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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

Monday News: Tom's turn

STEYER VISITS MCDOUGALD TERRACE, SAYS CONDITIONS ARE "CRUEL": Conditions at McDougald Terrace in Durham are an example of systematic “cruelty” that has to be addressed by the U.S. government and its leaders, Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer said. Steyer, a billionaire turned champion of Democratic causes, visited the Triangle this weekend including the public housing complex where residents have evacuated after carbon monoxide concerns, and where at least two children have died from causes that haven’t so far been publicly identified. “I went to McDougald Terrace to actually see what was going on,” he said Sunday. “To talk to some of the people who are there, some of the people who lived there and some of the people are leading the movement to repair those projects.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article239168763.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DISHONEST LEADERSHIP LEAVES OUR GOVERNMENT MISMANAGED: Don’t be distracted. This is not about good or bad; conservative or liberal policies. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about sound management, doing the job, the security of the nation. This is about Donald Trump’s character. It is about his inability, not simply failure, to tell the truth and accept its reality. Without the truth it is impossible to earn the trust to be a leader. Leaders who lack trust cannot manage. The current white-hot crisis with Iran and Iraq is the latest example. An impulsive action – the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s security and intelligence forces – and the national security crisis that has ensued. Trump’s threats, including tweets about targeting Iranian cultural sites, result in advisers forced to follow deflection and justification. In this case, the Pentagon didn’t even try. In a starkly unequivocal pronouncement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the “laws of armed conflict” prohibit attacking cultural sites and the armed forces had no plans to do so – despite the president’s declaration.
https://www.wral.com/editorial/18875376/

Saturday News: Not so fast, Mark

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JOHNSON'S "EMERGENCY" ISTATION CONTRACT MAY BE BLOCKED: The state school superintendent’s $928,570 “emergency purchase” of a controversial school reading curriculum earlier this week could be canceled because it lacked the approval of North Carolina’s chief information officer. In a memo Friday, Patti Bowers, chief procurement officer for the state, said North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction “has not provided adequate justification for an emergency purchase.” The memo said Johnson has until 10 a.m. Tuesday to provide the state Department of Information Technology with “sufficient amended justification” for the emergency purchase. The memo also said Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette could decide to cancel or suspend the purchase. In a heated exchange with Johnson on Wednesday, board members questioned the amount of the contract and said they had been unable to get a copy from DPI staff.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article239179718.html

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