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July 18, 2022 8:30 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes NC Family’s John Rustin and Jere Royall as they recap the highs and lows of the short legislative session at the North Carolina General Assembly.
Family policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters Tracy to veterans.
Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters North Carolina lawmakers wrapped up their legislative work for the year just in time for the Independence Day holiday while passing a state budget was the top priority. Their efforts on behalf of the people in North Carolina were wide-ranging to take a look at what happened and in some cases, more importantly, what did not happen. I joined today by NC family Pres. John Rustin, Tracy NC family Council and Dir. of community impact Jerry Royle Trish Jerry work on your behalf. Each legislative session to be voices of persuasion for family values in the halls of the North Carolina legislature and we are also grateful for the way you work behind the scenes and make such a huge difference in your work there so thank you so much hi John, as we said the primary focus of what's called the short session is about passing a budget which happened what do we need to know about the new budget passed a $27.2 billion state budget.
There were lots and lots of different matters that are involved in the budget. Of course, but some things that we were really excited to see our legislators approve is an expansion of the states opportunity scholarship program, which provides low income families with vouchers for school choice with the parents can choose the best educational environment for their children and not only did the legislature appropriate more funds for opportunity scholarships in North Carolina, but they also increase the eligibility standards for that. So a greater number of families will be able to take advantage of that. So we were really excited to see that North Carolina is one of the leading states in the nation when it comes to school choice and this is just a further expression of the commitment of our state lawmakers for opportunity scholarships and school choice in North Carolina. Another very important part of the budget, which is not a huge provision. As far as how much money was spent, but the fact that our lawmakers did appropriate over $2.6 million to 10 pregnancy care centers across North Carolina and so these are direct appropriations to help support the efforts of our crisis pregnancy centers across our state and that government 2.6 million was in addition to the third over 13 million. There was a perforated last year and last year's budget for which is through the same two-year period, and similarly on the scholarship or the disability scholarship funding was also increase.
So the really important additions were made to these programs will some of the biggest news out of the general assembly may have actually been males that died. I think sometimes people don't realize how important it is of particular interest was the bill that sought to expand legal gambling in North Carolina that had quite a roller coaster run tell us about that will trace it was a huge push old to legalize sports wagering in North Carolina and so much so that we saw the bill passed the state Senate last year and then a committee in the house in November of last year and then it remained eligible for consideration during the short session and right near the end of the session. They brought the bill up again to pass three committees in the house and then got to the house floor and was actually defeated by only one vote, so was really remarkable. I would consider it to be enough. A jury would agree miraculous that that bill failed because we were really working against huge forces the gambling industry, sports teams, and associations like the NBA in the NFL in the hockey league and all of these were favorable toward this bill so it had a lot of push behind it, but what we so was that really the most conservative Republican legislators in the most liberal Democrat legislators generally speaking, came together to form this coalition to stand in opposition to this bill and I think I owe a lot of these legislators understand the implications that gambling has on individuals, families and communities across our state. We been studying this issue for decades and that research that we have seen just clearly shows consistent increases when there is an expansion of gambling or more forms of gambling that are available that there are inevitably increases in things like domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, substance abuse, embezzlement, job loss, personal bankruptcy and even suicide. These are the results of gambling addiction and so these are the things that we share with our lawmakers that are great concerns about legislation like this and fortunately we saw a majority of lawmakers, albeit a very slim majority stand in opposition to this bill and defeated on the house floor so we were very very grateful for that. Okay thanks you heard it here. Our lawmakers are capable of working together and bridging that divide. Working across the aisle and so to me that is a huge thing we not seen that necessarily very much on the federal level, but that to me is very exciting, and exactly Trish because we did say in the house literally was almost evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats have for half against and what really prevailed and then John sees the word miraculous. We really do believe that God worked in people's hearts and minds because one of the votes earlier in the day in one of the committees was 13 to 3 in favor of the bill, yet we and others continue to meet and talk with members in the debate on the floor.
A lot of it was focused on the harm that this would bring the thousands of additional citizens and so it was very encouraging to see how God did work in people's hearts and minds to bring about this victory yet we know that that was in the continue I speaking of miraculous.
And speaking of things that aren't good for the state of North Carolina. Another big topic of conversation. This session was the potential legalization of marijuana, which managed to pass the Senate but couldn't get through the house. Jerry what happened there again.
It did amazing what happened in this is an issue we worked on for many years.
This bill was entitled North Carolina compassionate care act and that in itself made it difficult subject to debate. It meant day in the Senate.
They had five committee hearings on this and a lot of the early discussion they brought in military veterans who had experience horrible trauma and they shared that medication should not help counseling had not helped in the marijuana had helped in their particular situation. But what we did is we done for years as we tried to find the facts and the truth about this particular question and what we have found in the past.
Continue to fan the AMA, the FDA neurologist and psychiatrist are all continuing to say study medical marijuana. But what we're finding or harms not help AMA's is there significant deleterious effects that avail of the public health risk remits drug abuse and addiction change in brain function, lung disease intoxication. Driving developmental interference impaired cognition psychological illness cardiovascular abnormalities in cancer and ended specifically on the posttraumatic stress disorder. They say people end up in a worse condition with merit if they use medical marijuana.
So this is the reality that we tried to bring to the Senate. Unfortunately, this vote was very strong in favor of this bill when it passed in the Senate when it went to the house and this is the interesting thing about how our system of government works, sometimes things get even this one unanimously. They can pass unanimously in one chamber go to the other and not even be brought up that is what happened on this bill, the opposition in the house was strong continue to hear, up until the last week that they might bring it up but there was very strong opposition. So we're very thankful for the outcome. But we realize because this bill went through months of deliberation in the Senate that they're gonna be right back again pressing on this and that's the reality of our work where we press on endure and try to be there to be a voice for truth and to speak the truth in love, about these important issues.
I would also encourage people to attend research tests if you're not surprising to you.
Please research what Jerry saying because side there's great evidence out there is matter fact, our most recent family North Carolina magazine has a long article on it and that is compelling and it's something you can share with your kids and your your neighbor so I wouldn't urge you to do that. So let's move along. Like much of the country. North Carolina also began taking a closer look at parental rights, especially related education and medical situations and what was included in HB 755 parents Bill of Rights and where does this particular issue stand next. Thanks, Tracy, this is another bill that actually was a house bill that was amended in the Senate to pass the Senate after it was amended and went back to the house and they did not take it up. Unfortunately, but what this bill intends to do is to provide parents more transparency with respect to what their children are being taught in school. So what this bill propose to do would be to affirm and strengthen the rights of parents to take an active role in their child's education and healthcare. It also had a couple provisions in it, one that would prohibit schools from teaching lessons on sexual orientation or gender identity before the fourth grade. We think it's completely inappropriate for schools to be instructing children on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and even after that. So this bill would clarify that that would not be allowed. It would also require, for example, teachers to inform parents. If a child has requested a change in their name or their pronouns, how they referred to in the school and the school should not you create a wall between children and parents when it comes to important issues like that and so this bill again. It passed the Senate where it was amended I went back to the house and the house unfortunately did not take the below so where the entire conversation about North Kellan's pro-life landscape in wake of the Dodds ruling by the US Supreme Court. But I feel like we got a mentioning him right so just briefly I wanted you just talk about what the landscape looks like in North Carolina going for it as far as pro-life legislation. Well, thank you for that question Tracy we will impact this more in the future radio program and podcast but basically where we are in North Carolina is that we have had a law that's been on the books for decades. That is basically a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, but of a federal judge enjoined out wall about three years ago and said that it conflicted with the viability standard that was established by Roe V Wade in Planned Parenthood B. Tacy and so what we have now in North Carolina, abortions are illegal up to the point of viability and so we've been talking with and working with our legislative leaders to encourage them to embrace a more significant standard that would protect life at the point that heartbeat is detected or even at the point of conception is many of our neighboring states have done.
This is all still very much in flux right now and so we are hopeful that if we are able to secure pro-life super majorities in both the statehouse in the state Senate after the upcoming election in November that our legislative leaders are going to come back in. In January and pass a heartbeat bill in North Carolina or something potentially even stronger to protect life from the earliest possible moment right so it sounds like you got some very, very important state elections coming up. I will just time for this week. But before we go time want to say anything to our listeners just a huge thank you to all the listeners out there, especially those who tune in on a regular basis and also receive our emails and or action alerts and respond to those in and reach out to their lawmakers to express their interest and concerns about these very important issues because they are very important, they do affect our lives on a daily basis so we Jerry and I spent a lot of time to the legislature and by God's grace we been able to develop meaningful relationships with a lot of our state leaders. But the work that we do in the voice that we seek to to present down there would mean nothing if it weren't for constituents back home in these legislators districts reaching out to them contacting them and expressing their concerns and interests own all of these very important issue. So were very grateful for the participation the prayers and support of folks across the state who believe in what we do and what we stand for. So thank you all and please keep it up because it's so incredibly important and if you have not already, make sure you sign up for the emails and legislative alerts from the NC family because these guys on what's happening. You can go to NC family.org to do that suggested resting and cherry rail. So much for joining us today on family policy matters