Moral Monday is a protest movement started last April in North Carolina by progressive religious leaders William Barber, head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP to protest against Republican policies which negatively impact the poor and people of color.
Since the protests began, over 800 have been arrested and police have estimated that the protests regularly draw about 2,500 demonstrators.
They have protested a variety of legislative actions including regressive changes to tax laws, changes to Medicaid, abortion restrictions and changes to voting laws which are aimed at suppressing Democratic votes.
The movement has now spread to Georgia where the first demonstration was held on January 13, drawing an estimated 200 people calling on the Republican governor Nathan Deal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The second Moral Monday rally was held this past Monday, resulting in the arrest of State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and 9 others after they refused several requests by state police to leave the reception area of Governor Deal’s office.
Deal has steadfastly refused to even consider accepting the expansion, saying that it would place an unacceptable financial burden on the state. Republican legislators firmly support him on the issue and with the GOP in control of the legislature, it is unlikely that his position will be challenged legislatively.
Deal’s position is at odds with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimates that states would see very little increase in expenditures due to expansion. The federal government would pick up 100% of the additional costs for the first 3 years and no less than 90% thereafter and there would be further savings as health care costs come down with the reduction of unpaid care for those who do not have any insurance and are unable to pay.
Beyond the Medicaid expansion rejection, State Representative Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, has announced a GOP-backed bill which would legally prohibit any state employee, agency or public college or university from attempting to enforce or facilitate any part of the ACA, a blatant attempt at nullification.
The video below shows Senator Fort and others being handcuffed and taken into custody: