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Saturday News: Melting snowflakes

NC LEGISLATURE TO INSTALL AIRPORT-LIKE SECURITY CHECKPOINTS: After decades of open access, tighter security measures will be put in place at the Legislative Building next week. Metal detectors and X-ray machines will be installed at the entrances to the building, and the public will be screened before entry, Paul Coble, who oversees operations of the legislative complex, said in a news release Friday. "The Legislative Building for the General Assembly has always been the 'People’s Building,' and all members of the public, including daily school group tours, will continue to have access to their government and the legislative process," Coble wrote in the release. "Our goal is to make the building safe for all who have business with the General Assembly, as well as for the members, staff, press and citizens of the State of North Carolina."

Friday News: Taken


THE FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL FALLS VICTIM TO INVOLUNTARY TAKEOVER BY CHARTER OPERATORS: A politically connected company with a limited track record has been chosen to take over a low-performing North Carolina elementary school. The State Board of Education voted 7-4 on Thursday to hire Charlotte-based Achievement For All Children to manage Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County. Achievement For All Children is heavily connected to Oregon resident John Bryan, a generous contributor to political campaigns and school-choice causes in North Carolina. He has taken credit for passage of the law creating the Innovative School District. SchoolWorks rated AAC as meeting expectations in four of 11 areas. The other company vying for the contract, the Michigan-based Romine Group, was rated as meeting expectations in two areas.

Thursday News: All about the Benjamins


GOVERNOR COOPER BATTLES GOP LEGISLATURE OVER CONTROL OF FUNDS: Legal teams for Gov. Roy Cooper and his Republican foils in the General Assembly were back in court Wednesday, arguing over money. They disagree over which branch of government ultimately controls certain types of spending, and Superior Court Judge Henry Hight heard arguments about federal block grants and the millions set to flow from the Volkswagen settlement fund, which was created to end lawsuits tied to the car company's faulty vehicle emissions figures. Hight said he would rule on those two issues, which account for $183 million in a much broader legal dispute, as soon as Friday. The Cooper administration argues that it can direct this spending within certain limits.

Wednesday News: Three cheers for Josh


NC AG JOINS LAWSUIT TO BLOCK CENSUS QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRANT STATUS: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined an effort to block the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. In a multi-state move, 12 attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday alleging that demanding such information could skew actual resident numbers in states with large immigrant populations. That could threaten the fair allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal grants and funding for education, roads and infrastructure, Stein and the other attorneys general stated. Additionally, census data are used to redraw political boundaries — from Congress to local school boards and commissions and allocate Electoral College seats.

Tuesday News: Walkout


TEACHERS IN OKLAHOMA AND KENTUCKY ARE FIGHTING BACK AGAINST POOR PAY AND MISTREATMENT: Many schools will remain closed for a second day in Oklahoma Tuesday as teachers rally for higher pay and education funding in a rebellion that has hit several Republican-led states across the country. Oklahoma's three largest school districts, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond, will remain closed Tuesday to honor the walkout. The Kentucky teachers are mad because Republican lawmakers passed a pension overhaul last week that cuts benefits for new teachers. Opponents objected that the pension changes were inserted into an unrelated bill without a chance for public input, and worry that the changes will discourage young people from joining the profession.

Monday News: This little piggy stayed home


CHINA'S RETALIATION AGAINST TRUMP TARIFFS WILL HURT NC FARMERS: Monday's tariff increase will hit American farm states, many of which voted for Trump in 2016. Beijing is imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and aluminum scrap and 15 percent on sparkling wine, steel pipe used by oil and gas companies, and an array of fruits and nuts including apples, walnuts and grapes. American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products. There was no indication whether Beijing might exempt Chinese-owned American suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork producer, which is ramping up exports to China. The tariffs "signal a most unwelcome development, which is that countries are becoming protectionist," said economist Taimur Baig of DBS Group.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


STOP THE LEGISLATURE'S POLICIES THAT MAKE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MORE SEGREGATED: From the 1970s through the first decade of this new century, North Carolina worked to end school segregation. In the process the state boosted funding for public education, increased teacher pay and improved student performance and graduation rates. But, as a series of recent studies reveal, that progress has been eroded over the last decade. The state’s financial support for public schools is being diminished. The number of public charter schools has been greatly increased. And a private school voucher program that lacks accountability, and in fact publically funds discrimination, is growing yearly. As a result, our public schools are becoming more segregated.

Saturday News: Nice try, Dallas


REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OPPOSING JEFF JACKSON RULED INELIGIBLE TO RUN: Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, could be the only state Senate candidate running unopposed after the county's Board of Elections rejected the candidacy of Republican Nora Trotman. Trotman says she'll appeal the decision, which came in response to two complaints claiming she is ineligible to run as a Republican in Senate District 37. One complaint was that she hadn't been registered as a Republican for at least 90 days prior to filing, while the other complaint took issue with the fact that her filing paperwork wasn't delivered in person, by mail or by a courier service. Trotman's paperwork was delivered by NC Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse.

Friday News: A litany of lies


NON-NURSE BEVERLY BOSWELL CLAIMS PROTESTERS WANT TO MURDER GUN OWNERS: State Rep. Beverly Boswell, a Republican from the coast, suggested on her Facebook page that speakers at the marches expressed violent intentions. "Many of the speakers at these rallies were calling for gun registration, confiscation, Second Amendment repeal and even the murder of those who would not turn over their guns to the government,” Boswell wrote on her campaign Facebook page. But PolitiFact found no credible evidence of rally speakers calling for violence against gun owners who might refuse to relinquish their guns. Most speakers at the Washington march and other marches across the country spoke about stricter gun laws and warned politicians of forthcoming punishment at the ballot box.

Thursday News: Musical chairs


TRUMP FIRES VA SECRETARY, TEMPORARILY REPLACING HIM WITH NC GOP POLITICAL FLUNKIE: President Donald Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday and chose a former aide to Jesse Helms and Thom Tillis to fill the job in an interim role. Trump tapped Robert Wilkie to be the interim secretary of Veterans Affairs while nominating his personal physician Ronny L. Jackson for the permanent post. Wilkie is a Capitol Hill veteran, having worked for then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott from 1997 to 2003. He was executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party before going to work for Lott. Wilkie also served as an aide to Helms, the late North Carolina senator, and former U.S. Rep. David Funderburk. Wilkie unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in the 7th Congressional District in 1996.


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