HAPPY EASTER!

- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Opinion

From the Office of Rep. Phil Haire

Interim committees continue to meet at the General Assembly to discuss and study education, health, transportation and other matters vital to our state. The hope is that indepth evaluations of specific programs will lead to better decisions when we return to session in January.

This week, I wanted to share a few pieces of information about ethics, redistricting and the economy.

Ethics

The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Legislative Ethics Committee has issued new guidelines prohibiting legislative employees who serve at the will of a lawmaker from having dating relationships or sexual relations with registered lobbyists or state agency liaisons unless they disclose the relationships to the employing legislators. The guidelines followed the resignations of two members of the Speaker’s staff who were found to have relationships with registered lobbyists.

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It was well into their second set that I realized the two musicians on stage were blind. The super sleuth that I am, I had to be told of that fact. I listened intently, but when I looked at the stage, my eyes were drawn to the fingers dancing with precision on the keys and buttons of the accordion. There was nothing “blind” in that playing. Brent Buswell and his wife, Crista, performed Sunday at Helen, Georgia’s Oktoberfest. From Pennsylvania, Brent is an accomplished accordion player, performing a wide variety of music genres. Crista added keyboard, trumpet and vocals for the show.

I enjoyed the music so much, I looked up Brent Buswell's website. Among the various pieces of info, there is only one small reference to blindness. This really got me thinking. Just what did I expect would or should have been written? What struck me, was he doesn't define himself and his music in terms of what he can't do – but what he can.

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Brace yourselves for the next wave in the surveillance state’s steady incursions into our lives. It’s coming at us with a lethal one-two punch.

To start with, there’s the government’s integration of facial recognition software and other biometric markers into its identification data programs. The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is a $1 billion boondoggle that is aimed at dramatically expanding the government’s current ID database from a fingerprint system to a facial recognition system. NGI will use a variety of biometric data, cross-referenced against the nation’s growing network of surveillance cameras to not only track your every move but create a permanent “recognition” file on you within the government’s massive databases.

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In a recent mass mailer sent from the Senate Caucus of North Carolina Republican Party, an August 16, 2012 article of The Macon County News (MCN) was quoted in a campaign ad for Senator Jim Davis. The MCN believes that the information in the article was misrepresented and was falsely attributed to our publication.

The mailer read:

“In a recent League of Women Voters forum, John Snow attacked Jim Davis for saving $343,000 tax dollars by cutting off taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”

MCN Article from August 16, 2012 titled: “State Senate hopefuls highlight of LWV forum” read:

“[Susan] Ervin entertained questions from the audience which included the candidates stance on legislation that directly affected women and families such as funding to Planned Parenthood and what approach they would take on overspending.

Snow stated that the funding that was taken away from Planned Parenthood while the General Assembly was led by a Republican majority, not only places stress on services such as abortion, but also de-funded services such as health screens for breast cancer.

“We also look at women and the things they need in order to participate in the job market,” said Snow. “One of the things that happened were over 20 percent cuts to funding for More at Four and Smart Start. Particularly when you look at Smart Start you look at daycare, and a woman cannot leave that family to go back to work unless there is someone that can provide adequate care for their children. Cutting those programs really affect women and their ability to work outside the home to keep the family going.”

Clarification:

The MCN did not state that former Senator John Snow attacked Jim Davis nor did it give the monetary figure of $343,000.

Snow, who ran against Davis in 2010 and lost by a slim margin of 161 votes said, "This isn’t the first or the last time that they will say things about me that aren’t true."

Snow clarified his position from the forum. “I support healthcare services for women; whether it is cancer screenings, parenting classes, or preventive care,” said Snow. “The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer money being spent for abortion services. Jim Davis knows this. The services provided by Planned Parenthood are very important for low-income women who might not otherwise be able to access important health care services.”

When asked about the mailer and the difference in the comments in the mailer and the news article, Senator Jim Davis said, “Unless the news reports detailing Snow’s comments regarding Planned Parenthood were misleading, not one aspect of the mail piece from my campaign is untrue or inaccurate. It’s clear from reading the Macon County News that John Snow attacked members of the General Assembly, including me, for refusing to send taxpayer dollars to abortion clinics. I think most people across our district will agree that taxpayer funding of abortions is an extreme, liberal position that is out of touch with our values.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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