A Rigged System

The other day, of all things on earth, I got wacked by a lobbyist, in a video.

Over a dozen different groups pay Ches McDowell to lobby for them – including the Association of Acupuncturists.

In his video, Ches said I’d introduced a bill that could ‘make acupuncture illegal.’ Then, just to make sure no acupuncturist misunderstood his message, he added, if my bill passed acupuncturists could be ‘out of business.’

There’s a lot of fact-twisting going on here – so let’s clear the air: There are 541 acupuncturists in NC and each one has to pay for a license. I introduced a bill to merge the acupuncture licensing board with other small boards to lower the cost of getting a license. If my bill had passed the worst thing that would have happened to acupuncturists would be their license fees going down.

Virginia charges $130 to apply for a license and $135 to renew the license for two years. North Carolina charges $100 to apply, $500 when the license is issued, and $300 for two-year renewal. Those are the fees I’d like to cut. But, I expect, Ches is focused on a different problem.

Cutting license fees will save working people money. But it also means less money flowing into licensing boards in Raleigh who hire insiders like Ches McDowell – who then tried to mislead acupuncturists by telling them my bill could ‘make acupuncture illegal.’

We’ve heard a lot of talk over the last year about how powerful people with lobbyists rig the system at the expense of working people. Don’t get me wrong, there are licensing boards that are needed. And do good work. But it’s also true there are other licensing boards that are an example of how a ‘rigged system’ works in Raleigh.

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