A revolution is happening in Raleigh with repercussions across the state. And I and good government supporters everywhere hope that the revolution will be televised.
So far this week:
* The Senate passed legislation rejecting expansion of Medicaid and prohibiting the state from setting up its own health exchange. Who is impacted? At least 500,000 people. As with every partisan issue, there’s a debate on whether it saves money or not.
* The Senate passed legislation to fire all members of several regulatory and policy-making boards so that it can stack them with more politically suitable people. Are they important boards? You would think so: Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the GOP insists it isn’t about partisan politics. It will certainly result in changing — that is easing — some of the regulations on utilities and environmental protection.
* Gov. McCrory caused a ruckus across the state when he questioned the purpose of the public university system, suggesting that the reason to fund it is to train students for jobs that businesses need. His position was immediately blasted across the state. (Personally, if the NBA didn’t have jobs available for Carolina basketball players, I’d be happy.)
* House and Senate Republicans are supporting legislation to cut the maximum unemployment weekly benefits for jobless workers by one-third to $350 and reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks from 26 to 20.
If there was ever a time in which the capital needs a strong press corps, this is it. And a look across the websites of the major media makes it appear as if they are doing their jobs. And an aggressive non-major media press corps. I encourage them to look deeper. I encourage editorial boards to use their bully pulpits to demand accountability and transparency. There are stories to be told.
Here is one:
Aldona Woz, the new secretary of Health and Human Services, appointed Dianna Lightfoot as director of early childhood devedlopment on Tuesday. Reporters started looking at her background and, frankly, hilarity ensued. It didn’t take long to see that if Lightfoot had been vetted, someone should be fired. Lightfoot announced today that she would not accept the appointment.
Last November, the voters spoke. I heard them as did everyone else paying attention. Elections do have consequences. If there are going to be wholesale changes, then the people deserve to know what they are and where the benefits are. The only way they will get that is if reporters are aggressively questioning the politicians and bureaucrats and writing/showing what they discover.