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Thursday News: Union!


DEM LAWMAKERS FILE COMPANION BILLS TO ALLOW COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: Two first-term Democratic state legislators have filed bills hoping to overturn a 1959 ban on collective bargaining by public-sector employees. That means labor unions would have negotiating power. In North Carolina, instead of through collective bargaining, government workers’ wages are set by the legislature or a local government. So workers lobby for what they want rather than negotiate a union contract. Rep. Zack Hawkins said overturning the ban would help grow the middle class. “North Carolina’s a state on the rise ... moving our state in this direction helps our economy,” the Durham lawmaker said at a news conference Wednesday, and repeal would “once again make North Carolina a beacon in the South.”

Wednesday News: And they're off!


EARLY VOTING IN 9TH DISTRICT PRIMARY BEGINS TODAY: Early voting for the May 14 Republican primary starts Wednesday in Mecklenburg, Union and the six other counties in the 9th Congressional District. Only Republican and unaffiliated voters are eligible to cast ballots. There are no primaries for Democrats or members of the Green, Libertarian or Constitution parties, though each has a candidate in the general election. Ten Republicans are running for the nomination. The winner is expected to face Democrat Dan McCready, who ran in 2018. If no one in the May 14 primary gets at least 30 percent of the vote, there will be a Sept. 10 runoff followed by a Nov. 5 general election. If no runoff is necessary, the general election would be Sept. 10.

Tuesday News: Heroes and villains


UNC STUDENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT CAMPUS POLICE: History graduate student Mark Porlides talked about his arrest during a protest last year, and showed a video clip of his arrest taken by an officer’s body camera. Porlides said officers said there was no video of his being tackled and handcuffed as he stood watching the protest, but that his attorney was able to subpoena the video, which he said showed their account of the incident was incorrect. The charges were subsequently dismissed. Ayling said she has been the target of a number of death threats online. She was one of two people named in threatening language vandals scrawled on UNC’s Unsung Founders Memorial and an outdoor art exhibit on campus on the morning of March 31, she said. Two people UNC has said are members of the Heirs to the Confederacy group have been charged in the vandalism and ordered not to return to campus. Also this month, anti-Semitic posters were left on tables and bookshelves in UNC’s Davis Library.

Monday News: Monuments to oppression


KKK HOODS DRAPED OVER CONFEDERATE STATUES ON CAPITOL GROUNDS, TWO ARRESTED: Raleigh police arrested two people during a Sunday afternoon protest against Confederate monuments at the State Capitol. Organizers said in a statement that it was a peaceful gathering to provide context about the statues' history. The group "Smash Racism Raleigh" live streamed the demonstration on Twitter. According to police, Enzo Niebuhr and Jody Anderson climbed onto the statues and covered the heads with KKK hoods. They were charged with defacing a public monument and disorderly conduct for allegedly repeating anti-racist chants. Smash Racism Raleigh says they were wrongfully arrested.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS HOLD KEY IN UPCOMING VETO SHOWDOWN: Sustaining Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of controversial Senate Bill 359 could end up in the hands of a few African-American Democratic legislators – some of whom are ministers. That is the picture that emerges from a look at how members of the state House of Representatives and Senate voted on the bill earlier this week. All four Democrats in the House who voted for the bill are black, two are ministers. Three of the five Democrats who didn’t vote are also black. In the Senate, the two Democrats who voted for the bill also are black. The effort to sustain the Democratic governor’s veto will be a critical test of Cooper’s clout and the power that Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore wield in the Republican-dominated General Assembly. The fate of this over-ride effort is particularly critical because it is the first since Republicans lost their veto-proof legislative majority.

Saturday News: Toxic legacy


FIRST DUPONT, NOW HONEYWELL: DECADES OF POLLUTING THE CAPE FEAR: Federal authorities say they've reached a proposed settlement with two companies for the cleanup of a former chemical plant near the Cape Fear River. The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Thursday that the settlement was reached with Honeywell International Inc. and International Paper Co. The companies have agreed to treat, store and dispose of soils and sediments contaminated by metals that include mercury and PCBs. The settlement says the from 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid at the plant in Riegelwood in Columbus County, adjacent to the Cape Fear River. A federal court must approve the settlement.

Friday News: Nope, not this time


GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES "BORN ALIVE" ANTI-ABORTION BILL: "Laws already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients," Cooper said in his veto statement. "This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist." The bill is similar to others that have cropped up this year in other states, and Cooper's veto is sure to appear in campaign commercials. Already, both sides were fundraising off the news Thursday, sending email blasts to supporters seeking donations. The North Carolina Values Coalition sent out a donation appeal titled "Roy Cooper just vetoed babies." It remains to be seen whether Republicans can muster the numbers needed to overturn Cooper's veto, but it will be difficult. The GOP lost its super-majorities in the House and the Senate in last year's elections and would need to peel off more Democrats to make this bill law.

Thursday News: Just don't do it


BUSINESS LEADERS AND WATCHDOGS OPPOSE DUKE ENERGY'S 5 YEAR RATE PLANS: Lobbyists for large manufacturers, industrial customers and Google spoke against a key section of Senate Bill 559 in committee Wednesday. Walmart, the state's largest private employer and one of its bigger electricity users, issued a statement saying the bill "could lead to unchecked electricity rate increases." "There are better options here," Howard told legislators. "We ask that you slow down." The state's Department of Environmental Quality recently said Duke would have to excavate more coal ash ponds around the state, boosting what would have been a roughly $5.6 billion cleanup plan closer to $10 billion. With those costs and others coming down the pike, "now is not the time to loosen the regulator reins," said Sharon Miller, another lobbyist for large manufacturers.

Wednesday News: Sesame Street, with no muppets


NC REPUBLICANS WANT POOR KIDS TO HAVE "ONLINE" PRE-K: The state House Education Committee backed legislation on Tuesday that would create a three-year virtual early learning pilot program targeted at preparing at-risk preschool children for kindergarten. Backers of the new program say it will help underserved young children who aren’t able to get into a traditional pre-K program. “The purpose of this program is to deliver a high-quality program, early intervention for those kids so that when they do start school they’re not left in the dust.” But critics say the new program falls short of providing children a real preschool program. ‘It seems so often in the last few years that we’re doing things on the cheap.” Keith Poston, president of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, said in an interview Tuesday.

Tuesday News: Parting is such sweet sorrow...


DALLAS WOODHOUSE WILL LEAVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION IN JUNE: The party’s central committee, a group of about 30 people, held an hours-long meeting Sunday night at which it discussed Woodhouse’s future. Early Monday, McClatchy was not able to determine what was decided. The meeting came after the party’s chairman, Robin Hayes, was indicted for allegedly trying to funnel bribe money to N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and making false statements to the FBI. Hayes relinquished some of his duties at the NC GOP, appointing Aubrey Woodard as acting chair. Woodhouse wasn’t mentioned in the indictment and says he’s not a target of the investigation. But he testified before the grand jury in December, as McClatchy previously reported. “I am under contract through the convention,” Woodhouse said in a text. “After that, with the election of a new chair, and after four years, a run longer than most, I am moving on. This was always what I had in mind.”


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