directives pose a serious threat to themselves and their families as well as their co-workers, clients and communities; and
Whereas HB 343 would not only make sanctuary communities illegal, it would also turn teaching English, providing food, shelter, transportation or legal aid to undocumented immigrants into a felony, thus criminalizing the work of many churches and non-profits whose core mission includes helping the poor and disempowered; and
Whereas harsh anti-immigrant laws such as HB 343 further erode the relationship between immigrant communities and local authorities, with the result that fewer people report being victims or witnesses to crimes in our communities, seek medical care for contagious diseases, alert authorities to dangerous conditions, or obtain required training or licensing so that these programs consequentially undermine the efforts of local law enforcement and pose a threat to public health and public safety; and
Whereas laws like HB 343 will result in increased racial profiling and civil rights violations by state and local authorities, causing distrust and resentment instead of cooperation and goodwill to thrive in our communities;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party stands in strong opposition to this draconian bill and calls on North Carolina legislators to reject this attempt to turn our state into a police state; and
Be it further resolved the Orange County Democratic Party denounces witch hunts and informants as not worthy of democracy or of our great State and urges our elected and appointed public officials to take the necessary steps to recognize and protect the human rights of immigrants and publicly denounce xenophobia and anti-immigrant bias as having no place in immigration policy; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges President Obama and Congress again to make comprehensive immigration reform a high priority.
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
IMPLEMENTING THE NC DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLAN OF ORGANIZATION’S RESOLUTIONS PROCESS
Whereas the State Executive Committee of the NC Democratic Party passed an amendment on August 1, 2010, that gives the Resolutions and Platforms Committee the authority to edit and/or consolidate prioritized resolutions from the district parties in keeping with their original intention; and
Whereas resolutions from the state Resolutions and Platforms Committee sent to the State Convention or the State Executive Committee meeting shall be voted on and then prioritized according to the Plan of Organization in a timely and transparent manner; and
Whereas the prioritized resolutions shall then constitute the official Political and Policy Action Agenda of the Party;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party charge NC Party Chair David Parker and his representatives to actively lobby the NC Council of State, NC legislators and members of the NC delegation, elected and appointed officials and the appropriate state and national agencies on behalf of the Political and Policy Action Agenda of the Party; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party requests that the State Party leadership communicates with District and County Parties on a regular basis, giving periodic reports on their lobbying efforts and that status of the prioritized resolutions.
IN MEMORIAM OF GERALDINE FERRARO
Whereas Geraldine Ferraro represented the ninth congressional district of New York for three terms with distinction;
Whereas, when elected in 1978, Geraldine Ferraro was only one of sixteen women members of the United States House of Representatives;
Whereas, she was nominated to be the running mate of former-Vice President Walter F. Mondale at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, thereby becoming the first woman to be chosen to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket;
Whereas, the candidacy of Geraldine Ferraro paved the way for women in elective office across the nation;
Whereas, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Geraldine Ferraro to be the United States Ambassador to United Nations Commission on Human Rights;
Whereas, Geraldine Ferraro’s 1984 campaign for the vice presidency gave hope to girls and women across America that they too may achieve anything they set their minds to;
Therefore Be It Resolved that the North Carolina Orange County Democratic Party remembers former United States Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as a trailblazer in politics broke the glass ceiling in American politics and fought for women and families across the nation and gave hope to millions of Americans to realize the power of their dreams.
URGING AUSTERITY ONLY TO THOSE WHO CAN MOST AFFORD IT AND SEEKING A RE-DIRECTION OF FEDERAL WAR MONEY TOWARDS THE SUPPORT OF COMMUNITIES
Whereas investing public dollars in health care, education, mass transit and construction for home weatherization and infrastructure will create more jobs than investing an equivalent amount in the military; and
Whereas for the amount of money the U.S. spends defending fossil fuels, not including the cost of the Iraq War, the federal government could provide renewable electricity to 107,000,000 U.S. homes, 96% of all occupied homes; and
Whereas, the U.S expends 45 % of world military expenditures; and
Whereas, national defense accounts for 58% of the federal discretionary budget (this does not include money for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan); and
Whereas the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has helped alleviate the budget crisis, awarded $4,267 million to North Carolina and prevented more severe cuts; and
Whereas the Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the Recovery Act will save 62,000 jobs in North Carolina as of December 31, 2009; and
Whereas the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spending has ended; and
Whereas the Obama administration has proposed ending or trimming more than 200 federal programs next year; and
Whereas the Obama administration offered cuts adding up to 1.1 trillion over a decade and put in place a “five-year freeze on domestic programs [that] would reduce spending in that category to the lowest level, measured against the economy, since President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961;” and
Whereas the Republican pledge to America vows to cut $100 billion from the budget; and
Whereas, according to the Pentagon the cost of the Afghan War in 2012 will be almost $300 million a day or 107.3 billion a year but is more likely to be as high as $120-160 billion; and
Whereas the budget for the labyrinthine 17 agency U.S. Intelligence Community is officially 80.1 billion; and
Whereas at $553 billion, the proposed Pentagon budget for 2012 actually represents a 5% INCREASE over the already stunningly bloated 2011 version; and
Whereas the Town of Carrboro, the town of Chapel Hill, and Orange County depend on federal and state funding for transportation, housing, education, environmental, etc.., funding that will be affected by the proposed ‘budget balancing’ austerity measures of both the executive and legislative branches, federal discretionary spending freeze and the discontinuation of Recovery Act spending; and
Whereas, like so many other municipalities, counties and states throughout the country, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Orange County and North Carolina will be or already are getting by on a bare minimum; and
Whereas, the misallocations of federal funds is a local concern with local effects;
Therefore be it Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of NC request that our town elected officials, county commissioners, General Assembly representatives, Senators and Congressman David Price protest all proposals to balance the budget that that are not in bulk derived from cuts to our bloated military, war and ‘security’ spending; and
Be it further resolved that after the budget is balanced, more cuts be made to the military industrial complex budget to fund further stimulus money to support community wellbeing; and
Be it further Resolved that both the Federal and NC governments increase significantly the taxes for the top 1% earners of the population.
RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT COMPREHENSIVE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM
Whereas President Obama has agreed to reduce deficit spending now that the immediate danger from the Bush recession is fading; and
Whereas certain elements of the Republican party are using the deficit as a wedge issue to revoke funding for programs they oppose for political reasons while preventing any consideration of meaningful long-term solutions to budget issues, and
Whereas many of the proposed social spending cuts are not intended to balance the budget at all but are used to finance tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy; and
Whereas an ultimate solution of these issues that protects core governmental functions will require a comprehensive package of carefully balanced spending cuts that do not impact our most vulnerable populations disproportionally and which must, therefore, include corporate welfare and defense spending cuts; and
Whereas raising taxes on the wealthiest top 10 percent who have enjoyed 80% of the economic gain of the past 30 years and closing the corporate tax loop holes, which allowed companies like Exxon, GE and Bank of America to collect millions in tax refunds even though they paid zero taxes on the billions of dollars in profits they made as Senator Sanders informed the Senate, are the fairest and least harmful means to enhance our revenue; and
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges our legislators to develop equitable and sound fiscal policy that places the burden on those most able to bear it, not those least able to bear it.
IN SUPPORT OF THE NORTH CAROLINA BENEFIT CORPORATION ACT
Whereas recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have held that Corporations can only consider their shareholders profit when making decisions and cannot consider such things as the good of a community, the environment. Human health, or other non-monetary benefits.
Whereas some corporation have been responsible for very bad outcomes following these rulings.
Whereas the boards of corporation are subject to shareholder suits if they consider any other factors than shareholder profit,
Whereas a new form of incorporation, the Benefit Corporation can consider the general public benefit through methods such as
• Providing low-income or underserved individuals or communities with beneficial products or services.
• Promoting economic opportunity for individuals or communities beyond the creation of jobs in the normal course of business.
• Preserving the environment.
• Improving human health.
• Promoting the arts, sciences or advancement of knowledge.
• Increasing the flow of capital to entities with a public benefit purpose.
Whereas the benefit corporation concept has some similarities to the L3C model (Low Profit LLCs since August 2010) but is geared toward corporations rather than LLCs. Like the L3C, benefit corporations pursue a mission that goes beyond making a profit for owners and investors. Importantly, it also provides legal protection for board members that consider social and environmental issues when making decisions on behalf of the corporation.
Whereas unlike the L3C concept, legislation for the benefit corporation does not require social goals to outweigh a profit motive; the benefit corporation must make a material positive impact on society and the environment as measured by a third-party standard. One of the parties that audits that standard is B-Lab Corporation.
Whereas social enterprises can use this potential law to help bring about change in more ways that can benefit our community than just having a successful company;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party supports the passage of the proposed state law, S26, which would enact the North Carolina Benefit Corporation Act.
PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX
Whereas income disparity in the US has increased dramatically since 1979 (income for the top 1% of our population now accounts for 80% of total incomes)
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls for a more progressive income tax and for the Bush tax cuts to be allowed to expire for those making over $250,000 a year.
OPPOSING CHANGES TO THE COMPENSATION THAT A JURY CAN AWARD
Whereas the Republicans in the General Assembly perceive trial lawyers as big contributors to Democratic candidates, they are targeting the compensation that a jury can award to these lawyers’ clients.
Whereas the Republican legislators claim that limitations are needed to curb costs, such as medical malpractice insurance costs, however in the states that have passed these so-called tort “reforms”, these costs have continued to rise as rapidly as elsewhere. Furthermore, medical malpractice insurance companies remain largely unregulated, and the proposed Republican legislation would do nothing to change that.
Whereas examples of the unjust effect of their proposals are plentiful, here are two:
1) A 48–year-old woman who had both breasts removed because her biopsy slides were switched with another woman’s who actually had cancer; result: she would receive a limit of $500,000 payable no matter what, because she had no lost wages, no medical bills.
2) A young woman, homemaker, burned in operating room fire, the third such fire in the same operating room and entirely preventable, was horribly disfigured. After 32 surgeries she still looks like a freak but the maximum payable would be $500,000 for everything other than her medical bills, because her work as a homemaker is unpaid.
Whereas these so-called “non-economic damages” include disfigurement, permanent brain damage, severe physical impairment and death; restrictions on the compensation payable for these losses disproportionately affect children, homemakers, and the elderly.
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party opposes the efforts by the General Assembly to limit damages that a jury can award to victims of negligence for injuries other than lost wages and medical bills.
HIGH QUALITY EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN
Whereas families need high quality early care and education and after-school care for their children so they can work and contribute to our economy;
Whereas the first five years of life are critical to a child’s future success in school and in life;
Whereas young children need high quality early care and education to support their early development and learning when their parents are at work;
Whereas research has demonstrated a high return on our investment in high quality early education for young children, particularly those at risk for school failure;
Whereas research has also demonstrated that only high quality early care and education makes a difference for young children;
Whereas high quality pre-kindergarten experiences have been shown to benefit all young children;
Whereas hundreds of children in Orange County are on waiting lists for assistance to help with the high cost of child care and over 45,000 children are waiting statewide;
Whereas the cost of high quality child care is out of the reach of most families, since such care averages $1,000 a month in Orange County;
Whereas the key to high quality early care and education is the education, compensation, retention and recognition of early childhood teachers;
Whereas early care and education teachers are significantly under-compensated for the important work that they do with young children; and
Whereas early childhood program providers often cannot afford to provide the highest quality early care and education possible:
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urge the federal government to significantly increase its investment in the Child Care and Development Block grant to ensure that all eligible children whose families earn less than 85% of state median income get the help that they need; and
that the federal government should double its investment in improving the quality of child care by increasing the minimum required investment in quality initiatives within the Child Care and Development Block Grant from 4% to 8%; and
that the federal government should significantly increase its investments in Head Start and Early Head Start so that our poorest children have access to high quality early care and education and comprehensive services; and
that the federal government increase its investment in high quality pre-kindergarten services; and
that the federal and state governments update the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to reflect the real costs of child care that families are paying and to be refundable for those families who do not pay taxes; and
that North Carolina increase its investments in child care subsidy, Smart Start and More at Four to increase the availability of high quality early care and education for all young children whose families desire it; and
that North Carolina maintain its policy and monetary investments in efforts to improve the early care and education workforce through T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® scholarships, education-based salary supplements and Early Educator Certification; and
that North Carolina continue to provide consumers with a rating system on the quality of every early care and education program in the state; and
that Orange County government support universal pre-kindergarten services for all four-year-olds in the county whose families want and need it.
IN SUPPORT OF HIGHER EDUCATION FOR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Whereas the North Carolina Democratic Party’s platform affirms our commitment to “…full and equal protection of the lives, liberties, rights, and properties of all citizens and residents of North Carolina and to striving for educational excellence for all persons - regardless of their race, age, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, developmental disability, primary language, location, or station in life; “ and
Whereas the failure of Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform has left tens of thousands of undocumented North Carolinian school children in legal limbo without the possibility to further their education beyond high school and, therefore, significantly reducing their opportunities to contribute to the fullness of their potential to the communities they call home; and
Whereas immigrant students who came here as young children were educated in our school system; were steeped in our culture and values and consider themselves Americans; will most likely never return to their countries of origin, either voluntarily or involuntarily; and will be an important part of North Carolina’s communities and workforce for decades to come; and
Whereas the recently introduced HB11 punishes children for their parents’ actions and denies these students the basic human right to develop their potential fully to the betterment of their lives and the benefit of North Carolina; and
Whereas denying these students the opportunity to contribute to the best of their ability damages not just the quality of life for these students and their communities but undermines North Carolina’s economic potential which depends more and more on a college-educated work force to stay competitive;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party hereby opposes HB11 and similar bills that would deny deserving young immigrant students the same opportunities to go to college as their American classmates and urges the North Carolina Democratic party to continue its commitment to make higher education accessible and affordable for all students in North Carolina; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urge the NC Community College System and the University of NC System as well as North Carolina legislators to make in-state tuition available to immigrant students who have graduated from our high schools and fulfill North Carolina residence requirements since they are clearly an asset to our communities.
IN OPPOSITION TO PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION
Whereas, public education is a right enshrined in our state’s constitution, “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right” (Article I, Section 15);
Whereas, public education is seen as a great equalizer in society, North Carolina has led the way in public education starting with the opening of the oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a major component to driving our state’s economic engine;
Whereas, current Republican budget proposals are attempting to cut and defund key elements of public education in our state;
Whereas, Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have introduced the “Charter Schools Act of 2011” (SB 8) seeking to eliminate the one hundred (100) charter school cap and to remove oversight of charter schools from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and place oversight in a newly created Charter Schools Commission to be appointed by the General Assembly and the governor;
Whereas, the establishment of this commission would re-establish a precedent for separate but unequal schools and set up an additional tax burden for North Carolina in this time of severe budget crisis;
Whereas, under proposed legislation home schools will be able to function as charter schools and receive taxpayer funds;
Whereas, public schools are required to have diversity and receive funds for child nutrition and transportation services, charter schools will not be required to meet these requirements despite receiving funds for this purpose; SB 8 will therefore make it less feasible for economically deprived families to enroll their children in charter schools and will create schools for the elite and privileged at the expense of disadvantaged populations;
Whereas, charter schools do not have to meet the same teacher qualifications as traditional public schools and thereby jeopardize the standard of education students receive;
Whereas, some legislative proposals call for granting vouchers and tax credits to families who opt to send their children to private schools, thus robbing the state’s schools of vital public funding, which currently ranks 47th in the nation for K-12;
Therefore be it resolved, that the Orange County Democratic Party is strongly opposed to the “Charter Schools Act of 2011” (SB 8) and urges our state legislative delegation to vote against this legislation and all pieces of legislation with the aim of cutting and privatizing public education in our state;
Be it further resolved, that the Orange County Democratic Party urges Governor Beverly Perdue to veto such legislation if presented for signature.
OPPOSING CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
Jan 21, 2010: a divided Supreme Court ruled on the basis of the free speech principle of the First Amendment that government cannot regulate political speech by corporations.
Whereas the decision is an egregious case of judicial activism, overturning established precedent and numerous federal and state laws and greatly expanding the concept of corporate personhood; and
Whereas the decision erroneously treats common-sense regulation of undue influence of money in politics as a restriction on free speech; and
Whereas, money is not speech; and
Whereas the influence of corporations and other special interests has already overwhelmed and undermined the democratic process; and
Whereas the torrent of corporate money unleashed by this decision will drown out the voices of ordinary Americans and further erode democracy;
Be it therefore resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party hereby registers its firm opposition to the ruling; and
Be it further resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party instructs its elected representatives to pass forthwith legislative remedies to this assault on our democracy, such as the following:
• Amend the Constitution to state that corporations are not persons and therefore not entitled to the constitutional rights of persons;
• Pass the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826), which calls for voter-owned elections of members of Congress and for voter-owned election programs at other levels of government.
• Require detailed disclosure of all contributors and their contributions for political ads and other electioneering communications;
• Require shareholders and union members to review and approve any spending campaign drawn up by corporate chiefs or union leaders;
• Require CEOs of corporations to identify themselves in their corporations’ political ads - print and online, as well as broadcast - and state that they approve the ad;
• Ban all foreign intrusion in federal, state and local elections, including financial or in-kind contributions to any candidate or issue campaign;
• Exercise state power to grant and renew or revoke corporate charters in order to curtail interference by corporations in the political process;
• Monitor and restrict campaign spending by companies that do business with federal, state or local governments.
OPPOSING A VOTER PHOTO ID REQUIREMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA
Whereas North Carolina has no evidence of a significant problem of voter impersonation fraud, with research by the State Board of Elections finding that only 0.5 per 100,000 ballots cast in elections from 2004 to 2010 constituted possible fraud cases, or fewer than 5 votes in 1,000,000; and
Whereas the imposition of a valid, government issued photo ID requirement will present a barrier and result in the disenfranchisement of, many persons of color, students, the elderly, the disabled, and low income citizens, who are less likely to have a driver’s license or other valid ID, as well as women who change their names after marrying; and
Whereas the proposed legislation, HB 351/S 352, places an undue burden on certain segments of the population and, from an historical perspective, can be likened to the poll tax and the literary test used to deny African-American their Constitutional right to vote, and therefore would be tantamount to an obstruction of justice; and
Whereas, according to Democracy NC studies, African-Americans make up 22 percent of active voters, and 32 percent are without a photo ID, and seniors over age 65 are 20 percent of active voters, and 32 percent are without a photo ID.
Whereas an analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies found that, using a conservative estimate, a voter ID bill would cost North Carolina taxpayers at least $18 million and up to $25 million over the next three years; and
Whereas, according to the report issued by the Fiscal Research Division of the North Carolina General Assembly, 885,537 registered voters lack a valid driver’s license or non-operators ID card, yet according to the State Board of Elections, 1 million registered voters lack a valid driver’s license or non-operators ID card; and
Whereas the bill allocates $600,000 for providing voter education, mandates federal fund be used to purchase equipment, and otherwise forces the State to cut programs and encumber counties with significant expenses; and
Whereas the NC State government will demonstrate fiscal responsibility by appropriating these funds to retain jobs for teachers, firemen, and other public employees; and
Whereas, according to research by Democracy North Carolina, the proposed legislation would exempt absent ballot voters from showing ID, and would make access to absentee ballot fraud easier, while 12.5 per 100,000 absentee ballots cast were possible fraud cases; and
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party and the Orange County Democratic Women question the constitutionality of a photo ID requirement, and hereby registers their firm opposition to a voter photo ID law; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party and the Orange County Democratic Women urge Governor Perdue to veto any bill requiring a voter to present a government issued photo ID in order to vote, and urge the Democrats in the General Assembly to sustain the Governor’s veto.
FAIR AND OPEN REDISTRICTING
Whereas redistricting matters since the way district lines are drawn can determine who is elected and what public policies are implemented; and
Whereas a fair and open redistricting process is a core right for citizens of a free and democratic nation; and
Whereas a redistricting process that puts political considerations ahead of community interests is fundamentally undemocratic, is perceived as unfair, and leads to voter apathy and low turnout;
Whereas California voters approved Proposition 11 in November 2008 to create the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for the purpose of redistricting legislative districts and passed Proposition 20 in November 2010 to add congressional districts to its duties;
Whereas Representative Heath Shuler (NC-11) recently introduced the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act (H.R. 453) to require states to create independent, bipartisan commissions for the purpose of having an open and transparent process for congressional redistricting;
Whereas State Senator Ellie Kinnaird has championed redistricting reform, and legislative Republicans have historically supported such reform while occupying the minority in the North Carolina General Assembly;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party endorse a redistricting process that has the following characteristics:
• Transparency: the data, timelines, criteria, goals, draft maps, etc., should be matters of public record, easily accessible on the Internet.
• Meaningful participation: the process should allow for participation by the general public through extensive hearings and clear guidelines for the public submission of proposed redistricting maps. Elected officials should demonstrate how the plans they adopt are responsive to the comments and concerns expressed by the public.
• Minority voting rights: redistricting plans must provide African Americans and other racial and ethnic groups protected by the Voting rights Act and equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice.
• Legality: A redistricting plan shall comply with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States constitution, the provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act, and relevant state and local laws.
Whereas the world is facing a climate crisis which is directly related to the rising Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere; and
Whereas the burning of fossil fuels is a direct cause of increasing Carbon Dioxide levels;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County communities should begin to require 10% of parking spaces in new construction projects be able to access vehicle charging stations.
Be it further resolved that the Orange County, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough governments should install vehicle charging stations at 10% of municipal and county parking lots.
Whereas North Carolina imported all the coal its 14 coal plants burned in 2008 (including from as far away as Wyoming and Columbia) and NC relies on coal for more than 60 percent of its in-state electricity generation;
Whereas NC sent $2.35 billion out of state to purchase this coal making it the 2nd highest purchaser of the 38 net coal importing states;
Whereas NC spent $254 per person for this imported coal making it the 3rd highest state for net imports and 7th most in net weight: 29.4 million tons;
Whereas NC is the 10th most dependent state on net imports as a share of total power use: 57 percent;
Whereas the real cost of any nuclear energy facility must include the expensive decommissioning cost at the end of the plant’s life; the risks, so amply demonstrated by the recent events in Japan, of facility damage by natural or terrorist attacks, and the unresolved problem of disposing of spent fuel, itself a potential source of dangerous radiation; and
Whereas NC has already adopted a renewable electricity and energy efficiency portfolio standard and yet spent only 75 cents per person on ratepayer-funded electricity efficiency programs in 2007- about 340 times less than spent on imported coal);
Whereas investing in energy efficiency is one of the quickest and most affordable way to reduce NC dependence on importing polluting coal while boosting local economy and creating needed jobs;
Whereas NC has good supply of clean energy resources in solar and wind generation and 75 percent (or higher) North Carolinians support our transition to using clean energy sources;
costs are expected to decline further over future years while cost of new coal and nuclear generation continue to rise;
Whereas steady moderate increases in energy efficiency, renewable and co-generation energies can allow phase- out of all coal plants within 15 years (without adding nuclear power plants) as well as add thousands of jobs;
Therefore be it resolved that we oppose new legislation for automatic pass-through of rate increases for customers to pay for construction of high risk nuclear power plants without having to justify them before state Utilities Commission (necessary because Wall Street investors claim these plants are too risky for them to support);
Be it further resolved that we urge defeat of any legislation allowing for pre-charging customers for high risk nuclear power plants that wouldn't be up and running for at least 10 years,
Be it further resolved that we urge support for House Bill 1050 ("NC SAVE$ ENERGY" Bill) which would create a non-profit organization to administer energy efficiency programs independently of utility companies.
PROTECT NORTH CAROLINA’S BEACHES
Whereas 25 years of coastal policy have made North Carolina’s barrier island beaches the envy of the nation;
Whereas some oceanfront property owners build in dangerous places and then want to build walls to protect the sand in front of their places from naturally occurring erosion and ask the state to weaken its longstanding ban on jetties, groins and seawalls and to allow “terminal groins”;
Whereas those terminal groins will ultimately cost taxpayers in the futile attempt to protect these individuals’ risky investments against the never-ending and escalating fight against the sea;
Whereas those terminal groins also damage beaches on the other side of where the sand builds up;
Whereas our State Constitution (Article XIV, Section 5) sets out the policy of this State “to conserve and protect its lands and water for the benefit of all...”;
Be it therefore resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party demand that the North Carolina House of Representatives vote down the bill passed in the NC Senate in March 2011 that would allow construction of those terminal groins, and should the bill reach Governor Perdue’s desk, that she veto the bill.
NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL & REDUCTION
Whereas nuclear weapons constitute a threat to the national security of the United States of America; and
Whereas nuclear weapons present a unique threat to the climate and the security of the American people and the peoples of all nations on Earth; and
Whereas nuclear weapons present a hazardous threat that could potentially lead to the eradication of life on Earth; and
Whereas maintenance of America’s nuclear arsenal of 5,500 warheads and supporting installations costs US taxpayers $52 billion per year that could be invested into job creation, economic stimulus, education or health care; and
Whereas the unique threat inherent in nuclear weapons has been recognized by a bipartisan succession of presidents of America who have negotiated a series of treaties to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons; and
Whereas President Barack Obama announced his joint initiative with President Dmitriy Medvedev of the Russian Federation to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and to achieve the goal of “a nuclear free world;” and
Whereas the United States of America is the only nation ever to have used atomic weapons in war, she is uniquely obligated to take the lead in freeing all peoples from the ominous threat of nuclear weapons by setting an example for other nations to follow.
Whereas the US Congress has ratified the New START Treaty of 2010 between the USA and the Russian Federation that went into force on February 5, 2011 that will:
• Reduce the number of long-range warheads to 1,500;
• Convene a summit conference to prevent the diversion of nuclear arms to terrorism and
• Strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges the Obama Administration to:
• Pursue the total elimination of nuclear arsenals in the USA, the Russian Federation and all nuclear powers including: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
• Replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with a new legal and binding treaty that will require the total elimination of nuclear weapons on a global basis.
• Strengthen the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the international protocols for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
• Support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the IAEA Safeguards System.
• Intensify international cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism and promote the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
• Work for the Congressional ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
• Delete the $7 billion line item from the budget to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal.
• Devise and implement a comprehensive plan to destroy the growing stockpile of dismantled nuclear weapons in as swift, safe and secure manner as a vital security precaution to prevent catastrophic accidents and/or diversion to terrorist organizations.
Therefore be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urge the North Carolina Democratic Party to support this resolution.
SUPPORT A DRAWDOWN OF THE U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN
Whereas the continuing presence of American military efforts are costing increasing human casualties, inspiring Afghan rage and anti-American sentiment; and
Whereas suicide terrorist attacks throughout the world between 1980 and 2009 have been shown to be driven not by religious belief but by foreign military occupation [Robert A. Pape and James K. Feldman, Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop it (University of Chicago Press, 2010)]; and
Whereas the large military counterinsurgency interferes with the economic and educational development of the country; and
Whereas a significant redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011 will send a clear signal that the united States does not seek a permanent presence in Afghanistan; and
Whereas the Democratic National Committee, at its annual winter meeting, adopted a resolution emphasizing support for prioritizing job creation and a swift, significant, and sizable withdrawal of U.S. armed forces and military contractors in Afghanistan no later than July 2011; and
Whereas a recently released Gallup Poll indicates that 72% of Americans favor action this year to “speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan;
Therefore be it Resolved that the NC Democratic Party urge the NC congressional delegation to support President Obama in making a significant, sizable, swift, and orderly drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan no later than July of this year.
CONDEMNING US SUPPORT FOR ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN PALESTINIAN LAND
Whereas the U.S. has used its veto ten times since 2000 in the UN Security Council to back the Israeli side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and
Whereas the U.S. first UN Security Council veto under President Obama occurred on February 18, 2011 against a non-binding resolution (favored 14-1) condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory; and
Whereas Israel itself has known the settlements were illegal since mid 1967, when Theodor Meron, legal counsel to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Israel’s foremost authority in international law, informed Prime Minister Eshkol that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” [Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire (New York: Times Books, Henry Holt, 2006) pp. 99-102.]
Whereas access to water has been a critical issue for centuries in the region that includes Israeli and Palestinian lands, and increasing aridity due to climate change and increased water consumption due to population growth are straining water resources beyond their capacity of renewal so that the current rate of water withdrawal in Israel stands at an unsustainable 110% and is expected to create even greater conflict between the two populations in the future; and
Whereas the three principle underground aquifers that supply Israel and Palestine are found largely in the occupied West Bank territory and currently provide Israelis with 500 million cubic meters of water per year and Palestinians with 80 million cubic meters per year as Palestinians are prohibited by Israel to drill wells on their own land; and
Whereas the West Bank Jewish population has grown to over 400,000 settlers, with more than a third of West Bank settlements built illegally on private Palestinian land; and
Whereas the settlements have had had a devastating impact on Palestinian olive farming, which is the principal livelihood for many West Bank Palestinian families and has proven itself to be a sustainable agricultural tradition for over 4000 years for this region; it is estimated that about 4 million olive trees have been lost to Palestinians by the outright destruction of olive trees, which can live up to 500 years and are able to withstand drought, or by barring farmers from accessing their fields in order to build water-intensive Jewish settlements and roads; and
Whereas Britain, France, and Germany issued a joint statement in which they explained they had voted for the resolution “because our views on settlements including East Jerusalem are clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace … All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, should cease immediately.” and
Whereas Israel has refused to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention; has refused to comply with Security Council Resolutions 242,338, and 446; and has ignored General Assembly Resolution 194; and
Whereas Obama’s FY2011 budget request to Congress includes $3 billion in foreign aid to Israel, more than 90% of which is military aid; and
Whereas this same $3 billion earmark for Israel could be used instead to provide more than 364,000 low-income households with affordable housing vouchers, or to retrain 498,000 workers for green jobs, or to provide early reading programs to 887,000 at-risk students, or to provide access to primary health care services for more than 24 million uninsured Americans.
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urge our congressional representatives to redirect military aid to Israel to housing, education, health and other needs in this country or to promote social and economic development for peace in both Israel and Palestine;
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party condemns the recent veto by the United States against the Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories and urges the United States work through the United Nations and other diplomatic channels to stop all construction of Israel settlement on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
BRINGING A JUST PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST: ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
Whereas U.S. provides Israel $3 billion annually in military aid;
Whereas the Israeli occupation, disenfranchisement and impoverishment of significant numbers of the Palestinian population, and Israel’s overwhelming military might and its role as the only nuclear power threaten stability in a region witnessing increased demands for democracy and an end to autocratic rule;
Whereas Israel uses this aid to continue its illegal occupation, demolition of Palestinian homes, expansion of existing illegal settlements built on expropriated Palestinian land, and a continued blockade of essential goods from Gaza, a blockade causing a UN documented humanitarian crisis;
Whereas U.S. military aid has caused increased violence and insecurity to Israelis and Palestinians and helps subvert any prospect for peace;
Whereas Israel's human rights violations and its illegal occupation and settlements violate International and U.S. law, including the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1976;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party hold its elected congress members and senators accountable for helping end our government's role in continuing the Israeli Palestinian tragedy by making the human rights of both peoples central to U.S. foreign policy by ending Israel's illegal occupation, by advocating for a viable Palestinian state, and membership of that state in the United Nations;
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges its congressional delegation to support the following principles that will insure a just and secure peace for both peoples, including:
• Bringing all parties, including Hamas, to the table to negotiate an end to the Israeli Occupation and a secure peace based on the 1967 borders;
● An immediate end to settlement expansion and removal of existing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem;
● An end to Palestinian house demolitions;
● A halt to further construction of the wall;
● An end to the Gaza blockade;
• The establishment of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East;
● Redirecting U.S. Military aid to Israel to promote social and economic development for peace in both Israel and Palestine;
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party press our NC Congressional delegation to demand the State Department implement Federal legislation that prohibits use of U.S. military aid to support human rights violations, breaches of international law and UN Security Council Resolutions.
COMPREHENSIVE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE
Whereas the Supreme Court in 1973, Roe Vs. Wade, declared most existing state abortion laws unconstitutional and
Whereas blocking a women’s right to a safe legal medical procedure is unconstitutional, and
Whereas ignoring the fact that preventing women’s comprehensive health care changes none of the conditions or reasons why women seek this medical procedure, and
Whereas any restriction would leave many working class and college student women with no alternative except to subject themselves to the dangers of unsafe, illegal abortions allowing only those with means to this safe, legal procedure;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party and the Orange County Democratic Women affirm their support for comprehensive reproductive health care, including scientific and medically accurate sex education, abortion care, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted disease, contraception, and counseling for all men and women regardless of race, ethnicity, income, age or sexual orientation.
SUPPORT THE CONSOLIDATION OF NC STATE HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION SYSTEMS
Whereas NC State government could save money, improve efficiency, and reduce redundant administrative bureaucracy by consolidating the healthcare infrastructure for NC state employees, NC Medicare/Medicaid, and NC prisons; and
Whereas a consolidated system serving a larger population could increase bargaining leverage for drugs and other treatment and insurance costs; and
Whereas such budget reductions and increased efficiencies are urgently needed in today's economic climate with state budget shortfalls;
Whereas consolidation could provide some respite from the current Draconian cuts to Medicare and Medicaid services (2011 operating budget by $340 million and $56.5 million cut from Medicare contracting reform initiatives), State Employee health benefits, Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps (an initiative that funds, among other things, primary care physician development) and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party requests that Gov. Beverly Perdue and our representatives in the N.C. General Assembly support consolidation of NC State healthcare administration systems.
OPPOSITION TO NC HB 115: THE NC HEALTHCARE INSURANCE GIVEAWAY ACT
Whereas the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC) of 2010 was intended to improve service to the American people by reining in health insurance abuses, but under the guise of PPAC, House Insurance Chairman Dockham (R) has proposed HB 115, an NC Health Benefit Exchange system written by and for insurance executives; and
Whereas Dockman’s Exchange system puts the Insurance fox in charge of the Public hen-house with an eleven-member governing board whose qualifications are written so as to exclude virtually everyone except insurance company executives, and
Whereas this design would serve to continue the very monopolistic corporate influence and public abuse that the Exchange system was intended to counteract, and
Whereas profit-maximizing insurance companies with monopolistic control make healthcare systems cost more and work worse due to various manipulations designed to push costs back onto people ─ as for example, by reducing and contesting coverage, and raising premiums and deductibles, while increasing CEO pay and limiting liability; and
Whereas North Carolina citizens suffer grievously under the current monopolistic insurance system, with access to affordable, quality healthcare becoming increasingly unavailable because of skyrocketing insurance premiums and deductibles consistently in excess of inflation; and even Americans who are now insured often experience burdensome medical debt and life-threatening delays in obtaining healthcare; and
Whereas the healthcare crisis in America has reached dangerous proportions with most Americans living in fear of losing their job or becoming sick since medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy and causes approximately 500,000 bankruptcies annually affecting two million Americans;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party request that Gov. Beverly Perdue and our representatives in the N.C. General Assembly oppose HB 115 and any other efforts to promote insurance company profits at the expense of the health and well-being of the citizens of North Carolina as a whole.
OPPOSITION TO THE PRIVATIZATION OF MEDICAID
Whereas Medicaid provides critical health care for North Carolina's least advantaged citizens; and
Whereas the recession has placed enormous pressure on the State to reduce its budget; and
Whereas privatizing Medicaid has been a strategy that some states, including Florida and Colorado, have adopted to cut costs; and
Whereas privatizing the public mental health system in North Carolina has been a failure; and
Whereas the privatization of Medicaid in other states has resulted in reduced care; and
Whereas the Community Care of North Carolina (CNCC) network is a nationally recognized program to improve care and reduce costs in Medicaid and should not be replaced; and
Whereas scarce public resources should be directed toward patient care and not toward the administrative costs, executive pay, and Wall Street profits of private companies;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party request that Gov. Beverly Perdue and our representatives in the N.C. General Assembly to oppose any efforts to privatize Medicaid in North Carolina.
SUPPORT FOR A REGIONAL, POPULATION-BASED HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE SYSTEM
Whereas population size and diversity improve the power of collective bargaining for service plans and drug and service prices, and is therefore one of the keys to reining in healthcare costs, increasing healthcare quality and distributing actuarial risk; and
Whereas it is virtually impossible for thousands of separate individuals to effectively research, assess and bargain for health care benefits;
Whereas a region-based system allows greater local control and increased ability to design approaches and service requirements that better fit local population’s needs; and
Whereas a multi-region-based system allows for greater experimentation, innovation, competition and cross-fertilization, than the current insurance-monopoly system;
Whereas the Affordable Care Act comes with Innovation Dollars that could be used to develop an innovative Regional Population-Based Exchange System;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party requests that Gov. Beverly Perdue and our representatives in the N.C. General Assembly support a regional, population-based strategy for North Carolina's Health Benefit Exchange System.
SUPPORTING MANDATORY BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR ALL FIREARM PURCHASERS
Whereas the State of North Carolina supports regulating gun sales as a means to prevent gun violence;
Whereas gun violence in this state remains a public health epidemic, with the Center for Disease Control’s most recent figures reporting that in 2007 1116 North Carolinians (and 31,224 people nationally) died of firearm injuries, with 121 of the North Carolinians being under the age of 21;
Whereas these numbers do not begin to relate the personal tragedies and anguish, such as we learned about in the recent Tucson, Arizona, shooting of January 2011, with thirteen injured including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and six killed, including nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green who had gone with her mother and a neighbor to the public event and was killed by a single bullet;
Whereas federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on all their firearm purchasers to ensure that guns are not being sold to felons or the mentally ill;
Whereas a gap in federal law, known as the “private sale loophole,” allows the sale of a firearm by a person who is not a licensed dealer to proceed without a background check on the purchaser, allowing firearms to fall into the hands of persons prohibited from possessing them;
Whereas the possession of firearms by ineligible persons presents a serious risk to the public and to police officers who are required to investigate criminal activity;
Whereas, background checks are extremely effective in preventing ineligible persons from obtaining firearms;
Whereas an estimated 40% of all firearm sales occur by means of the “private sale loophole” through classified ads, flea markets, the internet and gun shows where a great many of the participants are not licensed;
Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008), that the Second Amendment right is “not unlimited” and should be understood to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill;
Whereas a North Carolina poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (December 2010) found that 90% of voters, including 87% of gun owners, favor laws requiring every person who sells guns to conduct a criminal background check on the prospective purchaser;
Be it therefore resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party demand that all levels of government improve and enforce the laws regulating the purchase of firearms; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party insist that laws be enacted to close the “private sale loophole,” so that a background check is required prior to any sale or transfer of a firearm by any person at any location, whether or not the seller is a licensed firearms dealer.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Whereas, the freedom of religion is established in the First Amendment of the Constitution, and
Whereas, Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, recently convened hearings into: “The Extent of Radicalization of the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response;” and
Whereas, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, demanded that the scope of Peter King’s hearings be broadened to include all extremist groups in the USA sans any ideological or religious concentration in order to avoid the persecution of followers of Islam; and
Whereas, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca, testified that there was no substance whatsoever to Rep. King’s controversial claims of non-cooperation by Muslims into investigations of terrorism; and
Whereas, religious persecution in America is to be decried whether it takes the form of: witchcraft trials; lynchings of Catholics and Jews; the bombing of black churches; the violent intimidation of religious minorities; the ritualistic burning of crosses or the burning of the sacred books of any religion;
Therefore be it resolved, that the Orange Country Democratic Party urges the North Carolina Democratic Party to:
1. Discourage the targeting and ‘racial profiling’ of Muslim Americans as terrorists by law enforcement officials, security personnel or the general public.
2. Discourage Hate Groups who incite hatred, hostility and/or violence against Muslims, their institutions and their property.
3. Encourage the public education of all American citizens regarding the culture, history and ideology of Islam and other faith traditions.
Whereas all North Carolinians deserve equal treatment under the laws, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity; and
Whereas legislators have proposed an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would deny marriage and relationship recognition to same-sex couples; and
Whereas a majority of North Carolinians support recognizing marriages or civil unions for same-sex couples; and
Whereas, in a climate where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people are subject to disproportionate bullying and harassment and are at a greater risk of suicide, the proposed amendment sends them a message that their state thinks them unworthy of basic fairness and dignity; and
Whereas in a free society no one religious interpretation should be imposed by the state
Whereas the proposed amendment harms our state economy by sending a message that our state doesn’t welcome the diverse workforce that twenty-first century employers want to compete in the global economy; and
Whereas the constitution should be used to protect individual rights and freedoms, not to take them away; and
Whereas the rights of a minority should never be put to a popular vote;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party oppose any attempt to amend the North Carolina Constitution to deny marriage or other legal recognition to same-sex couples.
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution shall be delivered to every Democratic legislator and Governor Beverly Perdue
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
Whereas the Platform of the North Carolina Democratic Party states: “We reassert our fundamental belief in the collective bargaining process as a means of serving the interests of both public and private employees and employers. Those interests include better productivity, fair and adequate employee compensation and benefits, and safe, harmonious, and healthy working conditions;” and
Whereas public employees in our state have long been denied by General Statute 95-98 this fundamental right to collectively bargain for improvement of their wages and working conditions;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party supports repeal of the prohibition on contracts between governmental entities and labor organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining and restoration of that right as a major priority in this legislative session and strongly urges our state legislators to pass such legislation and for the Governor to sign it.
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges our local governments – Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Orange County – to pass resolutions in support of collective bargaining for public employees and to restore fairness and respect to those who serve the public.
IMPROVE FARM CHILD LABOR AND MIGRANT WORKER RIGHTS
Whereas NC is home to approximately 150,000 farm workers and 28,000 poultry workers and their families; and
Whereas substandard housing can have serious health effects on farm workers. Half of all farm worker camps are not inspected at all. Uninspected camps, along with those that are repeat violators, have some of the most dangerous conditions; and
Whereas agricultural employees are often exposed to harsh weather and pesticides, which can increase their risk for many kinds of health problems, from heat stress to rashes to birth defects. There is currently no standard that allows workers to take breaks when it is too hot to work safely. Workers are also afraid to complain when they experience pesticide violations, because there is no way under current law to keep the worker’s name confidential. Fines for pesticide violations are extremely low, making it cheaper to for big employer to pay fines than to actually comply with the law; and
Whereas farm workers are at risk for human trafficking due to poverty, isolation, and recruitment from outside the U.S; and
Whereas children account for more than 20% of all farm deaths. There are exceptions to the child labor laws, making it legal for children to labor in agriculture and perform hazardous tasks at a much younger age than in any other occupations; and
Whereas a poultry worker’s typically day includes standing for long hours in an assembly line doing repetitive work with hazardous equipment. Workers are often not allowed to take breaks because that would mean stopping the entire line. This leads to injuries and other health problems. Because many injuries go unreported, fewer plants are being targeted for safety inspections; and
Therefore be it resolved that North Carolina Child Labor Laws be updated to provide the same protection for children who work in agricultural (unless they work in their family farms) as are children in other industries.
Be it further resolved that laws be passed to meet safety and privacy needs of migrant worker housing, protect agricultural workers from dangerous pesticide exposure an heat stress, enhance health and safety enforcement and reporting for high hazard industries and provide bathroom breaks for poultry workers.
OPPOSE EFFORTS TO ERODE THE RIGHTS OF INJURED WORKERS AND MOTORISTS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Be it resolved that the Orange Democratic Party stands against and opposes, in any way possible, current legislation proposed in the North Carolina General Assembly aimed at degrading and otherwise eroding the rights of injured employees and motorists in North Carolina.
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party stands firmly opposed to any and all legislation, currently offered or that may be offered, that would serve to diminish or in any way lessen the rights and remedies of those citizens of North Carolina who are injured on the job or on the highways of North Carolina. Further, be it resolved that it is the public policy of this Great Political Party to work for and support, in every way possible, those individuals who are least able to protect themselves when they find themselves injured and disabled.
PROTECT OUR PUBLIC WORKERS AND PUBLIC SERVICES
Whereas from Wisconsin to Ohio to North Carolina the public-sector and low-wage workers have become targeted prey for predatory labor policies that deny public workers the internationally recognized right to collectively bargain; and
Whereas the rights of public workers to collectively bargain would give workers an opportunity to improve their working conditions and public services they provide, and better advocate for the constituents they serve by having a respected and valued voice in the work place and in relations with management; and
Whereas public workers doing the public's work are falsely and recklessly portrayed as responsible for crippling federal and state budgets at the same time they have endured frozen wage packages and higher health care costs; and
Whereas current proposed draconian budget cuts by the General Assembly's majority party foretell the largest year over year percent reduction in total state spending in the last 30 years that will eliminate thousands of public service workers who provide vital services in education, health and human services, public safety and environmental protection, at a time when poverty in North Carolina and the nation is deepening and is at its highest level since the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson launched a war on poverty, and rose from 39.8 million people in 2008 to 43.6 million people in 2009 and disproportionately impacts people of color and children; and
Whereas high unemployment rates continue unabated in both North Carolina and the nation, and the U.S. is still suffering the worst economic recession since the Depression and faces a worrying jobless recovery; and
Whereas economists across the political spectrum argue that government spending, including jobs and services and targeted economic stimulus programs drives economic recovery, that in a recession you want to raise spending by households, businesses and government, that keeps people employed and buying things, and makes it more likely that business will want to invest to serve that consumer demand; and
Whereas state and federal tax structures remain regressive, continue to benefit the wealthiest who already are exempt from paying their fair share of taxes, and deny needed revenue to support our public infrastructure; and
Whereas the income gap between the top earners and the middle and bottom is spiraling out of control, and the 2009 Census data reports the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans has grown to its largest margin ever in American history; and
Whereas the top-earning 20 percent of Americans receive half of all income generated in the U.S. compared to the 3.4 percent earned by the bottom 20 percent, and the richest 1% account for 24% of the national's income;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party stands firmly behind the right of all North Carolina's public workers to collectively bargain, supports the repeal of General Statute 95-98 which violates workers' rights standards set by the UN's International Labor Organization; and
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party stand with our embattled and courageous public workers and their unions and associations in urging our sister counties and State Democratic Party and legislators to firmly support and fight for a NC state budget that protects our public services and public workers by assuring that the budget deficit is remedied not by dangerous cuts to our infrastructure, but by increasing revenues through an overhaul of the state's tax policies that will insure our wealthiest individual and corporate residents pay their fair share.
IN SUPPORT OF WISCONSIN PUBLIC WORKERS
Whereas the right to organize and to bargain collectively is a longstanding and hard-won fundamental right of all workers; and
Whereas the public employees of Wisconsin are threatened with the loss of their right to bargain collectively and the crippling of their ability to maintain effective union organizations by an anti-union attack by the governor and the state legislature;
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party supports the public employees of Wisconsin in their struggle to maintain their fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE NORTH CAROLINA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM
Whereas North Carolina has a workers’ compensation system in this state that is one of the least expensive in the nation because NC covers fewer workers than in other states.
Whereas the system does provide fairly adequate benefits for those workers who are injured. The Republican majority in the Senate is determined to reduce existing benefits, saying that the payments are forcing businesses out of the state. However, NC has ranked at the top nationally as a desirable state in which to do business, by Site Selection Magazine, for nine out of the past ten years.
Whereas there is no bill yet Senator Falwell (R) has written draft which contains two particularly draconian proposals. One will be to put the choice of physician solely in the hands of the employer, with neither the Industrial Commission (which currently oversees these cases) nor the injured worker having any say in the matter; and second, re-defining “suitable employment” to mean any job which pays a wage, which would mean that an injured worker, no matter what his pre-injury job or salary, would be determined no longer disabled as long as he could perform any job at all, such as Wal-Mart greeter.
Therefore be it resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party is opposed to any changes in the current workman’s compensation laws which favor employers over workers.
Be it further resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party recommend that our Governor veto any attempts to change the current workman’s compensation laws in ways which favor employers over workers.