Tuesday News: Equal treatment


TRANSGENDER STATE EMPLOYEES SUE DALE FOLWELL AFTER COVERAGE DISCONTINUED: They say the State Health Plan discriminates against them by not covering costs related to gender dysphoria, the medical term for when someone identifies as a gender different from their physical sex. Max Kadel, a transgender man who works at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the State Health Plan will not cover breast-reduction surgery for him, even though it would cover a non-transgender man or woman who wanted the exact same surgery. That message of unequal treatment was echoed by another transgender man who is part of the lawsuit, former N.C. State University employee Sam Silvaine. “I’ve been sent the message that my medical needs are not valid, and my mental and physical health are not important,” Silvaine said.

WINSTON-SALEM IS MOVING CONFEDERATE STATUE TO HISTORIC CEMETERY: A construction crew is preparing to take down a Confederate statue in a North Carolina city, a rare move in a state where such monuments are largely protected by law. Two cranes were set up on either side of the statue in Winston-Salem and traffic is blocked on a main downtown thoroughfare Tuesday morning. At one point, a worker on a cherry picker was raised up to the top of the statue and appeared to be looking at how to attach a chain or harness. Winston-Salem argued it had more leeway than other North Carolina cities because the old courthouse property had passed into private hands. A 2015 North Carolina law all but prohibits the permanent removal of Confederate statues from public land.

WAKE COUNTY SHERIFFS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER HALF OF THE COUNTY'S LEGAL PAYMENTS: Between 2014 and 2018, Wake County entered into nine financial settlements, ranging from $1,310 to $250,000. Of those, five involved the Wake County Sheriff’s Office. The total payout was more than $560,000. The largest settlement — $250,000 — was to the estate of Ralph Madison Stockton IV in April 2016. The 19-year-old died in his sleep at the Wake County Detention Center from an overdose, The News & Observer reported. A Wake County sheriff’s deputy had pulled Stockton over and searched his trunk. He swallowed a “stash of pills” so they wouldn’t be discovered, The News & Observer reported. Inmates suspected of being impaired are supposed to be checked on four times per hour. State health officials determined Stockton had not been monitored at the minimum standards, The News & Observer reported.

FEDERAL GRAND JURY ISSUES SUBPOENAS IN NC09 BALLOT FRAUD INVESTIGATION: The Department of Justice has issued subpoenas for a federal grand jury investigation into allegations of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. The US Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section has issued at least three subpoenas for documents related to the 9th District. The subpoenas come less than a month after the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election in the 9th District. Patrick Gannon, a NCSBE spokesman, confirmed late Monday night that the board received a subpoena from the Justice Department to produce “all documents related to the investigation of election irregularities affecting counties within the 9th Congressional District.” Separately, an attorney for McCrae Dowless, Cynthia Singletary, confirmed her client had also received a grand jury subpoena. A spokesman for Harris’ campaign said the campaign had also received a subpoena in connection with the federal investigation.

NEW YORK AG OPENS CIVIL INVESTIGATION OF TRUMP BUSINESSES: The inquiry opens a new front in the scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, one of the few lenders willing to do business with Donald J. Trump in recent years. The bank is already the subject of two congressional investigations and was examined last year by New York banking regulators, who took no action. The new inquiry, by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony last month of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, the person briefed on the subpoenas said. Mr. Cohen testified under oath that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements, and Mr. Cohen provided copies of statements he said had been submitted to Deutsche Bank. The inquiry by Ms. James’s office is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although its focus and scope were unclear. The attorney general has broad authority under state law to investigate fraud and can fine — or in extreme cases, go to court to try to dissolve — a business that is found to have engaged in repeated illegality.