Thursday News: Heartless


TRUMP MOVING TO REQUIRE SOME MEDICAID RECIPIENTS GET A JOB OR LOSE COVERAGE: In a major policy shift that could affect millions of low-income people, the Trump administration said Thursday it is offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements on Medicaid recipients. The administration said 10 states — mostly conservative ones — have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement. They are: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky's waiver to be approved shortly. "It is a very major change in Medicaid that for the first time would allow people to be cut off for not meeting a work requirement, regardless of the hardship they may suffer," said Judy Solomon of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for the poor. The Obama administration would have never approved such waivers, she added.

DURHAM POLL WORKER PLEADS GUILTY TO MISHANDLING BALLOTS IN 2016 PRIMARY: A former Durham County elections worker has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor related to the mishandling of provisional ballot results during the March 2016 primary election, officials said Wednesday. Richard Robert Rawling, 59, of Cary, pleaded guilty last Friday to failure to discharge a duty of his office and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended to a year on probation and a $500 fine, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. An obstruction of justice charge was dismissed. Elections board officials discovered the problem during a routine audit of primary results in April 2016. The issue involved provisional ballots, which are given to voters who experience some sort of administrative issue when they show up at a polling place, such as a glitch in voter registration or trying to cast a ballot in the wrong precinct.

GOVERNOR COOPER REQUESTS NC BE EXEMPTED FROM OFFSHORE DRILLING LIKE FLORIDA: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants his state to be treated just like Florida when it comes to offshore oil drilling. Cooper, a Democrat, requested that North Carolina be exempted from last week’s Interior Department proposal to open the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to offshore drilling. “The Trump Administration, through their decision on Florida, has admitted that offshore drilling is a threat to coastal economies and tourism,” Cooper said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Offshore drilling holds the same risks for North Carolina as it does for Florida and North Carolina deserves the same exemption.” In announcing Florida’s exemption, Zinke said to reporters: “Our tactic was open everything up, then meet with the governors, meet with the stakeholders so that when we shaped it, it was right. The president made it very clear that local voices count.”

TIGHTWAD PHIL BERGER REFUSES TO INVEST IN MASS SPECTROMETER TO BETTER DETECT GENX AND OTHER COMPOUNDS: Don't expect the North Carolina Senate to soon go along with legislation approved by the House designed to study further unregulated chemicals in drinking water and give state officials more funds for water testing and permitting. Berger says the House bill "does nothing to prevent GenX from going into the water supply" and forces taxpayers to pay for expenses rather than the Chemours Co., which operates the Bladen County plant that discharged GenX. Berger says legislators are awaiting more data about the amount of GenX in the Cape Fear River. The House voted unanimously Wednesday for the measure, which also got support from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's administration. Almost half of the $2.3 million also would go to purchase, maintain and operate a spectrometer that would help state officials find chemicals in waters.

ICE RUNS COORDINATED "STING" ON 7-ELEVEN STORES FOR HIRING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: U.S. immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven stores before dawn Wednesday to open employment audits and interview workers in what officials described as the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency. Agents targeted about 100 stores nationwide, broadening an investigation that began with a 4-year-old case against a franchisee on New York’s Long Island. The audits could lead to criminal charges or fines over the stores’ hiring practices. “This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters. From there, we will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation,” said Benner, acting head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, which oversees cases against employers.



Trying something new...

The format of this daily news brief doesn't lend itself to "editorializing" or opinion-ating or whatever you'd like to call it, and I really don't want to deviate too much from that. But some of these developments are screaming for a little nudge, which is why some of my headlines have become somewhat colorful.

If you'll notice in the Berger/GenX story above, there is a sentence in italics. For future reference, italics = irony. In this case, it's ironic that Berger would harp about needing more data on GenX levels, but also refuse to spend the money for a MassSpec.

If I use a bold font in the future (which I'm sure I will), that means the sentence in question is a critical element, that needs to be scrutinized more than the rest.

If any of these changes confuse you or otherwise get on your noives, let me know...

Editorializing is good

You have a great sixth sense about the impacts of public policy and the political machinations behind them. I personally would like to see more of that.