Daily dose

Saturday News: Judicial remedy

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JUDGE FORMALLY STRIKES DOWN NC'S 20-WEEK ABORTION BAN: A federal judge has formally issued his decision striking down North Carolina's ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, except in a medical emergency. U.S. District Judge William Osteen signed his judgment dated Friday — 60 days after issuing a memorandum explaining why he declared the law unconstitutional. He wrote in March the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb. The judgment means some women could now obtain abortions later but prior to viability. Osteen wrote the 60-day delay was designed in part to give legislators time to replace the law. That hasn't occurred.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article230814299.html

Friday News: Long overdue

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GOVERNOR COOPER ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: Starting Sept. 1, new mothers will get eight weeks paid leave after giving birth with full pay. Fathers and other partners will get four weeks, as will parents who adopt or take in a new foster child. The benefit kicks in after an employee has been with the state for one year. Before this, state policy required employees to take sick leave or vacation to spend time with a new child, and they could also take up to three months of unpaid leave. "During this important bonding time, our employees will no longer have to choose between their career and their child," Cooper said at a ceremony to sign the executive order. Some 56,000 state employees at state agencies under the governor will be eligible.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-boosts-parental-leave-for-56-000-state-employees/18406405/

Thursday News: Toxic ideas

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NC REPUBLICAN BILL WOULD ALLOW TVS AND COMPUTERS BE DUMPED IN LANDFILLS: “This is like a bad penny that keeps turning up,” Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat, said Wednesday. The worry about electronics in landfills is not just about the space they use, but toxic heavy metals they contain. Michael Scott, director of the Waste Management Division at the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the department would prefer changes to the current electronics recycling program rather than lifting the ban on landfill disposal. The recycling market has ups and downs, he said, but there’s still a market for materials from electronics. The state has six major recyclers, Scott said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article230697364.html

Wednesday News: Safe zone?

GOP EXPELLED JOURNALISTS TO CREATE LOUNGE WHERE LAWMAKERS CAN HIDE: After kicking the media out of their longtime press room in the Legislative Building and banishing them to a corner of the basement, officials have finally converted the former press room into a legislative hideaway. Reporters have dubbed the couch- and art-filled room, which can only be accessed by lawmakers and isn't open to the public, the "teachers lounge." Outside of the lounge, not much occurred Tuesday as the House didn't hold session and the Senate took up only a couple of bills. One issue creating a rift among elected officials, however, is a proposed casino near Charlotte that the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation wants to build. North Carolina Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis are co-sponsoring a bill in Congress to make it happen, while 38 state senators have written to a U.S. Senate committee to oppose the measure.
https://www.wral.com/tuesday-wrap-teachers-lounge/18402302/

Tuesday News: A taxing proposition

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PROPOSED 10% PROPERTY TAX INCREASE IN WAKE COUNTY DRAWS FIRE: While some asked for more money for schools, most speakers at Monday’s public hearings questioned a nearly 10% property tax rate increase in Wake County’s proposed budget. The anti-tax speakers — some holding homemade signs and wearing American-themed costumes — called on Wake County leaders to reject County Manager David Ellis’ proposed 6.36-cent tax-rate increase. Ellis’ $1.47 billion spending plan would raise the county tax rate from 65.44 cents to 71.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That increase includes 3.8 cents to fund the education and parks bonds backed by voters this past fall. Wake County is trying to cover the failures of the state legislature’s unfunded mandates, said Kristin Beller, president of the Wake County chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article230609444.html

Monday News: Welcome to Gilead

PERSONAL STORIES OF RAPE TOLD DURING DEBATE OF SC'S FETAL HEARTBEAT BILL: A bill was being debated that would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected; Mace, a Republican lawmaker, wanted to add an exception for rape and incest. When some of her colleagues in the House dismissed her amendment — some women invent rapes to justify seeking an abortion, they claimed — she could not restrain herself. “For some of us who have been raped, it can take 25 years to get up the courage and talk about being a victim of rape,” Mace said, gripping the lectern so hard she thought she might pull it up from the floor. “My mother and my best friend in high school were the only two people who knew.” As one Republican legislature after another has pressed ahead with restrictive abortion bills in recent months, they have been confronted with raw and emotional testimony about the consequences of such laws. Female lawmakers and other women have stepped forward to tell searing, personal stories — in some cases speaking about attacks for the first time to anyone but a loved one or their closest friend.
https://www.thetimesnews.com/zz/news/20190519/female-lawmakers-speak-about-rapes-as-abortion-bills-a...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC NEEDS CONSCIENCE IN CONGRESS, NOT TRUMP CULT FOLLOWERS: Today we have a president who seems unable to tell the truth to Congress, and who lies daily to the American people. Republicans in the North Carolina delegation sit quietly as Trump lies about his China tariffs, saying that China is sending billions of dollars to the United States. American importers and consumers know that is not true. We pay those billions. This is not about politics. This is about whether the leaders of our congressional delegation have moral values that require support for the truth and expect the president to comply. If the leaders of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are so mesmerized by Donald Trump that they will not speak to the truth of what the president says, they don’t need to be taking up space in our Capitol.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-n-c-needs-conscience-in-congress-not-trump-cult-followers/18392301/

Saturday News: With friends like that...

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DESPITE HIS HORRIBLE RECORD, GROUP CLAIMS TILLIS IS LGBTQ-FRIENDLY: As speaker of the N.C. House, Thom Tillis helped place a ban on same-sex marriages in the state constitution and then defended the amendment in court. As a U.S. senator, Tillis has consistently received low marks for his voting records on gay rights from the nation’s largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization. But in an invitation for a fundraiser this week in D.C., Tillis was touted as “a pro-LGBTQ Republican” by the conservative gay rights group hosting the event. American Unity Fund, which wants to make the conservative case for gay Americans, hosted the fundraiser to benefit Tillis and five other Republican congressional incumbents, including Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine. “On all the votes that have mattered since he has been in the U.S. Senate, he has not voted with the LGBTQ community,” said Ames Simmons, policy director at Equality NC.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article230492919.html

Friday News: Feeling the Bern?

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SANDERS SWINGS SOUTH FOR THE WEEKEND, ASHEVILLE AND CHARLOTTE INCLUDED: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making his first public appearances in North Carolina for his 2020 presidential bid as part of a long weekend traveling through the South. Sanders' campaign says the Vermont senator will hold outdoor rallies at midday Friday in Asheville and late in the afternoon in Charlotte. The Asheville event will be held at the Salvage Station venue and the Charlotte event will be on the Central Piedmont Community College campus. Sanders' campaign says he'll talk about the need to restore voting rights, reform K-12 education, eliminate poverty and address environmental racism. Sanders' weekend tour also will take him to South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
https://www.wral.com/sanders-makes-2-north-carolina-stops-during-southern-swing/18392900/

Thursday News: Striving for equity

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AFRICAN-AMERICAN LAWMAKERS PUSH MORE FUNDING FOR HBCU'S: Sen. Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford, noted that each UNC campus that has a doctoral-level research program is supposed to get an extra $10 million a year for faculty and equipment, but N.C. A&T gets only $2.5 million – and even that has been a recent improvement. Republican leadership has promised to include another $7.5 million in this year's state budget, she said, but the inequity shouldn't have existed for so long. "This is not about HBCUs versus non-HBCUs. This is about equity, and this is about parity," said Rep. Raymond Smith Jr., D-Wayne. Smith fought during the debate over the House budget to shift some of the $100 million earmarked for agricultural research and cooperative extension at North Carolina State University to N.C. A&T, which he said got nothing, even though the two land-grant universities have a similar focus.
https://www.wral.com/lawmakers-students-want-parity-funding-for-hbcus-in-nc/18388967/

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