Saturday News: A racist legacy


ATTORNEYS ARGUE CENTURY-OLD VOTING LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: About 68 percent of the suspected felony voters the state board identified were African-American, while about 31 percent were white. The state passed a law in 1901 to prevent people with criminal convictions from voting . It was aimed at keeping African-Americans from casting ballots and has gone largely unchanged, Carella's court motion says. "This law continues to have the intended disparate impact on African American voters, which constitute the majority of those who could be convicted under such a law, a majority of those referred by the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement for prosecution, and the vast majority of those facing criminal charges in Alamance County." The 1901 law followed a voter intimidation campaign in the state in 1898 when armed men rode through African-American communities to discourage voting.

APPARENTLY THE NC SUPREME COURT ISSUED A CONFUSING RULING ON CONTROL OF SCHOOLS: Citing the ruling, attorneys for the state board said that while the court's decision "stopped short of invalidating this particular legislation on its face, the court unanimously declared that the board has the final say on ‘the mechanics of the relationship between the Board and the Superintendent, as well as how their respective departments will operate internally.'" In his statement, the superintendent said he is looking forward to putting the lawsuit behind him and working with the state board. "While it is unfortunate that it took more than a year and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to resolve this matter, the positive news is that we will be able to utilize the data-driven analysis to reorganize DPI to help the agency focus on its core mission of supporting educators, students, and parents across North Carolina," Johnson said.

DOLLAR SAYS NC'S SUICIDE HOTLINE WILL BE FUNDED IN "TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS" BILL: State Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, said he and other budget writers have identified funding for the program and plan to include it in a "technical corrections bill" by the end of the month. Federal funding for the North Carolina lifeline runs out July 1. "We've identified a source of funds for the suicide hotline," Dollar said in an interview Friday afternoon. There are "several" different ways the money can be allocated to the hotline, he said, declining to get into specifics. "The main thing is: it will absolutely be funded." On average, one person dies by suicide every six hours in North Carolina and the lifeline receives an average of 255 calls per day. The N.C. center needs $348,558 annually to pay its 28 workers.

TRUMP SAYS HE DOESN'T NEED TO "PREPARE" FOR NORTH KOREA SUMMIT: Preparing to depart Washington for next week's meeting, Trump dangled before Kim visions of normalized relations with the United States, economic investment and even a White House visit. Characterizing the upcoming talks with the third-generation autocrat as a "friendly negotiation," Trump said, "I really believe that Kim Jong Un wants to do something." Trump's comments came as he looked to reassure allies that he won't give away the store in pursuit of a legacy-defining deal with Kim, who has long sought to cast off his pariah status on the international stage. The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. "I don't think I have to prepare very much," Trump said. "It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done."

TRUMP TAKES BELLIGERENT STANCE WITH ALLIES AT G7 CONFERENCE: Bruising for a fight, President Donald Trump barreled into the Group of Seven summit Friday, eager to confront longtime U.S. allies over a burgeoning trade dispute and insisting Russia should be brought back into the fold. Trump joined the leaders of major industrialized nations in an idyllic Canadian resort town after days of escalating conflict over new U.S. tariffs he slapped on imports of steel and aluminum. Facing pointed criticism from increasingly disillusioned allies, he punched back, uncowed by the growing global outcry. “Look, all of these countries have been taking advantage of the United States on trade,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House, repeating his longstanding complaints about trade deficits and tariffs. He added: “We have to straighten it out.” Increasingly isolated and hearing talk that the clashes are transforming the Group of Seven into “G-6, plus one,” Trump further stirred the pot by asking why Russia wasn’t included in the group. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he said.