NCGA

NC Senate passes CBD oil bill to treat specific diseases

Hopefully this is the beginning of a movement:

What Senate Bill 168 would do is allow CBD oil treatments for all individuals experiencing autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and mitochondrial disease. The bipartisan bill has two key Senate leaders as primary sponsors in Sens. Ralph Hise, R-McDowell, and Floyd McKissick Jr., D-Durham. State Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, is a co-sponsor. The same bill was not acted upon by the Senate Health Committee in 2017.

Both bills say the legislature has determined that current available treatment options “have been ineffective” for autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and mitochondrial disease. “Hemp extract shows promise in treating these chronic conditions,” the legislation says.

I'm glad to see this, but we really need to pursue medical marijuana and higher THC content CBD products if we truly want to combat NC's opioid problem.

Gator in a toxic chemical soup: GenX levels dangerously high in wildlife

The indications of long-term exposure should be very concerning:

Belcher’s team compared alligators from Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County and Greenfield Lake in Wilmington with the latter showing levels of total PFAS more than 10 times higher. They also compared striped bass from the Pamlico Aquaculture Field Laboratory and Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Cape Fear River, with the latter showing levels more than 33 times higher.

Researchers are now, Belcher said, looking at whether the PFAS are affecting the immune systems or liver functions of the animals sampled -- endpoints that have also been identified in humans. Partners in the team’s research include Cape Fear River Watch, N.C. Sea Grant and the N.C. PFAST Network.

Studies like this are extremely important, because right now there haven't been enough to meet the "statistically relevant" watermark for Federal agencies like the CDC to come to any conclusions. No doubt industry has played a role in that dearth of information, something leaders in our state need to get through their thick skulls. Self-regulating doesn't work, no matter how much money it saves from your budgeting. Back to the gators and fish(es):

Tuesday Twitter roundup

What Dan said:

Even better headline: "Andrew Dunn at Longleaf Politics has shed whatever cloak he was wearing on neutrality, and has gone full-on right-wing nutter."

Mark Johnson's "ClassWallet" program is a costly boondoggle

Somebody should design an app to detect idiots:

Several influential Republican lawmakers and GOP State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Wednesday the creation of the N.C. Teacher Classroom Supply Program that would be funded by new legislation requiring school districts to transfer $400 to each teacher. If passed, educators would use the ClassWallet app to spend the money and to submit reimbursements for supplies they purchase.

“Giving teachers the maximum control over classroom supply funds is the ultimate local control,” Johnson said at a news conference. “Teachers can be nimble and they can use these funds to buy what they need, when they need it.”

This is even worse than we initially thought. If that money was given directly to teachers, they could pool their resources and make larger (bulk) purchases, and/or contribute to local businesses. But being forced to use an app restricts their choices, and allows for the (huge) inflation of prices. Don't just take my word for it, listen to the teacher:

Teaching supplies "shell game" criticized by education leaders

Robbing from Peter to pay Paul could make matters worse:

After Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson backed a bill Wednesday that would shift money from school districts to give teachers $400 each for classroom supply needs, several State Board of Education members expressed issues Thursday with the bill’s potential consequences for districts.

Both teacher advisors on the board, 2017 Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin and 2018 Teacher of the Year Freebird McKinney, were vocal Wednesday about their opposition to Senate Bill 580, saying the reallocation of the money would take away resources districts need to buy supplies and equipment in bulk. Thursday, board member Jill Camnitz said she agrees with the advisors’ sentiments.

Not only is Mark Johnson not qualified to be NC's SuperNintendo, he apparently has a damn short memory. Just last Summer, he took money that was supposed to be disbursed to individual teachers and bought a bunch of IPads with it:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Just a friendly reminder:

I am running for local office (again) this year, and hoping our voter turnout is closer to 20% instead of the barely 10% we got last time. It's hard to believe people could be so disinterested in their own community, but there it is. Take the time to get to know who's running in your local election, and what their priorities are. Because by the time something stupid gets done and shows up on your radar, it's probably too late.

Dollars and sense: Medicaid expansion in NC is long overdue

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If saving lives isn't enough for you, how about saving rural hospitals?

The data are overwhelming. In states that have expanded, the move has been a boon, both for the health of patients, the strength of local economies bolstered by thousands of new health care jobs, and increased stability, in particular, for rural hospitals that have been buffeted by changes rocking the health care system.

“There’s more data that’s showing a link to employment, overall better economic conditions,” said Hemi Tewarson, director of the health division at the National Governors Association. “There have been studies done that show rural hospitals have done better in expansion states compared to non-expansion states, primarily because they have another stream of reimbursement that has kept them more stable.”

As long as the bulk of our health care system remains in the private sector, we must enact programs that make rural hospitals and clinics "economically viable." If we don't, rural folks will end up having to travel 75 miles or more to be treated. That's simply too far for "well-care" visits, so most of those trips will be for serious (if not life-threatening) injuries or illnesses. It's those regular visits that can extend lives and improve the quality of those lives:

Proposed GOP gerrymander of Winston-Salem is a whitewash

Triple-bunking three African-American female Councilors:

A bill introduced Thursday by Forsyth County Republican legislators would force three black Democratic women on the Winston-Salem City Council into one district. D.D. Adams, one of the three, emphatically denounced lawmakers for what she described as a racist payback for the Democratic activism of black women.

"Everybody thinks we are going to hold hands and sing Kumbaya — it's not going to happen that way," Adams said a day after learning of the bill. "This is one of those times when we are going to have to fight. Everyone knows African-American women are going to vote and will vote Democratic." Adams said her message to lawmakers was, "How dare you? How dare you?"

And unless I'm sorely mistaken, this being labeled as a "Local" bill removes Governor Cooper's Veto powers from the formula. A simple majority would force this down Winston-Salem's throat, and also punish Dan Besse, who gave one of the sponsors of this bill a run for his money back in November:

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