Tuesday News: Challenging the Usurpers

NAACP AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP FILE SUIT OVER GOP AMENDMENTS: The state NAACP and the environmental group Clean Air Carolina are suing to stop four proposed constitutional amendments from appearing on the fall ballot. The groups will ask for a quick hearing in the complaint they filed Monday morning, asking a judge to stop the questions from being added to ballots while the case is being argued. They are suing legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The four proposed constitutional changes the organizations are targeting would require voters to present photo ID, cap the state income tax rate at 7 percent, change the way judicial vacancies are filled to limit the governor’s role, and take away the governor’s power to appoint members to boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature.

JUDGE ISSUES TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER IN ANGLIN CASE: A Wake County Superior Court judge on Monday refused to order lawmakers to label Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin a Republican on November's ballots, but did tell the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement not to finalize the ballots until another hearing can be held next Monday. Anglin changed his party affiliation shortly before the deadline to file as a candidate, then filed to run for Supreme Court as a Republican. That became legal thanks to legislation that Republicans pushed through the General Assembly last year that, among other things, led to the cancellation of this year's judicial primaries. Judicial elections previously were nonpartisan. Republicans accuse Anglin of running as a Republican in an attempt to siphon votes away from incumbent Republican Justice Barbara Jackson, who is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Anita Earls.

RESEARCHERS TO STUDY LEVELS OF GENX AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS STATEWIDE: North Carolina’s leading university science researchers will try to find out if water supplies in the state have been contaminated with toxic compounds like GenX, an unregulated chemical discovered in the Cape Fear River last year. Over the next year, each municipality in the state will have its water tested at the point where the water enters the public system. In addition, each municipality will pick one well that supplies public drinking water to test. Air testing will also be conducted across the state because emissions can settle on the ground. It isn’t known yet how many locations will have air testing. The study will lay the groundwork for long-term monitoring of changes in the state’s water quality. If researchers find there is a threat, they will try to determine how much of an impact it has and find ways to protect public health.

TRUMP FUNDRAISERS NET $135 MILLION, MOSTLY FOR HIMSELF: President Donald Trump has headlined 29 fundraisers since he was sworn into office, raising at least $135 million — but unlike the five previous presidents, nearly half of the events benefited himself, instead of just his party or candidates, according to an analysis by McClatchy. Trump is the first U.S. president since at least the 1970s to raise money for his own re-election campaign during the first two years of his term when the political world’s attention is usually focused on midterm elections for Congress. And Trump has held the fewest total fundraisers at this point in his term since Jimmy Carter, according to records of presidential fundraising compiled by Brendan J. Doherty, a political science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. That’s a sign he’s more focused on himself and less tied to his party 18 months into presidency.

WHILE OLDER AMERICANS ARE FILING BANKRUPTCY AT ALARMING RATES: Perhaps not surprisingly, the lowest-income households led by individuals 55 or older carry the highest debt loads relative to their income. More than 13 percent of such households face debt payments that equal more than 40 percent of their income, nearly double the percentage of such families in 1991, the employee benefit institute found. Older Americans’ finances are also being strained by the needs of those around them. A little more than a third of the older filers who answered the researchers’ questionnaire said that helping others, like children or older parents, had contributed to their seeking bankruptcy protection. Marc Stern, a bankruptcy lawyer in Seattle, said he had seen the phenomenon again and again. Some parents, Stern said, had co-signed loans for $10,000 or $20,000 for adult children and suddenly could no longer afford them. “When you are living on $2,000 a month and that includes Social Security — and you have rent and savings are minuscule — it is extremely difficult to recover from something like that,” he said.