NEW SESSION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS
NCGOP Press Release
January 28, 2009
RALEIGH— A new General Assembly was sworn in today as the North Carolina House and Senate gaveled in the 2009 session.
Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:
"As state legislators return to Raleigh for a new session today, North Carolina faces many of the same problems we have struggled with for years. Our state is facing crippling unemployment rates that have skyrocketed to make our jobs situation the eighth worst of any state in the nation. Our state budget is facing an ever increasing shortfall now estimated to be at $2 billion. The State Health Plan is in a crisis situation due to mismanagement, poor oversight, and a lack of accountability. We face seemingly perpetual challenges to our state's mental hospitals, our roads, and our schools. There is a need for a bottom-up and top-down assessment of what is working in state government, what is broken, what can be eliminated, and what can be consolidated.
Our present difficulties may challenge but will never break the conservative commitment to creating a better, more efficient form of government for North Carolinians. This crisis presents us with an opportunity to increase transparency and accountability in state government and re-imagine how government might work better to truly serve the most pressing needs of the people without overextending into areas that should be left to the private sector. I am encouraged by many of the conversations currently taking place and by the resolve among elected officials to cut inefficient, ineffective programs and streamline those that are already working. The challenges we face will require hard work and dedication from Republicans and Democrats alike. In the past, Republicans in the minority have been shut out of crucial negotiations and even not allowed to speak about legislation being offered. I am hopeful these shameful tactics will become a practice of the past and that Republican ideas will receive a fair hearing in this session. I am hopeful that this year we will find promises of a new openness and transparency from the campaign trail make their way into action in the General Assembly. There are far too many important debates facing our state for us to silence certain voices or allow petty, partisan bickering to distract legislators from doing the people's business."
Stam wants to start over on the state budget
By Ryan Teague Beckwith, Mark Johnson, and Keung Hui
News & Observer
January 28, 2009
State Rep. Paul Stam of Apex says the legislature should start from scratch.
Given a potential $2 billion shortfall in tax revenue, the House Republican leader says the legislature should use zero-based budgeting.
Traditionally, the budget is based on incremental increases or decreases from the previous year's budget. But Stam argues that legislators should do a wholesale rewrite of the state budget, looking at each expense.
"We need to go back and see if the stuff we added in decades ago is still working," he said.
In addition, Stam wants to know whether the state's Medicaid program has the controls in place to determine whether providers and recipients are eligible to receive payments. That could save several hundred million dollars, he said.
On other issues, he expects the legislature to rehash old debates about whether to restrict smoking in public places, how to protect schoolchildren from bullying and whether to reinstate the death penalty, along with less controversial issues.
"Ninety percent of legislation is not partisan," he said. "It's often common sense -- or common nonsense." …
Pro-Life Advocates Face Uphill Battle
By Congresswoman Sue Myrick
For The Washington Times
January 27, 2009
I don’t believe any issue has been more controversial than abortion since I came to Congress in 1994. Since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a mother may end a pregnancy up until the point that the child could be “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb”, there has been debate about when life begins, when a fetus is considered “potentially viable”, and the ongoing battle between a child’s “right to life” and a woman’s “right to choose”.
Interestingly enough, the U.S. Supreme Court has made more laws on this subject than Congress has. This is partially due to the lack of consensus in Congress to work toward any real alternative to the status quo. However, that lack of consensus is poised to change. We have a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate. We also have a president who is revered by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups, and who has the potential to appoint judges who share his beliefs. It is clear that pro-life Members of Congress face an uphill battle with respect to abortion, and we must uphold our principles by continuing to support the sanctity of human life.
Human life is precious and is often taken for granted in today’s society. I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is wrong. I hold a fundamental belief that innocent life should be valued and protected, and this extends beyond abortion. I am opposed to using federal tax dollars for any abortion-related activities, including the scientific use of fetal tissue from discarded embryos and funding to provide abortions for military families overseas or to American organizations that provide foreign abortions.
In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. While proponents of abortion argue that such a ruling is unconstitutional and goes against the ruling in Roe v. Wade, partial-birth abortion is nothing short of a horrific act of unconscionable violence. I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill, proud to vote for it, and proud for the government of the United States for protecting human life.
In 2004, both houses of Congress voted in favor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, or the Laci and Connor Peterson Act. This bill was signed into law by President Bush, and protects unborn children from assault and murder. Why then, is abortion still legal in our country, since abortion amounts to taking a human life?
I believe abortion is America’s “Holocaust”. Ninety-two percent of American people say they believe in God. Do they also believe in God’s laws? Look around at the condition of society today – the lack of integrity, the disregard people have for one another, greed, hypocrisy, self-centeredness – on and on. So God sees over 50 million lives snuffed out since Roe v. Wade. It looks like a case of 92% of Americans believe in God; but look at the state of our nation. Does God still believe in us?
Thankfully, the rate of abortions continues to decrease here in America. I believe that this is due in part to the increased education of our youth with regard to pregnancy and the education of women as to their options outside of abortion. We must continue to fund abstinence education in our schools. Too often, the importance of abstinence is given little attention in our education system. However, it is these programs that impart the self-confidence and self-respect that many young people lack. Also, crisis pregnancy centers are equipped with the resources to help women choose options besides abortions. Many of these centers operate on a nonprofit basis because they are faith-based, and are supported by donors. Some prefer to operate without government funds, while others feel that they could better help their communities with access to service-related grants. While charitable organizations cannot be replaced by government programs, it is beneficial that the two can work together.
Now, it is more important than ever that pro-life advocates continue to work for a change from the status quo that places unborn lives in the balance.
What Are We Stimulating Again?
Seeing Red Again
January 27, 2009
Thomas Sowell makes a strong argument in this article that it is not the economy that Democrats aim to stimulate with a package before Congress but instead their power and their future political prospects.
"If the Beltway politicians aren't really trying to solve this crisis as quickly as they could, what are they trying to do?
One important clue may be a recent statement by President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, that "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
This is the kind of cynical revelation that sometimes slips out, despite all the political pieties and spin. Crises have long been seen as great opportunities to expand the federal government's power while the people are too scared to object and before any opposition can get organized."
How exactly will money spent on family planning and money given to ACORN stimulate the economy? Shouldn't we put more money into the hands of American families and small businesses to stimulate the economy?
Democrats are fond of making the argument that government is the only player big enough to stimulate the economy, but they're wrong. The only players with enough clout to stimulate the economy are the same ones who are in control of the government: the people. We should be the ones deciding how our money is spent, not politicians in D.C. looking to get "free" (read "our") money for their favorite constituencies.
House Republican Leader John Boehner Weekly Republican Address