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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE WILL OF CONSTITUENTS VS. LEGISLATIVE LEADERS: How is it that the people of North Carolina on these issues, and many more including support for and investment in public education, promotion of renewable energy and environmental stewardship, extension of access to information and communication technology – contrast so strikingly with the people who represent them in the legislature? The answer is obvious. For the last decade legislators have been able to pick their voters – instead of the other way around. Extreme gerrymandering, not service to all citizens, is the modus operandi. So, instead of working on real needs and priorities there is a broad consensus behind, legislators are focused on insignificant legislation that appeals to a narrow political base or satisfies partisan political grudges. They need to end their fruitless pursuit of mediocrity and buckle down to the hard work that the vast majority of North Carolinians agree needs to be done to achieve excellence.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-the-will-of-constituents-vs-legislative-leaders/19592635/

Saturday News: Sounds about White

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CARY POLICE SAY RACIST JOGGER WAS SUFFERING "MENTAL HEALTH" CRISIS: A jogger who threw water bottles and insulted two people on a Cary greenway was suffering from a mental health crisis and wasn’t attacking two people because of their race, Cary police said Friday. One of the people is Chinese American, and the other is Iranian. They both told ABC 11 they believed the attacks were racially motivated. “Investigators determined neither race nor ethnicity were a factor in the incident,” said John Reeves, a spokesman for the police department, in an email. “Following a complete and thorough investigation and in consult with the district attorney’s office, no criminal charges will be filed.” And when this dude escalates and uses a lethal weapon next time, what then?
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article250246170.html

Friday News: Bragging about Insurrection?

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CATAWBA COUNTY MAN ARRESTED AFTER TEXTING RELATIVE DURING CAPITOL ATTACK: Les Little was texting with a family relative on Jan. 6 when he shared a secret: “We just took over the Capitol,” the Catawba County man wrote from inside the building, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. “And you are bragging?” the relative fired back in a fusillade of exclamation points and capital letters. “’We’? THIS IS TREASON!!! IF YOU DON’T CONDEMN THIS, NEVER BOTHER SPEAKING TO ME AGAIN! HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE PEOPLE. IT’S A COUP! YOU OBVIOUSLY HATE AMERICA!!!” Little replied: “We are stopping treason. Stealing elections is treason! We’re not going to take it anymore!" Adding: “You’ll thank me for saving your freedom ...” According to the FBI, Little’s relative turned him in. Now the 64-year-old Claremont resident has a date with a judge in Washington, where he has been charged with four crimes.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article250201455.html

Thursday News: Laws? What laws?

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TOM FETZER UNDER SCRUTINY FOR CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER TEXT: “I’m putting together a fundraiser for John Bell the night before the Garden Party on Thursday, April 8 from 5:30-7 at the Cape Fear Club (Men’s Club),” Fetzer’s text message said. “As Tim Moore has stated he is not seeking another term in the House, John is the odds on favorite to be Speaker in 2023. We’ll be having dinner at Quanto Bosso across the street immediately following. Please let me know if you can join us.” State law prohibits lobbyists from holding fundraisers or soliciting contributions for lawmakers during legislative sessions. It also prohibits them from making contributions or collecting them at any time. “I dictated the text into my phone and just sent it,” Fetzer said. “And I didn’t spell check it or anything so I think it just, the transmission got garbled. I wouldn’t have intentionally sent that.” Well at least he didn't blame it on autocorrect.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250152705.html

Wednesday News: Bigotry, by any other name

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NC REPUBLICANS PUSH TRANSGENDER SPORTS BILL: On the fifth anniversary of state lawmakers passing HB2, Republican legislators gathered again at the North Carolina General Assembly to push a new bill involving transgender people. “This bill seeks to promote an absolute truth, which is that gender identity at birth counts,” said Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Duplin County Republican, during a press conference Tuesday. The “Save Women’s Sports Act” would keep transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams in school. It’s unclear if that has happened in North Carolina, although the N.C. High School Athletic Association has a framework in place to allow for it. This bill, however, would put a stop to that. “It’s beyond disheartening to see that the North Carolina General Assembly has not learned the lessons of five years ago,” Rebby Kern, the education policy director at Equality NC, said in a press release.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250144464.html

Tuesday News: Here we go again...

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SENATE REPUBLICANS PUSH FOR ANOTHER TAX CUT, $1.8 BILLION THIS TIME AROUND: Senate GOP leaders plan to push legislation that would decrease the state's income tax rate of 5.25% to 4.99% next year, according to Sen. Paul Newton, a Cabarrus County Republican and finance committee co-chairman. “We have yet another year of excess revenues and we are going to be proposing to the rest of the legislature and the governor that we reduce taxes as a result,” Newton told the AP. “We have incredible headroom because of the economic growth and prosperity in North Carolina." Senate Republicans endorsed a tax package proposed by Newton in a caucus meeting late Monday, according to Lauren Horsch, a spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger. The soon-to-be-filed bill is likely to advance through the chamber, then get incorporated into the Senate GOP’s state budget proposal that could surface in late April.
https://www.wral.com/nc-senate-republicans-to-pitch-more-state-tax-reductions/19589140/

Monday News: Eleven thousand, eight hundred twenty

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POSITIVE TESTS FOR CORONAVIRUS IN NC APPROACH 900,000: At least 895,263 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11,820 have died since last March, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,034 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 1,915 reported on Friday. At least 964 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Saturday, down from 970 on Friday. As of Thursday, the latest date for which data are available, 4.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina, and more than 1.4 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article250102129.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VIRGINIA MOVES AHEAD OF NORTH CAROLINA, AGAIN: Repeatedly over the last decade congressional and legislative districts have been declared illegal and legislators have been forced to redraw them. It has been a needless cycle that denied North Carolinians the voice they deserve in Washington and Raleigh. The remedy, adoption of a nonpartisan system for drawing legislative and congressional districts, is way past due. It is a proven workable solution that has strong support from voters – 59% according to a recent statewide survey. Four of North Carolina’s former governors, two Republicans and two Democrats, have called on the courts to mandate the state implement “an open, transparent, and non-partisan process.” This year a 16-member commission of citizens and legislators -- equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – will redraw Virginia’s districts when the 2020 Census count is finalized.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-virginia-ahead-of-north-carolina-again/19577717/

Saturday News: Plotting insurrection

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NC PROUD BOY RAN COMMUNICATIONS FOR CAPITOL ATTACKERS: The indictment says that after Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was arrested in Washington on Jan. 4, on charges stemming from an earlier rally, Donohoe expressed concern that encrypted communications that involved Tarrio would be compromised. Prosecutors say Donohoe created a new channel on the encrypted messaging application and took steps to destroy or “nuke” the earlier one. The evening of Jan. 4, prosecutors say, Donohoe then posted on the new channel and other messaging boards that he had been told that planning needed to stop. “Everything is compromised and we can be looking at Gang charges,” he wrote, according to the indictment. “This comes from the top.” By the next day, on the eve of the protest, prosecutors say the Proud Boys had created a new messaging channel called “Boots on the Ground” that they could use in Washington. Eventually more than 60 members did communicate that way, including Donohoe.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250062049.html

Friday News: If not now, when?

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JAY CHAUDHURI RE-INTRODUCES NC HATE CRIME BILL AFTER ATLANTA SHOOTINGS: "If we wish to pursue a perfect union in this state, then we must confront and take on the often dark and ugly side of our democracy," said Chaudhuri, who has sponsored each of the last two bills and is behind this one as well. "Responding to hate crimes must be a priority because they impact all of us," agreed Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg. "Hate crimes not only have an impact on one victim, but they also terrorize and isolate a victim’s whole community, and that weakens public safety for all of us." The bill would increase the punishment for any crime if it's determined a person was targeted because of his or her "race, ethnicity, color, religion, nationality, country of origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or sexual orientation." It also would create a statewide database of such crimes – reporting hate crimes by law enforcement agencies is currently voluntary, but it would become mandatory – and provide more training for law enforcement officers and district attorneys to respond to and prosecute cases.
https://www.wral.com/in-wake-of-atlanta-shootings-nc-lawmakers-again-pursue-hate-crime-bill/19582121/

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