Black legislators and the head of the state NAACP, during a break in the N.C. Black Summit on Friday, piled criticism on legislative Republicans for their proposals on education, spending and changes to voting rules.
A leading House Republican, Majority Leader Paul Stam of Apex, said in an interview that black residents like some of the GOP initiatives, and said the black legislators who spoke Friday are "out of touch with their constituents."
Sen. Floyd McKissick and Rep. Larry Hall, both Durham Democrats, and the Rev. William Barber, NAACP state president, said the changes Republicans want for the state would roll back progress and hurt black and low-income people disproportionately.
Some items on the 'no' list: The proposed voter ID law, charter schools and tax credits, education cuts, and fee increases.
Barber said the NAACP will be organizing groups around the state to challenge their local legislators.
"Extremists have taken over the General Assembly," he said. "Today marks the day we begin to push back. United. Together."
Stam said black residents support some GOP initiatives, such as the push to lift the cap on charter schools. In Florida, more than half the children who use tax credits similar to those Stam champions are black or Hispanic, he said, and nearly half qualify for free and reduced lunch.