Thursday, June 23, 2016

Midnight Koch and Late-Night Peeing

How do you know when the Republican Overlords in Raleigh are doing something so wrong they're frankly embarrassed by it? They hide it in the dark.

They've done it before. They voted after midnight to override Gov. Perdue's veto of their budget bill in 2011, supposedly giving cover to the votes of five Democratic defectors, and they stuck the dagger in public school teachers' backs in the wee hours, hobbling their right to organize.  Just two examples.

And now, O My Brethren, some powerful white hand in the North Carolina General Assembly has added a surprise and off-topic provision 17 to an “Act to Amend Certain Environmental, Natural Resources, and 3 Other Laws,” H593. The whole bill is up for final passage in the NC Senate this very day. When H593 passes, Section 17 will make it easier for big corporate farmers to abuse their foreign workers with impunity.

Brent Jackson
The likely culprit with the white hands -- Sen. Brent Jackson, who represents Duplin, Johnston, and Sampson counties. The Independent's Paul Blest just posted yesterday a lengthy investigative piece about Senator Jackson's big farm and his legal importation of foreign workers yearly and the multiple charges and lawsuits against him by some of those same workers, and how, by gum! H593 became a convenient vehicle for making sure that immigrant workers can't complain through the legal system about big farm owners. According to Carol Brooke, "Section 17 seeks to modify North Carolina’s Right to Work law, more accurately described as 'the right to work for less.' ” (The details are extensive and complicated. Recommend Paul Blest's investigative piece for the complete story.)

I call this legislative sheepishness "Midnight Koch," because this is exactly the kind of "reform" the Koch Bros. are all about, further paving the road to Complete Corporate Control. Workers are workers and should know their place. In fact, they should be grateful for their place in the scheme of things, which is after all ordained by God Almighty.

The embarrassment of H593:

Passed 1st Reading ... April 27, 2015
Referred to Comm. On Rules ... April 27, 2015
Withdrawn From Comm ... May 5, 2015
Re-referred to Comm. on Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources [on which Sen. Brent Jackson sits as Vice Chairman] ... May 5, 2015
Committee Substitute Reported Out Favorably and Placed on Calendar for Full Senate Action on June 20 ... June 16, 2016
Withdrawn from Calendar and Re-referred to Committee On Finance  [on which Sen. Brent Jackson sits as a member] ... June 16, 2016
Reported Favorably by Committee On Finance ... June 21, 2016
Withdrawn From Calendar and Re-referred to Comm. on Rules & Operations of the Senate [on which Sen. Brent Jackson sits as a member] ... June 22, 2016
Committee Substitute Reported Favorably and Placed on Senate Calendar for today ... June 23, 2016

Who is Brent Jackson?

First elected in the Tea Party Wave of 2010, Jackson (who declined to comment for Paul Blest's article) "rose quickly through the ranks. He currently serves as cochairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In that role, he's presided over cuts to legal aid in North Carolina—especially targeting Legal Aid of North Carolina, the only one of the state's three legal-aid providers that has a unit dedicated to helping farmworkers."

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