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Thursday News: Collective bargaining

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NCAE POLLS MEMBERSHIP ON POTENTIAL TEACHER STRIKE: The NCAE Organize 2020 Racial & Social Justice Caucus is surveying school employees across the state about how many days of work they’re willing to miss to pressure the General Assembly to meet their funding demands. The survey gives options ranging from missing zero days to up to 10 days. The survey is taking place even though it’s against state law for teachers and other public employees to go on strike. Jeffrey Hirsch, professor at the UNC School of Law, cited how teachers in other states with similar bans went on strike and were not punished. If there are any consequences, he said it would be more likely that a North Carolina school district targeted the ringleaders for punishment. “Going after a large group of teachers would be very, very unlikely,” Hirsch said in an interview Wednesday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article239504518.html

Wednesday News: Demagoguery

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DAN FOREST SAYS PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS CREATED TO DESTROY BLACK PEOPLE: Community leaders in Raleigh are divided over comments made by Lt. Gov Dan Forest during a speech at a church on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Republican candidate for governor took aim at Planned Parenthood, claiming it originated to ‘destroy the entire black race.’ He has made no secret of his Christian beliefs over the years, including his opposition to abortion. Speaking to a group of black ministers in Fayetteville on Monday, he said he was glad the holiday honoring the civil rights leader combined issues of justice with life. "There’s no doubt that, when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race," he said. "That was the purpose of Planned Parenthood. That’s just the truth. That’s not just some bloc on the side. That was the purpose when that organization was created."
https://www.wral.com/raleigh-community-leaders-divided-over-lt-gov-forest-comments-about-planned-par...

Tuesday News: Kabuki Theatre

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MARK MEADOWS PART OF TRUMP TEAM TO DISCREDIT IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES: The White House also announced Monday night that it had assembled a team of eight House Republicans to serve as part of the president’s defense team, including some of his fiercest defenders, like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and John Ratcliffe of Texas. McConnell’s trial rules, which limited each side’s arguments to 24 hours over two days, gave the White House a helping hand at the outset and drew swift anger from Democrats. The rules left open the possibility that the Senate could not only decline to hear new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry, but could also sidestep considering the House case against Trump altogether — although such a vote is considered unlikely. “Under this resolution, Sen. McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader. “It’s a cover-up, and the American people will see it for exactly what it is.”
https://www.wral.com/trump-legal-team-to-ask-senate-for-speedy-acquittal-in-impeachment-trial/18898443/

Monday News: The struggle continues

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VOTING RIGHTS A MAJOR THEME AT MLK JR CELEBRATION: Former Tallahassee Mayor and 2018 Democratic Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum spoke about “the power of the people” and carrying on King’s legacy, particularly through voting. “Our strongest tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he fought so hard for... may be the ballot itself,” Gillum said. He said the ballot should be valued as much as the stone monuments, the memorial street names in cities all over America, the holidays and the fire that burns for King in Atlanta, Georgia. “Every day we are fighting in Florida and in Texas and in North Carolina to make the Voting Rights Act mean something,” Gillum said. And the fight will continue as “the other side” tries to strip and suppress that right to vote from groups of people through gerrymandering, rigging elections and targeted voter ID laws.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article239395893.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE $74,999 QUESTION: CAN UNC'S $2.5 MILLION BAD DEAL BE STOPPED? The DTH revelations are raising questions about whether the key party to the deal, Sons of Confederate Veterans, violated tax and campaign spending laws. State Attorney General Josh Stein, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall who oversees non-profits -- along with the state Revenue Department and state Board of Elections, all must look into these serious matters. The rush to approve anything, at any cost, to get rid of the Silent Sam issue has done just the opposite. In fact, Superior Court Judge Allan Baddour, who signed the initial consent judgment and order is reexamining his approval and will be holding a hearing on Feb. 12 to further look into the deal. It is time for the courts and regulators to say enough-is-enough. Terminate the deal. University officials should be ashamed of themselves.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-the-74-999-question-can-unc-s-2-5-million-bad-deal-be-stopped/18884725/

Saturday News: Greenwashing?

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FARM WORKERS' UNION POINTS FINGER AT WHOLE FOODS: “FLOC members faced abusive working conditions, wage theft, threats, and violations of basic health and safety protocols in the tobacco and sweet potato fields of North Carolina, including on farms that supply Whole Foods,” the union said in a press release Thursday. Now it is demanding a meeting with “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Whole Foods, a Texas-based supermarket chain, prides itself on being “the world’s leader in natural and organic foods” and is committed to sustainable agriculture. But in 2019, FLOC said, the grocery store “made a set of commitments it has yet to fully follow through on.” “As the 2020 planting season approaches in the U.S. South, farmworkers, NGO’s and labor unions representing workers in the Whole Foods distribution chain have come together to seek real engagement with Whole Foods,” the release states.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article239397123.html

Friday News: Justice comes for Hudson

DCCC PLEDGES HELP FOR PATRICIA TIMMONS-GOODSON'S CONGRESSIONAL RACE: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday that it has added the 8th District to its “offensive battlefield” in an effort to expand its House majority. “North Carolina’s redrawn congressional map puts the state’s 8th Congressional District squarely in play, forcing incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Hudson into the first competitive general election of his career,” the DCCC said in a memo. Hudson’s Democratic opponent is Patricia Timmons-Goodson, who in 2006 became the first African American woman on the state Supreme Court. Her consultant, Thomas Mills, said the DCCC already has been helping the campaign. Decisions about financial help would come later, he said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article239349128.html

Thursday News: And so it begins...

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ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE IN THE MAIL FOR NC'S 2020 PRIMARY: The 2020 primary elections have begun in North Carolina, with mail-in ballots now available for people who choose to use absentee voting. In-person early voting won’t start until Feb. 13, though, and Election Day isn’t until March 3. So undecided voters still have time to make up their minds. People who plan to vote on Election Day for the primary, which is March 3, must register to vote no later than Feb. 7. However, people who miss that deadline can still register at the polls during early voting, as long as they bring an acceptable form of identification showing their name and address. That can include a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement or other such official documents. Finally, people who don’t register in time to vote for the primary election can still vote in the general election in November, as long as they meet the deadlines for registering then.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article239237563.html

Wednesday News: Adjourned

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NC SENATE CALLS IT QUITS AFTER OVERRIDE FAILURES: The vote on the teacher raises bill was 28 to 21, which failed to reach the supermajority required for an override. There was no vote on the state budget covering the fiscal year that is now more than half over, including teacher raises and other spending and tax policies. The Senate adjourned without ever calling up the budget, instead sending it back to committee. The Senate also upheld Cooper’s veto on a bill dealing with regulations. The state has been operating on the last budget, which rolled over, along with several mini budget bills that became law over the past several months, including raises for most state employees. Berger said Medicaid expansion is holding up the budget. Cooper has demanded Medicaid expansion to cover more of the uninsured.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article239272053.html

Tuesday News: 21 Strong

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SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE UNIFIED IN SUPPORT OF COOPER'S BUDGET VETO: With a potential vote on the governor’s state budget veto looming in the state Senate on Tuesday, none of the four Democratic senators who initially voted for the budget in June are planning to support an override of the veto. That means Republicans likely won’t get the one vote they need to pass the budget over Gov. Roy Cooper’s objections if all senators are present. One of the four “yes” votes in June — Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham — has resigned to take another government position, and the other three told the NC Insider last week that they expect to stand with the governor. “I’ll vote to sustain the governor’s veto,” said Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke. “I filed a bill to expand Medicaid in North Carolina; that is one of my top priorities and a priority of the governor as well. Until we sit down and negotiate that, I see no reason to vote to override the veto.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article239240543.html

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