Under the Dome

Dome: Deadline for commenting on eugenics rules is looming

rchristensen@newsobserver.com / jmorrill@charlotteobserver.comOctober 19, 2013 

The NC Insider reports that Monday is the last day to comment on proposed rules for compensating people who were involuntarily sterilized by the state’s Eugenics Board from 1929 to 1974.

Once the rules are set, officials will begin reaching out to people who have submitted information with the Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation to make claims, Department of Administration spokesman Chris Mears told The Insider last week.

The rules are being written by the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which will also handle distributing the restitution.

It’s not known how many victims could come forward but estimates have put the number at fewer than 200.

The legislature set aside $10 million to handle all claims that are verified.

The claims period ends June 30, and Mears told The Insider that his office was doing its best to get the word out to potential victims.

The compensation program was part of the state budget passed during the recent legislative session, and had strong support from House Speaker Thom Tillis. The law also ensures that state records of sterilization victims remain private.

More than 7,600 adults and children were forcibly sterilized in North Carolina in a eugenics effort that disproportionately affected black residents. North Carolina is the first in the nation to offer restitution.

More information on the rules and filing a claim can be found at www.ic.nc.gov/news.html#hot

Comments may be submitted to Abigail M. Hammond by email at abigail.hammond@ic.nc.gov, by fax at 919-715-0282, or by mail at 4336 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4336.

The hotline number for the Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims is 877-550-6013.

Challengers say never mind

It was a week for changing your mind about campaigning.

On Friday, Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, announced that he was not going to challenge Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers next May in the GOP primary for the 2nd District.

His decision came after Ellmers bowed to pressure from the furthest right of her party and voted to defund the government over the new health care law.

In making his announcement, Duncan said he realized he could have greater impact by carrying on his fight outside Congress.

Duncan was potentially a serious challenger to Ellmers. He is co-founder of the grass-roots organization The Coalition for American Principles, and as a successful businessman would have been able to partially finance his campaign.

Ellmers is still likely to get GOP primary opposition. Frank Roche, a Cary investor and radio talk show host, is exploring entering the primary.

Duncan’s announcement was preceded Thursday by one from James Protzman, an early gubernatorial candidate. After seven months of campaigning, the Chapel Hill Democrat wrote on his blog that he’d had enough. He called the way candidates had to curry favor “sickening” and wrote that “the shallowness of the electorate is depressing.”

Three candidates = three no votes

The three major candidates for North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate primary all say they would have voted “no” last week on the congressional measure to end the federal shutdown and avert a default.

The Senate passed the measure 81-18 on Wednesday. Both North Carolina senators – Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan – voted in the majority. (Only three of the state’s nine GOP House members, Robert Pittenger, Howard Coble and Patrick McHenry, voted for the bill, which passed the House on the strength of Democratic votes.)

But three Republicans vying for Hagan’s seat opposed the bill. Here’s a sample of what they said:

• House Speaker Thom Tillis: “Kicking the can down the road does not solve any problems, it only creates a bigger mess. ... I could not have supported this legislation.”

• Greg Brannon, the Cary physician endorsed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on the day of the vote: “If elected, I will not support a debt ceiling increase unless it includes real spending reform such as the elimination of our economy’s biggest threat, Obamacare.”

• Charlotte pastor Mark Harris: “I could not support a bill to increase the debt limit without a plan to reduce government spending, and lower taxes.”

Staff writer Rob Christensen, the NC Insider and Charlotte Observer staff writer Jim Morrill contributed.

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