Legislative Action – North Carolina

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Senator John Edwards (North Carolina)

  • 5/23/02 – John Murtari call’s the office back, leaves a voice mail message for Mr. Kinner asking if the Senator would call for Congressional Hearings into the need for reform.
  • 5/9/2002 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here).  We met Mr. J. Kyle Kinner, a legislative assistant for the Senator.Mr. Kinner offered the same argument that we had heard before: “that this wasn’t a federal issue but this seemed to be a state government issue”. We again said that even though we felt some of the reforms we were asking for focused on the state run governed services such as family court and Department of Social Services, that the more important issue of constitutional rights as specifically defined in the fourteenth amendment of the constitution as the right to life and liberty was key and focused on the right to raise our children as interpreted by the Supreme Court in much of case law.

    Also, mentioned was the Mondale Act and CAPTA which are federal government laws that fuel the out of control systems at the state level. All of this ran well over state lines. Shannon told her story about the loss of her children. John mentioned another mother who is a non custodial parent and her plight in trying to see her children in North Carolina when she couldn’t file papers in family court without an attorney and couldn’t afford one. The county would not appoint her an attorney unless she had lived in a shelter. Mr. Kinner said he was not convinced that there was a federal scope in the issues we raised. We asked if we could stop back again in June to check on the Senator’s opinion about these issues and the packet we were leaving. Mr. Kinner also suggested that we pursue Senators Hatch, Layhee, and Rockefeller since they were on a committee that could be helpful.

    We told him about a Constitutional Lawyer (Mr. Chester Darling) who had argued and won cases before the US Supreme Court who also thought Civil Rights were being violated by the states — and would be happy to testify before Congress.  We asked that the Senator consider asking for hearings into reform.