Dale Folwell is not a "friend" of state employees

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Friends don't try to get your children booted off your health insurance:

Since he took office in 2017, Folwell has repeatedly advanced or acquiesced to policies that would ultimately reduce the number of people on the SHP rolls. In May of 2017, for example, state employees received an email and letter sent via “junk mail” rate postage instructing them to resubmit a copy of the first page of their tax returns, or children’s birth certificates in order to prove they are not fraudulently covering spouses or dependents under the SHP.

After receiving the letter, I for one thought that it was a scam since it had all the telltale signs, and I had already recently submitted my tax return to prove that my children are my children, and are eligible to be covered on my plan. Folwell’s letter said I had to submit copies of their birth certificates by July 31 through an online portal, or my children would be removed from my health insurance plan on August 1. Six hundred people were removed from the SHP for the rest of 2017. Of that number, how many were actually fraudulent?

In a sane world, the employees' union would have pushed back on that, and made sure that nobody (or their children) fell through the cracks. But "sane" and "SEANC" probably shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Tweets I saw back then were completely supportive of Folwell's "fraud" claims, and SEANC's website itself published Folwell's entire statement with no comments or rebuttal:

Thursday News: Warehousing children

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ROBESON FACILITY WITH REVOKED LICENSE GETS $3.9 MILLION TO DETAIN MIGRANT CHILDREN: Within 45 days of the facility opening its doors, state officials gave its operator, New Horizon Group Home LLC, hours to shut them again, saying conditions presented “an imminent danger to the health, safety and welfare” of the boys housed there. Yet barely one year later, the federal government awarded New Horizon a $3.9 million grant to house up to 72 children – migrant kids navigating the Trump administration's border policy alone. The federal Administration for Children and Families, which oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement, awarded the grant to New Horizon despite the fact that the company has gone months without a required state license to house any children. And if the state’s prior action against the facility holds up to an ongoing legal challenge, the group home operator will have gotten at least some of that federal grant money despite being prevented from housing any children for the next four years.
https://www.wral.com/unlicensed-nc-company-with-troubled-history-gets-4m-to-house-migrant-children/1...

NC's tobacco farmers get the shaft in Trump's trade war

When your market is destroyed and nobody wants to help you:

The USDA lists more than two dozen crops that are eligible for the payments, but tobacco is not included among them due to federal rules that preclude the crop from receiving federal funds to promote its sale or export. “Tobacco did not receive one penny of that money,” said Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. “And I’ve got news for you, the new money that’s coming out, tobacco is not going to share in that either.”

Wooten said that North Carolina farmers exported $162 million worth of tobacco products to China in 2017. In 2018, that figure was $4 million. He said the state’s farmers this year have planted the smallest crop of tobacco since before World War II.

I hesitated to write about this because I realize that probably 95% of the people reading don't care, and a good portion of you would love to see NC stop growing tobacco entirely. I get that. But that unbelievable drop in exports listed above is a stark reminder of just how dangerous this President is to our economy. And like it or not, tobacco was one of the main drivers of NC's economic growth for centuries. Follow below the fold for a mostly pointless and boring personal anecdote:

Wednesday News: Throw away the key

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BALLOT HARVESTER DOWLESS FACES NEW ROUND OF CRIMINAL CHARGES: Leslie McCrae Dowless was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and possession of absentee ballot, the document showed. Dowless was previously indicted on charges related to an absentee ballot harvesting operation he allegedly ran in Bladen County in 2016 and during the 2018 primary. His earlier charges include three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of an absentee ballot. Dowless remains free on a $30,000 bond and is expected to turn himself in for processing on the new charges. Six of Dowless’ associates were also indicted and are expected to turn themselves in.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233308957.html

Tuesday News: Trust but verify

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NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS LEANING TOWARDS "READABLE PAPER BALLOTS": Anderson, Black and Carmon want to add new language to the state’s rules specifying that any voting machines used in North Carolina “shall produce human-readable marks on a paper ballot.” That’s in response to concerns raised by members of the public, including at a Sunday night meeting, that some of the machines in question would only produce a barcode printout — which most people wouldn’t be able to read to make sure that the touchscreen machine had correctly recorded their vote. Lynn Bernstein, a Wake County resident who has advocated for paper ballots, said after the meeting that she agrees with the vote to delay the decision. “It allows North Carolina to have the most secure elections in the United States,” she said. But Cordle, the board chairman, told the board he is worried about what the delay means for local officials scrambling to make arrangements for 2020. “I think the counties are going to be running into a real problem,” he said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233278201.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is what you do with bad legislation:

If they want to expand, they need to start by fixing their problems. But frankly, this "pilot" is about to crash that plane...

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