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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY BEARS DOWN ON AMENDMENTS: James Madison, writing in the 1788 Federalist Papers No. 47, cited North Carolina for going too far at its outset in giving the legislative branch power to appoint the governor, as well as executive office-holders and judges. It was not until the 1835 state Constitution that North Carolina voters got the right to elect their governors. In the Federalist No. 48, Madison warned tartly that “the legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” And he observed that “the danger from legislative usurpations, which, by assembling all power into the same hands, must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened by executive usurpations.” No doubt Jim Holshouser — and perhaps even James Madison of Virginia — would have joined former governors Jim Hunt, Jim Martin, Mike Easley, Bev Perdue, and Pat McCrory in defining for voters the long-term consequences of power-shifting amendments to their own well-being.
https://www.wral.com/ferrel-guillory-weight-of-history-bears-down-on-amendments/17777024/

Saturday News: Out of control

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WOODHOUSE THREATENS TO IMPEACH SUPREME COURT JUSTICES OVER AMENDMENTS: North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse says Republican lawmakers could vote to impeach judges or justices who decide to remove any constitutional amendments from the ballot this fall. State Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin was on stage with Woodhouse when he first made the comment. "I was shocked. I could not believe what I’d heard," Goodwin told WRAL News. "This just further shows that Republicans – Republican legislative leaders in particular – will stop at nothing to preserve their power, whether it’s misleading voters on the ballot, or it’s by gerrymandering districts, or in this instance, intimidating members of the judicial branch." Goodwin also said he doesn't believe the idea of impeaching justices originated with Woodhouse.
https://www.wral.com/impeachment-of-justices-possible-gop-chief-says/17776194/

Friday News: The stink of desperation

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ATTORNEY FOR BERGERMOORE ARGUES JUDGES HAVE NO AUTHORITY OVER AMENDMENTS: The courts don’t have a role in determining what constitutional amendments appear on the ballot, a lawyer representing North Carolina legislative leaders told a three-judge panel Wednesday. Martin Warf is defending House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, both Republicans, in lawsuits to stop proposed constitutional amendments from going to voters. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is fighting two amendments that he and others say would shift power from the executive office to the legislature. One amendment would strip governors from their power to appoint members to hundreds of state boards and commissions and give that power to the legislature. The other would limit governors’ abilities to appoint judges to court vacancies.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216689835.html

Thursday News: Stop the presses

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JUDGES PUT HOLD ON PRINTING AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT: A panel of three Superior Court judges on Wednesday ordered state elections officials to hold off printing ballots for the November election until the courts could weigh in on challenges brought by Gov. Roy Cooper to two proposed constitutional amendments. Cooper charges that amendments giving lawmakers the power to fill vacant judgeships between elections and appoint people to dozens of state boards and commissions are worded so poorly on the ballot that they will mislead voters as to their impact. "A ballot question that does not fairly and accurately present [what it does] amounts to a deceit on the people of North Carolina, and it corrodes and, I suggest, it corrupts their right to amend their constitution," said John Wester, an attorney for Cooper. "This cannot become the law of our state."
https://www.wral.com/judges-skeptical-of-challenges-to-proposed-amendments/17771309/

Wednesday News: About that hunting amendment...

BEAR POACHERS ARRESTED AFTER SHOOTING AT DEPUTIES: The Charlotte Observer reports 22-year-old Hunter Alan Wright, 21-year-old James Bradley Owen and Owen's father were arrested in the Saturday incident near Hendersonville. A Henderson County Sheriff's Office release says deputies were shot at while responding to a report of shots fired in an area known for wildlife poaching. Wright was charged with resisting an officer. Owen was arrested on charges including attempted murder and resisting an officer. He's also charged by the state Wildlife Resources Commission with baiting bears with processed food. Forty-nine-year-old James Gary Owen then arrived and was arrested for resisting deputies. Additionally, a dog bit a deputy and was shot. It's unclear if the men have lawyers.
https://www.wral.com/sheriff-deputies-fired-at-while-investigating-bear-poaching/17770007/

Tuesday News: Not so fast, BergerMoore

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JUDGE RULES REPUBLICANS VIOLATED CHRIS ANGLIN'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: A judge threw out a new state law Monday, ruling that it violated the constitutional rights of at least two politicians whose 2018 campaigns the law had targeted. Chris Anglin, a Republican candidate for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court, had sued the legislature along with Rebecca Edwards, a Democrat who is running to become a district court judge in Wake County. Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a new law that would have prevented Anglin or Edwards from being able to have their party affiliations on the ballot. They argued that the law unfairly targeted them because their competitors in this November’s elections would still have their own parties listed on the ballot.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article216594950.html

Monday News: Another inconvenient truth

AL AND KARENNA GORE JOIN BISHOP BARBER ON TOUR OF POLLUTED POOR COMMUNITIES: Former Vice President Al Gore, his daughter Karenna Gore and former NAACP state leader the Rev. William Barber will be in North Carolina on Sunday and Monday for an environmental justice tour. The trio will start with a 9:45 a.m. worship service Sunday at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, where Barber is pastor. At noon Monday, they will hold a news conference at Belews Creek in Stokes County, which has been contaminated by coal ash. At 6 p.m. Monday, they will attend a Moral Monday meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church in Greensboro, where testimonials from people who live near polluted areas will be included in the program. The two-day tour is organized by the Poor People’s Campaign, which is the national movement that Barber has helped kick off.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article216521370.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LET'S LOWER THE CURTAIN ON THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S BAD SHOW: This is political and judicial theater that is both comedy and tragedy but, more importantly, a show that should not have taken the stage in the first place. These six potential amendments to the state’s constitution — two taking appointments from the governor, one requiring voters to produce IDs, one to lower the state’s income tax ceiling, one about rights for crime victims and one to be sure you know hunting and fishing are a right — are not worthy of constitutional status. You will hear and read that dozens of times between now and Nov. 6. They shouldn’t be on the ballot. Legislators rushed back into session to change the law so that they, not that commission, would write those descriptions. When Cooper vetoed that bill, lawmakers returned Saturday to override that veto. That generated the various lawsuits, which argue that those efforts mislead voters with imprecise wording.
https://www.greensboro.com/opinion/n_and_r_editorials/our-opinion-let-s-lower-the-curtain-on-the-n/a...

Saturday News: Culture of disrespect

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TWO HIGH-LEVEL DPI STAFFERS SQUEEZED OUT BY MARK JOHNSON: Adam Levinson was made CFO by the State Board of Education in March 2017 following former CFO Philip Price’s departure back in February of 2017. State Superintendent Mark Johnson was opposed to his hiring, according to an affidavit filed as part of a now-resolved lawsuit between the State Board and Johnson. Stacey Wilson-Norman, who previously worked as deputy superintendent of academics at Durham Public Schools, was made chief academic officer of DPI in September of 2017. At the time of her hiring, Johnson opposed the Board making any new high-level hires until the lawsuit between he and the Board was resolved. Both Wilson-Norman and Levinson were effectively demoted as part of Johnson’s recent reorganization, with Levinson retaining his role but with less authority and Wilson-Norman being reassigned to the lower-level role of division director of curriculum and instruction.
https://www.wral.com/two-high-level-dpi-staffers-out-third-state-board-of-education-member-resigns/1...

Friday News: Adding injury to insult

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MATH TEST KNOCKING OUT HUNDREDS OF NEW NC TEACHERS, EXACERBATING SHORTAGES: Pearson provides teacher license exams for 24 states, including others that have had controversy over low pass rates on math. But only one, Massachusetts, uses exactly the same math exam, company officials told the Observer Tuesday. And that state reported results similar to North Carolina’s, with 52.2 percent of first-time test takers passing in 2016-17. When repeat test-takers were factored in, the Massachusetts rate rose to 64.2 percent. North Carolina’s pass rate on the math exam was 54.5 percent in 2016-17, including 987 who didn’t try again after failing. Changes in the way North Carolina licenses its teachers came about after the state approved Common Core academic standards for students. Officials wanted to make sure teachers’ skills were adequate for the rigorous demands being placed on students, and that includes preparing children to master high-level math in middle and high school, Oxendine said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article216246840.html

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