April 12, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v85)

Tonight, on this Wednesday, let's go wandering through a land of wonder.

In North Carolina, we no longer need to wonder the official price of legislative conviction; it's been determined: no college championship games for five years. Facing a looming deadline from the NCAA indicating that plans for college tourneys through 2022 were going to go through without any opportunity for Tar Heel State bids, a compromise that no one was happy with - not the folks who originally voted the law in, and not the the LGBTQ community - was reached, and the NCAA's deadline was met. A study by the AP estimated the economic loss to be at least $3.76B over a dozen years. Whether it was these two carrots, or the outrage of the masses, we may have to keep wondering.

What we don't have to wonder about, though, is the capacity for NC legislators to press on with restrictive legislation.  This bill, for example, would retaliate against athletic conferences that boycott North Carolina universities for the state's anti-LGBTQ 'orientation'. State universities such as North Carolina and NC State would be forced to leave their conferences at the end of their current media contract should any retaliation occur. Because nothing says "we don't tolerate retaliation like retaliation do" or something like that.

And there was this bill, which sought to defy the United States Supreme Court:
Marriages between persons of the same gender are not valid. The General Assembly of the State of North Carolina declares that the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision of the United States Supreme Court of 2015 is null and void in the State of North Carolina... Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individual of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.
The House Speaker advised the bill would not be heard, recognizing the law of the land supersedes the law of North Carolina. I wonder, how long will this Republican be in a leadership role? Is he the future, or is he just a temporary distraction from the rest of his party?

Let's move on to Texas, a state where there are virtually no laws too ridiculous when it comes to restricting legal abortions, or harassing women who wish to have them, You know, requiring clinics to meet all of the requirements of to have hallways wide enough to allow two hospital beds to pass unobstructed, when there are no hospital beds in clinics? Or the one that would have required fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions to be buried or cremated, which was blocked by a judge.

The good thing to come out of Texas is a bill that aims to punish unregulated 'self-pleasuring' (wink, wink).
The law, introduced last month and forwarded to the committee Tuesday, calls for civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions that are outside of a woman's vagina (or) medical facility. Any man who does so faces a $100 fine because the act is considered an act against an unborn child and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.
The 'Men's Right to Know Act' as the bill is called, is a breath of fresh air - I applaud State Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Dem representing residents in Houston, for her creativity and legislative skill in drafting and keeping the bill moving. I wonder how the men on the legislature are taking this? Are they learning anything, or are the just sitting there while the womenfolk have their fun?

You know, like they're doing in Minnesota, where men will be men but they sure don't like being called out by women. Seems there was discussion around a provision a bill that would fine protesters for blocking highways, and the women of the Democrat - Farm - Labor (DFL) party, including women of color, spoke in opposition to the provision; one quoted an emotional letter written by Martin Luther King, Jr. that spoke of sometimes having
no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.
Apparently, while the women were speaking, the men were in another room, playing cards - which did not sit well with Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, who called the wayward members back to the floor, noting
I hate to break up the 100% white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate.
She went on to note that she was "really tired of watching women of color, in particular" being ignored by fellow legislators.  There was no wondering how the men felt, including the one who had submitted the offending legislation. He called for an apology; Hortman refused. She was asked the next day for an apology, and refused again, according to reports I've read.  After the bill passed, including the contested provision, there were even more calls for an apology from Hortman. Not only did she refuse, but then the chair of the DFL party called on the Republicans to apologize for their budget proposal.

I wonder, will other women in state legislatures learn from the Texas and Minnesota situations, and take advantage of their opportunities to protest legislatively, or procedurally, to make their voices heard? And will the 'new' Democratic National Committee begin offering support and encouragement for similar positions to be taken by others in the party, or their affiliates?  

I also wonder how long it will take for North Carolina to get some of these uppity women in their legislature?