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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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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.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-deaf-to-teachers-legislators-poised-to-short-change-public-education/...

Saturday News: Par for the course

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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.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article229714994.html

Friday News: Keep your fingers crossed

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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.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article229681264.html

Thursday News: Union!

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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.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article229597039.html

Wednesday News: And they're off!

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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.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article229583014.html

Tuesday News: Heroes and villains

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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.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article229545994.html

Monday News: Monuments to oppression

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KKK HOODS DRAPED OVER CONFEDERATE STATUES ON CAPITOL GROUNDS, TWO ARRESTED: Raleigh police arrested two people during a Sunday afternoon protest against Confederate monuments at the State Capitol. Organizers said in a statement that it was a peaceful gathering to provide context about the statues' history. The group "Smash Racism Raleigh" live streamed the demonstration on Twitter. According to police, Enzo Niebuhr and Jody Anderson climbed onto the statues and covered the heads with KKK hoods. They were charged with defacing a public monument and disorderly conduct for allegedly repeating anti-racist chants. Smash Racism Raleigh says they were wrongfully arrested.
https://www.wral.com/two-arrested-during-protest-at-state-capitol/18339810/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS HOLD KEY IN UPCOMING VETO SHOWDOWN: Sustaining Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of controversial Senate Bill 359 could end up in the hands of a few African-American Democratic legislators – some of whom are ministers. That is the picture that emerges from a look at how members of the state House of Representatives and Senate voted on the bill earlier this week. All four Democrats in the House who voted for the bill are black, two are ministers. Three of the five Democrats who didn’t vote are also black. In the Senate, the two Democrats who voted for the bill also are black. The effort to sustain the Democratic governor’s veto will be a critical test of Cooper’s clout and the power that Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore wield in the Republican-dominated General Assembly. The fate of this over-ride effort is particularly critical because it is the first since Republicans lost their veto-proof legislative majority.
https://www.wral.com/seth-effron-democratic-legislators-hold-key-in-upcoming-veto-showdown/18335030/

Saturday News: Toxic legacy

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FIRST DUPONT, NOW HONEYWELL: DECADES OF POLLUTING THE CAPE FEAR: Federal authorities say they've reached a proposed settlement with two companies for the cleanup of a former chemical plant near the Cape Fear River. The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Thursday that the settlement was reached with Honeywell International Inc. and International Paper Co. The companies have agreed to treat, store and dispose of soils and sediments contaminated by metals that include mercury and PCBs. The settlement says the from 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid at the plant in Riegelwood in Columbus County, adjacent to the Cape Fear River. A federal court must approve the settlement.
https://www.wral.com/honeywell-to-clean-up-chemical-pollution-in-north-carolina/18335696/

Friday News: Nope, not this time

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GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES "BORN ALIVE" ANTI-ABORTION BILL: "Laws already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients," Cooper said in his veto statement. "This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist." The bill is similar to others that have cropped up this year in other states, and Cooper's veto is sure to appear in campaign commercials. Already, both sides were fundraising off the news Thursday, sending email blasts to supporters seeking donations. The North Carolina Values Coalition sent out a donation appeal titled "Roy Cooper just vetoed babies." It remains to be seen whether Republicans can muster the numbers needed to overturn Cooper's veto, but it will be difficult. The GOP lost its super-majorities in the House and the Senate in last year's elections and would need to peel off more Democrats to make this bill law.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-vetoes-born-alive-abortion-bill/18333666/

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