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Friday News: One more time...


LAWSUIT FILED OVER NC'S GERRYMANDERED CONGRESSIONAL MAPS: The National Redistricting Foundation is backing a lawsuit filed by individuals in each of the state's 13 congressional districts, alleging that the General Assembly illegally drew the district lines in 2016 to favor Republican candidates. A similar argument went before the U.S. Supreme Court in March, but the high court ruled 5-4 in June that partisan gerrymandering is "beyond the reach of the federal courts." But in state court, several plaintiffs successfully challenged legislative districts drawn in 2017 on the argument that partisan gerrymandering violates North Carolina's constitution. A three-judge panel recently ordered lawmakers to redraw the maps without considering voting patterns of individual precincts.

Thursday News: Two-Faced Tillis


BOTH NC SENATORS THROW MILITARY UNDER THE BUS FOR TRUMP: North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis voted a second time Wednesday to back President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration that allowed the military to shift millions from construction projects in North Carolina to help build a wall on the southern border. In between those votes, the Department of Defense announced the $3.6 billion in projects that would see their funding shifted to the border wall. Included in that amount was $47 million in active projects from North Carolina, including $15.3 million for a new ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune to replace “substandard, inefficient, decentralized and uncontrolled facilities.” “I once again supported President Trump’s emergency declaration because Democrats refuse to provide the President with the tools and resources he needs to address the crisis at our southern border and keep America safe,” Tillis said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote.

Wednesday News: Lock him up!


CONGRESS BEGINS FORMAL IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY OF DONALD TRUMP: Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives opened a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Tuesday. North Carolina’s three Democrats in the House have supported an impeachment inquiry for months. Trump’s handling of foreign aid to Ukraine and whether he held it up to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter are at the heart of the latest impeachment debate. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said.

Tuesday News: One in ten


11% OF NC CHILDREN LIVE IN POVERTY-STRICKEN NEIGHBORHOODS: Eleven percent of the state’s children live in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation set for release Tuesday. Black and Latino children are more likely to live in neighborhoods where 30% or more of the residents live in poverty, according to a press release from NC Child. Black children are six times more likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to the press release, and Latino children are five times more likely to live in these neighborhoods. Middle-class black families are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods than low-income white families, according to a New York Times report. The disparity was attributed to historical housing discrimination and the racial wealth gap. The increased likelihood of black families living in low-income neighborhoods “is not because those parents are working any less hard than other parents,” Tucker said.

Monday News: Holding on to dirty money

MARK WALKER WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF BRIBERY CASE: A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mark Walker says the North Carolina congressman didn't control, and therefore couldn't give away, most of the over $238,000 that Lindberg gave his campaign and affiliated committees. Lindberg's $150,000 contribution in early 2018 plays a prominent role in the federal indictment. The indictment says it went to "Public Official A," whom public records indicate is Walker. The congressman "was not named in the indictment because he is not and never has been a target of the investigation and has committed no wrongdoing." Minor wrote in an email Friday. Lindberg sent the money to Walker's Victory Committee, which raises money for Walker's campaign and the RNC, the same day he learned Walker might help sway Causey, according to the criminal indictment. Walker twice spoke to Causey on Lindberg's behalf, and told the regulator "that Lindberg was doing good things for North Carolina business," prosecutors said.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LATEST REMAP EFFORT PROVES NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING SYSTEM IS A MUST: It should not be a surprise to anyone that when the court takes up the latest submissions, they are rejected and the expert referee for the case Nathan Persily is directed to develop more appropriate maps. The lesson here is simple. It can be addressed right away. Legislators lack the ability – either because of their own incumbency or partisan bias – to draw election districts that put the interests of voters and representation of communities first. Only imposition of a non-partisan system will fix it. Legislators can act now to pass an amendment to the State Constitution, to require a non-partisan system drawing legislative, congressional and ALL other election district maps. It is past time to end unfair and unconstitutional representation of North Carolinians in Congress and the General Assembly.

Saturday News: Proud Boy Blues


NC HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME CANCELLED OVER MAGA RALLY: Ahead of a planned rally to support a cheerleading team on probation over a pro-Trump photo, a North Carolina high school has canceled its Friday night football game due to security concerns. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association previously placed the cheerleaders on probation over a picture that was taken of them in uniform with a Trump 2020 banner during a football game. Some community members, who feared the teens’ First Amendment rights were being infringed, had planned to wave a large flag with supporters before the game Friday. The district said it canceled the North Stanly High School football game because “Stanly County Schools has been notified of additional information that could compromise safety measures our schools have in place for sporting events.”

Friday News: Hail Mary pass

LINDBERG WANTS BRIBERY CHARGES DROPPED ON TECHNICALITY: Businessman Greg Lindberg is asking a federal court to throw out his indictment on bribery charges in a case that also ensnared the then-chairman of North Carolina’s Republican Party. Lindberg filed the motion Wednesday in the Charlotte-based court’s Western District. Lindberg and two associates, along with then-GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, were indicted last spring on charges of conspiracy and bribery for their alleged attempts to influence state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, a Republican. In their motion to dismiss, Lindberg’s lawyers rely in part on a 2016 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and established higher standards for proving corruption. The court said the definition of “official acts” was too broad.

Thursday News: Strike Three


ANALYSTS SAY NEWLY REDRAWN MAPS STILL FAVOR REPUBLICANS: The new political maps approved by the North Carolina General Assembly this week would likely still favor Republicans in the 2020 elections, numerous experts say. The legislature was ordered to redraw a number of the districts used to elect its members earlier this month, after a panel of judges ruled the Republican-led legislature had violated voters’ constitutional rights with their 2017 maps. And those unconstitutional maps were themselves drawn to replace different maps, from 2011, that had also been ruled unconstitutional. “If you go back and analyze the maps, you can see the maps have a Republican bias,” said Sam Wang, a Princeton University neuroscience professor who is also a gerrymandering expert and leads the Princeton Election Consortium.

Wednesday News: It's up to the judges now


REDRAWN DISTRICT MAPS HEAD TO 3-JUDGE PANEL FOR APPROVAL: The General Assembly on Tuesday finished redrawing dozens of North Carolina legislative districts that a court declared were designed with extreme partisan bias favoring Republicans. The House voted for the Senate remap and the Senate approved the House proposal. Tuesday's discussions were much shorter than when the chambers debated and voted on their respective replacement maps for their own seats in recent days. A timeline set by the trial court allows legal briefs objecting to the replacement districts by Sept. 27, with any response to those objections filed by Oct. 4. Candidate filing begins in early December for next year's elections, starting with early March primaries.


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