NRA defends abusers and stalkers in fight against VAWA

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Talk about misplaced priorities:

House Republicans broadly object to at least four new policies added to the bill to reauthorize VAWA — which expired back in February when Democrats objected to GOP efforts to include a short-term extension of the law in a spending deal. But the most controversial are new provisions to lower the criminal threshold to bar someone from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking charges. Current law applies to felony convictions.

In order to understand why these changes need to be made, you need to understand how our legal system (usually) works. An extremely high percentage of those Domestic Violence "misdemeanors" started out as felonies, only to be plea bargained down. More than any other crime, Domestic Violence is a nightmare for prosecutors, and getting any conviction at all is considered a "win." So when you see that word (misdemeanor), don't assume it was just a casual push during an argument. The abuser most likely took a plea deal to avoid a jury hearing what really happened. I'm not just making that up, by the way:

Thursday News: It's Veto time again

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BILL TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO COOPERATE WITH ICE PASSES NC HOUSE: The House on Wednesday narrowly passed legislation that would require sheriffs statewide to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The proposal was prompted by the decisions of new sheriffs in Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg counties to stop honoring detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they took office in December. The detainers are requests to keep people charged with crimes whose immigration status is in question in county jails until ICE agents can take them into custody. Under the bill, anyone who believes local law enforcement isn't cooperating with ICE can file a complaint, and a judge could fine the agency $1,000 to $1,500 for every day it doesn't comply. A second offense would boost that to $25,000 a day.
https://www.wral.com/house-passes-measure-requiring-sheriffs-to-cooperate-with-ice/18303344/

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke hints at massive rate increases over excavation order

This song is getting painfully old:

In its statement, Duke Energy said excavating the final nine pits would add about “$4 billion to $5 billion to the current estimate of $5.6 billion for the Carolinas.” The company warned that excavation at some sites could take decades, stretching well beyond current state and federal deadlines. It also said excavation would cost significantly more than it would to cap the coal ash under a heavy cover and soil.

Holleman said the company “greatly exaggerates” its cost estimates without taking into account the damage it has caused to the environment and to people’s health. He said the company also underestimates the cost it would incur if it simply drained and capped coal ash in the unlined pits.

Had a conversation (that turned into an argument) recently with a man trying to defend Duke Energy's history of coal ash storage. "Science has come a long way since then" was the major thrust of his argument, trying to give the utility an "out" for not using liners in their coal ash pits. Of course that's not true, because solid waste engineers have known since the late 1960's that toxins can leach into the groundwater from unlined landfills. And of course Duke Energy knew this too, but they were more concerned with returning healthy quarterly dividends than being good stewards of the environment. But hopefully they will soon find out that having us pay for their mistakes won't be as easy as it has been:

Wednesday News: Time to pay the piper

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BRIBERY SCHEME INVOLVING NC GOP CHAIRMAN REACHED $1.5 MILLION: Greg Lindberg, two of his business associates and state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes were all indicted by a federal grand jury last month, but the indictments were sealed until Tuesday. They turned themselves in to the FBI in Charlotte on Tuesday, had first appearances before a U.S. magistrate judge and all pleaded not guilty. They're all accused of trying to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who got in touch with federal investigators and recorded conversations quoted in the indictment. The alleged scheme would have traded more than $1 million in political contributions in exchange for regulatory help at the department. Hayes, a former congressman and GOP candidate for governor, is also charged with three counts of lying to the FBI. On Monday he announced that he wouldn't seek another term as chairman of the state Republican Party, citing his health.
https://www.wral.com/nc-gop-chairman-major-political-donor-indicted-in-alleged-bribery-scheme/18300166/

Robin Hayes indicted on bribery and corruption charges

Tuesday News: Dig it up, Duke

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DEQ ORDERS DUKE ENERGY TO EXCAVATE ALL OF ITS COAL ASH PITS: The Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, which has represented environmental groups in lawsuits that sought to force Duke to remove its ash, called the decision “one of the most important steps in the state’s history to protect North Carolina’s waters and its citizens from toxic pollution.” Duke has until August to submit its excavation plans, including where the excavated ash will go and how long the process will take. Duke will have the option of offering other options, such as recycling the ash for use in concrete, in addition to excavating it. “DEQ elects (excavation) because removing the coal ash from unlined (ash) surface impoundments ... is more protective than leaving the material in place,” the department’s orders said for each of the affected power plants. “DEQ determines that (excavation) is the most appropriate closure method because removing the primary source of groundwater contamination will reduce uncertainty and allow for flexibility in the deployment of future remedial measures.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article228681894.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Just a friendly reminder:

I am running for local office (again) this year, and hoping our voter turnout is closer to 20% instead of the barely 10% we got last time. It's hard to believe people could be so disinterested in their own community, but there it is. Take the time to get to know who's running in your local election, and what their priorities are. Because by the time something stupid gets done and shows up on your radar, it's probably too late.

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