13 ARRESTED AS POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Thirteen protesters were arrested Monday afternoon outside the offices of top legislative leaders. The North Carolina Poor People's Campaign, part of a national movement and in some ways a continuation of the "Moral Monday" movement in North Carolina, held a chanting, singing sit-in outside the the office suites of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. This was week two of a planned six-week campaign in the state. Last week, protesters closed Jones Street outside the statehouse, and nearly 50 were cited. Today most, if not all, of those arrested wore yellow armbands, signaling their willingness to be arrested. Others dispersed as police ordered, then stood aside and cheered those led out in plastic zip-ties, again much like the Moral Monday protests.
AFRICAN-AMERICANS DENIED MORTGAGES AND OTHER LOANS AT ALARMING RATE: Black applicants were rejected at more than double the rate of non-Hispanic white applicants on all types of loans, including conventional mortgages originated for bank portfolios or for investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and government loans (FHA, VA and rural housing). The overall rate of denials of mortgage applications from blacks was 18.4 percent last year, with 13.5 percent for Hispanics and 10.6 percent for Asians. For non-Hispanic whites, it was 8.8 percent. On conventional home-purchase loans, the turndown differentials were starker: Black applicants received denials 19.3 percent of the time, while the rate for non-Hispanic whites was 7.9 percent. The overall rate of rejections for all groups on conventional loans was 9.6 percent. In the FHA/VA market, the turndown disparity was narrower: Blacks’ applications were rejected at a 17.9 percent rate compared with whites’ rate of 10.6 percent.
JAY CHAUDHURI TO INTRODUCE NC-BASED NET NEUTRALITY BILL IN LEGISLATURE: The state should make sure that broadband internet companies don't interfere with residents' access to websites, a North Carolina state senator said Monday. Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, a Wake County Democrat, said he will file a bill to prohibit broadband internet service providers from inhibiting open access by blocking some sites, charging extra for 'fast lanes', or intentionally slowing or speeding service. Open access to the internet is especially important in rural areas, he said, where 88 percent of residents do not have a choice of internet service providers. "Our principles of openness and fairness, or net neutrality, allow small business owner and individual users to access the internet without interference from broadband service providers," Chaudhuri said at a net neutrality roundtable he hosted Monday.
FAILURE OF FARM BILL EXPOSES RIFT IN REPUBLICAN PARTY OVER IMMIGRATION: GOP leaders thought they had found a way by Friday morning to make the party's warring conservative and moderate wings happy on an issue that has bedeviled them for years. But it all blew up as conservatives decided they didn't like that offer and rebelled. By lunchtime Friday, many were among the 30 Republicans who joined Democrats and scuttled a sweeping farm and food bill, a humiliating setback for the House's GOP leaders, particularly for lame-duck Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "I'm disappointed in some colleagues who asked for a concession, got the concession and then took down a bill anyway," Denham said in a slap at the Freedom Caucus. Denham said the concession was a promised vote on the conservative immigration bill by June, though conservatives said they never agreed to that.
US SUPREME COURT BLOCKS WORKERS FROM SUING THEIR EMPLOYERS: A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from banding together in disputes over pay and conditions in the workplace, a decision that affects an estimated 25 million non-unionized employees. With the court’s five conservative members in the majority, the justices held that individual employees can be forced to use arbitration, not the courts, to air complaints about wages and overtime. Four dissenting liberal justices said the decision will hit low-wage, vulnerable workers especially hard. While the complaints in Monday’s decision involved pay issues, the outcome also might extend to workplace discrimination and other disputes if employee contracts specify that they must be dealt with in one-on-one arbitration. Workers who want to take action against sexual harassment, pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and racial discrimination “may now be forced behind closed doors into an individual, costly - and often secret - arbitration process,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.