BILL TO SAVE ART, MUSIC & PE CLASSES FINALLY GETS A HEARING IN NC SENATE: A state Senate panel will consider Monday night a bill that school districts say is needed to prevent thousands of potential teacher layoffs and cuts in art, music and physical education classes in North Carolina elementary schools. Monday’s discussion comes after Senate leaders, who questioned how school districts were spending state money, put the bill on hold for two months. The bill’s consideration Monday comes less than a week after several hundred people rallied on the Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh to demand that the Senate quickly approve House Bill 13.
FRANCE'S ANTI-IMMIGRANT LE PEN GOES INTO RUNOFF WITH MACRON: French voters shut out the political mainstream from the presidency for the first time in modern history, and on Monday found themselves being courted for the runoff election between populist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. French politicians on the moderate left and right, including the Socialist and Republicans party losers in Sunday's vote, immediately urged voters to block Le Pen's path to power in the May 7 contest. European stock markets surged as investors welcomed the first-round results, with Macron favored to win. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wished Macron "all the best for the next two weeks."
REPUBLICAN FARMERS WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THEIR WORKERS UNDER TRUMP: President Donald Trump's hard line against immigrants in the U.S. illegally has sent a chill through the nation's agricultural industry, which fears a crackdown will deprive it of the labor it needs to plant, grow and pick the crops that feed the country. Fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and cattle farmers and owners of plant nurseries and vineyards have begun lobbying politicians at home and in Washington to get them to deal with immigration in a way that minimizes the harm to their livelihoods. Some of the farm leaders are Republicans who voted for Trump and are torn, wanting border security but also mercy toward laborers who are not dangerous criminals.
CONSERVATIVE UNC BOG TARGETS CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER: African-American attorney Julius Chambers, who endured firebomb attacks in the 1960s and 1970s as he fought segregation, founded the UNC Center for Civil Rights in 2001 and served as its first director. Now conservatives on the UNC system’s Board of Governors, which sets policy for the state’s 16 public universities, want to strip the center of its ability to file lawsuits, removing its biggest weapon. Proponents say the move isn’t ideological, but that the center’s courtroom work strays from the education mission of the country’s oldest public university. Critics say one of the South’s leading civil rights institutions would be defanged. The proposal is “strictly, certainly and undoubtedly ideological,” UNC law professor Gene Nichol wrote via email.
TRIANGLE AND TRIAD UNDER FLOOD WATCH UNTIL LATE TUESDAY: A flood watch covers the whole area through 8 a.m. Tuesday, and forecasters said to expect flooding in streams and creeks. Rivers will rise “significantly,” but the weather service did not predict their going above flood stage. “We’ll see heavy rain moving through throughout the day,” ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said. The weather service office in Raleigh posted predictions of a half-inch to an inch during Monday and 1 to 2 inches of rain overnight.