Last week, the House voted on a "compromise budget" that was prepared by a select committee of House and Senate members. I voted against this budget because it lacked funding for public education, disregarded the needs of government retirees, spent taxpayer dollars irresponsibly and did nothing to expand Medicaid.

The "Compromise Budget" does not live up to its name at all. For example, this "compromise" somehow manages to spend less money on education than both of the previously proposed House and Senate budgets.
I attended the Governor's press conference when he announced the veto of the budget.
In this edition of my newsletter, I hope to bring clarity and transparency to a few things in the budget that you might not have heard about before. If you have any follow up questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.


Representative Julie von Haefen
Bad Budget Breakdown
"It is time for legislators to stop pretending that we know best, and finally listen to what educators really need: Respect for our retiree teachers by providing adequate cost of living adjustments and better retirement benefits. Advanced Degree Pay. Support staff who are compensated in their jobs with a living wage of $15 dollars an hour. Responsible planning for our huge school infrastructure needs. Health care for our students and families through Medicaid expansion."
Undermining Fact-Based Healthcare
Last fiscal year, the NCGA appropriated $300,000 dollars to the Human Coalition's Continuum of Care pilot program. In a report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on April 30, DHHS stated that the “model piloted by the Human Coalition has not been subject to independent research or evaluation and therefore it cannot be identified as evidence based or even a best practice.”

Let's break it down:
  • The Human Coalition violated its contract with DHHS by not submitting information required by its contract.
  • DHHS could not determine the effectiveness or cost of expanding the pilot program and could not offer an informed recommendation.
  • Leadership is ignoring the DHHS report and is quadrupling the Human Coalition’s funding to $1.2 million, giving more of our taxpayer money to an out-of-state group who has consistently failed to comply with its state contract.

Ignoring Departmental recommendations by recklessly funneling more money towards organizations like the Human Coalition, which is continuing to operate in violation with its contract with DHHS, is irresponsible government and a misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Taxpayers deserve to know where there money is going and they deserve to know that it is being spent responsibly. This is not responsible spending. This is bad government.
No COLA for Retirees

There is no recurring cost of living adjustment for retirees in the budget. No COLA despite the fact we have $363 million for corporate tax cuts. No COLA despite the fact we are in year 10 of a national economic expansion. 

Our state government retirees deserve more than a one-time bonus of one-half of one percentage point in each year of the budget.
No Medicaid Expansion

The budget fails to expand Medicaid to close the health care coverage gap for 500,000 North Carolinians, making us one of only 13 states that refuse to act on Medicaid Expansion.

What are the consequences of refusing to act?
  1. People die or have their lives diminished for lack of health care coverage.
  2. Billions of North Carolina tax dollars go to the federal government and never come back home to close the coverage gap.
  3. Those billions of dollars cost us health care jobs that are never created and even more billions of LOCAL economic activity that never happens.
  4. We miss out on the single best thing we can do to fight the opioid crisis, lower our infant mortality rate, help struggling rural hospitals, and inject money in rural NC.

Every year that we refuse to act and every year that we miss out on what other states are doing cannot be brought back. The lives lost and the lives diminished and the dollars wasted will never be recovered.
SCOTUS Decision on Redistricting
On Thursday June 27th, SCOTUS announced a 5-4 decision that effectively granted state legislatures the power to gerrymander congressional and state legislative districts with impunity. Justice Roberts's opinion states that partisan gerrymandering cannot be addressed by the judiciary since partisan gerrymandering does not conflict with current law.

However, all of the justices acknowledge some important points. They agree gerrymandering is wrong and perhaps unconstitutional. They note that non-partisan redistricting ideas (like the ones I support) are a way to stop gerrymandering. Most importantly, they recognize that state courts have the authority to strike down gerrymandering if the districts violate state law .

Right now, in North Carolina, we have an ongoing lawsuit in state court that challenges our current gerrymandered districts.  Nothing in this week’s opinion hurts that case.

Hopefully, our case in North Carolina will be resolved prior to the 2020 elections.
Thank You: District 36 Meet & Greet
Thanks to everyone who came out to our Southern Wake Legislative Update. We talked about healthcare, redistricting, the budget and what it's like to be a first-term legislator!

It turned out to be a hot June day, but Sydney Batch and I loved meeting with you and answering your questions.
Invitation: Wake County Listening Tour
Wake County Representatives are hitting the road! We want to talk with constituents all across our districts, so we're planning events in the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of Wake County.

Keep an eye out for more details later this week.
District News
Please be advised: water testing centers are experiencing a backlog, so wait times for testing kits are longer than usual. If you have not sent a request for a test kit yet, it is advised that you do so immediately so that you receive your kit as soon as possible.

Part of the contamination warning area is within District 36.  This website  shows a map of the area where well water is unsafe to drink and it has information about how to test your well water to determine if it is safe to drink.

Wake County also offers  free well water testing kits for low-income residents.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbors who have private wells in Wake County.

The hotline for more information about well water contamination is:  919-893-WELL
Advocating for Our District
ERA NC Alliance
On June 20th, I met with the ERA NC Alliance's newest interns! This group is passionate about women's rights and making NC the last and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Interested in joining the effort to pass the ERA?  ERA NC Alliance  is a fantastic group dedicated to this important cause! 
World Refugee Day
In honor of World Refugee Day, LSC Refugee and Immigrant Services joined refugees and allies for a day of advocacy at the NC General Assembly.

I loved meeting the refugees, hearing their stories and listening to their concerns about accessible public transportation, affordable housing, medicaid expansion and more ESL and counseling resources in our schools

Our state must continue to be a welcoming and friendly place for these brave women, men and children who come here to start new lives.
Ending Gun Violence
Today, I met with Drew Pescaro, who was wounded during the UNC Charlotte shooting this spring. We met at his home in District 36, and I want to thank him for sharing his story with me & for advocating for gun law changes.

Let’s work together to end gun violence so students like him don’t have to live in fear.
Did you Know?
Each pair of brass doors that leads to the House and Senate chambers weighs an astonishing 1,700 pounds!