Thursday News: And yet, we still have Berger


NC CITIZENS GIVE THEMSELVES HIGH MARKS FOR DETECTING FAKE NEWS: North Carolinians think fake news is a problem, report that they see it frequently and think they’re good at spotting it, a poll finds. Meredith College polled 876 registered voters Feb. 19-28 by phone and email and found that more than 88 percent say they think fake news confuses Americans about politics and government. All groups believed in the effect of fake news roughly equally – there were no significant differences in the results regardless of participants’ political affiliation, age, race or ethnic group, or where a person is from, according to the poll released by Meredith this week.

TEXAS LEGISLATURE PASSES CLONE OF HB2: “Don’t think I don’t pray about this and make sure we’re making the right decision,” Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the Brenham Republican who is sponsoring the bill, said Tuesday. “I think it is incumbent upon us to give guidance." Her legislation, Senate Bill 6, would require people to use restrooms in public schools, universities and government buildings that match the “biological sex” noted on their birth certificates. The bill would apply to places like the state Capitol in Austin, city halls, state agencies and the thousands of public schools and universities across the state. It would also nix city ordinances that allow people to use the restrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

BILL WOULD FREE NURSE PRACTITIONERS FROM DOCTOR'S SUPERVISION: Dr. Paul Rieker, past president of the North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists, called the legislation "a radical change" that would allow nurses to practice medicine without proper training. Dobson said the measure doesn't allow anyone to do anything they aren't already allowed to do. Nurse anesthetists already work independently in many rural North Carolina hospitals because one-fifth of North Carolina counties have no practicing anesthesiologists. Meanwhile, the supervision requirements for midwives and nurse practitioners involve paying a physician about $20,000 a year to review charts every six months, Dobson said.

NC RANKS 35TH IN HEALTH CARE NATIONWIDE: North Carolinians are healthier than their neighbors in South Carolina, but not as healthy as the residents of 33 other states and the District of Columbia. That’s the verdict of a nationwide state health care ranking issued Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund, a New York foundation that promotes effective health care practices. The Commonwealth Fund found that all states improved in health care measures since 2013 as the rates of the uninsured have fallen, and states that expanded Medicaid saw greater gains in their rankings than states like North Carolina that did not expand the federal health insurance program for the poor. The foundation’s officials said their study underscores the perils of revoking the ACA. “Of course the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act jeopardizes many of the gains the states have made,” said Commonwealth Fund president David Blumenthal.

A TALE OF TWO WILDLY DIFFERENT LEADERS: Cooper outlined a reasoned vision for the state and his governorship that the General Assembly should embrace. It was a speech marked by a tone of inclusion. From the outset, Cooper stressed compromise and accommodation to accomplish important goals. “Partisan battles, power struggles and lawsuits might grab the headlines, but we have to work together where we can, to look beyond ourselves to see what’s right for the state regardless of who’s in power,” he said. N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger’s astonishing response to Gov. Roy Cooper’s State of the State Address was nothing short of mean, spiteful and belittling. We did not expect him to agree with all of Cooper’s proposals. Berger opened by talking with pride about his view of the accomplishments of the legislature since 2011. That’s what he should do. But then he turned himself into a victim, launching into chest thumping, blame-the-messenger, attack the press, why-don’t-the-people-appreciate-me, diatribe. “If anyone but Republicans had accomplished all of this, the press would tout North Carolina as a national success story,” he said. He was vicious as he slammed the views, beliefs and behavior of all those who might disagree with him. It is unfortunate that the man who rules the General Assembly didn’t display a shred of generosity and open-minded-ness on Monday evening when he spoke to the people of North Carolina.