Daily dose

Thursday News: May Day is a call for help

NC TEACHERS MARCH ON RALEIGH TO DEMAND MORE RESOURCES: “I started crying when we were marching,” said Jennifer Collins, testing coordinator at Cleveland High School in Johnston County. “It was so emotional seeing everyone marching together for the same reason.” Teachers came for the event from across the state, united by some of the same concerns. A trio of teachers from Wayne County said they represented many rural counties where some school employees are required to have commercial drivers’ licenses so they can drive school buses when necessary. “I drive a bus at least two times a week,” said Isaac Davenport, who teaches agricultural education and voluntarily drives a bus. Organizers hoped the May 1 “Day of Action” organized by the N.C. Association of Educators would surpass the crowd at last year’s protest and build on the momentum that they credit with helping to mobilize voters in last fall’s election to break Republican supermajorities in the legislature.

Wednesday News: Strike one...

DON DAVIS JOINS REPUBLICAN SENATORS IN VETO OVERRIDE: “We don’t need to create this law because it feeds a false narrative, of these incidents occurring,” Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, said Tuesday in a speech in the Senate debate. In his original veto message, Cooper wrote that babies are already protected by existing laws and called the bill “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.” The bill originally passed the Senate 28-19, with several Republicans absent that day. All but two Democrats voted no originally — Sen. Ben Clark of Hoke County and Sen. Don Davis of Pitt County. But on Tuesday, all the Republicans were present for the vote. And even though Clark switched on Tuesday to side with Cooper, Davis provided the final vote that Republicans needed to override the veto.

Tuesday News: Protecting the gun?


REPUBLICANS BLOCK AMENDMENT GIVING JUDGES MORE DISCRETION TO REMOVE GUNS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES: Morey, a former judge, wanted to add a fifth factor that would allow a judge to consider all evidence presented in court in determining whether the continued access to firearms would pose a threat in a domestic violence case. "We're trying to protect families. We're trying to protect victims," she said, adding that the surrender of firearms is temporary and that defendants can petition to reclaim their firearms. But Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, said Morey's proposal was too broad and would allow judges to "take someone's guns away" for practically any reason. Rep. Allen McNeill, R-Randolph, agreed the amendment would give judges "carte blanche to seize" firearms. Rep. Robert Reives, D-Chatham, noted that judges have discretion to remove children from a home if a domestic violence situation poses a threat, and it would be ridiculous not to give them the same discretion when it comes to removing firearms.

Monday News: Pay attention to the teachers


NCAE HAS RELEASED LIST OF DEMANDS BEFORE MAY 1 RALLY: Looking forward, the NCAE has identified the following priorities for this year's rally on May 1: Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards. Provide a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, a 5 percent raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees. Expand Medicaid. Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017. Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DEAF TO TEACHERS? LEGISLATORS POISED TO SHORT--CHANGE PUBLIC EDUCATION: A House appropriations subcommittee unveils details today of a skimpy education budget. It offers up less than a 1-percent boost next year for North Carolina’s public schools, community colleges and universities. The constitutional requirement for access to quality education – a “right” in our state – is not being met and it is the General Assembly’s failure. Per-student spending ranks among the lowest in the South and the nation. Teacher pay, when adjusted for inflation, is less today than it was in 2009. While the legislature scrimps its constitutional duties, it finds plenty of money to spend on unnecessary tax breaks for corporations. The latest is a proposed $140 million annual cut in the franchise tax. That’s on top of $2.5 billion in corporate tax cutting that has already been enacted over the last five years. All that comes at a cost of meeting the VERY BASIC needs of North Carolinians.

Saturday News: Par for the course


REPUBLICANS FILE BILL TO BLOCK FUTURE TEACHER RALLIES: The state House Education budget released on Friday would change state law to say that schools can’t give permission for teachers to use personal leave on a school day unless they can confirm that a substitute teacher is available. School districts have cited the lack of substitutes to cancel classes, both for last year’s mass teacher rally and the one scheduled for May 1 in Raleigh. “A local board of education shall not alter a school calendar once adopted unless necessary to address a severe weather condition, energy shortage, utility failure, public health crisis, school safety crisis, emergency related to a school building or school transportation, or act of God,” according to the budget documents.

Friday News: Keep your fingers crossed


TRUMP ADMIN HAS "INDEFINITELY DELAYED" EXPANSION OF OFFSHORE DRILLING: Gov. Roy Cooper opposed plans to open waters along the North Carolina coast to drilling. Most governors along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts opposed the Trump administration plan. Some elected officials in coastal communities and business owners in those areas also fought drilling. The Journal reported Thursday that U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in an interview that the plan was on hold while a federal judge’s decision upholding an Obama-era drilling ban in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean is appealed. “I certainly hope that ‘indefinitely delayed’ is Washington-speak for ‘never,’” Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Sierra Weaver said in a statement. “Whatever the reason for this delay, more than 230 communities have spoken out against seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic, and those hundreds of thousands of coastal residents and businesses welcome any development that makes risking their coast less likely.”

Thursday News: Union!


DEM LAWMAKERS FILE COMPANION BILLS TO ALLOW COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: Two first-term Democratic state legislators have filed bills hoping to overturn a 1959 ban on collective bargaining by public-sector employees. That means labor unions would have negotiating power. In North Carolina, instead of through collective bargaining, government workers’ wages are set by the legislature or a local government. So workers lobby for what they want rather than negotiate a union contract. Rep. Zack Hawkins said overturning the ban would help grow the middle class. “North Carolina’s a state on the rise ... moving our state in this direction helps our economy,” the Durham lawmaker said at a news conference Wednesday, and repeal would “once again make North Carolina a beacon in the South.”

Wednesday News: And they're off!


EARLY VOTING IN 9TH DISTRICT PRIMARY BEGINS TODAY: Early voting for the May 14 Republican primary starts Wednesday in Mecklenburg, Union and the six other counties in the 9th Congressional District. Only Republican and unaffiliated voters are eligible to cast ballots. There are no primaries for Democrats or members of the Green, Libertarian or Constitution parties, though each has a candidate in the general election. Ten Republicans are running for the nomination. The winner is expected to face Democrat Dan McCready, who ran in 2018. If no one in the May 14 primary gets at least 30 percent of the vote, there will be a Sept. 10 runoff followed by a Nov. 5 general election. If no runoff is necessary, the general election would be Sept. 10.

Tuesday News: Heroes and villains


UNC STUDENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT CAMPUS POLICE: History graduate student Mark Porlides talked about his arrest during a protest last year, and showed a video clip of his arrest taken by an officer’s body camera. Porlides said officers said there was no video of his being tackled and handcuffed as he stood watching the protest, but that his attorney was able to subpoena the video, which he said showed their account of the incident was incorrect. The charges were subsequently dismissed. Ayling said she has been the target of a number of death threats online. She was one of two people named in threatening language vandals scrawled on UNC’s Unsung Founders Memorial and an outdoor art exhibit on campus on the morning of March 31, she said. Two people UNC has said are members of the Heirs to the Confederacy group have been charged in the vandalism and ordered not to return to campus. Also this month, anti-Semitic posters were left on tables and bookshelves in UNC’s Davis Library.


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