JUDGE RULES REPUBLICANS VIOLATED CHRIS ANGLIN'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: A judge threw out a new state law Monday, ruling that it violated the constitutional rights of at least two politicians whose 2018 campaigns the law had targeted. Chris Anglin, a Republican candidate for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court, had sued the legislature along with Rebecca Edwards, a Democrat who is running to become a district court judge in Wake County. Earlier this summer, the legislature passed a new law that would have prevented Anglin or Edwards from being able to have their party affiliations on the ballot. They argued that the law unfairly targeted them because their competitors in this November’s elections would still have their own parties listed on the ballot.
FIVE FORMER GOVERNORS ATTACK NC GOP FOR AMENDMENT POWER GRABS: All five of North Carolina's living former governors came together Monday to urge voters to defeat two proposed constitutional amendments that would shift power from the executive branch to state lawmakers. Former Govs. Pat McCrory, Bev Perdue, Mike Easley, Jim Hunt and Jim Martin criticized the amendments as a power grab by the General Assembly that would cripple state government and wouldn't help North Carolinians. One amendment would shift much of the power to fill judicial vacancies from the governor, who has wide latitude now to pick judges. Instead, if voters approve the proposed amendment, the legislature would pick two finalists for each open seat on the bench, and the governor would have to pick one of those two. The other amendment sets up a new bipartisan state board of elections appointed by the General Assembly, and it asserts that the legislature has the power to appoint members to hundreds of boards and commissions currently handled by the executive branch.
FIVE OF ALAMANCE TWELVE HAVE THEIR FELONY VOTING CHARGES DROPPED: Five people facing prison time for voting in the 2016 presidential election while on probation had their felony charges dismissed Monday. The Alamance County district attorney charged 12 people with voting while serving active felony sentences. That charge was dismissed as part of plea deals for Whitney Brown, 32, and Anthony Haith, 40, as well as Neko Rogers, 36, Keith Sellars, 44, and Willie Vinson, Jr., 29. They pleaded to misdemeanor obstruction of justice under the Alford doctrine and were sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service. (An Alford plea accepts a guilty verdict without admitting guilt.) After the hearings, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice released a prepared statement saying its clients made a hard decision to plead guilty to lesser charges, even though they believe the century-old law was enacted “with an intent to discriminate against people of color and intimidate communities from voting.”
RED TIDE OFF FLORIDA GULF COAST IS KILLING OFF MUCH OF THE SEA LIFE: A toxic algae bloom has overrun Florida's southern Gulf Coast this summer, devastating sea life and driving people from the water. The algae turns the water toxic for marine life, and in recent weeks beachgoers have been horrified to find turtles, large fish like goliath grouper and even manatees wash up dead. In late July, a 26-foot long (8-meter-long) whale shark washed ashore on Sanibel Island, which is known for its pristine beaches. In places like Longboat Key, more than 5 tons of dead fish have been removed from beaches. This week, nine dead dolphins were found in Sarasota County, and marine biologists are investigating whether the deaths are related to red tide. The Florida Wildlife Research Institute says the number of dead and stranded sea turtles is nearly three times higher than average. More than 450 stranded and dead sea turtles have been recovered in four affected counties this year, and the institute estimates that 250 to 300 died from red tide poisoning.
TRUMP SIGNS MCCAIN DEFENSE BILL BUT IGNORES MCCAIN HIMSELF: President Donald Trump has signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named for John McCain after delivering remarks that failed to mention the ailing senator. The measure Trump signed Monday at New York’s Fort Drum will boost military pay by 2.6 percent, the largest hike in nine years. The bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE. It allows Trump to waive sanctions against countries that bought Russian weapons and now want to buy U.S. military equipment. The bill provides no money for Trump’s requested Space Force but authorizes the military parade he wants in Washington in November. The measure also addresses child-on-child sexual assault at U.S. military bases worldwide. The issue was revealed this spring in an Associated Press investigation.