Sign outside a Mississippi town in 1964. (Photo from Miami University archives.)
Sign outside a Mississippi town in 1964. (Photo from Miami University archives.)

INSTITUTE INDEX: States' rights wielded against the poor

Sign outside a Mississippi town in 1964. (Photo from Miami University archives.)
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Date on which North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) announced his support for legislation to cut benefits for his state's unemployed workers: 1/31/2013

Amount by which the bill, incorporating recommendations from the NC Chamber, would cut maximum weekly unemployment benefits in order to speed debt payments to the federal government: $185

Maximum weekly unemployment benefit under the bill: $350

Amount someone has to earn to qualify for the maximum benefit: $55,640

If the bill passes, number of North Carolina residents who would lose federal emergency unemployment assistance because federal law penalizes states for cutting the maximum benefit: 80,000

Date on which North Carolina legislative leaders introduced a bill blocking implementation of parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare": 1/30/2013

If the legislation passes, number of the state's uninsured residents who won't be able to get Medicaid health insurance coverage: 500,000

Percent of the Medicaid expansion's cost that North Carolina would have to pay for the first three years: 0

Date on which Tennessee lawmakers also introduced a bill to block Medicaid expansion: 1/31/2013

Number of other states where leaders either said they would not participate in the Medicaid expansion or are leaning that way: 15

Of those states, number in the South: 7*

Date on which North Carolina Republican House leader Rep. Mike Hager defended the unemployment and Medicaid bills as a way to assert states' rights under the 10th Amendment, saying they were a message to the feds to "stay out of our business": 1/30/2013

Decade in which Southern politicians invoked "states' rights" to oppose anti-lynching measures: 1930s

To oppose fair-employment legislation: 1940s

To oppose school desegregation: 1950s

To oppose fair housing laws: 1960s

Year in which Mississippi formed a State Sovereignty Commission in response to the Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated public schools with the stated mission to "protect the sovereignty of the state" from "federal encroachment": 1956

Year in which the "Sov-Com" was shut down after having served as a segregationist spy agency that infiltrated church and community groups, encouraged police harassment of activists, and obstructed voter registration drives: 1977

Date on which current Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) asked asked legislators to pass a bill blocking enforcement of “any unconstitutional order” by President Obama: 1/16/2013

Date on which two Mississippi GOP lawmakers, citing "Obamacare" and other issues, introduced a bill to create the Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Law to reject measures "outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution": 1/21/2013

* Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia

(Click on figure to go to source.)
 

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