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Union groups, NC NAACP plan action at General Assembly

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NAACP president Rev. William Barber announces plans to gather at the legislative building Tuesday. NAACP president Rev. William Barber announces plans to gather at the legislative building Tuesday.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina General Assembly will once again be the target of protesters when lawmakers return Tuesday.

When lawmakers return Tuesday to deal with two bills Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed, protesters will be there to ask lawmakers to reconsider several past votes. Plans for that were announced by the AFL/CIO and NAACP during joint news briefing Monday.

The groups also intend to present each lawmaker with a report card which show how lawmakers voted on each bill last session based on whether the NAACP and other supporters considered it a "bad bill" or not.

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), who is a member of the GOP leadership, called N.C. NAACP president "Rev. [William] Barber and his group ... way off base."

"If they were truly judging this General Assembly based on issues that matter to citizens, we'd get high grades in terms of working on jobs, lowering taxes and improving education and health care in this state," Dollar said.

Among the bills demonstrators are upset about are measures that will prevent hundreds of thousands of people from receiving either emergency federal unemployment benefits or the state's earned income tax credit.

When lawmakers convene Tuesday, volunteers will go to each representative and senator's office to present them with report cards. But that's not all their doing.

Protesters will attempt to get lawmakers to undue several votes on bills using a parliamentary procedure to call up several measures that have already been approved.

Under that procedure, lawmakers can vote on those recalled bills again.

"Governor, legislators: call for the item on teacher cuts to come back to the floor," Barber said Monday. "Call for the item that undercut employment to come back to the floor. In the name of God and everything that's right, call for the item that cost 900,000 their earned tax credit to come back to the floor."

The NAACP and others are hoping there will be enough votes to overturn votes on those bills.

"It's not too late, governor. It's not too late, legislators," Barber said. "God has given you an opportunity in this special session to have a conscious and to have some compassion."

He added, "Peoples lives depend upon it. The soul of this state depends upon it and where you go down in history depends upon it.

But Dollar said that won't happen.

"Once a bill has been passed and is a statute, you can't do that," he said.

He called Barber "a publicity hound who is stirring up a fantasy land."

During past protests at the General Assembly, more than 900 people were arrested inside the Legislative Building during the "Moral Monday" marches.

Meanwhile, Dollar predicts the General Assembly will override the governor's vetoes saying, "we believe we can pass the bills and still address the governor's concerns."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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