Wednesday News: Delayed justice


AG STEIN PUSHES LEGISLATION TO FUND TESTING OF RAPE KITS: A bill backed by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and key Republican lawmakers would provide funding to test thousands of rape kits that have been sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms across North Carolina for years and establish protocols to ensure such backlogs don't recur in the future. An audit by the State Crime Lab determined a year ago that more than 15,000 rape kits statewide had never been tested. Stein said Tuesday that existing funds from his department and state and federal grants are whittling that number down by a few thousand, and the proposed Survivor Act would put $6 million in state funding over the next two years toward sending the rest to outside labs for testing. "Untested sexual assault kits ... represent one of the biggest threats to public safety we face in this state," Stein said at a news conference. "Each one of these kits represents a personal tragedy, and each of those victims deserves justice."

Tuesday News: Ticking time-bombs


4 STUDENTS IN SCOTLAND COUNTY SCHOOL WERE PLANNING COLUMBINE-STYLE ATTACK: Law enforcement and school officials in Scotland County are investigating after receiving reports that some students were discussing a Columbine-style attack, WMBF reported. Scotland County Sheriff’s Lt. Inv. Jessica Sadonikov said last week employee a Carver Middle School employee alerted the school resource officer about suspicious posts on Instagram. Officials determined that three or four students, between the ages of 12 and 13, were discussing a Columbine-style attack in a manner that made investigators think they were serious, Sadonikov said. She added that specific teachers and several students were targeted, and one of the alleged posters specifically mentioned Columbine when questioned.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And today's big surprise:

Just kidding. It's no surprise at all the aging white males would pick another aging white male...

New GOP voter suppression tactic: Block voting at schools


Making voting harder since 2011:

Lambeth said he is willing to amend the proposed legislation to help attract non-school sites as potential polling places. When asked about whether the legislation could hamper voting in low-income neighborhoods that use schools as precincts, Lambeth said a local school board “should know whether its schools can be made safe or not, with areas secured enough, to allow voting on election days.”

“I focused entirely on the school safety issue, and not the impact on elections. Some schools could have extra on-site security in place on election days” he said.

a) If you were focused entirely on school safety, you would have done something (anything) to limit access to deadly firearms in the wake of all the mass school shootings, and b) There are three (3) separate Amendments to the U.S. Constitution designed to protect the right to vote, so if you completely ignored the potential impact on elections, you are not qualified to be a lawmaker, period. But I think you were well aware of that impact, and are actually counting on it:

Monday News: Party business

ERICA SMITH SETS HER SIGHTS ON THOM TILLIS IN 2020: State Sen. Erica Smith, from Northampton County in the northeast, announced her 2020 bid to unseat Tillis on Saturday through social media and at a Democratic Party gathering in Charlotte. Smith is a math instructor and ordained minister first elected to the legislature in 2014. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller also announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination last week. Primaries are in March 2020. Smith's announcement came as 500 members of the Democrats' executive committee met. There current party Chair Wayne Goodwin was re-elected for another two-year term. He was the only candidate. Former state Rep. Bobbie Richardson was elected first vice-chair, defeating current first vice-chair Aisha Dew and another candidate.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SCHOOL CHOICE DOESN'T HAPPEN IN A VACUUM: Since the cap on charter schools was lifted by North Carolina’s state legislature in 2012, the number of charter schools in the state has nearly doubled. This year we have 185 charter schools in operation, serving more than 100,000 students across the state (overseen by a staff of 8 people). Next year we’ll have 200. The rapidly expanding charter schools siphon money away from traditional public schools and reduce what services those public schools can offer to students who remain, according to a recent Duke University study. As students leave for charters, they take their share of funding with them--but the school district they leave is still responsible for the fixed costs of services such as transportation, building maintenance and administration that those funds had supported. Districts are then forced to cut spending in other areas in order to make up the difference. In Durham, where 18 percent of K-12 students attend charter schools, the fiscal burden on traditional public schools is estimated at $500-700 per student. As the number of charters increases, so will that price tag.


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