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Saturday News: Federal bullies

200 ARRESTED BY ICE IN RETALIATION FOR SHERIFFS NOT COOPERATING: After North Carolina’s largest counties cut ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency said it’s been forced to adopt a “new normal”: one that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of immigrants living here illegally this week. “This is the direct conclusion of dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE,” said Sean Gallagher, who oversees the agency’s operation in the Carolinas and Georgia. “This forces my officers to go out onto the street to conduct more enforcement.” Sheriffs in Mecklenburg, Wake and Durham counties — all of whom emphasized severing ties with ICE in their campaign platforms last year — defended this shift, rejecting the notion that it had made their jurisdictions more dangerous. And immigrant rights groups blasted ICE for stoking fear and using the decisions of local law enforcement to justify heightened ICE enforcement.

Friday News: Giving the cold shoulder to ICE


FORSYTH COUNTY SHERIFF WILL NO LONGER DETAIN IMMIGRANTS: The Forsyth County Sheriff says he will stop accepting detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement who are being held on immigration violations, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. follows similar decisions by the sheriffs in Wake and Durham counties last month. He made the announcement Wednesday after a rally by supporters of a man being held by ICE in the jail, according to the newspaper. “Currently, the sheriff’s office is not an extension, and will never will be an extension, in this administration, of immigration services,” Kimbrough said, according to the Journal. “We are not helping ICE. We have not arrested anyone on immigration violations, nor do we plan on it.”

Thursday News: Imminent threat

COOPER WARNS CONGRESS ABOUT INACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called on the United States to reassert itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, telling a divided congressional committee of the economic, commercial and personal toll of climate change to his state while touting his moves as chief executive. “We can’t afford not to take urgent action to fight climate change. It is not too late, but it soon may be,” Cooper told members of the U.S. House’s Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday in the first of a series of Democratic-led hearings on climate change. Cooper appeared alongside Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican. Cooper said there is “overwhelming scientific consensus” on climate change and the role humans are playing in it. And he outlined damage that storms and severe weather events have caused in North Carolina in recent years, including hurricanes Matthew and Florence, mudslides in the mountains, animal- and crop-killing heat in the summers and the loss of crops due to flooding and heavy rains.

Wednesday News: Time to testify


MCCREADY BLASTS HARRIS OVER ABSENTEE BALLOT FRAUD: "We don't know if he stole hundreds of votes or thousands of votes," he said, citing affidavits filed in the investigation that the elections board has made public so far that allege Dowless was seen with hundreds of absentee ballots and that he had crews of people going door to door collecting ballots. "One thing we know is that this all goes to the very top of Mark Harris' campaign," McCready said. Dowless' actions in elections have been scrutinized for years, and McCready said he heard rumors last fall of shenanigans Dowless was involved in during the 9th District campaign. "We're responsible for our actions. I'm responsible for what my people do or don't do," he said. "I only see two options here: Either Mark Harris knew what was going on, or he turned a blind eye to fraud and built a culture of corruption in his campaign."

Tuesday News: Keep it public


GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WANTS COMMITTEE INTERVIEWS, NOT PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS: Following criticism for refusing to allow agency employees to be interviewed by private investigators hired by the legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is requesting a public committee meeting where agency representatives would answer questions about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline approval process. Cooper chief of staff Kristi Jones wrote to the legislative oversight committee probing the issue last week. “We have provided you the requested documents, answered your questions and appeared before your committees numerous times on this subject, yet you insist that we answer even more questions from private Republican investigators who should be paid for by the Republican Party and not North Carolina taxpayers,” Jones wrote. Her letter was first reported by WRAL reporter Travis Fain on Twitter.

Monday News: Rolling the health care dice


NC SWITCHING MEDICAID TO MANAGED CARE MODEL: North Carolina is shifting most Medicaid programs from traditional fee-for-service coverage to those in which companies or medical networks get flat monthly amounts for each patient covered. Instead of paying doctors and hospitals for every test and procedure, Medicaid would allow these "prepaid health plans" to keep whatever's left over after medical expenses and activities. While keeping patients healthier could boost plan profits, sicker patients could mean losses. The alterations should influence the debate over whether it makes sense at the same time to bring another 300,000 to 500,000 new low- and middle-income enrollees on board through expansion. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and party allies, who made legislative seat gains last November that gives them more negotiating leverage, are making expansion a top priority this year. Legislative Republicans have blocked it for years.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


TIME TO SHUT DOWN NC'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP: Amid the recent discussion over the effectiveness of the state’s economic development efforts, a new report this week exposed a less than flattering assessment of the private Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. The creation of the five-year-old partnership was a top priority of former Gov. Pat McCrory and the leadership of the General Assembly – who’d contended the state’s economic development efforts would be far better in private hands – and save taxpayer money with the use of private funding. It turned out to be meddling in a place that didn’t need it. As the partnership’s contract expires in October, it has little to show that it has met the effectiveness promised with its establishment. In fact, there’s little evidence of any improvement on what it replaced. There’s no way to tell just who is in charge.

Saturday News: Mapmakers on trial


NC PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING CASE WILL BE HEARD THIS SUMMER: A trial is set for this summer in the lawsuit Democrats and election reform advocates filed alleging North Carolina legislative districts violate the state constitution because of excessive partisan bias favoring Republicans. A state three-judge panel filed an order Friday directing a July 15 trial start in Wake County court. The plaintiffs allege partisan gerrymandering taints maps largely drawn by Republican legislators in 2017, even though a federal court altered them and Democrats won 16 additional seats in 2018. Republicans have said the plaintiffs are way off base and looking for a favorable state appeals court to rule their way.

Friday News: Bring back the cap


PUBLIC SCHOOL ADVOCATES CALL FOR A HALT TO NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS: Public Schools First NC says the state should reset charter school growth instead of adding new schools or expanding existing ones. The group is asking people to sign an online petition that calls on state legislators to put a new cap on while a comprehensive review is done of charter student performance, fiscal management and the impact of charter-related policies on students, public schooling, and taxpayers. “We can look at having a cap,” Natalie Beyer, a member of the board of Public Schools First and a school board member in Durham, said Thursday. “If there’s going to be charter schools, there can be a very limited number of high-quality schools as originally intended.” But calls for a new cap are drawing opposition from charter school supporters who accuse their opponents of being scared of competition.

Thursday News: A long time coming


LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS PUSH FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION: House and Senate Democrats called Wednesday for a quick move toward Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, making their opening play on one of the biggest-ticket items to be debated during the new legislation session. Their plan would simply expand Medicaid, providing taxpayer-funded health insurance to hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina, most of them the working poor. The Democratic plan is stripped free of work requirements and increased co-pays that are part of a competing plan with limited Republican support, known as Carolina Cares. Democrats said they can expand the program to as many as 500,000 people without a hit to the state budget. The federal government would cover 90 percent of new costs, and the other 10 percent would come from hospitals around the state, which have agreed to a new assessment commonly called a "bed tax" to raise the money.


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