Monday News: Folwell's Folly?


BILL FILED TO BLOCK STATE TREASURER'S REVAMP OF STATE HEALTH PLAN: A plan to save state employees money on their health insurance expenses is facing opposition at the General Assembly over fears it could harm hospitals all around North Carolina, particularly in rural areas. A bipartisan group of legislators are backing a bill that would stop changes to the State Health Plan that are set to start on Jan. 1, 2020. But if the bill becomes law it would put off the changes until at least 2022, if not permanently. Robert Broome, the executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, said his group “strongly opposes this bill, which is a clear attempt to put corporate interests over working families and deny taxpayers a cost savings of more than $300 million each year.”

DATES TO BE SET TODAY FOR DO-OVER ELECTION IN NC09: The new election was ordered months after a days-long hearing about suspected ballot fraud linked to Republican Mark Harris, who had seemed to win last year's race by 905 votes, acknowledging the need for a do-over. The plan is to hold new primaries as well as a general election. McCrae Dowless, the central suspect in last week's hearings, was arrested Wednesday and charged with a number of crimes tied to the 2016 elections and the 2018 primaries. More charges from the 2018 general election may be forthcoming. Harris, who won the November race by about 900 votes, announced recently that he will not run again, while his Democratic challenger, Dan McCready, will campaign for the congressional seat again. A few others have also expressed interest in running for the 9th District Seat.

JUSTICE ANITA EARLS RALLIES CUMBERLAND COUNTY NAACP: Ensuring equal representation consists of more than just casting a ballot, N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita Earls said Saturday night at the Fayetteville NAACP’s annual Founder’s Day banquet. Earls said people must also make sure their vote counts as much as anyone else’s, assure that every elected official serves on a level playing field and that everyone has equal ability to hold officials accountable. “This is about human rights,” Earls said. “This is about recognizing the essential dignity of every one of us to have our voices heard.” Voting rights was a theme at the fund-raising banquet, held for the 78th consecutive year. Voter registration tables were set up in the gymnasium where the banquet was held. Cumberland County District Court Judge Tiffany Whitfield, who served as mistress of ceremonies, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in her remarks: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

TRUMP TRIES TO BLAME NORTH KOREA FAILURE ON COHEN HEARING: Trump left the summit in Vietnam with the North Korean leader without reaching an agreement last week. After sending out his National Security Adviser John Bolton to the Sunday talk shows to describe the summit as a success, Trump showed his frustration about the results by lashing out at Democrats. In a tweet Sunday night, Trump criticized Democrats for holding the congressional hearing with his former lawyer Michael Cohen while he was in sensitive negotiations overseas. "For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the "walk." Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!" Trump tweeted.

HOUSE COMMITTEE SEEKING DOCUMENTS FROM 60 TRUMP ASSOCIATES: Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that he planned to request documents from more than 60 people with ties to President Trump, his administration and his businesses, including the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of the committee’s investigation of the president. Using the language of a prosecutor, Mr. Nadler said his goal was to present “the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power,” which could lay the groundwork for eventual impeachment proceedings or other congressional action. He added that it was “very clear that the president obstructed justice.” Mr. Nadler, Democrat of New York, told ABC’s “This Week” that he would also request documents from Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, repeatedly referred to Mr. Weisselberg’s central role in Mr. Trump’s business transactions during his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week.