NC JUSTICE NEWS: Election Week + Time to Get Covered! + How to Build an Economy for All

November 1, 2016

ELECTION DAY: Info on early voting, voter protection, and the issues

It's time to vote! Early voting is underway in North Carolina and runs until this upcoming Saturday, November 5. Your vote is absolutely critical to building thriving communities across North Carolina.

Here are three things to know about early voting:

  • You don’t need an ID to vote this year! The federal courts struck down North Carolina’s voter suppression law so you won’t need to have identification to vote.
  • You can register the same day that you vote! If you aren’t registered, go to an early voting site to register and vote at the same time.

For voting updates, sign up for text messages by texting NCJustice to VOICES (864237) and visit www.ncjustice.org/election2016 to pledge to vote and learn more about the issues.

In addition, our partners at Democracy North Carolina are hosting an Election Protection program. They’re currently recruiting Vote Protectors for Fall 2016 by training and deploying volunteers to monitor key precincts in counties all over the state on Election Day to help voters cast their ballot and connect them with experts when they have problems.

Click on the links below for more information on how you can get involved:

It will take all of us to ensure that our state and local policies reflect the realities and needs of our communities. We can’t wait to work together with you to make that happen!

HOW TO BUILD AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL: New policy series

Our new series How to Build an Economy that Works for All aims to establish policy priorities and proposals that policymakers can advance AND North Carolinians can support throughout the election season and the start of the legislative session in January.

Raise the State Minimum Wage. North Carolina needs an economy that works for all and ensures broadly shared prosperity. That means creating jobs that pay workers enough to afford the basics for themselves and their families. Raising the state minimum wage could benefit businesses, help workers, and build an economy that works for all North Carolinians. It provides a critical antidote to the ongoing boom in low-wage work, a trend that has only accelerated since the end of the Great Recession.

Attract—and Keep—High-Quality Teachers in the Classroom with Competitive Pay. Teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance. Unfortunately, North Carolina has failed to ensure that teachers receive adequate pay and support. Competitive teacher pay is a necessary first step towards boosting student achievement, increasing lifelong earnings, and delivering widespread economic growth to North Carolinians.
 
Support Jobless Workers' Connection to Work and Careers. While North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped in recent years, there are still fewer employed people as a share of the population as there were before the recession started. The lack of good, quality jobs for our growing workforce is a serious and pervasive problem. In order to help boost our economy, North Carolina’s policymakers must prop up jobless workers as they look for jobs, including providing support so that workers stay connected to the labor market.

Bring Back the State EITC. North Carolina once had a policy in place with the goal of creating an economy that works for all and ensures every family can make ends meet — the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a tax credit for working families that reduces poverty and rewards work for low- and moderate-income households. Until recently, these households could claim the state EITC as a way to cover the basics but state lawmakers eliminated the state credit in 2013.

HURRICANE MATTHEW: Info on available federal assistance for families

We have followed with great concern as Hurricane Matthew has delivered destruction and hardship to communities across North Carolina. We want to make sure important information about assistance is readily available and shared among those that need it most.

Listed below is information about federal assistance available to individuals, businesses, and communities throughout the areas affected by the hurricane. These federal programs may be helpful to you, your neighbors, and others in your community.

Disaster unemployment insurance is available for residents in the following counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Edgecombe, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne, and Wilson. You can call 1-866-795-8877 and visit https://desncc.com/DES/ to apply online. DEADLINE: Individuals who were affected by the disaster and are unable to continue working should apply for disaster unemployment insurance by November 14, 2016.

General disaster assistance for housing, home repairs, and other damages is available. Individuals—both homeowners and renters—and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). It is recommended that you apply even if you have insurance. Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time), seven days a week. DEADLINE: They will accept applications until further notice.

Small Business Assistance. The North Carolina Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts. More information at this link.

GET COVERED: Marketplace Open Enrollment period begins today, Nov. 1!

Now is the time for North Carolinians to sign up for health coverage: Marketplace Open Enrollment period begins today!

Consumers have from November 1 until December 15 to choose a plan, which will go into effect on January 1, 2017. They can apply and shop for plans online at www.HealthCare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Although there has been substantial media focus on reduced competition among insurance companies and increasing premiums, Tar Heels will still have affordable options to choose from. Most North Carolinians won’t notice any price increases, as financial assistance on the Marketplace will increase to keep up with any increases in premiums. More than 9 out of 10 people who enrolled in our state last year qualified for lower prices, so every North Carolinian should visit HealthCare.gov to learn about their options.

APPLICANT DEADLINES:

  • Open Enrollment starts November 1
  • Consumers have until December 15 to choose a plan effective January 1
  • Consumers can still enroll in coverage for 2017 by January 31

IN-PERSON ASSISTANCE:

  • Free, expert in-person help is available from navigators and federally-qualified community health centers
  • Appointments can be scheduled through the NC Navigator hotline at 1-855-733-3711
  • The Get Covered Connector allows applicants to book an appointment online

Medicaid Event: Join the NC Justice Center, OIC CHEC Center, and other community partners for a community event on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, how Medicaid expansion would help your community, and the online marketplace enrollment and implementation

Help us spread the word and join us on Thursday, November 17, 2016, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Opportunities Industrialization Center, INC, 1060 Pinehurst Drive in Rocky Mount. More information on the event and RSVP at this link.

REMEMBERING REP. LUEBKE: Mourning the loss of a champion for NC

From Rob Schofield at NC Policy Watch: It will take all week — at least — to chronicle the many accomplishments and principled stands taken by Durham’s Paul Luebke during his many years of service to the state of North Carolina.

Luebke was a lawmaker, a scholar and, above all, great and relentless champion of social, political and economic justice and a crusader on behalf of the underdogs and working people of our state.

Sadly, as WRAL.com and other news sites are reporting today, we lost Paul last night as he succumbed after an extended battle with lymphoma. It was too early to lose such a fine man and he will be greatly missed. R.I.P.

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