Working for the People of North Carolina
As your state representative, I am committed to:
- Affordable housing for Durham residents
- Healthcare for all and improving services for mental health
- Bringing jobs back to North Carolina and workforce development
- Fairness for all in our elections and in our judiciary
- Access to quality education for our young people
- Clean air and water for every North Carolinian
Bills I Co-Sponsored:
- The Living Wage by 2022 Act (HB 289): This bill would increase the state’s minimum wage from the current wage of $7.25 per hour to $12.00 per hour by 2020 and $15.00 by 2022. By raising the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour, an estimated 1.3 million North Carolinians will benefit, which is a third of the state’s total workforce. An increase in the minimum wage will be especially beneficial to women and working mothers, who make up more than half of minimum-wage earners. It will also help many full-time workers who are striving to support themselves and their families. Twenty-nine states already have minimum wages higher than the national one; it is now time for North Carolina to join this group of states and strengthen our working families. This bill currently sits in a House committee.
- Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (HB 280): Until the bill was enacted this session, North Carolina had been one of two states that treated 16 and 17 years old as adults in the criminal justice system. The age has now been raised to 18 years to be tried as an adult, and these teens will be placed into the juvenile justice system rather than the adult penal system. They will receive services like counseling, mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as educational opportunities, which will make it less likely that they will become repeat offenders. As long as these youth have not committed a serious felony, they will be given a second chance.
Bills I Supported:
- Oral Chemotherapy Bill (HB 206): This bill was one of the few to pass the House with bipartisan support this session. It ensures that out-of-pocket costs for oral chemotherapy drugs cost no more than those for traditional IV treatment, which will limit sky-high, prohibitive costs for many cancer patients. Greater access to chemotherapy in a pill form will mean that more cancer patients will be able to take the medication at home with less time away from work. This bill currently sits in a Senate committee.
- STOP Act (HB 243—The Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act): Opioid abuse is a crisis impacting all communities throughout out the state. Every day four North Carolinians die from a medication or drug overdose. Four times that number are hospitalized on a daily basis, and eight times that number are sent to the emergency room each day. As a result, this epidemic is having a huge impact on our state with almost $2 billion being spent each year on hospitalizations, emergency department visits, loss of work, results of crime, foster care placements and prison sentences. The social and economic impact is staggering. With bipartisan support, this bill was signed into law by Governor Cooper.
- Classroom Size/Specials Bill (Classroom Size Requirement Changes Act—HB 13): This bill required lower class sizes in early grades; however, there was not adequate funding allotted for local schools to implement this law. I support lower class sizes, but not at the expense of losing art, PE, music and specialty teachers. Our local schools are struggling to manage the lack of funding because they have to make the tough decision of hiring more teachers for lower grades or letting STEM, art, music and PE teachers go. This bill was signed into law in the spring, and last week it came before the House Appropriations Committee, which is one of the committees on which I serve. The legislature had another opportunity to properly fund schools to carry out the smaller classroom mandate, but House and Senate leadership failed to support the simple solution of investing more in our public schools.
Bills I Opposed:
- Judicial Gerrymandering (Judicial Redistricting & Investment Act--HB 717): I voted against this bill that threatens judicial independence by gerrymandering the lines by which voters elect judges. The role of the judiciary is to be impartial, fair and to not be impacted by politics. This bill creates partisan judgeships through the lines that the legislature draws for new judicial districts. The people of North Carolina should feel confident that they are electing judges who are independent thinkers and not partisan judges determined by gerrymandered districts. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill, but it is expected to in January.
- Water Quality Veto Override (Amend Environmental Laws Act--HB 56): I opposed the effort last week to override the Governor’s veto of this bill because it does not solve the problem of GenX contamination and the growing statewide problem of contaminants in our water. State agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that are responsible for protecting our drinking water and holding polluters accountable have made a request from the legislature for more experts and resources to get the job done. HB 56 failed to include the necessary resources to protect our drinking water, and that is why I supported the Governor’s veto.