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Monday, September 26, 2016

Unconstitutional laws? This Buck never stops, anywhere.

District 11 Sen. Buck Newton speaks in favor of House Bill 2 during the North Carolina Senate session on on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at the General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C.

State Senator Buck ("Keep North Carolina Straight!" and, yes, he *really* said that) Newton is bad news for Republican Party-shortlisted lawyers who've hoovered up $9 million in tax money defending laws Art Pope's think tank ("We think, therefore, we're a tank"), have come up with in their research lab's Ideological Vacuum Chamber.

(N.B.: Newton has called for Attorney General Roy Cooper to resign because he is running for governor. Newton has not resigned his senate seat to run for Attorney General).

Newton says he will eschew the GOPassion for private sector solutions, and waste tax money directly if he is elected AG in November. "Using cheaper state lawyers is the fiscally prudent way to go" (and, no, he didn't *really* say that).

One can say in Newton's favor, however, that he knows more about what makes unconstitutional law than his opponent, Josh Stein. Here's the tally of unconstitutional laws Newton has passed as a legislator:

The 2011 budget bill stripped Planned Parenthood of state funding. A federal judge ruled against the state in 2011.

Funding for the women's health provider has continued to be an issue at the General Assembly.

Lawmakers used a midnight veto override session in 2012 to take away the North Carolina Association of Educators' ability to charge dues through payroll deductions. A state judge ruled that bill unconstitutional.

A 2011 bill required abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before she can have an abortion. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down that law.

Voters passed an amendment to the state constitution in 2012 banning gay marriage. Federal courts ruled that measure invalid in 2014.

Lawmakers crafted a sweeping rewrite of state election laws in 2013. A federal appeals court found much of that law, including a voter ID provision, to be unconstitutional. This case is still on appeal, but the 4th Circuit ruling governs the 2016 elections.

The state Supreme Court sided with Gov. Pat McCrory over lawmakers in a disagreement over who ought to control certain environmental functions, including coal ash cleanup.

State courts ruled that a plan to have state Supreme Court justices elected in retention elections was invalid under the state constitution.

The state Supreme Court struck down an effort to strip veteran teachers of their tenure rights this year.

Federal courts have also struck down redistricting plans passed by lawmakers for Congress,

the state House,
the state Senate,
the Wake County Board of Education
and the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

#14, pending, is HB2, which Newton introduced on the Senate floor March 23. Some call it "Buck's Bill." Given his attendance record last session- one of the worst in the senate- you know HB2 meant a lot to him.

Here's the hour-long debate.

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