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Thursday News: Another "Special" Session?

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REPUBLICANS FILE INTENT TO APPEAL, BUT MAY REWRITE BLOCKED AMENDMENTS: Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger asked to take that fight to the state Court of Appeals, where they'd try to overturn a three-judge panel's decision to forbid the state from putting a pair of constitutional amendments on the ballot as planned. Another path remains a possibility though: another special legislative session, held on short notice to rewrite the ballot questions in a way that will pass muster with the court. Cooper said Wednesday afternoon that the legislature should not come back into session, and that doing so with ballot deadlines looming in September would be "reckless." The State Board of Elections has said Sept. 1 is the latest it can finalize ballots and meet federal deadlines. Both amendments in question in Cooper's suit would shift appointment powers from the governor's office to the legislature.
https://www.wral.com/general-assembly-leadership-files-notice-of-appeal-in-constitutional-amendments...

Wednesday News: Informed consent required

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3-JUDGE PANEL REJECTS WORDING OF POWER-GRABBING AMENDMENTS: The order from a three-judge panel said ballots should not be printed that ask voters to make changes in the state constitution on how state boards and commission members are appointed and how judges are selected to fill vacancies. The order said those ballot questions did not fully inform voters of the changes that would result if the measures passed. The court order gives Gov. Roy Cooper a victory, at least temporarily, in his lawsuit against legislative leaders. In their order, a majority of the three-judge panel said ballot language for the amendments changing how board members would be appointed and how court vacancies would be filled do not “sufficiently inform the voters” and are “not stated in such a manner as to enable them intelligently to express their opinion.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216880225.html

Tuesday News: Should be "Zero"

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CHEMOURS LOSES POLICY BATTLE ON GENX CONCENTRATION LEVELS: A state board of scientists threw its weight behind North Carolina's longstanding health goal on GenX Monday, signing off on a conservative amount of the chemical believed to be safe in drinking water. That threshold: 140 parts per trillion. The miniscule amount represents the best estimate state scientists can make on the amount bottle-fed infants and other potentially sensitive populations can drink without expecting health problems from a chemical whose health effects have not been heavily studied. State regulators first set this level in July of last year, soon after the public learned GenX was found in the Cape Fear River and municipal water supplies downstream from the Chemours plant. In backing that threshold Monday the Secretary's Science Advisory Board on Toxic Air Pollutants rejected Chemours' suggestion that the state adopt a significantly higher threshold.
https://www.wral.com/state-board-backs-low-threshold-on-genx/17782475/

Monday News: It's called Climate Change, get used to it

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OVERNIGHT DOWNPOUR FLOODS RALEIGH STREETS, FELLS TREES: A flash flood warning expired for Wake County at 6 a.m. Monday after heavy rain from overnight storms flooded roads. According to officials at Duke Energy, trees were down on Medlin Drive and Catawba Street, leaving almost 30 customers without power. Officials said the trees were cleared from the road by 6 a.m. Three right lanes on Interstate 440 westbound near Lake Boone Trail were blocked overnight due to another downed tree. Officials with the DOT said the lanes reopened by 7:15 a.m. Commuters in Raleigh should be cautious but not concerned, as roads are improving. At one point overnight, all four lanes Atlantic Avenue at Hodges Street were covered in standing water. At 5:30 a.m., the water had receded and was reduced to the sides of the road.
https://www.wral.com/flooded-roads-fallen-trees-may-impact-morning-commute-in-raleigh/17781058/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY BEARS DOWN ON AMENDMENTS: James Madison, writing in the 1788 Federalist Papers No. 47, cited North Carolina for going too far at its outset in giving the legislative branch power to appoint the governor, as well as executive office-holders and judges. It was not until the 1835 state Constitution that North Carolina voters got the right to elect their governors. In the Federalist No. 48, Madison warned tartly that “the legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” And he observed that “the danger from legislative usurpations, which, by assembling all power into the same hands, must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened by executive usurpations.” No doubt Jim Holshouser — and perhaps even James Madison of Virginia — would have joined former governors Jim Hunt, Jim Martin, Mike Easley, Bev Perdue, and Pat McCrory in defining for voters the long-term consequences of power-shifting amendments to their own well-being.
https://www.wral.com/ferrel-guillory-weight-of-history-bears-down-on-amendments/17777024/

Saturday News: Out of control

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WOODHOUSE THREATENS TO IMPEACH SUPREME COURT JUSTICES OVER AMENDMENTS: North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse says Republican lawmakers could vote to impeach judges or justices who decide to remove any constitutional amendments from the ballot this fall. State Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin was on stage with Woodhouse when he first made the comment. "I was shocked. I could not believe what I’d heard," Goodwin told WRAL News. "This just further shows that Republicans – Republican legislative leaders in particular – will stop at nothing to preserve their power, whether it’s misleading voters on the ballot, or it’s by gerrymandering districts, or in this instance, intimidating members of the judicial branch." Goodwin also said he doesn't believe the idea of impeaching justices originated with Woodhouse.
https://www.wral.com/impeachment-of-justices-possible-gop-chief-says/17776194/

Friday News: The stink of desperation

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ATTORNEY FOR BERGERMOORE ARGUES JUDGES HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER AMENDMENTS: The courts don’t have a role in determining what constitutional amendments appear on the ballot, a lawyer representing North Carolina legislative leaders told a three-judge panel Wednesday. Martin Warf is defending House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, both Republicans, in lawsuits to stop proposed constitutional amendments from going to voters. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is fighting two amendments that he and others say would shift power from the executive office to the legislature. One amendment would strip governors from their power to appoint members to hundreds of state boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature. The other would limit governors’ abilities to appoint judges to court vacancies.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216689835.html

Thursday News: Stop the presses

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JUDGES PUT HOLD ON PRINTING AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT: A panel of three Superior Court judges on Wednesday ordered state elections officials to hold off printing ballots for the November election until the courts could weigh in on challenges brought by Gov. Roy Cooper to two proposed constitutional amendments. Cooper charges that amendments giving lawmakers the power to fill vacant judgeships between elections and appoint people to dozens of state boards and commissions are worded so poorly on the ballot that they will mislead voters as to their impact. "A ballot question that does not fairly and accurately present [what it does] amounts to a deceit on the people of North Carolina, and it corrodes and, I suggest, it corrupts their right to amend their constitution," said John Wester, an attorney for Cooper. "This cannot become the law of our state."
https://www.wral.com/judges-skeptical-of-challenges-to-proposed-amendments/17771309/

Wednesday News: About that hunting amendment...

BEAR POACHERS ARRESTED AFTER SHOOTING AT DEPUTIES: The Charlotte Observer reports 22-year-old Hunter Alan Wright, 21-year-old James Bradley Owen and Owen's father were arrested in the Saturday incident near Hendersonville. A Henderson County Sheriff's Office release says deputies were shot at while responding to a report of shots fired in an area known for wildlife poaching. Wright was charged with resisting an officer. Owen was arrested on charges including attempted murder and resisting an officer. He's also charged by the state Wildlife Resources Commission with baiting bears with processed food. Forty-nine-year-old James Gary Owen then arrived and was arrested for resisting deputies. Additionally, a dog bit a deputy and was shot. It's unclear if the men have lawyers.
https://www.wral.com/sheriff-deputies-fired-at-while-investigating-bear-poaching/17770007/

Tuesday News: Not so fast, BergerMoore

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JUDGE RULES REPUBLICANS VIOLATED CHRIS ANGLIN'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: A judge threw out a new state law Monday, ruling that it violated the constitutional rights of at least two politicians whose 2018 campaigns the law had targeted. Chris Anglin, a Republican candidate for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court, had sued the legislature along with Rebecca Edwards, a Democrat who is running to become a district court judge in Wake County. Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a new law that would have prevented Anglin or Edwards from being able to have their party affiliations on the ballot. They argued that the law unfairly targeted them because their competitors in this November’s elections would still have their own parties listed on the ballot.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216594950.html

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