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Tuesday News: Dead in the water

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WITH TWO MORE REPUBLICANS DEFECTING, MCCONNELL GIVES UP ON SENATE HEALTHCARE BILL: After Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran said Monday evening they would not vote to advance the GOP healthcare bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he would abandon the effort to repeal and immediately replace Obamacare. McConnell said in a statement Monday night that the two senators defections made it “apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” Instead, McConnell endorsed an approach supported by President Donald Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act without immediately replacing it with different health care legislation.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article161888003.html

Monday News: Toxic soup

IN ADDITION TO GENX, SIX MORE CHEMICALS FOUND IN CAPE FEAR DOWNSTREAM FROM TEFLON PLANT: All seven of the chemicals were found in the river below the plant, where more than 300,000 people get their drinking water. None of the chemicals was discovered in the river above the plant, leading researchers to believe Chemours was the source. It is not known whether GenX or the other chemicals that researchers found pose a health threat to humans because they are classified as “emerging contaminants” and not regulated by state or federal agencies. But the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement Friday saying studies on animals found that GenX caused testicular, pancreatic and liver cancer. “Whether or not animal effects will be the same in humans is not known,” the statement said. Scientists say the chemicals found in the Cape Fear River are so new that they cannot determine exactly how much is in the water or how harmful they might be.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170715/genx-not-only-possible-toxin-in-cape-fear-river

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS WIND MORATORIUM: The fact that the only way to pass this was to hijack a consensus stakeholder bill shows just how unpopular and unnecessary this policy is in North Carolina. A wind moratorium ultimately hurts the residents of eastern North Carolina, which could lose $1 billion in investments from two to three projects currently under development. It sends a signal to businesses trying to invest in the state that regulations are unpredictable and not always grounded in fact. This moratorium threatens individual property rights and denies rural economies one of the best economic development opportunities available to them. For Brown to put the renewable energy industry, the utility and his fellow legislators in the position of a significant compromise without any discussion is disturbing.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article161392898.html

Saturday News: Politicizing education

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JUDGES RULE IN FAVOR OF LAW SHIFTING POWERS TO MARK JOHNSON: The three judges sided with Superintendent Mark Johnson, ruling the board failed to provide the proof needed to strike down the General Assembly's law last December giving him more control over day-to-day operations. The law in part also let Johnson administer some education funds, oversee charter schools and hire senior-level aides. The law, approved by the GOP-controlled legislature just before Johnson — also a Republican — took office, was the latest pull in a decades-long tug of war over the balance of power between the superintendent and the board, whose voting members are appointed by the governor. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also was about to take office when the law was approved.
http://www.wral.com/judges-side-with-new-law-superintendent-over-school-powers/16820471/

Friday News: Trumpcare redux

VERY FEW CHANGES MADE TO SENATE'S UNPOPULAR HEALTHCARE BILL: Even with the changes, the legislation still would slash funding for Medicaid, the national insurance program for the poor and disabled, by phasing out the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and imposing spending limits that move the program from an open-ended entitlement to one with capped benefits. In addition, the legislation would allow insurers to charge older people 5 times more than younger ones, defund Planned Parenthood and impose premium and deductible increases for low-income and poor people and those with pre-existing conditions. It also would cut health insurance to pay for $400 billion in tax cuts that mainly benefit wealthy individuals and corporations, while providing little assistance to the poor.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/article161166428.html

Thursday News: Save the Center

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BOG COMMITTEE SCHEDULES VOTE TO BAN CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS FROM LITIGATING CASES: A UNC Board of Governors committee has scheduled a special meeting Aug. 1 to consider whether to ban the UNC Center for Civil Rights from suing on behalf of its clients. Long has said that the center should not sue other government entities under the UNC name. Supporters of the privately funded center say it provides students with vital experience and serves low-income, minority clients who have nowhere else to turn. Banning legal action would effectively end the center, they say, and disrespect the legacy of the center’s founder, the famed civil rights attorney Julius Chambers.

Wednesday News: Living on the fringe

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MARK MEADOWS THREATENS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN OVER BORDER WALL FUNDING: “Without a doubt there is enough conservative members who will not support any funding mechanism that does not include border wall funding,” Meadows told Breitbart News in a phone interview Monday. Meadows, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 11th District in the far western part of the state, leads the House Freedom Caucus. He also told Breitbart that “my conversations with the president have led me to believe that there is nothing less than a full and total commitment on his part to only sign into law a funding bill that actually allows for us to start construction of a border wall on our southern border.” Congress is expected to begin budget talks later this summer. Without an agreement, the government could shut down on Oct. 1.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article16...

Tuesday News: Back off, Kobach

TRUMP "COMMISSION" ON VOTER FRAUD UNDER PENDING RESTRAINING ORDER OVER REQUESTED INFORMATION: The federal voter fraud commission is asking states not to send any voter information to Washington while a judge considers a request to stop the data collection. North Carolina has not sent any voter information to the commission. It had planned to send information that is publicly available. The Electronic Privacy Information Center is suing to stop the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity from collecting voter data. A federal judge held a hearing to consider a temporary restraining order last week. The presidential commission asked states’ elections officials Monday not to send anything until the judge rules.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article16...

Friday News: Josh to the rescue

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ATTORNEY GENERAL STEIN JOINS LAWSUIT TO PROTECT STUDENT BORROWERS: Stein joined other attorneys general from around the country to sue U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who froze rules last month that would have forgiven the federal loan debt of students cheated by predatory for-profit colleges. The attorneys general, all Democrats, from 18 states and the District of Columbia accuse the Trump administration’s education secretary of breaking federal law and giving the questionable schools free rein by rescinding the Borrower Defense rule that was to go into effect on the first of this month. They filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in the District of Columbia.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article159916209.html

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