POPULATION GROWTH EARNS NC ANOTHER CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: North Carolina will gain another seat in Congress for the next 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday, the result of a steadily growing population as people arrive for jobs and retirement. The additional U.S. House seat, the 14th for North Carolina, marks the third time in the past four census cycles that the state will have increased the size of its congressional delegation. North Carolina received a 12th seat after the 1990 census and another after the 2000 release. The Census Bureau said North Carolina’s resident population was 10,439,388 as of April 1, 2020, up 9.5% from the 9,535,483 people counted as living in the state a decade earlier. North Carolina was the ninth largest state, up from 10th a decade ago.
ANDREW BROWN'S FAMILY SHOWN 20 SECOND VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WAS AN EXECUTION": Officials have not said whether Brown had a weapon or how many rounds were fired by deputies. Neighbor Demetria Williams said she heard gunshots and saw more than 14 shell casings on the ground. Brown was shot in his back and crashed into a tree, according to police scanner traffic. Brown’s attorneys on Monday said the family saw a 20-second clip of the shooting that showed Brown was holding the steering wheel. Attorney Chantel Lassiter said the footage showed he didn’t move toward deputies or use a weapon, and they fired AR 223 semi-automatic rifles and Glock 17 pistols as he attempted to back away. “Let’s be clear,” Lassiter said. “This was an execution.” Gov. Roy Cooper was among those calling for transparency when he wrote in a tweet that the video “should be made public as quickly as possible.” It could take hours or days to release video after a petition from a law enforcement agency, according to Raleigh attorney Mike Tadych. It could take much longer if members of the public, including the media, make the request.
PANDEMIC DOMINATES GOVERNOR COOPER'S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS: "In a year of hardship and loss, we owe it to ourselves and to each other – and, as leaders, we owe it to the people who elected us – to build a state that is truly more educated, equitable, healthier and prosperous," Cooper said in a televised speech to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chamber. He mourned the deaths of more than 12,500 people from the coronavirus in North Carolina and a pandemic that laid bare “the inequities that were already here” in public schools, high-speed internet and health care access. “But if we can harness all that we have learned from our loss, we can boost opportunities for all,” he added. Cooper also highlighted the service of several North Carolina residents during the pandemic, including a teacher, child care center owner, health care providers and National Guard member. They didn't attend the speech due to COVID-19 precautions. The governor and Republican leaders have expressed guarded optimism that a budget impasse won’t happen again in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The executive and legislative branches have worked in a more conciliatory fashion so far this year, particularly on how to spend federal coronavirus relief dollars and a recent compromise to get all schools reopened to in-person learning.
U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR GUN CONTROL CASE BROUGHT BY NRA: The legal battle over gun control opened a new front Monday at the Supreme Court, as the justices announced they will consider an important National Rifle Association-backed lawsuit asserting the constitutional right to carry a weapon outside the home. The court will hear the challenge to a century-old New York law in the term that begins in October. The restriction requires those who seek a permit to carry a concealed weapon to show a special need for self-defense and is similar to laws in Maryland, Massachusetts and elsewhere that the court in the past has declined to review. Gun rights groups such as the NRA have said limitation on the right to carry a concealed weapon outside the home is “perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question” since the court found an individual right to gun ownership. Eric Tirschwell, with the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, noted an increase in gun violence during the coronavirus pandemic. “A ruling that opened the door to weakening our gun laws could make it even harder for cities and states to grapple with this public health crisis,” Tirschwell said in a statement. “Fortunately, the courts have repeatedly backed states’ authority to pass public safety laws, and while the Supreme Court’s makeup has changed, the Constitution has not.” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) told the Supreme Court that the state’s law “has existed in the same essential form since 1913 and descends from a long Anglo-American tradition of regulating the carrying of firearms in public.” In urging the court to let the lower court’s ruling stand, she said its decision complied with the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Heller: “that the Second Amendment right is not unlimited and can be subject to state regulation consistent with the historical scope of the right.”
PRESIDENT BIDEN TO SET UP TASK FORCE TO HELP WORKERS ORGANIZE INTO UNIONS: President Biden signed an executive order on Monday creating a White House task force to promote labor organizing, an attempt to use the power of the federal government to reverse a decades-long decline in union membership. The task force, to be led by Vice President Kamala Harris and populated by cabinet officials and top White House advisers, will issue recommendations on how the government can use existing authority to help workers join labor unions and bargain collectively. It will also recommend new policies aimed at achieving these goals. The administration noted that the National Labor Relations Act, the 1935 law governing federal labor rights, explicitly sought to encourage collective bargaining, but that the law had never been fully carried out in this regard. “No previous administration has taken a comprehensive approach to determining how the executive branch can advance worker organizing and collective bargaining,” a White House statement declared. Seth Harris, a White House labor adviser, said the task force would explore the administration’s ability to increase unionization through federal procurement law, which requires the president to promote efficiency in government contracts. “The simple fact of the matter is having a unionized work force means they are going to be paid more, they are more likely to be more productive, more likely to stay for a long time,” Mr. Harris said. “You’ll have more skilled, more experienced workers working on government procurement. You don’t have the same labor strife.” The task force comes at a particularly frustrating moment for organized labor. Roughly two-thirds of Americans approve of unions, according to a 2020 Gallup poll, but just over 6 percent of private-sector workers belong to them.