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Friday News: Prudish behavior


NC CONSERVATIVES ARE BACK TO FIGHTING SEX EDUCATION CLASSES: A proposal sponsored by conservative House members could change the way students receive health and sex education instruction in North Carolina schools. The state requires schools to offer sex education classes, but House Bill 196 would strike a provision requiring school systems to have an opt-out provision for students whose parents don't want their children to get the instruction. Instead, the bill would require schools to obtain parental permission before a child could attend the classes. The bill also would require parental consent for students to learn where contraception or abortion referral services can be obtained. Current law leaves it up to local school boards to set policies on how such information is provided. The bill's sponsors, Reps. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, Julia Howard, R-Davie, and Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, didn't respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Thursday News: Busted


GRAND JURY INDICTS KINGPIN OF NC09 ABSENTEE BALLOT FRAUD: McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the 9th District election fraud case, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges related to collecting absentee ballots in the 2018 primary and 2016 election. Dowless, 63, faces three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two charges of possession of absentee ballot. The indictment from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Dowless’ actions “served to undermine the integrity of the absentee ballot process and the public’s confidence in the outcome of the electoral process.”

Wednesday News: Welcome to Hazzard?

HARRIS BOWS OUT OF NC09 DO-OVER, ENDORSES "BOSS HOGG" COMMISSIONER: In Tuesday's letter, Harris said he and his family struggled with the decision of how to move forward before they agreed to put his health first. "I ... owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign," he said. "It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation." Harris threw his support behind Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing for the 9th District seat. Rushing hasn't yet declared himself a candidate. "His background and his experience have proven him to stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security, and religious freedom. I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing," he said.

Tuesday News: A true Statesman

GOVERNOR COOPER DELIVERS INCLUSIVE STATE-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS: Cooper used “determined” as the theme of his second State of the State address and the first since Democrats added enough seats in the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly to uphold the Democratic governor’s vetoes. He struck a tone of bipartisanship and advocated for debates in good faith. “I believe we have broad agreement on what we want for our state,” he said. “We need to seek common ground and build solutions upon it.” Cooper invited a teacher, farmers, a pediatrician, and a state trooper to Raleigh to illustrate his points about education, help for rural communities, Medicaid expansion, and heroism in the hurricane. Lawmakers applauded the guests as Cooper introduced them. “The storm showed us it’s also time to come together to meet other challenges that people face every day across our state,” Cooper said. “And we have to bring that same determination to every challenge.

Monday News: Turkey buzzard


PAT MCCRORY TEASES RUN FOR 9TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: On Monday at 8:15 a.m., former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will make an announcement about the new election for the 9th congressional district. In a tweet on Sunday, McCrory said he will share his "personal status" on the election. The announcement will be made on his radio show on 1110 WBT AM. "Much has changed over the past week regarding the 9th congressional district," McCrory wrote. "I have received an enormous number of calls about it from friends, reporters, and political operatives from our state and Washington, D.C." The 9th district covers an area that stretches from Charlotte to Fayettevile. Last week, the Board of Elections voted to hold a new election, following allegations of election fraud involving the apparent winner, Mark Harris' campaign. On Friday, Democrat Dan McCready, who ran against Harris, said he will run for the seat again.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NEW 9TH DISTRICT ELECTION MUST PROMPT OTHER MUCH-NEEDED REFORMS: There’s more than ample testimony and evidence for criminal prosecutors to sift through. Wake County District Attorney Lorren Freeman's ongoing probe of 2016 election activities by Bladen County political fixer McRae Dowless – the apparent mastermind of the absentee ballot scheme at the root of the tainted election -- will easily be expanded to include the latest allegations. Further, we hope and encourage U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon’s office to take a serious look at what happened here. It would be an opportunity to resurrect his office’s reputation after it failed to explore these problems when the state Board of Elections passed along worrisome findings two years ago. We’re thankful for the persistence of the Board of Elections staff – particularly amid the political manipulating by state legislative leaders that embroiled the agency in litigation – for its focus on its duty.

Saturday News: Voided


JUDGE CITES ILLEGAL GERRYMANDERING IN VOTER ID AND TAX CAP AMENDMENT REVERSAL: “An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution,” he wrote. When the legislature wrote the amendments and voted to place them on the 2018 ballot, many of the members who voted to do so had been elected under district lines that were ruled unconstitutional because they had been drawn to dilute the political power of African-American voters. “We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked,” N.C. NAACP president Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman said in a press release after the ruling was issued. “The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach.”

Friday News: Bowing to the inevitable


MARK HARRIS THROWS IN THE TOWEL AFTER SEVERAL KNOCKDOWNS: After a stunning reversal by Republican Mark Harris, North Carolina election officials Thursday unanimously ordered a new election in the 9th Congressional District, which has gained national attention as the last unresolved House race for the 2018 election. The state elections board’s vote came after four days of testimony about what the board’s staff called “a coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” in Bladen and Robeson counties. And it came less than an hour after a startling announcement by Harris, who had been fighting to have his apparent victory certified. “I believe a new election should be called,” Harris told the board, citing testimony he’d heard during the week. “It’s become clear to me the public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.“

Thursday News: The sins of the father

MARK HARRIS' SON TESTIFIES HE REPEATEDLY WARNED FATHER ABOUT DOWLESS: The testimony from John Harris rebutted suggestions by Harris and his campaign that they’d seen no red flags about McCrae Dowless, who is now at the center of allegations into voting irregularities in the 9th Congressional District. John Harris’ dramatic testimony came on the third day of a hearing by North Carolina’s State Board of Elections that could decide the nation’s last unresolved congressional race and has drawn national attention — and it left his father in tears. “I love my dad and I love my mom,” John Harris said as his father cried. “I certainly have no vendetta against them, no family scores to settle, OK? I think they made mistakes in this process, and they certainly did things differently than I would have done them.”

Wednesday News: Window dressing


JOHNSON THINKS PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MARKETING WILL HELP NC TEACHERS: Johnson had teased the news, saying beforehand that the event would include “major announcements for North Carolina’s education system.” Critics questioned making the announcement at a private, invitation-only event, especially after some people who registered were later disinvited after being told there weren’t enough seats. “We are very pleased with the tremendous response to this important event,” said Drew Elliot, a spokesman for Johnson. “We certainly wish we could accommodate every educator and citizen who would like to attend, but at some point, the room fills up.” Critics went on Twitter Tuesday night to criticize the event. “What NC Public Education doesn’t need is a slick PR campaign,” tweeted Tamika Kelly, an elementary school music teacher. “We need sustained and authentic investment in our public schools and that will sell itself. #NotInvited #InThisTogether #ncpol


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