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Daily Dose

New coal ash ad targets Tillis (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A new barrage of TV ads criticizing state lawmakers over environmental issues will begin airing this week, this one singling out House Speaker Thom Tillis. This ad is the opening salvo from the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, and is part of what the organization says is a $1 million drive to hold polluters accountable and win greater protections against future spills like the coal ash pollution of the Dan River this year. Earlier this year, several state environmental advocacy groups and the national Natural Resources Defense Council kicked off a series of TV ads targeting specific Republican state legislators. The NRDC said more than $1 million would be spent. The League of Conservation Voters coal ash campaign, separate from the state and national coalition’s campaign, begins with an ad buy of $845,000 airing from Friday to July 24 in the Triangle, Charlotte, Triad and Asheville, the League says.

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What do you do with 100 tons of coal ash? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Dump trucks – each loaded with 20 tons of coal ash – make some 200 trips a day from Duke Energy's Lake Julian power plant to the Asheville Regional Airport, where the toxic material is used as fill to create flat, usable land. The disposal method is considered a cost-effective and environmentally sound reuse of the material. About 4 million tons will have been removed from the plant's two ash ponds by the time the project ends next year. But, as state lawmakers struggle with legislation to better manage coal ash in the wake of the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River, there are concerns about what to do with amounts of the byproduct far larger than what's being reused in Asheville. Duke estimates there are 102 million tons of coal ash in 33 ponds across the state.

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93-year-old woman speaks against voting changes (AP) — The 93-year-old lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new voting restrictions recounted in federal court Tuesday how she was forced to take a literacy test as a young woman registering to vote.

N.C. attorneys say removed provisions ripe for problems (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The issue of voter fraud – one of the many reasons state legislators cited in their push for North Carolina’s new voting law – was front and center Tuesday during a federal hearing on whether to block many of the provisions of that very law.

Daily dose SCOTUS fever

Court rulings could lead to challenges of NC marriage amendment (NEWS14-TV) -- The Supreme Court ruling could lay the groundwork for North Carolina's marriage amendment to be challenged in court. The marriage amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman in the North Carolina constitution. All eyes were on Washington, DC Wednesday as the Supreme Court ruling struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act. "This is undisputedly a landmark ruling," said UNC School of Law Professor. "This is a tremendous victory for the LGBT community," said Equality NC Executive Director Stuart Campbell. The ruling by the Supreme Court will allow same-sex couples that are legally married access to federal benefits which supporters of marriage equality say is a huge step for same sex couples. "We're also trying to figure out exactly what it will mean in states like North Carolina that have things like amendment one but overall it's moving in the right direction and we're very excited," said Campbell. But the ruling doesn't allow same-sex couples in North Carolina federal benefits because of the state's marriage amendment. It's an amendment gay marriage opponents said is important to keep intact.


Daily dose: VRA eulogy version

The march backwards continues:

Ruling threatens progress (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- At a time when Republicans in the General Assembly are chipping away at access to polling stations through voter ID bills and shorter early voting periods, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively handed them a hammer with its Tuesday ruling


More madness below the fold:

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McCrory's 'retreat' with donors raises funds and eyebrows (Raleigh News & Observer) -- What McCrory and his gang aren’t too sensitive about is how this looks to all the people who don’t have $5,000 for a weekend and who voted for McCrory as the man who was going to fix what he said was a broken state government and return control and money to the people. It appears control is being returned to the people – the ones with a spare $5,000 for a golf outing. … Secrecy, special interests, big money. Just how is this different from the system candidate McCrory said was broken?


Daily dose: Women's day at the Legislature

Women Take a Stand at Moral Monday (Public News Service) -- Today, thousands are expected in Raleigh at the eighth Moral Monday, held at the State Capital. The event has led to nearly 500 arrests so far. This week, activists want lawmakers and their fellow citizens to understand the effects that recent decisions will have on women and families. Among their concerns are recent cuts to education, Medicaid and unemployment. Kim-Marie Saccoccio, executive director, Women Advance NC, said regardless of one's political persuasion, women are disproportionately affected by the recent decisions in Raleigh.


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When keeping silent is no longer acceptable:

Standing up for my students at ‘Moral Monday’ (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Being a teacher does not just mean teaching subjects. Good teachers advise and work with every student to help them make the most of their lives. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has no idea the value of good teachers and what they have to do to educate all students.


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The NC GOP makes the formula complete: death and destruction

The troubling restart of capital punishment (Charlotte Observer) -- The state-sponsored killings can now commence. Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed legislation that clears the way to resume executions in North Carolina, where they have been on hold for seven years.


More madness below the fold:

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Interesting, but not surprising, that none of the traditional media bothered to report on this announcement. I guess they're too busy keeping up with the body count in Raleigh.

Much sad news below the fold.


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