Daily dose

Thursday News: It's Veto time again


BILL TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO COOPERATE WITH ICE PASSES NC HOUSE: The House on Wednesday narrowly passed legislation that would require sheriffs statewide to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The proposal was prompted by the decisions of new sheriffs in Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg counties to stop honoring detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they took office in December. The detainers are requests to keep people charged with crimes whose immigration status is in question in county jails until ICE agents can take them into custody. Under the bill, anyone who believes local law enforcement isn't cooperating with ICE can file a complaint, and a judge could fine the agency $1,000 to $1,500 for every day it doesn't comply. A second offense would boost that to $25,000 a day.

Wednesday News: Time to pay the piper


BRIBERY SCHEME INVOLVING NC GOP CHAIRMAN REACHED $1.5 MILLION: Greg Lindberg, two of his business associates and state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes were all indicted by a federal grand jury last month, but the indictments were sealed until Tuesday. They turned themselves in to the FBI in Charlotte on Tuesday, had first appearances before a U.S. magistrate judge and all pleaded not guilty. They're all accused of trying to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who got in touch with federal investigators and recorded conversations quoted in the indictment. The alleged scheme would have traded more than $1 million in political contributions in exchange for regulatory help at the department. Hayes, a former congressman and GOP candidate for governor, is also charged with three counts of lying to the FBI. On Monday he announced that he wouldn't seek another term as chairman of the state Republican Party, citing his health.

Tuesday News: Dig it up, Duke


DEQ ORDERS DUKE ENERGY TO EXCAVATE ALL OF ITS COAL ASH PITS: The Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, which has represented environmental groups in lawsuits that sought to force Duke to remove its ash, called the decision “one of the most important steps in the state’s history to protect North Carolina’s waters and its citizens from toxic pollution.” Duke has until August to submit its excavation plans, including where the excavated ash will go and how long the process will take. Duke will have the option of offering other options, such as recycling the ash for use in concrete, in addition to excavating it. “DEQ elects (excavation) because removing the coal ash from unlined (ash) surface impoundments ... is more protective than leaving the material in place,” the department’s orders said for each of the affected power plants. “DEQ determines that (excavation) is the most appropriate closure method because removing the primary source of groundwater contamination will reduce uncertainty and allow for flexibility in the deployment of future remedial measures.”

Monday News: Inherently racist


CONFEDERATE VANDAL ARRESTED ON UNC CHAPEL HILL CAMPUS: At least one person will face charges after hate speech was found on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill early Sunday morning. According to an email send by Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, two individuals defaced the Unsung Founders Memorial with “racist and other deplorable language” at about 1:30 a.m. University police also discovered an installation outside the Hanes Art Center had been vandalized with “hateful language and racial slurs,” school officials said. Guskewicz said both incidents are being investigated, and university police are in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant for a person identified on surveillance footage. Officials said that person is known to be affiliated with the Heirs to the Confederacy group.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


TAKE IT FROM US; POLITICIANS CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO DRAW ELECTORAL MAPS: Our states — Maryland and North Carolina — are among the most gerrymandered in the country. Take a look at our congressional district maps, and you will see some absurd-looking districts. This is no artistic statement; it is a scheme to concentrate one party’s voters — often using race as a proxy for party affiliation — in as few districts as possible, while spreading out another party’s voters into a larger number of districts that can still be comfortably won. Gerrymandering also has a toxic, polarizing effect on the conduct of elected officials. It makes them more beholden to the party leaders who draw the boundaries than to the voters who live within them. The fear of a primary challenger backed by their party leader forces them to fall into line and focus on the narrow interests of the party and its more stalwart voters. They become less responsive to the full spectrum of needs in their district, and common ground and the common good take a back seat to a safe seat. It is just wrong.

Saturday News: Because it's 2019, not 1919


JUDGE TELLS NC CHARTER SCHOOL IT CAN'T FORCE GIRLS TO WEAR SKIRTS: A North Carolina charter school promoting traditional values engaged in unconstitutional sex discrimination by requiring girls to wear skirts, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard ruled that Charter Day School can't enforce the skirts-only rule as part of its dress code that punishes violations with suspensions and even expulsion. No child has been expelled for violating the dress code since the school opened in 2000, Howard said in a decision filed on Thursday. "All I wanted was for my daughter and every other girl at school to have the option to wear pants so she could play outside, sit comfortably, and stay warm in the winter," Bonnie Peltier said in a statement provided by the ACLU. "But it's disappointing that it took a court order to force the school to accept the simple fact that, in 2019, girls should have the choice to wear pants."

Friday News: Equal means equal


TRIO OF LGBTQ BILLS INTRODUCED IN NC HOUSE: House Democrats introduced three gay rights bills on Thursday that would repeal the remains of HB2; make it illegal to practice conversion therapy on minors and disabled adults; and expand North Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws to include gender identity, sexual orientation and military or veteran status. House Bills 514, 515 and 516 were announced at a news conference in the legislative building by some of the bills’ sponsors and representatives from LGBTQ advocacy groups. “This historic slate of legislation is a collective effort towards making life more equitable and safe for queer North Carolinians who deserve the basic dignity of living, loving and growing without fear of prejudice or violence,” said Kendra R. Johnson, executive director of Equity North Carolina, who attended the event. “Together, we can build a state that enables LGBTQ folks from all walks of life to prosper and show the world that North Carolina truly is a beautiful place to be queer.”

Thursday News: Fascist state

NC REPUBLICANS WANT TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO HELP ICE: Republicans said Wednesday that since multiple sheriffs around the state were elected in 2018 on anti-ICE platforms, it’s necessary to change state law to force them to work with ICE. In North Carolina, county jails are run by the local sheriff. “These sanctuary sheriffs are putting politics ahead of public safety,” said Republican Rep. Destin Hall of Caldwell County, who sponsored the bill. But Democrats said it’s an overreaching government policy that insults voters and law enforcement alike. “Who are we to tell our law enforcement officials, who were elected recently, how to behave?” asked Rep. Wesley Harris, a Democrat from Charlotte, where the local sheriff’s race was one of the races won by a candidate who spoke out against ICE, Sheriff Garry McFadden.

Wednesday News: A win for choice


JUDGE RULES NC'S 20 WEEK BAN ON ABORTIONS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: North Carolina’s ban on women having abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is unconstitutional, a federal court ruled Monday. But the ruling won’t go into effect immediately. The judge gave state lawmakers 60 days to either write a new abortion law or appeal his ruling. The ruling was a win for Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU who sued to overturn the law. “All decisions about pregnancy, including abortion, are deeply personal and should be decided between a woman and her doctor, without medically-unnecessary interference from politicians,” said Jenny Black, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, in a press release. “This ruling affirms that right and (sends) a clear message to politicians that women deserve our care, not our judgment.”

Tuesday News: Trying to get cute


LEWIS AND HISE GET SPANKED BY 3-JUDGE PANEL OVER PRIVILEGE: This state-level lawsuit targets legislative districts, accusing Republican leaders of drawing maps so unfairly stacked against Democrats that they violate the state constitution. As part of the suit, 10 current or former legislators and two staffers claimed legislative privilege, allowing them to opt out of answering questions. But as a deadline approached, two of those legislators – Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, who chaired key redistricting committees – reversed themselves, seeking to testify. The late change caused problems for Common Cause's suit, the group said, because various reports were due within days and the group's attorneys had not deposed Lewis or Hise. Judges Paul Ridgeway, Joseph Crosswhite and Alma Hinton agreed with Common Cause that letting Lewis and Hise waive privilege this late in the process "would provide an unfair benefit." As a result, all 12 people who claimed privilege in the case will get it, and some testimony from Lewis and Hise may be blocked during the coming trial.


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