Members of Durham’s legislative delegation talked redistricting, environmental regulations, gun control, and Republican obstruction during a town hall meeting Thursday night.
Representatives Marcia Morey, Mickey Michaux and MaryAnn Black and Sen. Mike Woodard participated in the event, as well as Rep. Robert Reives, whose district is shifting to include part of Durham. Sen. Floyd McKissick attended, but couldn’t make the discussion because he was teaching. The discussion was moderated by Lisa Sorg, an investigative reporter for NC Policy Watch and the former editor of INDY Week.
All of the delegates are Democrats and all are up for election this year, but none are facing opponents from within their party in the May primary.
The legislators said they expect to spend much of the short session, which convenes May 16, trying to protect things like voting rights, independent courts and funding for public schools…
…Judicial redistricting and elections are among the most pressing issues facing the state, the group said.
Last year, Republicans proposed an overhaul of judicial districts that would pit some incumbent judges of color against each other for election. They have also suggested eliminating judicial elections in favor of having legislators appoint them, which Morey said the Durham delegation would fight “tooth and nail.”
“Everything that’s been really bad, we’ve been able to solve it by going to court,” Reivessaid. “Well, if suddenly they take the courts from us then where do you go? Imagine the voter suppression bill if we don’t have courts on our side. Imagine the gerrymandering bills if we don’t have the courts on our side.”
Along with the courts, Reives said the environment is “under attack.”
“If a company comes in and says we need this rolled back so we can make a few more dollars, we’re passing bills the next day,” he said.
The group briefly discussed GenX, an emerging contaminant produced by the Chemours chemical company in Fayetteville, focusing on the need for more water protection measures for Jordan Lake. GenX has been found in the Cape Fear River and some private wells in Southeastern North Carolina, and a “cousin” of the compound was found in Jordan Lake…