REPUBLICANS WANT TO CONSUME ALCOHOL 'TIL 4 A.M. AT THEIR CONVENTION: Legislation that emerged Monday in the N.C. House Rules Committee would create a special exemption during the RNC for North Carolina’s longstanding law that cuts off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. If the new version of Senate Bill 191 becomes law, bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Mecklenburg County and neighboring counties could continue serving alcohol until 4 a.m. between Aug. 22, 2020, and Aug. 30, 2020. The provision was added Monday in a new version of SB 191, which also would allow out-of-state law enforcement officers to have policing powers to provide extra security for the convention. And while the provision is intended to extend RNC festivities later into the night, the provision would apply to all businesses with on-premises alcohol sales in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Gaston, Lincoln and Iredell counties.
HEMP AND HOGS: FARM BILL MAKES IT OUT OF NC SENATE: A wide-ranging bill to regulate North Carolina's growing hemp industry, which also allows more shooting ranges on farms and has hog farm language that environmentalists don't trust, cleared the state Senate Monday night. Senate Bill 315 survived several attempts by Democrats to water it down and one Democrat's attempt to add a ban to the bill on building new poultry farms in flood-prone areas. The Republican majority set each of those changes aside, including an attempt from Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, to split the 30-plus-page bill into four parts so legislators could take what they like and leave what they don't. "Sometimes you have to have something good along with something that some folks don't think is so good," Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, the bill's primary sponsor, said as he asked senators to oppose the split. "I think that everything in this bill is good policy."
UNC CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL WILL TEMPORARILY CEASE COMPLEX HEART SURGERIES: North Carolina Children’s Hospital announced it would suspend heart surgeries for the most complex cases, some of which had a mortality rate approaching 50 percent in recent years, pending investigations by state and federal regulators and a group of outside experts. In a statement on Monday, UNC Health Care, which runs the hospital and is affiliated with the University of North Carolina, also introduced several initiatives to “restore confidence in its pediatric heart surgery program.” These include creating the external advisory board of medical experts to recommend improvements, and committing to publicly release mortality data for that program, which it has refused to do in past years. UNC administrators previously denied that there were any problems affecting patient care in the heart surgery program, saying only that there had been difficult team dynamics at the time of the doctors’ warnings, and that they had since been resolved by staffing and leadership changes. After the Times article was published, the North Carolina secretary of health opened an investigation into the children’s hospital. In addition to an on-site investigation that finished on Friday after more than two weeks, state regulators have reached out to former UNC medical staff, asking to meet and interview them about concerns they had while employed there.
TRUMP SAYS ICE WILL BE ROUNDING UP THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES NEXT WEEK: President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities. “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.” Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, California, with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works. Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the “rocket docket.”
SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS IN RACIAL GERRYMANDERING CASE: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Virginia’s House Republicans did not have the legal right to challenge a decision that some of Virginia’s legislative districts were racially gerrymandered, which means fall elections will take place in districts more favorable to Democrats. All 140 seats in the legislature are on the ballot, and the GOP holds a three-seat edge in the House (51 to 48) and a bare majority in the Senate (20 to 19), with one vacant seat in each chamber. Democrats have been hoping that a wave of successes in recent Virginia elections will move them into control of the legislature for the first time since 1995. The party in charge in 2021 will oversee the next statewide redistricting effort, following next year’s census — potentially cementing an advantage in future elections. The 5-to-4 decision did not shed light on how courts should consider claims of racial gerrymandering, but rather who has the right to sue. The court is considering potentially more groundbreaking cases about partisan gerrymandering, in maps drawn by Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland.