We’ve been talking with area lawmakers over the past week as many were home for a week-long recess last week. Today we’re focusing on an interview with Representative Susan Fisher, a Democrat of Buncombe County. Here are some highlights:
In the segment below, Fisher talks about a new proposal in the legislature dealing with abortion. It would mandate a 72 hour waiting period for a woman to have an abortion and would bar UNC or ECU’s medical schools from teaching or providing the procedure. Fisher opposes the bill.
The topic of business incentives has been a big one in Raleigh. Less attention has been paid to film incentives outside of the Wilmington region, which has seen its film industry dwindle after lawmakers got rid of a 25 percent production credit and replaced it with a much smaller grant program. And while Wilmington may be hurting the most, western North Carolina also benefited from the film industry. Fisher says the incentives program was a positive thing for the region.
“We have so much talent in the local areas where these films come to and it creates so many jobs. I think we have sort of cut off our nose despite our face in terms of letting go of this kind of incentive program.”
Fisher says that she hopes the new grant program will at least be adequately funded to attract film production to the state.
Tomorrow is the deadline to file taxes across the country and some Democrats are using the occasion to draw attention to policies they see as unfair to working people. Fisher was among a handful of lawmakers attending a news conference last week to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Republican-dominated legislature and GOP Governor Pat McCrory. Fisher says people are already getting some nasty surprises.
“They’re getting their taxes prepared or they’re doing them themselves and they’re finding that they’re having to pay much than they expected to under a plan that was touted as one that would actually result in a savings for North Carolinians. That has not been the case and we wanted to call that out in a press conference.”
Fisher says the elimination of deductions for many vulnerable citizens is a big reason for the problem. She says a medical deduction for senior citizens was wiped away, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit. You can hear more from Fisher on the press conference in the segment below:
Those are just a few of the many issues we covered in the full interview, which you can find at the top of this article. You can find previous conversations here: with Rep. Brian Turner, with Rep. John Ager, with Rep. Joe Sam Queen, and with Sen. Terry Van Duyn.
*WCQS reached out to members of both parties in the same manner, with a phone call to both office and home numbers listed on the lawmakers' websites and with a message to their legislative email accounts. We have so far interviewed all 5 Democrats: Representatives Brian Turner, John Ager, Susan Fisher and Joe Sam Queen and Senator Terry Van Duyn. We've received no confirmations from among the 4 Republicans we reached out to: Representatives Chuck McGrady, Josh Dobson, Michelle Presnell and Senator Tom Apodaca. So far, we have heard from Sen. Apodaca's office letting us know he is unavailable, and Rep. Dobson's office telling us he is in Raleigh working on the budget.