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ACLU Report Card Suggests: Support for Privacy Rights and Drug Policy Reform Rising in N.C. Legislature

Aug. 19. 2014. Support for protecting citizens from unwarranted government surveillance and for moving toward more compassionate medical marijuana laws may be rising in the North Carolina General Assembly, according to an annual legislative report card released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC).

The report card shows how members of the North Carolina House and Senate voted on legislation introduced during the 2014 session concerning five key civil liberties issues: privacy rights, protections for government whistleblowers, religious liberty, racial and juvenile justice, and compassionate drug policy.

Of particular note, 18 Senate Republicans voted against H.B. 348, which would have dramatically expanded the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) on state-owned roads and highways without including crucial safeguards to protect people’s privacy from unwarranted government surveillance. The ACLU-NC has been working with lawmakers from both parties to pass substantive privacy protections concerning law enforcement’s use of ALPRs and other surveillance technology that is currently unregulated in North Carolina.

“North Carolinians who support civil liberties should be cautiously optimistic about the growing numbers of lawmakers who support protecting people’s privacy from unwarranted government surveillance,” said ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston. “The near unanimous support for providing patients suffering from epileptic seizures with safe access to a marijuana-based oil is also very encouraging, and we continue to urge lawmakers to extend their There are plenty of options for getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL), but Georgia’s Department of Driver Services requires that you attend one of the state-approved driving game design schools for your training. compassionate to other North Carolinians who are suffering and could benefit from a comprehensive medical marijuana law. However, support for many other key civil liberties, particularly religious liberty for students of minority beliefs, was sorely lacking in both political parties this session.”

Only eight members of the North Carolina House had voting records that were 100% in line with the ACLU-NC’s positions in 2014, down from 15 House members last year. The eight House members whose voting records were 100% in line with the ACLU-NC this year were Reps. Carla Cunningham (D-Mecklenburg), Rosa Gill (D-Wake), Duane Hall (D-Wake), Larry Hall (D-Durham), Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Verla Insko (D-Orange), Paul Luebke (D-Durham), and Graig Meyer (D-Durham, Orange).

In 2013, 57 House members voted with ACLU-NC positions 0% of the time. In 2014, that number shrank to only four: Reps. Carl Ford (R-Cabarrus, Rowan), Dana Bumgardner (R-Gaston), George Cleveland (R-Onslow), and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg), who traditionally does not vote on most legislation because of his role as speaker.

View the report card online at acluofnc.org.

*Release from NC-ACLU