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Monday News: Costly mistakes

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NC GOVERNMENT PAYOUTS TO AVOID LAWSUITS REACH INTO THE MILLIONS: The city of Charlotte provided documents describing the settlement terms of more than 50 lawsuits. Among other things, the documents show that the city paid $950,000 last year to the family of a man who in 2017 was killed by a speeding police car. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was driving up to 100 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone when his car slammed into James Michael Short. The city spent another $9,045 settling a claim after Wilmington police busted into an apartment, pulled a woman out of bed and handcuffed her. She was undressed from the waist down, and repeatedly asked the male officers to cover her exposed body – a request they refused. Authorities later realized they were at the wrong address, and the woman they’d handcuffed was not connected to the warrant they were trying to serve.
https://www.wral.com/behind-the-scenes-of-government-millions-in-payouts-and-little-transparency/182...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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FINDING LIPSTICK TO PUT ON AN ELECTION-FRAUD PIG: It all made for riveting news from a state that has been in the spotlight too many times for all the wrong reasons in recent years, and the sad tale confirms some unflattering facts about North Carolina political life. It exposes questionable election practices that may have been going on for years, in at least some counties, and brings up possibilities that law enforcement and prosecutors may have been asleep at the wheel at best and turning a blind eye at worst. It suggests that some candidates want to win so badly they will cheat to do so. And make no mistake. Voter fraud in which a person tries to or does vote illegally is not in the same league as election fraud, where numerous ballots, in this case absentee ballots, are cast illegally. Some say a few ballots were cast illegally in the 9th Congressional District, some say hundreds were, and it could have been thousands.
https://www.wral.com/margaret-dickson-finding-lipstick-to-put-on-an-election-fraud-pig/18247420/

Saturday News: Protecting rapists?

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GOP BILL ALLOWS PERPETRATORS TO QUESTION THEIR VICTIMS IN CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT PROCEEDINGS: A bill introduced by a North Carolina lawmaker on Thursday would add legal protections for UNC system students who are accused of sexual misconduct. It also would standardize disciplinary proceedings for students at all 16 university campuses. House Bill 305, introduced by Rep. Mitchell Setzer, a Catawba County Republican, would provide due process guarantees that don’t exist now for students accused of sexual misconduct. Setzer did not immediately respond to requests to discuss the bill or what prompted him to introduce it. Co-sponsors Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, and Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, also could not not immediately be reached. The UNC Board of Governors, which would have to adopt new rules under the law, did not wish to comment on it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227326134.html

Friday News: Blaming the victim

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MCCONNELL TRIES TO BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR HARRIS ELECTION FRAUD: Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently used North Carolina’s election fraud case as an opportunity to shame Democrats for overlooking the existence of fraud in elections. McConnell has been criticizing a recent Democratic proposal to make voting easier (HR 1) for not addressing "sketchy" ballot harvesting like the kind found in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. In a speech on the Senate floor last month, McConnell said he and other Republicans "for decades" have called for "commonsense" election safeguards — only to be "demonized by Democrats and their allies." McConnell’s speech gained attention after Vox reporter Aaron Rupar tweeted C-Span footage of his Feb. 26 speech.
https://www.wral.com/fact-check-mitch-mcconnell-says-gop-predicted-election-fraud-like-north-carolin...

Thursday News: Teachercops?

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GOP BILL WOULD ARM SOME TEACHERS AND GIVE THEM ARREST POWERS: The School Security Act of 2019, filed Wednesday, would boost the salaries of teachers who underwent specialized police training to carry firearms on campus. The same bill was filed last year and died in committee, but Sen. Jerry Tillman, one of the new sponsors of Senate Bill 192, said that the climate has changed to give the legislation more support this year. The School Security Act would offer a 5 percent salary boost to up to 3,000 teachers who complete the state’s training programs and become “teacher resource officers.” These teacher resource officers would have the same arrest powers on campus as a school resource officer, who is a certified law enforcement officer assigned to work in schools.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227180999.html

Wednesday News: Rocky Mount way

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COUNCIL OF STATE APPROVES RELOCATION OF DMV HEADQUARTERS: It’s not clear how many of the more than 400 headquarters employees will make the move and how many will choose to leave the agency instead. The DMV asked employees about it last week and of 255 who answered, only 48 said they would stay with the agency after the move. The head of the State Employees Association of North Carolina said the decision to move forward with the lease showed “disrespect and disregard” for the concerns of workers by both the Council of State and the state Department of Transportation. “They have turned the lives of some 400 employees completely upside down,” Broome said in an interview after the vote. “It is profoundly disappointing.” The DMV sought proposals for leased office space in Wake and surrounding counties. Of the dozen offers, the former headquarters of the Hardee’s restaurant chain in Rocky Mount was the only one outside of Wake County or Research Triangle Park and had the lowest annual rent.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227090064.html

Tuesday News: Let's try this again...

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NEW ELECTION SCHEDULE FOR NC09 ESTABLISHED: The period for candidates to file to run in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District would begin March 11 and end March 15. The primary would be held May 14, and the general election would be on Sept. 10, a date that coincides with Charlotte’s municipal primaries. If no candidate wins more than 30 percent of the vote in the 9th district primary, a runoff election will be held Sept. 10, followed by a general election Nov. 5. The 9th District runs from Charlotte to rural Bladen County. Unofficial results showed the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, leading the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready by 905 votes after the election. But the state elections board twice refused to make the results official due to concerns about tampering with mail-in ballots. After a months-long investigation and a four-day hearing, the state board ordered a new election on Feb. 28.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article227077449.html

Monday News: Folwell's Folly?

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BILL FILED TO BLOCK STATE TREASURER'S REVAMP OF STATE HEALTH PLAN: A plan to save state employees money on their health insurance expenses is facing opposition at the General Assembly over fears it could harm hospitals all around North Carolina, particularly in rural areas. A bipartisan group of legislators are backing a bill that would stop changes to the State Health Plan that are set to start on Jan. 1, 2020. But if the bill becomes law it would put off the changes until at least 2022, if not permanently. Robert Broome, the executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, said his group “strongly opposes this bill, which is a clear attempt to put corporate interests over working families and deny taxpayers a cost savings of more than $300 million each year.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226925109.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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JUDGE'S RULING REFLECTS LEGISLATIVE OVERREACH MORE THAN JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: State Sen. Phil Berger may be a lawyer by profession, but he might be angling for a job as a carnival barker or street hustling illusionist. He’s been in distraction overdrive since a Wake County Superior Court judge last week ruled that two constitutional amendments the legislature placed on the 2018 ballot should not have been there. Three organizations challenged the placement of the amendments on the ballot – one limiting the state income tax rate and another to require voter ID – because it was done by a legislature filled with representatives from illegally gerrymandered districts. He and other legislative leaders would have little to complain about if -- rather than obsessively working to rig laws to impose their rigid ideology and make it easier for Republicans to win elections -- they’d focus on making North Carolina a better place to learn and live.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-judge-s-ruling-reflects-legislative-overreach-more-than-judicial-acti...

Saturday News: Secret Sam?

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UNC BOG VIOLATED OPEN MEETINGS LAW DISCUSSING CONFEDERATE STATUE: The UNC system board chairman, Harry Smith, said the subcommittee didn’t have a quorum when it met. But he pledged that future meetings would be public. “Quite frankly I wasn’t even aware of the fact that we didn’t notice it,” Smith, a Greenville businessman, said in an interview. “I will tell you that it should be. We shouldn’t have a problem with that. I mean, it’s a very public conversation.” The UNC system’s top attorney, Tom Shanahan, declined to respond to questions about why the meeting was not announced. The committee’s chairman, Jim Holmes, said the meeting was informal, lasting about an hour or hour and a half. The five Board of Governors members on the special board committee talked about the issue with several UNC-Chapel Hill trustee members, he said. “We’re just trying to figure out where we’re going,” said Holmes, a Raleigh businessman.
https://www.newsobserver.com/article226908194.html

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