ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS BECOMES LAW WITHOUT GOV'S SIGNATURE: While the bill does not remove health care coverage from people with pre-existing conditions, a News & Observer fact check included experts pointing out that insurers aren’t required to offer association health plans with a full range of services for people with pre-existing conditions. Cooper didn’t veto the bill, but he didn’t sign it either. He released this statement on Sunday: “People have a right to be frustrated with the cost of private health insurance plans, but even though there is significant bipartisan support for this legislation, my concerns about the legality of these cheaper plans and their potential negative effects on health care prevent me from signing the bill.”
KAMALA HARRIS SHOWS UP IN DURHAM WHILE THE KLAN SHOWS ITS ASS IN HILLSBOROUGH: Saturday night, Durham was the focus of Presidential politics. Sen. Kamala Harris (D, Calif.) spoke Saturday at the Founder's Banquet for the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. She was also scheduled to speak at a church service in Durham on Sunday morning and make a stop in Greensboro Sunday afternoon. At the same time, not far from Durham, a KKK demonstration in Hillsborough caused a big stir. There were a number of people wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and waving Confederate flags. Hillsborough police told WRAL that officers were at the scene, along with Orange County deputies.
ARGUMENTS BEGIN TODAY AS NC SUPREME COURT LOOKS AT RACIAL BIAS IN DEATH PENALTY CASES: Four death row prisoners will argue to North Carolina's highest court that racial bias so infected their trials that they should be resentenced to life in prison as attorneys revive arguments about a repealed law on race and capital punishment. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday and Tuesday in the cases of four death row inmates who briefly were resentenced to life without parole when legislators approved the Racial Justice Act in 2009. The law was repealed four years later. Justices also will hear from attorneys for two other death row prisoners whose RJA claims weren't decided before the law was repealed. "We found the evidence (of racial bias), then the legislature repealed the law," said David Weiss, staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. "The question is: Can we act as if that evidence was never uncovered?"
NATURAL GAS EXPLOSION DESTROYS PART OF MARYLAND SHOPPING CENTER: A powerful natural gas explosion badly damaged a Maryland office complex and shopping center Sunday morning, ripping away part of the facade and exposing twisted metal, authorities said. No injuries were reported in the thundering blast, which occurred at about 8 a.m. It came after authorities said they had evacuated the area around the complex because of a suspected early morning gas leak near the complex in Columbia, Maryland. Fire crews responded about an hour before the explosion because of a fire alarm that was upgraded to a report of a gas leak in the parking lot, officials said. When fire personnel arrived, they immediately evacuated everyone from the surrounding area and made sure the building was vacant. The subsequent explosion ripped away a significant part of the facade, scattering debris. “It was so powerful it could be heard in communities many miles away,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement.
TRUMP'S ALLIES DECLARE WAR ON JOURNALISTS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCH OPERATION: The operation has compiled social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and stored images of the posts that can be publicized even if the user deletes them, said the people familiar with the effort. One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people. “I am sure there will be more scalps,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who is a friend of Mr. Schwartz. “They are seeking to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with the leading news organizations that are asking tough questions and bringing uncomfortable truths to light,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job, which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.” In a statement, a CNN spokesman said that when government officials, “and those working on their behalf, threaten and retaliate against reporters as a means of suppression, it’s a clear abandonment of democracy for something very dangerous.”