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Orange County Democratic Party County
Convention Resolutions April 18, 2009
1. Ex Offender Reentry Study Bill
Whereas North Carolinians depend on their government to maintain their safety and security and expect it to be reliable and fair in addition to being effective at deterring crime and punishing offenders; Whereas nearly 1 million individuals in North Carolina have a criminal record; Whereas approximately 40,000 individuals are currently in North Carolina prisons, the vast majority (80%) non-violent offenders; Whereas 98% of incarcerated individuals will eventually leave prison and return to their communities; Whereas North Carolina‟s prison population has more than doubled over the past 25 years; Whereas approximately 28,000 individuals entered and 27,000 were released from North Carolina prisons in 2008; Whereas approximately 50% of those leaving prison will be re-arrested within three years; Whereas the Department of Corrections has an annual budget of $1.3 Billion, which includes the cost of $27,000 to incarcerate an individual per year of confinement; Whereas the cost of prison construction is approximately $80,000 per bed; Whereas the North Carolina Department of Corrections projects a 6,000 shortage of beds within the next ten years if incarceration continues at its current rate; and
Whereas the current system of incarceration and re-incarceration fails too many, including victims of crime, costs too much, and helps too few. Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of NC supports the Ex-offender Reentry Study Bill of Representative Garland E. Pierce (District 48) for the General Assembly to create a Committee to study and report to the General Assembly by 2011 on effective means to facilitate the reentry of prisoners to civilian life.
2. Death Penalty Repeal
Whereas capital punishment is an extremely expensive state program that consumes more than twenty million dollars each year without evidence that it serves as a deterrent; and Whereas the capital punishment system has inflicted the punishment of death disproportionately upon the poor and racial minorities; and Whereas the capital punishment system has resulted in the conviction and sentencing to death of persons who were factually innocent of any crime; and Whereas because of the worldwide economic recession, our state has inadequate resources to support programs that do benefit its citizens; Be it therefore resolved that the Orange County Democratic party supports the repeal of the death penalty by the NC legislature and the commuting of the death sentence for all people now on death row.
3. Orange County Democratic Party
Whereas the Democratic Party believes in the benefits of grassroots activism; and Whereas volunteers at the neighborhood, precinct and county levels dedicate countless hours to gathering voter information and entering it into databases to help the activities of Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party; and Whereas many of these same volunteers could benefit from access to this very same data as we work at the grassroots to get out the vote and educate the public on issues of concern to our party; and Therefore Be It Resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP) should let/allow local party officers down to the precinct level to have direct, interactive access to the data that we ourselves have entered; this means that these officers will be able to download lists of voters and volunteers; and Be It Further Resolved that the NCDP provide data about voters in such a way that it can be matched with NC Board of Elections records; Be It Further Resolved that the NCDP tell county parties exactly what data is actually in their databases, whether or not we will be allowed access to it.
4. Clarifying the Role of State Superintendant of Public Instruction
Whereas the current State Superintendant of Public Instruction is elected by the voters of the State of North Carolina with the intention of the state‟s citizens to manage the state‟s education system; Therefore Be It Resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party urge the North Carolina Court System to determine quickly the legal and constitutional responsibilities of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Whereas the Federal Poverty Level, used to determine who in America is “poor,” is based solely on food prices and was adopted in 1969, well before the great rise in health care, housing, child care and other costs. For a family of four, the 2008 Federal Poverty Level is $21,200; Whereas 14.2% of Orange County residents, 16,095 persons, live below the Federal Poverty Level, and 15,000 adult residents under age 65 live without health insurance; Whereas 11.5% of Orange County children, 2,714 children, live below the Federal Poverty Level, and 4000 children are not covered by health insurance; Whereas the Head Start program has a proven record of preparing children for success in school, and both Head Start programs in Orange County have waiting lists of eligible families; Whereas the Child Care Subsidy Program, which provides childcare support so that parents can work or be enrolled in school or a job-training program, has a waiting list of eligible applicants due to insufficient funds; Whereas the consequences of living in poverty for children include increased probability of diminished physical health, reduced growth, and possibly reduced cognitive development, low educational achievement and dropping out of school, residence in poor neighborhoods with social disorganization and crime juvenile, delinquency and criminal behavior; Whereas the consequences for Orange County of thousands of residents living in poverty include less educated and less productive citizens, more criminal behavior and greater expense for operation of the criminal justice system, and increased health costs, in addition to the personal costs to our community members living in poverty; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the Orange County city governments, the County Board of Commissioners, and where necessary the State Legislature to institute anti-poverty programs which include the following measures:
1. Ensure that all children in the county receive primary health care and preventive health education.
2. Fully fund the two Head Start programs so that all eligible children can participate
3. Fully fund the Child Care Subsidy Program so that all eligible persons who need child care in order to work or to attend school or a job-training program can be supported.
4. Revise the minimum wage on an annual basis, based on economic factors to provide a real living wage.
5. Offer more vocational education classes in the High School curriculum and more programs to train and retrain workers.
6. Review land use policies to better provide an adequate supply of a range of housing options to meet the needs of people at all income levels, including shared living, single room occupancy (SROs), shelter, apartments, and homes, and provide supplemental funding where a specific need is identified.
6. Don’t Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Poor
Whereas the current severe recession puts pressure on state and local budgets; Whereas across-the-board budget cuts, although avoiding the hard work of reducing costs, will likely hurt those most in need; and Whereas the current severe recession will result in an increased number of North Carolinians who lose their jobs, lose health insurance, suffer foreclosure of their homes, and face personal bankruptcy; Whereas increased levels of unemployment, loss of health care and educational opportunities, loss of homes, and poverty, without the active support of government programs to provide a helping hand, will result in increased expenses to state and local governments for crime and “emergency room” health care, less productive citizens, and trials and tribulations to those who suffer economic calamity as a result of the recession; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges our state legislators and the Governor not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by cutting social assistance programs and shredding the safety net; And Be It Further Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to maintain the current level of funding for social and health-related services. 6a. MORE PRUDENCE AND OVERSIGHT OF TAXPAYER FUNDS GOING TO FINANCIALLY VULNERABLE CORPORATIONS Whereas the AIG 80 billion dollar bailout may serve to augment funds to banks that had already received the first round of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money; Whereas the second half of 700 Billion bailout has been approved by congress; Whereas parts of Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that prohibited commercial banks from merging with insurance companies and/or investment banks or insurance companies and investment banks from merging were repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999; Whereas Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) was passed along party lines in the Republican congress and the reconciled bill gained a veto proof majority and was signed by into law by President Clinton; Whereas Professor Elizabeth Warren (Harvard Law School), the Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the TARP believes that GLBA contributed to the Global financial crisis of 2008-2009; Whereas there are corporations in the financial services sector that have been deemed "too big to be allowed to fail" and have consumed hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars;
Therefore Be it Resolved The Orange County Democratic Party requests that all of our public officials be proactive in reviewing and passing regulations similar to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which limit the size and types of activities in which a single financial corporation may be engaged.
7. School Funding
Whereas many of the school facilities in Orange County, both within with county district as well as the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools, are in dire need of repairs in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and the entire school community; and Whereas a number of the improvements which are needed in school facilities would contribute towards energy efficiency, which has both long term fiscal and environmental benefits; and Whereas our children deserve a safe and comforting environment in which to learn; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the Board of County Commissioners to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure, even in this tough budget year, that along with maintenance of school personnel, the upkeep of existing school facilities is given consideration alongside program needs and new construction capital costs.
8. Hunger in Chapel Hill and in Orange County
Whereas our economy is in sharp decline and the unemployment rate is increasing which will certainly increase the rate of poverty in Orange County; Whereas there are on-going programs, such as the federally-sponsored food stamp program and charitable food programs, to provide some food assistance to those who need help; Whereas the Interfaith Council (IFC) food program recently reported providing food assistance to approximately 900 families and 3300 persons; Whereas it was recently reported that some students who receive three meals a day, five days a week while the schools are in session, received no additional food at home over the weekend; Whereas these reports suggest that we may be facing an impending food crisis among some of our residents who are finding it increasingly difficult pay for the necessities of life; Whereas it is an embarrassment to our progressive community that any resident should go to bed hungry at the end of the day; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the municipalities in Orange County and the County Commissioners to investigate these reports of hunger in Chapel Hill and in Orange County generally, and to take immediate action to actively seek out those residents in trouble and to help to mitigate their need for adequate food.
Elections and Representation
9. Revising the Ballot in Presidential Election Years
Whereas the current format for the ballot in the state of North Carolina in presidential election years is confusing to many voters, especially new voters, and Whereas the current format was devised by the North Carolina Legislature for a purpose that is now deemed irrelevant, namely, to make it convenient for voters to support a straight party ticket for local and state offices, except nonpartisan judicial offices, while voting for the opposite party‟s candidate for president, and Whereas the current format for the ballot in presidential election years makes it necessary for election officials and poll greeters to explain this ballot to voters in order to assure that they understand how to mark their ballots in accordance with their intentions, and Whereas the necessity for election officials to explain this ballot to voters slows the voting process, making it more difficult for voters to exercise their rights and creating the potential to disenfranchise voters, now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges the North Carolina Legislature to revise the format for the ballot in presidential election years to reduce the possibility of disenfranchising voters by clarifying how to navigate the ballot.
10. Grant Full Voting Representation to Citizens of the District of Columbia
Whereas citizens of the District of Columbia are eligible to vote for President and Vice President; Whereas presidential executive orders, Congressional legislation, and Supreme Court rulings are applicable to the District; Whereas the District is subject to taxation without voting representation; Whereas the U.S. Congress ultimately approves any legislation passed by the District‟s city council and signed by its mayor; Therefore Be It Resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party supports the goals of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 in finally granting the District of Columbia a voting seat in the United States House of Representatives.
11. Promoting Community Gardens
Whereas the Orange County Extension Service operates a Master Gardener Program to supply community gardens with experienced gardeners for novice community participants; Whereas the land currently used for community gardens is used on an ad hoc basis and not set aside for this purpose; Whereas community gardens require a long time horizon to be most productive;
Whereas the benefits community gardens provide to schools and the community at large are well recognized; Be It Therefore Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party requests that the County and City governments examine their land holdings for land that could be allocated long term to community garden projects.
12. Offshore Wind Farms
Whereas the U.S. Department of Energy has made it a goal to have one-fifth of the nation‟s electricity come from wind in the next 25 years; * Whereas offshore wind represents an outstanding resource which, when harnessed, will make a significant contribution to meeting renewable energy goals; Whereas science shows that the country‟s best offshore wind resources can be found in the mid-Atlantic between Delaware and North Carolina. This makes the acreage off the Outer Banks a prime possibility for wind farms;** Be It Resolved that we support the development of North Carolina offshore wind resources in a responsible and transparent manner to make North Carolina a leader in renewable energy.
13. Small Scale Agriculture
Whereas the factory farm system is broken and in need of food safety regulation; Whereas the factory farm system in unsustainable without large fossil fuel inputs; Whereas HR 814, HR 759, HR 875, S 425, and S 510 are all one-size-fits-all “food safety” bills that do not distinguish between 1) the broken factory farm system and 2) the alternative renascent and responsive small-scale, local, food production system. Whereas one-size-fits-all legislation poses serious problems for sustainable farmers and their consumers; Therefore Be It Resolved the Orange County Democratic Party calls on all elected representatives to assure that HR 814, HR 759, HR 875, S 425, and S 510 and any other legislation be sensitive by explicitly exempting small scale farmers and small scale food producers. H. R. 814: Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act of 2009 H.R. 759: Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009 H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 S. 425: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act S. 510: A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of the food supply
14. For the Town of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to Incorporate the AIA 2030 Challenge Guidelines in the Carolina North Development Agreement
Whereas buildings in the United States are responsible for 48% of primary energy consumption and 46% of greenhouse gases; and current trends indicate that, unless immediately addressed, the amount of energy consumed by buildings will continue to escalate; and Whereas 7% to 8% of energy consumed in the United States (150 BTUs/gallon water) is associated with the treatment and transport of municipal water; and Whereas to restrict global warming to less than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial era levels will require atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, now at 380 ppm, to be held below 450 ppm; and Whereas the design of buildings constructed now will directly impact the amount of energy consumed by those buildings for decades to come, the use of technologies and skills existing today to design buildings that consume a fraction of the energy traditional construction in imperative; and Whereas the American Institute of Architects has adopted the targets of “The 2030 Challenge”, establishing the national goal of immediately reducing “site” fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in new buildings and major renovations by 50%, and continually improving energy performance so buildings constructed in 2030 will be carbon neutral; and Whereas the Town of Chapel Hill has agreed with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to jointly participate in a carbon reduction program; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is developing an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its entire campus to zero by 2050; Whereas the Town of Chapel Hill has already endorsed the AIA 2030 Challenge for new construction within the Town limits; and the Town of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are negotiating a Development Agreement that will set the standards and guidelines for the construction of Carolina North for the next 20 years; Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party commends the Town of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill their progress on this issue and calls upon them to continue to recognize the imperative of immediately addressing climate change through the buildings constructed within their respective jurisdictions by incorporating the AIA 2030 Challenge guidelines in the Carolina North Development Agreement with the following suggested stipulations: Energy Management of Buildings: Minimum construction standards require that all buildings shall be constructed and equipped so that they increasingly consume less fossil fuel energy than existing similar UNC-CH structures in 2009 so that after 2030, new buildings consume only site-generated and/or purchased renewable energy. Central Co-Generation Power Plant: If a central co-generation power plant is constructed on the campus to supply electric power and heat to the buildings, then it shall be energized by a renewable energy fuel that is carbon neutral. On-Site Transportation: The use of fossil fueled vehicles on the campus shall be regulated so that the vehicles increasingly consume less fossil fuel energy so that by 2030, all vehicles used on the campus only consume renewable energy fuels. UNC-CH 2050 Commitment: UNC-CH shall maintain and update annually its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and adhere to its commitment to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050.
15. Energy Efficiency and Climate Change
Whereas climate change is almost universally recognized by the world‟s climate scientists as posing unprecedented threats to our environment and society in terms to increasingly severe droughts, floods, storms, and sea level rise; and Whereas the State of North Carolina already recognizes the deleterious effects such as particulate and mercury emissions of large scale fossil fuel power generation through its suit against coal-fired generating plants in other states; and Whereas President Obama has strongly affirmed the need to reduce climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050; and Whereas coal, petroleum and natural gas are used in food production and distribution, home heating and cooling, transportation, and lighting also produce carbon dioxide as does the construction of nuclear power plants; Whereas meeting this goal will require, among other things, immediate and unprecedented work to switch our energy economy toward energy efficiency and renewable energy and away from coal and vastly expensive nuclear plants; and Whereas this green energy path can generate many times more jobs at less cost than building and operating new coal and nuclear plants; Whereas nuclear plants contaminate precious water, virtually forever, that the planet cannot spare; Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party advocates that the county, district and state Democratic Parties adopt the following policies and strongly urge their implementation by our state elected officials: That the Public Utilities Commission halt construction of the any coal-fired power plant that does not meet the high efficiency standards and allow only high efficiency coal-fired power plant as a transition to renewable energy sources. That the state institute an independent energy efficiency program aimed at saving low and moderate income families money, creating green jobs, and insuring that new power plants will not be necessary. That ratepayers not be charged for building new plants before they actually go on line so as not to risk having to pay for unnecessary or cancelled plants. Further, Be It Resolved that all Democrats, office holders and supporters, are urged to: Seek ways to be less dependent on fossil fuels and their products, direct and indirect Support efforts to use fossil fuel-based energy more efficiently Support efforts to replace fossil fuel-based energy with sustainable energy. Support efforts to discourage population growth, a major cause for increased demand, for petroleum. As population growth increases energy consumption support efforts to make family planning available to all who wish it. Support the reduction in the use of fossil fuels, minimizing their use to extend their availability during our transition to living in their absence. We urge North Carolina legislatures to enact decoupling measures that will provide incentives for energy efficiency similar to the California plan.
15a. Global Warming
Whereas 350 parts per billion of CO2 in the atmosphere is the current scientific consensus tipping point threshold when anthropogenic CO2 begins to be overrun by feedback cycles in nature that release greenhouse gas emissions that are beyond human control. Whereas the atmosphere is currently at 385 parts per billion of CO2. Therefore be it resolved the Orange County Democratic Party will measure the value of global warming legislation and actions relative to their ability to bring levels back to the 350 parts per billion that is safe for living beings on the planet.
Foreign Relations, Immigration, and Torture
Whereas US and NATO military occupation policies have been accompanied by increased civilian casualties, violence and destabilization for ordinary Afghans, including refugees; and would appear to hamper humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts; and
Whereas Afghan women and girls continue to face violence and oppression and potentially a return to more stringent restrictions on their basic rights as human beings; and
Whereas occupation policy has apparently emboldened warlords, drug lords and the Taliban; and
Whereas US. NATO and Afghan troop casualties in Afghanistan are on the rise; and
Whereas NATO allies, military leaders and regional strategic strategists are increasingly questioning the current strategies; and
Whereas reductions in violence in Afghanistan can only occur when a coordinated approach to regional security can be established by Pakistan, Afghanistan and their local and regional neighbors.
Therefore be it resolved that the North Carolina Orange County Democratic Party urges the U.S. Administration to Establish a realistic timetable for the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces, to be substituted for by UN sponsored forces for short-term internal security, and to aid in the enforcement of international warrants pertaining to individuals and organizations that may be using Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighboring regions as „„safe havens” for instigation of criminal activities around the world. Support negotiations among all parties involved in the conflict, including Afghan men and women leaders to bring about peace and stability and the protection of Human Rights. Strongly encourage at every opportunity, and enforce compliance by United Nations members with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights articles of the UN Charter. Reform regional humanitarian aid and reconstruction funding efforts to prioritize local/regional organizations over foreign contractors and ensure that funded projects address the needs and requests of indigenous communities and are not simply pet projects of foreign donors.
Discontinue the use of primarily military “Provincial Reconstruction Teams”, which are inefficient, and have militarized the aid process. Standardize, increase, and publicly document compensation to Afghan families and communities affected by US military actions.
17. Support for Humane Treatment of Immigrants
Whereas the Migrant population in North Carolina has increased significantly in the last 15 years; and Whereas studies have shown immigrants do not increase unemployment among citizens, but improve the economy overall, pay their fair share of taxes, state and local; and Whereas North Carolina‟s economy has been substantially boosted by Immigrant spending and in particular by the Hispanic immigrant community which is estimated to contribute about $9.2 billion (in 2006) to our State‟s annual economy activity , and Whereas North Carolina can benefit from newly educated and skilled residents who are able to contribute to the state's collective productivity and economic growth, and qualified immigrants do not take spaces from citizens enrolled in community colleges and universities, since they are counted against the out-of-state/foreign student quota and pay out-of-state tuition; and Whereas North Carolina roads would be safer if all drivers had access to drivers‟ licenses thus meeting our State‟s strict driving skills qualifications; and Whereas US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administration is replete with inaccurate and incomplete information and documentation concerning foreign nationals legally and illegally residing in the United States and North Carolina, and North Carolina local law enforcement officials are needed to protect all residents of North Carolina and in so doing building trust in their communities; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina supports legislation that promotes the establishment of an effective system of naturalization, promotes the well-being of immigrants and opposes efforts to effectively make state and local authorities the responsible party for the enforcement of antiquated federal immigration laws via ventures such as the 287(g) programs in Alamance, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Gaston, Henderson, Mecklenburg, and Wake Counties and Durham City; and the Secure Communities programs in Buncombe, Cumberland, Duplin, Gaston, Harnett, New Hanover, Orange, and Wake Counties. Be It Further Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina calls on United States Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and the North Carolina delegation in Congress to recognize the great contributions that immigrants make to our State, and to support fair, just and comprehensive immigration reform as a top priority.
18. Support for President Barack Obama’s Peace Initiatives in the Middle East
Whereas North Carolina played a prominent role in electing President Barack Obama and changing the electoral map of Congress; and Whereas President Obama is determined to restore a strong economy at home and address the social calamity too may Americans face today; and
Whereas the President's commitment to Americans at home is deeply dependent on helping end wars abroad, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East; and
Whereas reducing the US military budget and ending unnecessary overseas entanglements are essential if the country is to have productive jobs at home and expanded investments for the public good; and Whereas President Obama has appointed a internationally respected emissary, George Mitchell, to head his mission to help bring an equitable and just resolution to the Middle East Conflict, to assure security for Israel and a just and viable state for Palestinians; and Whereas the conflict has exacted untold suffering and death among Palestinians and has brought loss of life and greater and greater insecurity to Israelis; and Whereas voices in Congress, in the faith and social justice communities and other voices through out the world are now saying that any complete peace accord will depend upon ending the subordination of Palestine, removing the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, lifting of the blockade of Gaza, redirecting the current US military aid to Israel toward social and economic development for both Israeli and Palestinian communities, ending Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, ending destructive military adventures by all parties, eliciting a more even handed and respectful policy toward the Palestinian people by neighboring countries, and by bringing all sides including Hamas to the table to negotiate a just and sustainable solution; Therefore Be It Resolved that Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina urges the support of President Obama's peace initiatives in the Middle East based upon the principles enumerated above and calls on Congressional leaders to raise their voices and direct their votes toward this effort.
19. Torture: Support for Ending United States Use and Sponsorship of Torture
Whereas the right to be free of torture is a fundamental human right recognized in both constitutional and international law; and Whereas all government-sponsored acts of torture, regardless of circumstance, are immoral, unjustified, and illegal; and Whereas acts of torture violate United States criminal laws, and they violate international treaties to which the United States is a party including the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and Whereas United States-sanctioned torture is not justified by national security needs as it engenders hatred against the nation, does not keep the country safe, shames the nation, and endangers United States troops abroad and citizens at home and abroad, and thus is not in the best interests of the United States; and Whereas the President of the United States on January 22, 2009 issued an Executive Order revoking all past orders, and practices by officers, employees or other agents of the United States Government, circumventing compliance with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions 1465 U.N.T.S 85 and 18USC 2340-2340A § 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (42 USC 2000dd) and other federal statutes relative to individuals either individually detained or detained in facilities owned operated or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government in conflict; and
Whereas the President of the United States has additionally ordered the closing all CIA detention facilities, prohibited such facilities from being established in the future, and instructed all departments and agencies of the Federal government that the International Committee of the Red Cross shall be notified and have access to any individual detained in any armed conflict in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government, consistent with Department of Defense regulations and policies; and
Whereas the President of the United States has established as guidance on an interim basis the interrogation practices and techniques authorized in the Army Field Manual 2- 22.3, (FM2-22.3 September 6, 2006) and has established and authorized a 180 day Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies with the specific mission (1) to study and report to him whether these regulations when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies; and (2) to study and evaluate the practices of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States and do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control. Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina calls upon United States Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and the North Carolina delegation in the Congress to provide maximum support to the efforts of the President and as appropriate to support legislation banning policies and practices of torture and rendition. Be It Further Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the Governor, the Attorney General of North Carolina and the NC State Legislature to investigate, to report to the People of North Carolina, and to prosecute any and all violations of North Carolina law that have occurred by individuals and companies while pursuing activities restricted by the Geneva Conventions or not authorized by FM 2-22.3.
20. 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 other nations on Earth; and Whereas nuclear weapons present a hazardous threat that could potentially lead to the eradication of life on Earth; 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 has recently 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”; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party of North Carolina supports the Obama Administration to: Pursue immediate reductions in nuclear arsenals in the USA, the Russian Federation and all nuclear powers;
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;
Secure all nuclear weapons and materials while promoting the peaceful development of nuclear energy as well as safer, sustainable sources of energy; 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; and
Work for the Congressional ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
And be it further resolved that the OCDP urge the North Carolina Democratic Party to support this resolution.
21. In Support of the Single-Payer, Universal Healthcare Act (HR 676)
Whereas every person in Orange County, in North Carolina and in the United States deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare which is becoming increasing unavailable because health insurance premiums and deductibles have increased consistently in excess of inflation in the last decade and will likely continue to increase; and even Americans who are now insured often experience burdensome medical debt and sometimes life-threatening delays in obtaining healthcare; Whereas many Americans live in terror of becoming sick since medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy, causing approximately 500,000 bankruptcies annually affecting 2 million Americans; while private health insurance systems typically spend approximately 33 percent of their cost on administration, in contrast to less than 3 percent typically spent to administer universal "single-payer" systems; Whereas while other industrial countries are able to cover all their citizens and report better medical outcomes on many measures while spending half of what the United States spends per person on medical care; Whereas the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that there were at least 45 million Americans who did not have health insurance in 2008; Whereas many studies have shown that the uninsured are less likely to get necessary health care and drugs than those with insurance; Whereas the number of preventable hospital stays (preventable if people received proper medical care) has increased in the last two decades and it is increasing faster among the uninsured; in addition, a 2008 Urban Institute report showed 27,000 excess deaths in 2006 from cancer alone among uninsured Americans; Whereas in 2008 Archives of Internal Medicine reported that almost 60 percent of US physicians supported government legislation to establish National Health Insurance; Whereas COBRA is unaffordable as it takes over 30% of a laid-off worker‟s monthly unemployment benefits to buy individual coverage and 82% to buy family coverage; the subsidies paid for COBRA would be better invested in expanding Medicare to include the unemployed in a publicly-funded, not-for-profit program;
Whereas HR 676 covers primary care, outpatient care, emergency care, medications, durable medical equipment, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, vision, chiropractic and substance abuse;
and Physicians for National Health care estimates that HR 676 would remove $286 billion from health care costs, nationwide; and Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Orange County Democratic Party supports the National Health Insurance Act (HR 676), that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to Representative David Price, urging him to cosponsor HR 676, and that this resolution be forwarded to the North Carolina State Democratic Party, asking each to join in this resolution.
22. Maintain Funding Support for Mental Health Services in North Carolina
Whereas North Carolina currently ranks 43rd in per capita funding for mental health and the current status of inadequate resources and funding for services provided to citizens of North Carolina who struggle with mental illness, developmental delays or substance abuse issues should not be exacerbated with additional funding cuts. Whereas in last year‟s budget, new positions were established at institutions in order to correct the problems that led to loss of federal accreditation. To cut those same positions is unwise as we will lose more than we will gain. As a result of the loss of accreditation, at Broughton Hospital, we lost roughly $l million per month and at Cherry Hospital, we lost $800,000 per month. Whereas emergency rooms and sheriffs search for an open bed for admitting involuntary commitment patients into psychiatric facilities and spend in excess of 24 hours without finding a treatment facility; Whereas these services and programs should receive parity of financial support from both public and private healthcare insurance (as has been passed in recent legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives); Whereas North Carolina continues to under-fund community services, and Whereas Gov. Perdue‟s budget plan of $26 million in cuts to the community perpetuates the disparity in funding that is causing most of the ills in our system. Our community services must be built up. Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party instruct our county and state elected officials to Maintain funding to the Wright School or the Whitaker School. These programs and the services they provide to families in North Carolina are vital to essential behavior modification/re-training for youth who already struggle at home, in school and in their communities; Maintain funding to state budgets that serve people who struggle with mental illness, developmental delays or substance abuse issues and to find a way to increase funding sources to these vital programs.; Maintain funding to educational programs that provide services and supports to special needs children in North Carolina and to find a way to increase funding sources to these vital programs; and Place the mental health care of NC citizens as a high priority for funds, provision of services and accountability.
23. In Support of Access to Morning-After-Pill (Plan B)
Whereas some hospital and health center pharmacies in NC do not stock the morning-after-pill (Plan B) for availability to rape victims; Whereas the North Carolina Law Enforcement Agency Uniform Crime Reports showed 2,835 forcible rapes reported in 2007; Whereas the state legislature permits pharmacists and other healthcare workers to not dispense such drugs if it is against their personal moral beliefs; Whereas Plan B has been legally available over-the-counter since 2006 to women18 years or older and by prescription to younger women, and yet access has been limited in some areas of North Carolina either because pharmacies do not stock the drug or physicians will not prescribe it; Whereas Planned Parenthood of Orange and Durham Counties have a telephone line (919)942-7762 where all women in need can get a prescription; Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party, NC, supports a bill in the state legislature that would assure availability of this medical treatment for women in need.
24. Resolution in Opposition to Increasing Health Care Costs to Public Employees
Whereas the North Carolina Legislature and Governor Beverly Perdue have stated that public employees should pay up to 30% more for their health care premiums; and, Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party opposes increasing the percentage of health care premiums paid by public employees by such a large amount.
25. Collective Bargaining Rights to 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 for too 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 Senate Bill 178, an act to repeal the prohibition of contracts between governmental entities and labor organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining and to restore that right as a major priority in this legislative session.
26. Employee Free Choice
Whereas The Employee Free Choice Act will restore workers' freedom to form unions whether by majority support or secret ballot, and bargain with their employer for a better life; and Whereas President Barack Obama has endorsed this Act and workers' rights to join unions; and
Whereas the EFCA creates real penalties for companies that violate workers' rights; and Whereas the Act provides mediation and arbitration to help workers and employers come to agreement on a first contract; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party supports the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act in Congress.
27. Resolution Opposing any Amendment to the State Constitution Regarding Marriage
Whereas much of the recent political discourse on marriage fails to fully acknowledge that the joining of individuals in common unions, commonly referred to as marriage, is in fact two separate actions, one based upon strongly held religious doctrines with a variety of practices and requirements through out the religious community and one a civil action defining in law certain rights, privileges and responsibilities; and Whereas at least three states now recognize in civil law same sex unions; and Whereas persons legally married in one state may seek, in due course of their lives, to exercise their right to move to North Carolina and have their civil legal status protected; and Whereas Article IV sec 2 of the US Constitution prescribes “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states”; and Whereas the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits “any state to make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”; Therefore be it Resolved that The Orange County Democratic Party opposes any effort to insert into the North Carolina State Constitution a discriminatory and unconstitutional civil definition of marriage, thus offending the US Constitution and the rights of all United States Citizens.
28. Teaching the Truth about the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898
Whereas a Commission was created in 2000 by the North Carolina State Legislature to investigate the facts behind the insurrection that took place in Wilmington, NC in 1898 in which a democratically elected and interracial city government was removed by force through voter fraud, intimidation and violence; and Whereas that Commission made its report in 2006, and documented the racist nature of the unlawful overthrow of the government, and “lays to rest the myth that the 1898 race riot was necessary to end government corruption”; and Whereas a variety of historical accounts have misrepresented the facts of the Wilmington Riot; and Whereas the public schools of North Carolina have omitted the incident in the teaching of North Carolina history; and
Whereas Senator Julia Bosman has introduced a bill in the North Carolina Legislature that requires the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction to include appropriate accurate material about this event in every grade level where North Carolina history is taught in the public schools and to provide the educational resources for that purpose; now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party urges the North Carolina State Legislature to pass bill DRS 85008-LE-61 offered by Senator Bosman to assure that the truth is taught in the public schools of North Carolina; and
29. In Support of a Modern, Efficient Public Transit System -- Congestion Relief/Intermodal Transportation 21st Century Fund
Whereas Orange County Democrats recognize the urgent need for an investment in a modern, efficient public transit system both in Orange County and throughout the Triangle; and Whereas the General Assembly is currently considering a bill (currently House Bill 148) that would give local government the authority to levy one-half percent (1/2%) sales and use tax; an opportunity to obtain an additional source of revenue with which to meet local needs for financing local public transportation systems; and Whereas local elected leaders in all three counties approved the Triangle‟s long-range transportation plans which calls for putting 300 more buses on the roads in the next decade and launching more than 50 miles of light-rail service by 2025; and Whereas the Obama Administration‟s stimulus package invested $9 billion in public transportation and this local funding would boost the region‟s prospects for getting federal help to build rail service; and Whereas a robust transit system protects the quality of our natural environment by reducing carbon gas emissions, protecting air quality and preserving our quality of life; and Whereas transportation infrastructure is more than just widening roads; it is about making our county more livable and sustainable into the future; which means having the option to leave our cars to ride the bus, light rail, walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives; and Whereas a public transit system provides a reliable and inexpensive means for all people of all socio-economic backgrounds to get to and from work and around the community without fear of sudden spikes in oil prices; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party calls on our legislators to make an investment in public transit by supporting the Congestion Relief/Intermodal Transportation 21st Century Fund bill which will provide local governments with the authority to levy a one-half cent sales tax.