REPUBLICANS ARE APPARENTLY OUTRAGED OVER ELECTION SETTLEMENT: President Donald Trump's campaign and national Republican groups are trying to intervene in a North Carolina voting lawsuit after state GOP leaders denounced a proposed settlement. Republicans are accusing the Democratic-led State Board of Elections of colluding with national Democratic-affiliated groups to loosen the state's absentee voting rules, threatening election security. "They are suing to move Election Day even further out so they can harvest ballots after the polls close to steal the election for Joe Biden," Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement. "The judge on this case has a choice to make: Side with collusion and rig this election, or uphold the rule of law and protect every North Carolinian’s right to vote." Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest fired off a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday, asking for a federal investigation into "the collusive attack on the integrity of North Carolina's elections."
NC STATE CUTS SALARIES OF ITS MOST VULNERABLE EMPLOYEES: N.C State leaders said the temporary furloughs and salary cuts were a result of a “sharp reduction in revenue” this fall, including in university housing, campus dining facilities, transportation and the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education. The goods and services that those units offer are typically used and paid for by students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus. But those funds dropped as COVID-19 spread on campus and in the local community, and N.C. State shifted to online learning and closed dorms this fall. So far this semester, revenue is down $75.4 million, a 61% drop, for the affected departments, according to the university. The personnel actions were necessary despite those departments cutting expenses by consolidating services, reducing hours, closing facilities, freezing hiring and travel, renegotiating service contracts and transitioning to online services. The university is not allowed to use tuition or state appropriations to cover those revenue shortfalls.
ASHEVILLE CUTS $770,000 FROM POLICE BUDGET, BUT IT'S ONLY 3%: The Asheville City Council on Tuesday approved a $29.3 million police budget in a 5-2 vote. The cuts make up a $770,000 reduction to the $30.1 million originally proposed for the city police department's 2020-21 budget, The Asheville Citizen-Times reported. During recent demonstrations against racial injustice, protesters in Asheville and across the U.S. have rallied around calls to eliminate or reduce spending on policing and reallocate those funds into serving community needs through investment in support services, housing, education and other resources. Councilman Brian Haynes, one of the opposing votes, said the decrease fell “way short” of the demands by Black Asheville citizens. He said there is still a net increase of $4.1 million for the police department budget over five years. But Debra Campbell, Asheville’s first Black city manager, said the cuts were “initial steps” to reallocating police funding. She and some council members cautioned that large changes to the police budget would take time as structures are put in place to support tasks traditionally done by officers.
BURLINGTON POLICE TO ATTEND "DUTY TO INTERVENE" TRAINING: Following recommendations from community members, the Burlington Police Department has created a policy that requires officers to intervene if they notice unprofessional conduct by another officer. Officers will attend a training session to further this policy based on best practices. Under the "duty to intervene," officers are expected to intervene quickly if they notice wrongdoing on the part of a colleague and to notify their supervisor. Beginning this fall and continuing into 2021, the police department will attend the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement project at Georgetown University Law Center. This is a "national training and support initiative for U.S. law enforcement agencies committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm," according to a press release. ABLE was developed by Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program and the global law firm Sheppard Mullin LLP. Its goal is to to "provide practical active bystandership strategies and tactics to law enforcement officers to prevent misconduct, reduce officer mistakes, and promote health and wellness," the press release said.
TRUMP UNVEILS HIS HEALTHCARE PLAN, AND IT'S JUST A REBRANDING OF OBAMACARE: “The historic action I’m taking today includes the first-ever executive order to affirm it is the official policy of the United States government to protect patients with preexisting conditions,” Trump said, despite the fact such protections are already enshrined in law. “We’re making that official. We’re putting it down in a stamp, because our opponents, the Democrats, like to constantly talk about it.” The speech and executive order stood as a tacit admission that Trump had failed to keep his 2016 promise to replace his predecessor’s signature achievement with a conservative alternative. For a president who campaigned in 2016 pledging to “repeal and replace” the ACA, Trump’s 2020 signature health-care speech instead expressed a willingness to keep the law largely in place. Unable to repeal the law, Trump appeared open to simply rebranding it. “Obamacare is no longer Obamacare, as we worked on it and managed it very well,” Trump said of the law that continues to provide coverage for more than 20 million Americans. “What we have now is a much better plan. It is no longer Obamacare because we got rid of the worse part of it — the individual mandate.” In addition to the executive action on preexisting conditions, Trump also promised millions of older Americans would receive $200 toward the cost of prescription drugs and signed executive orders he said would somehow prevent unexpected medical bills and protect insurance coverage for preexisting medical problems. The White House released no details of how the $200 program would work, how it would be funded and whether this was a long-term plan or one-time payment to seniors ahead of the election.