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Tuesday News: Apparently 1st Amendment is "confusing"


WILLIAM BARBER TRESPASSING TRIAL TURNS HINKY: In a hearing ahead of his trial on 2nd-degree trespassing charges, an attorney for the Rev. William Barber said Monday that a jury should be able to decide whether a North Carolina citizen can be found guilty of trespassing in a building the people own and maintain for the purpose of addressing their political leaders. An assistant district attorney argued that’s for a judge to find, because it’s too complicated an issue for a jury to handle. This question arose in a pretrial hearing for a motion by Wake County Assistant District Attorney Nishma Patel, who had asked the court to keep Barber’s attorney from “misleading” or “confusing” a jury by talking about First Amendment rights, or about whether trespassing laws apply in the case.

Monday News: Perpetual tragedy


SURVIVORS OF MASS SHOOTINGS SUFFER FROM PTSD, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES: In one week in March, two student survivors of the Parkland school shooting killed themselves. Around the same time, the father of a 6-year-old killed girl in Newtown died of an apparent suicide. He had created a foundation in his daughter's name to support research on violence prevention. Austin Eubanks, a Columbine student who was shot and watched his best friend die in the school massacre, died last month, possibly of an overdose. He struggled with opioid use after the attack and later became an addiction recovery speaker. A memorial fund established in his name is seeking funds for a trauma-informed program for families and victims of mass violence. After the Parkland suicides, Hunschofsky says, many people sought mental health help for the first time. "They just told me, 'I thought I was OK, but after this happened, maybe I'm not. Maybe I do need to talk to someone.'" The community's wellness center, established after the Parkland shooting, extended its hours.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE NEXT PRESIDENT NEEDS TO BE A WOMAN: Women have more respect for life when in public office and do more to protect our society, whether it is gun control or military action. Wouldn’t you feel better about a Congress controlled by women rather than by old, white men when it comes to declaring war? I would. Today, we have had 45 men as president in a country that now has more female than male voters. Indeed, the current president has all of the undesirable male characteristics known to man and then some. So, let’s try something else, as many of us believe that a woman in the White House will bring uniqueness, class, morality, competence and empathy for American children and families. If the 2018 Congressional elections proved nothing else, it was that women candidates can win, especially with a strong female vote.

Saturday News: No good deed goes unpunished


SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES NEW FEES FOR ELECTRIC AND PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLES: The proposed budget approved by the Senate on Friday would increase the annual fee paid by owners of electric vehicles by $100, to $230 starting next year. Owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles would face a new registration fee of $115 a year. Both fees would be adjusted for population growth and inflation annually starting in 2021. A similar proposal was included in an early version of the House budget but was stripped out before the plan was approved by the House. Budget negotiators from the House and Senate will have to decide whether the proposal ends up in the final version of the budget the General Assembly sends to the governor. Owners of electric vehicles have paid a special annual registration fee since 2013, and it was raised to $130 two years later. But this would be the first time hybrid vehicle owners would face such a fee.

Friday News: Racist, sexist, or both


REPUBLICANS CUT CHIEF JUSTICE CHERI BEASLEY'S STAFF IN HALF: “I think it’s a dastardly thing,” Lowe said. “We’ve got our first African-American female chief justice. And we haven’t taken resources away from others that served this position and served this state. To take them away now, it just seems morally wrong.” Lowe briefly continued his criticisms but then cut himself off, saying “the last thing I want to do is cuss in this chamber.” McKissick said that “when we make decisions like this, it should be blind.” The budget isn’t official yet, since the House and Senate have different suggestions that they will need to reconcile. The cuts to Beasley’s staff are just one example of differences in the two chambers, since the House did not recommend similar cuts. But if the proposed cuts to Beasley’s staff are approved in the end, McKissick said that she would be the only appellate judge in the state with just one law clerk. “I have to ask what the justification for this is,” McKissick said.

Thursday News: Mark your calendar


NC HOUSE VETO OVERRIDE VOTE ON "BORN ALIVE" BILL WILL BE JUNE 5: After pulling a potential vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of an abortion bill off the House calendar nine times over the last four weeks, House Speaker Tim Moore on Wednesday set a date certain for the vote. Moore, R-Cleveland, said the override vote on Senate Bill 359, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would be held on June 5. The bill would make it a felony for a doctor not to provide care for an infant born after a botched abortion, and it creates a duty for other health care professionals to report any such failure to act. Lawmakers passed the measure last month, but Cooper quickly vetoed it, calling it "an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients" because state law already protects newborns. "This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist," he said.

Wednesday News: Now they're just breaking stuff

SENATE REPUBLICANS MOVING DHHS TO GRANVILLE COUNTY: The Senate proposes $250 million to construct a new administrative facility in Granville County for DHHS employees currently working at the Dix location in Raleigh. The State Employees Association of North Carolina compared the proposal to move DHHS to the DMV move. “Much like the DMV move, this would cause the state to lose many well-trained career employees. But unlike the DMV move, this would add significant traffic to already congested roads. And we cannot imagine that citizens traveling those roads on a daily basis now would appreciate this,” SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins said in a written statement. The move could affect up to 2,000 employees, according to SEANC.

Tuesday News: Tarheel Taliban


FRANKLIN GRAHAM CALLS FOR PRAYER TO "STRENGTHEN" DONALD TRUMP: Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of the late Rev. Billy Graham, called on Christians Sunday to set aside Sunday, June 2, as a "special day of prayer for the President." "President Trump's enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family and the presidency," Graham wrote on Facebook. "In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God." The response has been mixed. Many people have promised to pray for the president. And many have taken Graham to task for politicizing prayer. Andy Rowell, a graduate of Duke Divinity School and assistant professor of ministry leadership at Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, wrote: "All Christians believe in praying for their government leaders. But this initiative and wording and signers has been shaped to be an event flattering President Trump without regard to the morality of what he does."

Monday News: Wake us from this nightmare


NC'S CONGRESSIONAL DEMS TALK IMPEACHMENT: North Carolina’s three Democrats in the U.S. House say they are getting closer to supporting impeachment steps against President Donald Trump, citing the administration’s stymieing of House investigations. “The President has demonstrated a clear disregard for the rule of law and he must be held accountable. Impeachment is not off the table,” Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat, said in a statement. “We are at a tipping point in this whole impeachment thing where members are going to have to crystallize their positions on impeachment. I’m not there yet, but we’re getting pretty darn close,” Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, told McClatchy this week. “If this cover up continues, President Trump may leave us no choice,” said Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


KEEP LEGISLATIVE ANTICS OUT OF ABORTION BILL VOTE: Legislative antics are always present in some capacity, but this round is downright cruel. Remember, the legislators in Raleigh work part-time. They have jobs separate from legislating, don’t make much money from it and have to commute from all over the state. They also have personal lives and families. One such legislator is Sydney Batch, who represents District 37 in Wake County. During her campaign last year, she was diagnosed with cancer. Despite that, she stayed in the race and defeated an incumbent in a district difficult for Democrats to win. Batch is recovering from surgery for her cancer, but still made it to vote. Then Moore rescheduled it. Another representative left her husband, who is currently in the hospital, to appear for the same vote. Moore rescheduled it. How long can this go on? To bring legislators dealing with real, personal issues back and forth on a vote that may never occur is cruel and serves no purpose for North Carolinians.


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