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Monday News: Uncle Joe comes to town

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BIDEN SPEAKS AT DURHAM HIGH SCHOOL ABOUT BOOSTING HBCUS AND BEATING TRUMP: Hundreds packed the entrance of Hillside High School in Durham on Sunday to hear presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speak. Biden said coming to Durham was important, calling the city a symbol of justice and opportunity. He spent 25 minutes speaking to the crowd and said winning North Carolina is a priority for him. Some goals he touched on include boosting the funding for historically black colleges and universities and closing the poverty and wage gap in America. Biden also discussed the importance of security in the country. He says ISIS remains a threat even though President Donald Trump announced the group's leader was dead after the U.S. raid in Syria.
https://www.wral.com/joe-biden-holds-campaign-rally-in-durham-talks-with-wral-anchor/18726497/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WITH THURSDAY'S MEETING, LET GERRYMANDERING REFORM BEGIN: Of the three bills the committee discussed, House Bill 69 -- Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission, offers the best starting point. Maps will be developed with NO legislative involvement: The independent commission would develop the legislative and congressional district maps and submit them to the General Assembly for an up-or-down vote. No substantive amendments would be permitted. If a plan didn’t pass, the commission would be directed to submit a new one. Public input from the outset and throughout the process: No fewer than three public hearings are required before the maps are developed. At least two public hearings are required when the plans are considered by the legislature. Process transparency: All data and methods used to develop any of the plans must be available to the public BEFORE the plans are introduced for consideration by the legislature.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-with-thursday-s-meeting-let-gerrymandering-reform-begin/18717942/

Saturday News: Solidarity

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NC SENATE SCHEDULES VETO OVERRIDE VOTE FOR MONDAY: On Friday, the General Assembly announced that “pursuant to Senate rule 59.2(b), notice has been given by the Chair of the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate to the Senate Minority Leader that HB 966, 2019 Appropriations Act, may be considered by the Senate on Monday, October 28, 2019.” The Senate convenes at 4 p.m. Monday, but the voting session will not be held until 7 p.m., according to a news release from the office of Senate leader Phil Berger. Both chambers are majority Republican, but a supermajority is needed to override the governor’s veto. Unlike the seven Democratic votes that would have been needed to override a veto in the House if everyone was present, only one Democrat is needed to vote with all the Senate Republicans for the needed three-fifths supermajority. Four Democrats voted for the budget — Sens. Floyd McKissick Jr., Don Davis, Ben Clark and Toby Fitch. Earlier this week McKissick told The News & Observer that he would vote to sustain the governor’s veto of the budget.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236649673.html

Friday News: Choose wisely...

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ONE OF THESE THREE REDISTRICTING BILLS IS A DOG: HB 140 would require a constitutional amendment that would be on the 2020 primary ballot for voters. North Carolina’s primary is March 3. However, HB 69 and HB 648 would be a statute, which means a future General Assembly could change it. If it’s in the state constitution, only the voters can change it. HB 69 would have an 11-person nonpartisan redistricting commission; HB 140 would have a five-person temporary redistricting advisory commission; and HB 648 would have a 16-person independent redistricting commission of 11 voting members and five alternates who do not vote. For drawing the redistricting plans, HB 69 calls for the commission to draw them, while HB 140 would have the legislative service office draw them and HB 648 would be drawn by a special group selected by its commission. Plans would have to be approved by the commissions created under HB 69 and HB 648, but not HB 140, since that one is a constitutional amendment.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236598383.html

Thursday News: Here we go again...

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REPUBLICANS PASS BILL TO CUT CORPORATE FRANCHISE TAX: The North Carolina Senate voted Wednesday to reduce the franchise tax, a step toward eliminating it entirely. The franchise tax is levied on corporations that do business in North Carolina. Republicans in the General Assembly want to eliminate the franchise tax, which they describe as a double property tax on businesses in North Carolina. While Republicans touted their latest tax cut as being good for business and jobs, Democrats worried about the loss of tax revenue, which would be about $1 billion over five years. The Republican-written state budget that was vetoed by the governor included reducing the franchise tax, but progress on the budget is stalled four months into the new fiscal year. However, some of the tax cuts in the vetoed spending plan are moving through the legislature as “mini budgets,” including the franchise tax reduction.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236540213.html

Wednesday News: Gilead approaches

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SC REPUBLICANS STRIP RAPE AND INCEST EXCEPTIONS FROM ABORTION BAN BILL: A proposal to outlaw abortions in South Carolina after about six weeks of pregnancy got a first round of approval in the state Senate on Tuesday after Senate Republicans removed protections in the bill for women who become pregnant from rape or incest. Those exceptions were added by the S.C. House, which passed the bill earlier this year, after state Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Charleston, told the story of her rape as a 16 year old. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has said he would sign the bill into law if the Senate passes it. The bill would outlaw the majority, or 55%, of abortions performed in South Carolina. Doctors would face criminal charges for performing abortions after a heartbeat has been detected, typically around the sixth week of gestation — before many women know they are pregnant.
https://www.newsobserver.com/site-services/newsletters/politics-government-nl/article236516018.html

Tuesday News: I have constituents?

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RIP VAN HOLDING ONLY GOT ONE DONATION FROM HIS DISTRICT: Rep. George Holding, a Republican from Raleigh, represents more than 700,000 North Carolinians in Congress in District 2. But in the last three months, only one of those residents has contributed to his 2020 reelection campaign, according to new campaign finance reports. “After voting to strip away health care from North Carolina families and line the pockets of big drug companies, Congressman Holding’s lousy fundraising report proves that his biggest supporters are the wealthy D.C. special interests and not actual North Carolinians,” said Avery Jaffe, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in an email. The DCCC is a national group that supports Democrats in U.S. House races. Holding’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment about his fundraising or his critics. District 2 encompasses the Wake County suburbs, as well as more rural areas in Harnett, Johnston, Wilson, Nash and Franklin counties.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article236373293.html

Monday News: Southern discomfort

ARMED CONFEDERATE FLAG SUPPORTERS IN PITTSBORO OUTNUMBERED BY ANTI-RACISTS: Among the groups represented were Heirs to the Confederacy, ACTBAC, CSA II, the Virginia Flaggers and the Hiwaymen, an Arkansas-based group that flocks to far-right events such as Unite the Right in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one counterprotester dead. Under an array of flags, they grilled hot dogs and played country music. About 200 members of antiracist and progressive groups held signs and waved flags on the other side of the road. The group included liberals as well as people further left on the political spectrum, a coalition that was sometimes prickly. Pittsboro locals were joined by people from Hillsborough, Durham and Charlottesville, some of whom also protested Silent Sam, the Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill that activists brought down last year. Saturday’s event was the latest in a series of face-offs in Pittsboro that has left many locals feeling weary. The county commissioners plan to declare the statue public trespass by Nov. 1, making it eligible for removal, The News & Observer has reported.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article236438178.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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MEDICAID EXPANSION CAN AND DOES IMPROVE ACCESS TO CARE: Since Medicaid expansions began in 37 other states in the nation, there have been a great number of studies examining what happened. They invariably show that the insurance expansions improved access to care. More than half a million uninsured North Carolinians who could gain insurance if the state expanded Medicaid would be able to afford medical care. This occurred in both urban and rural areas. Part of the answer is that safety net providers, like community health centers, stepped up to the bat to expand capacity, knowing that Medicaid expansions would help make this possible both by increasing Medicaid revenue and reducing uncompensated care pressures. Moreover, many medical practices have learned how to become more efficient and effective, by increasing collaborations with other health professionals, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and care coordinators.
https://www.wral.com/leighton-ku-medicaid-expansion-can-and-does-improve-access-to-care/18700910/

Saturday News: The discrimination administration

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AG STEIN JOINS LAWSUIT CHALLENGING FAIR HOUSING RULE CHANGE: “Fighting discrimination and ensuring everyone is treated equally is central to building stable, successful communities in North Carolina,” Stein said in a statement Friday. “The existing rule helps ensure equal housing opportunities for everyone – I urge HUD to abandon its proposed weakening of these critical protections.” Disparate impact refers to policies that are formally neutral but in practice adversely affect a protected class, regardless of intent. The proposed HUD rule change drew sharp opposition from several civil rights groups, including the Americans Civil Liberties Union and National Fair Housing Alliance. Among the proposed changes, the burden to prove disparate impact moves from the defendant — such as a landlord or lender — to the plaintiff, often a renter or home-buyer. It also requires the plaintiff to prove the challenged policy is “arbitrary, artificial, and unnecessary.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236413243.html

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