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Thursday News: Here we go again...


GOP CONTEMPLATES SPECIAL SESSION AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE: Both Bell and Senate Finance Chairman Harry Brown said a session would deal only with disaster relief. The Republican majority that controls the General Assembly has a history, though, of dropping surprise legislation into special legislative sessions. They came back into session in December 2016 to pass some $200 million in disaster relief for Hurricane Matthew, then also passed legislation limiting incoming Gov. Roy Cooper's powers. This time, "if we come back into session, it will be for disaster recovery only," said Bell, R-Wayne. Brown, R-Onslow, said he couldn't think of anything else the legislature would take up. “I would think [disaster relief] would be the only thing," he said. The General Assembly already plans to come back into session after Thanksgiving to flesh out implementation language for any constitutional amendments that pass during the Nov. 6 elections.

Wednesday News: Not-so-deep state


MARK MEADOWS DEVELOPS CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO PROTECT TRUMP: On Sept. 5, a week after a closed-door interview between Ohr and the House Oversight Committee, Meadows sent a letter asking the Justice Department to review Ohr’s contacts with Steele. But even before that request, Meadows was floating a theory for his supporters to consider. “Here are some key facts you need to know about Bruce Ohr to understand why he is important to our investigation,” Meadows wrote in an email newsletter. “Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS — which was the firm hired by the Clinton campaign to write the dossier. Bruce Ohr gave the dossier to the FBI. The FBI then used the same dossier to spy on the Trump campaign.” But as PolitiFact noted in a fact-check of conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt about Jordan’s theory, there is no evidence that Nellie Ohr personally routed the dossier to the Justice Department.

Tuesday News: McCrory jumps on Marsy bandwagon


HIS FINELY-TUNED SENSE OF SMELL DETECTED THE $5 MILLION CAMPAIGN BUDGET: In what could be North Carolina’s most expensive single campaign of the fall, former Gov. Pat McCrory Monday helped kick off the effort to pass a constitutional amendment designed to ensure the rights of crime victims. “Victims too often feel abandoned and we need to give them a voice,” McCrory told reporters in Charlotte. A simultaneous news conference took place at Raleigh’s Crime Victims’ Memorial Garden. Speakers there included former Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. Critics question the need for the amendment as well as its potential cost. “What’s most disturbing about it is it really crashes head-on with the presumption of innocence,” said Drew Findling, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “The presumption of innocence is abandoned when you immediately take the position that there is a victim of a crime.”

Monday News: Police state


GROUPS AGAIN CLASH OVER SILENT SAM, EIGHT ARRESTED: Once the students and members of the New Confederate States of America were both on campus, the groups began yelling back and forth, as those in opposition to the return of the “Silent Sam” statue yelled “Nazis go home" and threatened to pull the statue down again if it returns to campus. Video from the scene showed that the two groups were being kept away from each other with barricades. After about an hour, the members of the New Confederate States of America were willingly escorted off campus by police and the situation escalated as the group of anti-"Silent Sam" demonstrators turned on police, upset that law enforcement protected a group they believe stands for hate. Police from Durham, Chapel Hill and Greensboro held the crowd back as they pushed through and a line of bicycles was used to keep students back.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NORTH CAROLINA'S BRAND SHOULDN'T BE HOMAGE TO FALSE PAST: Headed east on Hillsborough Street toward the state Capitol, the view dominated by a 75-foot-tall monument – commemorating “Our Confederate dead … First at Bethel, Last at Appomattox.” It was dedicated May 20, 1895 and unveiled by Julia Jackson Christian, granddaughter of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. It is a relic to what should be a time gone by -- part of the Jim Crow-era propaganda campaign to cloud the realities of defeat in the Civil War. As significant, it was a daily reminder to the freed African-American population that they remained second-class with rights and privileges still subject to those white men wanted to grant. Is our first message to visitors; “Welcome to North Carolina. We were part of the Confederacy”?

Saturday News: Canceled fishing expedition


AG JOSH STEIN STANDS UP TO U.S. ATTORNEY'S OVERREACH ON VOTING RECORDS SUBPOENA: Stein, in a letter to the U.S. attorney’s office, asked the office to withdraw the subpoenas and issue new ones “that are appropriately tailored to documents relevant to your inquiry.” Stein said if the matter is not resolved by Monday, Sept. 10, “we will have no option but to request judicial relief.” The subpoena requested from the state board all voter registration applications, federal write-in absentee ballots, federal post card applications, early-voting application forms, provisional voting forms, absentee ballot request forms, all “admission or denial of non-citizen return forms,” and all voter registration cancellation or revocation forms from Jan. 1, 2010 through Aug. 30, 2018. More than 15 million documents would have to be turned over, said Andy Penry, the chairman of the state board.

Friday News: Small comfort


EASTERN DISTRICT EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR VOTER RECORDS TO JANUARY: North Carolina’s state board of elections and 44 counties will not have to turn over voting records until after the November elections and will be able to redact any information on how someone voted, an assistant U.S. attorney said in a letter to the state board on Thursday.The letter comes less than a week after a federal prosecutor’s office, at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, subpoenaed extensive voting records from the state board of elections and the board of elections from 44 counties, including Wake, in the eastern part of the state. They demanded the records, including state records on all 100 counties, by Sept. 25. The state board said its subpoenas would encompass more than 15 million documents, while the county subpoenas would produce more than 2.3 million ballots “traceable” to a voter, causing alarm among interest groups, members of Congress and voters.

Thursday News: Winds of change

NEW POLL HAS LINDA COLEMAN LEADING GEORGE HOLDING BY ONE POINT: Republican Rep. George Holding’s campaign said last month that polling showed he was narrowly trailing in his re-election bid. Now Democratic challenger Linda Coleman has a poll of her own with a similar finding. A new poll, paid for by the Coleman campaign, shows Coleman leading Holding by a single percentage point, 45 percent to 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Jeff Matemu is polling at 5 percent and 6 percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll, which the campaign provided first to The News & Observer. Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner, has lost two bids for lieutenant governor to Dan Forest, including in 2016. Holding holds an edge in fundraising, though an outside group has been running ads hitting Holding over health care. With the race tightening, the district is getting more national attention in the battle to win control of the House.

Wednesday News: November is coming


CONGRESSIONAL MAP WILL NOT BE REDRAWN BEFORE ELECTION: Democrats complained that North Carolina will again elect its congressional delegation using a map declared unconstitutional. The federal panel in that case, though, concluded that there wasn't enough time to force a redraw this cycle. Last week, it considered delaying those elections, but on Friday, the plaintiffs in the underlying lawsuit said they didn't want to create chaos by going down that path. The panel agreed in its order Tuesday: "And we further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina’s congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout."

Tuesday News: Town hall to be renamed "Waffle House"

CARRBORO BOARD OF ALDERMEN RECOMMEND PLAQUE INSTEAD OF NAME CHANGE: Some people in Carrboro want to change the town's name, according to town officials. Carrboro is named for Julian Carr, a white supremacist who gave a fiery speech at the dedication of the Silent Sam statue. The Board of Alderman decided against renaming the town, saying it would be too complicated and costly. Instead, a group will gather this month to start working on a "Truth Plaque" that will acknowledge the town's history while also affirming its commitment to working for social justice. "The Truth Plaque will acknowledge that Carrboro is named after the Julian Carr and refer to his racist legacy, cite the racist history of the town as well as celebrate Carrboro’s local civil rights heroes and affirm Carrboro’s commitment to continuing to work for social justice," Aikat said to WRAL. "But I have respectfully pointed out to them that a Truth Plaque may not be enough."


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