BlueNC's blog

Thursday News: Good riddance

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CYBERSTALKER CODY HENSON RESIGNS FROM NC HOUSE: A state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in a case involving his estranged wife announced Wednesday he will resign. Rep. Cody Henson’s statement on Facebook follows reports from court proceedings in western North Carolina, including that the Republican will undergo domestic violence abuser treatment, Carolina Public Press reported Tuesday. Among those reports: Henson once threw a full beer can at his wife in front of their son while she was pregnant and, after one heated argument, posted photos of his guns on social media, among other incidents, N.C. Assistant Attorney General Boz Zellinger said. Henson remains under a domestic violence protective order keeping him from contacting his estranged wife, Kelsey Meece, CPP said. He is not allowed access to firearms during his probation.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article233055162.html

Wednesday News: The slow death of discrimination

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COURT RULES TRANSGENDER PEOPLE CAN USE BATHROOM OF CHOICE: The settlement says state agencies and universities can’t ban transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. It applies only to public restrooms and similar facilities in state government buildings. “After so many years of managing the anxiety of HB 2 and fighting so hard, I am relieved that we finally have a court order to protect transgender people from being punished under these laws,” said Joaquin Carcaño, a transgender man and UNC-Chapel Hill employee who is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state over LGBT discrimination. The settlement doesn’t keep legislators from restricting bathroom access through future laws. But it puts new requirements on government agencies and universities that are defendants in the lawsuit.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233013642.html

Tuesday News: No teeth, no bite

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CHARLOTTE CONDEMNS TRUMP BUT WON'T RESCIND RNC 2020 CONTRACT: Monday’s vote followed a brief discussion on whether city leaders could legally back out of Charlotte’s agreement with the Republican National Committee to host its 2020 convention — a move that would, according to the city’s attorney, assuredly land Charlotte in a costly legal fight. The resolution cites four specific comments from Trump, from June 2017 to July 2019, and accuses the president of “racist and xenophobic social media tweets and comments.” “Many of (Charlotte’s) residents are immigrants and/or people of color,” the resolution states. “The Charlotte City Council ... believes that Charlotte should always be welcoming and inviting of people of diverse and different ethnicities and background (sic), so long as those differences do not lead to personal insults or violent discourse.” Several council members acknowledged the resolution would have “no teeth” beyond making a statement.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232975797.html

Monday News: Big government strikes again

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BILL TO BLOCK MUNICIPALITIES FROM REGULATING AIRBNB GAINS STEAM: Several cities around the state have implemented or are working on regulations on short-term rentals, including Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Asheville. Mark Zimmerman, senior vice president for NC Realtors, says it’s a question of property rights. He says many people rely on the income from short-term rentals, and property owners have the right to use their property as they see fit. Cities and counties are against the regulation ban. Mooneyham says people who own the neighboring homes in those single-family neighborhoods have property rights too, and local governments are best suited to balance those competing interests. The bill would take it out of their hands. "Those people need to be protected, their quality of life needs to be protected, and the investment – the most important investment most people will ever make – needs to be protected," he said.
https://www.wral.com/nc-lawmakers-mull-blocking-cities-counties-from-regulating-airbnbs/18521162/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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HEALTH CARE EXEC'S FIERY TONE SPOTLIGHTS LEGIT FRUSTRATION: It would be easy to dismiss the intemperate letter from a Greensboro-based Cone Health official to State Treasurer Dale Folwell and members of the State Health Plan Trustees as just a hot-head popping off. But it is more than that. Why would someone with the stature of Frank Kauder, assistant director of finance for Cone Health, write such a letter – inappropriate as it was? It was exasperation and immense frustration. He is not alone. His vexation is shared by both the health care community and North Carolina citizens. They see an attack on the state’s health care system that will tear it down, not improve quality, expand access to services or make them more affordable. He worries that the financial future of Cone healthcare -- and therefore its ability to serve the needs of its community -- is being jeopardized.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-health-care-exec-s-fiery-tone-spotlights-legit-frustration/18510361/

Saturday News: Partisan fingerprints

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HOFELLER'S MAPS USED COLOR CODE TO GUIDE GOP GERRYMANDERING: Christopher Cooper, a professor at Western Carolina University and expert witness for the challengers in the gerrymandering case, took the judges, lawyers and members of the public in court Friday through the Hofeller files. Cooper pointed specifically to two factors in the files that he said showed Hofeller worked hard to make sure the legislative districts would give Republicans an unfair partisan edge. Hofeller color-coded the state’s political leanings, Cooper said, using a traffic light system of green for Republican areas, yellow for tossup areas, and red for Democratic areas. His color-coding went down to the neighborhood level, broken up into individual voting precincts. “It shows that partisanship was front and center,” Cooper said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232855167.html

Friday News: Virtual failure

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NC SENATE SET TO BOOST ENROLLMENT OF VIRTUAL CHARTERS DESPITE "D" GRADES: The Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would, among other things, get rid of the enrollment cap on one of the state’s two virtual charter schools and allow it to grow its population by 20 percent annually if it so chose. While there was no debate on the Senate floor Tuesday, legislative proponents of the bill have said that the schools attract “struggling students” and shouldn’t have a cap that artificially cuts off the number of such students who can use the resource. Opponents, however, point to the schools’ poor performance and trouble with virtual charter schools in other states as reasons not to let the schools grow easily. The North Carolina Association of Educators and the NC Justice Center sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday asking him to veto the legislation.
https://www.wral.com/virtual-charter-school-gets-legislative-approval-to-grow-but-opponents-push-for...

Thursday News: Voucher birds of a feather

BETSY DEVOS AND DAN FOREST PITCH FEDERAL PRIVATE SCHOOL PROGRAM: DeVos made her presentation at a meeting co-chaired by Forest and attended by school-choice advocates. Forest, a Republican, praised the program as a way to customize educational opportunities like his family did when they homeschooled their four children. “Every parent should have the opportunity to select the best educational opportunity for their student, whatever it may be,” Forest said. The program, which DeVos first announced in February, faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Congress. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, has called the plan “dead on arrival” and a case of DeVos “pushing an anti-public school agenda,” the Associated Press reported.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232750797.html

Wednesday News: How very Trump of him

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NEWBY DESCRIBES FELLOW JUSTICES AS A "BUNCH OF AOC'S" AT RALLY: Newby keyed on new Justice Anita Earls in particular, though not by name, bringing up her election last year following a race that drew heavily partisan players and millions in political spending. "I lose sleep at night thinking, what would it be like if we had no one to hold accountable those that want to cause social change through our judicial branch," Newby said. "In 2018, the left put $1.5 million to get their 'AOC' person on the court." Newby's comments were recorded, then sent Tuesday to WRAL News. Newby did not return a message left for him in his chambers at the Supreme Court, but political adviser Paul Shumaker called back, saying the judge was on a family vacation this week. Shumaker said Newby was giving "an example of ideological differences, not direct reference to anyone."
https://www.wral.com/republican-supreme-court-judge-disses-all-six-other-nc-justices/18514145/

Monday News: Energy & Focus

MEREDITH CUOMO CHOSEN AS NCDP'S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The former finance director of the North Carolina Democratic Party will now step into the group's top job. The party said in a statement Saturday that Meredith Cuomo will serve as its new executive director. The statement says Cuomo has nearly two decades of experience working to elect Democrats in North Carolina. She has overseen multimillion-dollar budgets and much of the party's day-to-day work. She was also previously the finance director for the N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus. Meredith graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999, and served as a Director at United way and as a paralegal before working with the Democratic Party.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article232649427.html

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