Protesters prepare for legislators return
Posted September 1, 2013
Updated September 2, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Leaders of the so-called "Moral Monday" movement planned to bring their grievances about state legislation they call "extreme and immoral" back to the state capital this week as lawmakers convene for a veto-override session.
Officials with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, the North Carolina AFL-CIO and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee used the Labor Day holiday to point out how lawmakers' actions have hurt both workers and those out of work across the state.
"No injustice is greater than this legislature's treatment of the unemployed," Mary McMillan, state director of the AFL-CIO, said during a news conference. "What our legislators did was not just wrong, it was deliberately cruel, it was morally reprehensible."
Lawmakers overhauled the state unemployment system to repay $2.5 billion borrowed from the federal government to pay jobless claims during the recession. In slashing the size and duration of state benefits, North Carolina also lost out on six months of federal benefits to long-term unemployed.
The NAACP led protests of the actions of the Republican-controlled General Assembly throughout the recent legislative session, resulting in more than 900 arrests. Since the session's end, protests have taken place in Asheville, Charlotte and elsewhere.
Lawmakers will return Tuesday to try and override two vetoes by Gov. Pat McCrory – one on legislation that would require drug testing for those seeking certain kinds of welfare and another on a bill expanding the definition of "seasonal labor" that don't need an immigration status check.
Both measures passed the House and Senate by wide margins, and legislative leaders say they expect lawmakers to pass the bills despite the governor's objections. If all members are present and voting, that would require 72 votes in the 120-member House and 30 votes in the 50-member Senate.