Blog Posts: Through Our Eyes

2013 Legislative Report: Commonsense Consumption Act Presents Considerable Health Threat to Vulnerable Consumers

Summer research assistant Howard Lintz writes about the Commonsense Consumption Act and its impact on low-income individuals who often face limited access to food and other barriers to nutritious meal choices.

The Commonsense Consumption Act (introduced as House Bill 683) protects businesses at the cost of public health, and it may prove especially harmful to particularly vulnerable North Carolinians. It was signed into law on July 18.

The law bars civil actions based on claims that long-term consumption of food has caused weight gain, obesity, associated health conditions, or other “generally known condition(s)”; distributors, manufacturers, and marketers, among others, would have no liability in such instances.

This portion of the bill is virtually identical to the model proposed by conservative think-tank the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The North Carolina law, however, would also bar city and county ordinances from prohibiting the sale of soft drinks above a particular size.


Read More... (2013 Legislative Report: Commonsense Consumption Act Presents Considerable Health Threat to Vulnerable Consumers)
No Comments | Posted by Howard M. Lintz (Howie) on Sat. August 31, 2013 1:43 PM
Categories: 2013 Legislative Report, Student Research, Through Our Eyes

2013 Legislative Report: At Whose Expense Will "Restoring Faith" in Our Election System Come? Part 2

In April, members of the North Carolina General Assembly introduced the VIVA bill as an effort to establish a voter ID law in our state, as I wrote about previously. By the time the bill returned to the state House in the final week of July, both its name and content were expanded and the debate surrounding it was more fervent than ever.

The VIVA/Election Reform bill’s impact on early voting in North Carolina has been at the center of the argument. Early, in-person voting is currently permitted in 32 states[1] and has been used in North Carolina since the 2000 General Election. Regardless of political affiliation, North Carolinian voters “like early voting because it works in their schedule,” according to former State Board of Elections director Gary Bartlett.[2] Statistics support Mr. Bartlett’s claim. Nearly 2.4 million early, in-person votes were cast by North Carolinians in the 2008 General Election,[3] accounting for roughly 55% of votes in the state.[4] Early, in-person votes rose to over 2.5 million in the 2012 General Election.[5]


Read More... (2013 Legislative Report: At Whose Expense Will "Restoring Faith" in Our Election System Come? Part 2)
No Comments | Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. August 29, 2013 1:47 PM
Categories: 2013 Legislative Report, Student Research, Through Our Eyes

2013 Legislative Report: North Carolina's Rejection of Medicaid Expansion

North Carolina officially rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act on March 6, 2013, as Governor Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 4.[1] The provision of the Affordable Care Act was intended to expand Medicaid eligibility to adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. [2] Qualifying persons would have ultimately included all adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty line since 5 percent of income is disregarded when determining eligibility. The Affordable Care Act provides federal funding for the expansion for the first three years, and then at least 90 percent for each of the following years.[3]

Medicaid now covers 1,589,807 low income parents, pregnant women, children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.[4] Parents must not only have dependent children under the age of 21, but they must also have very low incomes to be eligible. For example, the income for a family of four may not exceed $594/month for the parents to be eligible.[5] Additionally, very poor adults between the age of 18 and 64 with no children or disability do not qualify for Medicaid despite how low their income is. Under the expansion, adults with incomes less than $14,856 would be eligible for Medicaid, regardless of their familial status.[6] Studies have estimated the expansion would have provided an additional 500,000 uninsured adults with eligibility in North Carolina[7]. If the state had adopted the program expansion, it has been estimated North Carolina would have saved between 1 and 2 billion over a five year period.[8] Still, North Carolina decided to join more than twenty states, including its neighboring states – South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia – in rejecting the expansion of Medicaid program.


Read More... (2013 Legislative Report: North Carolina's Rejection of Medicaid Expansion)
No Comments | Posted by Brittany C. Croom on Wed. August 28, 2013 1:45 PM
Categories: 2013 Legislative Report, Student Research, Through Our Eyes

Free Medical Clinics in North Carolina: Providing a Great Service to the Underserved in Our Communities, Yet Also Facing Great Uncertainty

Imagine you wake up one morning with an agonizing pain in your stomach. You have already been to the emergency room for this problem once before and find yourself continually harassed by collection agencies for soaring medical bills built up from that one unavoidable visit. You don’t want to go back to the hospital and bury yourself even further into debt, but you don’t have health insurance or even enough cash in your bank account to go to a general physician or an urgent care facility. The pain is overwhelming and you want nothing more to see a doctor who could easily treat your problem, but the thought of digging yourself even deeper into a financial hole seems equally painful. So, where do you go? Who do you turn to?


Read More... (Free Medical Clinics in North Carolina: Providing a Great Service to the Underserved in Our Communities, Yet Also Facing Great Uncertainty)
No Comments | Posted by William B. Dickey on Mon. August 19, 2013 5:28 PM
Categories: Student Research, Through Our Eyes

A Visit with Cabarrus County's Summer School Lunch Program

Joe Polich, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Poverty Center, visits Cabarrus County to learn more about how folks there are helping hungry kids get nutritional food during what would otherwise be their hungriest season.


Read More... (A Visit with Cabarrus County's Summer School Lunch Program)
No Comments | Posted by Joseph Arthur Polich on Tue. July 9, 2013 9:24 PM
Categories: Through Our Eyes

Administrator Login

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


If you are seeing this, you are either using a non-graphical browser or Netscape 4.x (4.7, 4.8, etc.) and this page appears very plain. If you are using a 4.x version of Netscape, this site is fully functional but lacks styles and optimizations available in other browsers. For full functionality, please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.