No end to the crazy

Now, I really don’t much about B-corporations.  But I do know that when the legislature is voting on things out of a fear of Agenda 21, that the Republican caucus truly is pathetic:

State House lawmakers Wednesday night voted down House Bill 440, a proposal to create benefit corporations in North Carolina.

Benefit corporations, or “B-Corps,” are a hybrid of standard for-profit and non-profit corporations. They allow the corporation, while making a profit, to serve a primary “public benefit” purpose other than maximizing profit for shareholders.

Sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, said “web chatter” on the bill alleges that it’s part of a secret conspiracy to promote the UN’s “Agenda 21” sustainability efforts, which conspiracy theorists allege is actually a socialist plot.

“What I just find amazing is that there’s some perspective that this bill some sort of hidden ‘Agenda 21’ bill,” McGrady said.

“This is not a conservative or liberal bill at all. It’s actually an entrepreneurial bill,” he said, noting that similar laws in 14 states have been supported by Republicans, including the governors of South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.

“Those coming up younger than us – they want to make a profit, but they want to be about good things,” he said. “This lets them do that.”

“I think you’re seeing that capitalism would like to help those areas where it can,” said Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston. “People want to do good things.”

But critics of the bill said its goal is to move the corporate system and capitalism in general toward socialism by suggesting that there’s a higher, better purpose than maximizing profit. Members also received a handout from free-market think-tank Civitas, reinforcing that point.

Good God– we allow b-corps and the the next thing you know government is going to take control of all the industries and people aren’t going to love capitalism enough.  Again, nice to see that the Republicans are actually split on this and that there’s some remnant of sanity (and for the record, the contraception provision was pulled from the previous bill I wrote about).  Poor Laura Leslie deserves combat pay.

No contraceptives for you!

Those liberals and their contraceptives!

RALEIGH, N.C. — Virtually any employer in North Carolina could opt to but insurance plans that do not include contraception coverage under a bill that cleared the House Judiciary A committee Wednesday. The same bill bars cities and counties from offering health insurance plans that pay for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

On the bright side, it shows that there’s still some sane Republicans in the legislature:

“To suggest in the 21st century that a woman could be prevented from having access to birth control, even as far to the right as I am, that’s going off the cliff,” said Rep. Bob Steinburg, R- Chowan. “This is going too far.”

Then again, my guess is Mr. “as far to the right as I am” Steinburg is probably onto some crazy stuff, just different (or not, but he does seem to have a bit of a temper).  Anyway, back to the bill:

North Carolina law already allows employers with religious affiliations to offer health plans with no contraception coverage. This bill extends the definition of “religious employer” to “include any employer, whether incorporated or not and whether for-profit or not, ‘that has a religious, moral, or ethical objection,’ to providing such coverage.”

So, in short anybody can simply deny contraceptive coverage to their employees.  Heck, why not allow them to have religious objections to health care in general.  Regardless, this is just dumb policy.

“This bill has the potential to cause great harm,” Rebecca Mercier, a Chapel Hill doctor, pointing out that contraceptive medications have uses outside of preventing pregnancy.

“This bill is based on some fiction that contraception is controversial in this country and morally ambiguous. It is not. It is an essential pillar of women’s health care here and throughout the world,” she said…

Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, offered an amendment to pull the contraception provision from the bill.

“It’s simply not good policy,” she said, adding that preventing contraception coverage might lead more women to seek abortions.

Schaffer insisted the bill didn’t make much of a change to current law.

“We’re not attempting to change the law,” she said, pointing out that there are already health plans that allow some employers to opt out of contraception coverage. “We’re attempting to extend the conscience rights of religious employers.”

That drew a rebuke from Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, who said the bill obviously changed the law because it would put more women in situations where they would not be able to obtain birth control.

“More women are going to be denied,” she said.

Again, I’m not exactly amazed, but sadly shaking my head that people who supposedly want there to be fewer abortions are making it harder for women to get birth control.  Hello, McFly?

NC needs laws against riding bicycles in supermarkets

Sure, there’s no evidence this is happening now, but you never know.  It could all of a sudden be an epidemic and then we’ll be glad we’ve got the laws on the books.  It is obviously unsafe to shoppers and we cannot expect store managers to enact or enforce reasonable policies against this– they might be liberals.

So, what am I getting at here?  The logic (or lack thereof) behind NC’s new stealth anti-sharia law proposal (they are smart enough to not call it that):

RALEIGH, N.C. — The latest version of a bill intended to protect the constitutional rights of North Carolinians from “foreign laws” is on its way to the House floor after a contentious hearing in the House Judiciary C Committee.

House Bill 695, entitled “Foreign Laws/Protect Constitutional Rights,” is the most recent iteration of legislation intended to keep courts from recognizing Islamic Sharia law in North Carolina.

Similar measures have been considered or passed in more than 15 other states.

The first version of the legislation was passed by ballot initiative in Oklahoma. It specifically named Sharia and was promptly blocked by a judge who declared it unconstitutional because it singled out a religion.

Since then, newer versions of the measure in states from Arkansas to Florida have been more carefully worded. House Bill 695 makes no mention of religion at all, and it wasn’t mentioned in committee.

Also, some great reporting from Laura Leslie by putting this in the proper context of what’s really going on rather than relying solely on the text of the law.  So, why do we need this law?

After House Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore signaled that the bill was unlikely to pass, Cleveland and co-sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, agreed to amend it so that it would apply only to family law and child custody issues under sections 50 and 50a of state law.

Moore, R-Cleveland, who crafted the change, said it should reduce the chances of unintended consequences in the business community.

“I think this covers what the bill sponsors are trying to do. There’s no reason foreign law should be used in such matters,” he said.

After the meeting, Moore said he didn’t know of any cases in which North Carolina courts have allowed Sharia or any other foreign laws to infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights, but he said the sponsors were trying to prevent that from happening.  [emphasis mine]

That’s right– you never know!  And you never know, there might be an epidemic of bicycle riding in grocery stores or murderous squirrels or whatever!  This is not how a sensible legislative body makes laws.  Of course, there’s been little evidence so far that we are dealing with a sensible legislative body.

Photo of the day

I love airports.  I also really love the view from above when you circle an airport before landing.  Naturally, I love this Behold set of airports from above:

JFK 15

JFK 15

Jeff Milstein/Kopeikin Gallery

Real scandal

With all the “scandals” going on, Jonathan Bernstein reminds what’s truly scandalous:

Want a real Washington scandal — one worse than the (phony) Benghazi scandal and the (apparently real, but apparently limited) IRS scandals combined? Try the continuing, and possibly accelerating, obstruction of executive branch nominees by Senate Republicans.

Don’t think it’s a scandal? It’s pretty basic: Republicans, by abusing their Constitutional powers, are — deliberately, in several cases — preventing the government from carrying out duly passed laws.

That’s just two examples. There are numerous others; again, with virtually all nominees required to have 60 votes, one can accurately say that Republicans are filibustering every nomination. But perhaps the worst are the “nullification” filibusters, in which Republicans simply refuse to approve any nominee at all for some positions — the National Labor Relations Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — because they don’t want those agencies to carry out their statutory obligations.

In doing so, Republicans are not breaking the rules of the Senate. They are, however, breaking the Senate itself, and harming the government. As with all legislative chambers, and in fact all democratic institutions, the Senate runs on a combination of formal rules and informal norms. But Republicans, by refusing to accept those norms, make it impossible for the normal machinery of government to function…
Yes, I know that in the way Washington works, this kind of routine disruption of normal government procedures doesn’t qualify as a Scandal! But it should. And while it’s quite proper for those concerned about good government to be outraged by the IRS story, this one is a much bigger deal, and the facts of it are plain for all to see — in fact, the people responsible are openly bragging about what they’re doing.

Now that’s a scandal.

Yep.  But continuing to violate the norms of the Senate in a completely ahistorical way that subverts the effective functioning of government and democracy is simply not the sort of things journalists care about.  It’s also much like boiling the frog.  Republicans didn’t just go 0-100 on this.  They’ve gradually violated more and more norms and made the Senate work worse and worse.  It’s that sort of gradual change that political media is typically fairly poor at picking up on and reporting adequately.

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