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Friday News: Just say "no" to coal


GOVERNOR COOPER OPPOSES TRUMP EFFORT TO GUT CLEAN POWER PLAN: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he's against the decision by President Donald Trump's administration to replace rules that sought to limit coal-fired plants in the nation's electrical grid and their emissions. Cooper's office says the Democratic governor has "deep concern" over the Environmental Protection Agency's action to eliminate the Clean Power Plan championed by then-President Barack Obama. The rule signed Wednesday gives states more leeway deciding whether to require plants to make limited efficiency upgrades. Cooper said in a news release the rollback could allow coal-fired plants to pollute more. The governor has been pressing for lower greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy industry expansion in the state. He signed an executive order last year that aims to reduce emissions statewide and make state government more energy-smart.

Thursday News: Unconstitutional


LAWSUIT FILED OVER LEGISLATIVE PROTECTIONS OF HOG FARMS: After North Carolina’s pork industry began facing — and then losing — high-dollar lawsuits related to pollution and foul odors, state lawmakers passed new legal protections for the companies. But on Wednesday, several environmental and social-justice groups filed a lawsuit over those new legal changes, seeking to have them overturned. “These laws not only violate the state constitution, but also have disparate impacts on low-wealth and non-white North Carolinians, who disproportionally live where North Carolina has permitted industrial hog facilities to develop and operate,” the lawsuit says. Specifically, the lawsuit is asking the state courts to overturn the 2017 farm bill and part of the 2018 farm bill. They added new legal protections for the agricultural industry by restricting the ability of people who live near farms to sue over pollution, odor and other problems using “nuisance” laws.

Wednesday News: 500,000 good reasons


GOVERNOR COOPER WANTS MEDICAID EXPANSION IN THE BUDGET: Cooper’s staff was clear that Medicaid expansion needs to be part of the discussions and has invited legislative leaders to the Executive Mansion on Wednesday to continue negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, who signed the letter to Cooper along with Sen. Kathy Harrington and Sen. Brent Jackson, spoke with reporters on Tuesday about the letter and budget negotiations. “If [Cooper’s] willing to not just have a show, but really sit down and negotiate, we’d love to sit down with him,” Brown said Tuesday. Brown said that Medicaid has problems and expansion “just doesn’t make sense to a lot of us.” The revised budget is expected to come out within a week, but it would face a possible veto if it doesn’t satisfy Cooper — and it would then need the support of supermajorities in the House and Senate to become law.

Tuesday News: Drink, Drank, Drunk


REPUBLICANS WANT TO CONSUME ALCOHOL 'TIL 4 A.M. AT THEIR CONVENTION: Legislation that emerged Monday in the N.C. House Rules Committee would create a special exemption during the RNC for North Carolina’s longstanding law that cuts off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. If the new version of Senate Bill 191 becomes law, bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Mecklenburg County and neighboring counties could continue serving alcohol until 4 a.m. between Aug. 22, 2020, and Aug. 30, 2020. The provision was added Monday in a new version of SB 191, which also would allow out-of-state law enforcement officers to have policing powers to provide extra security for the convention. And while the provision is intended to extend RNC festivities later into the night, the provision would apply to all businesses with on-premises alcohol sales in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Gaston, Lincoln and Iredell counties.

Monday News: End the violence


UNC CHARLOTTE STUDENTS RALLY TO DEMAND ACTION ON GUNS: “In a matter of seconds, my life was changed forever,” she said. “All we wanted was to go to class, but now we’re graduating with PTSD and a deep fear every time we don’t see a clear exit.” The rally, organized by the nonpartisan March for Our Lives and the NAACP, was held to raise awareness of gun violence and call for local, state and national elected officials to enact common-sense gun safety laws. The March for Our Lives agenda advocates, among other things, for funding research and intervention programs to address the root causes of gun violence, universal background checks, bans on high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles, and safe storage and mandatory theft reporting laws for gun owners. Saturday’s call to action is for everyone, from gun opponents to gun safety advocates to gun owners, said Margaret Murphy, a sophomore from Holly Springs who is the new director of UNC-Charlotte’s March for Our Lives chapter.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


PRESIDENTIAL CHARACTER, HONESTY MATTER. CONGRESS NEEDS TO ACCOUNT FOR TRUMP: It is painful to watch and listen to President Donald Trump. There seems to be no end to the deception, disrespect, arrogance, meanness and plain old lying. He even says it is OK to take information about his political opponents from foreign governments and not bother to alert the FBI. This has nothing to do with politics or policies. It is all about character and the corruption of core values. Anyone who disagrees or might challenge him, is a “failing dummy.” Trump’s insulting personal denigrations are crude. Trump goes to extraordinary lengths to hide the truth of his own worth, business relationships and even his physical health. Yet he has the gall to make unfounded and veiled accusations about others.

Saturday News: Attack on higher ed


SENATE BUDGET CUTS EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING: State Senate budget writers have proposed phasing out $26 million in extra funding that the early colleges receive as part of their mission of providing high school students with access to college courses. School leaders across the state are warning that the loss of the supplemental state funding means some early colleges, especially those in rural communities, won’t have enough money to stay open. “If they’re not going to have the supplemental funding, they’re going to have to scale back dramatically or not be able to continue,” said Elizabeth Yelverton, legal affairs and policy manager for the N.C. Association of School Administrators. “There’s a very good chance that a lot of schools will close without the funding.”

Friday News: Provenance


SBOE DELAYS APPROVAL OF NEW VOTING MACHINES UNTIL COMPANY OWNERSHIP IS REVEALED: North Carolina election officials were supposed to certify new voting machines on Thursday for millions of voters to start using in 2020. But they declined to make any decisions, citing uncertainty over who owns the three companies that were seeking approval to sell voting machines here. The state gave them until next week to divulge everyone who owns at least 5 percent of their companies or any parent or subsidiary company. “I believe this follows along with the cyber security concerns we have found in the Mueller report and other documentation that has been furnished to our board,” Robert Cordle, the chairman of the State Board of Elections, said Thursday when the board announced its surprise decision.

Thursday News: More ICE, more guns


SENATE TAKES AIM AT NC SHERIFFS' AUTONOMY: Two months after the House passed a bill requiring North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials, a revised measure surfaced in the Senate on Wednesday. The new proposal, which now is backed by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, includes a process for a judge to order whether a person should be held under an immigration detainer but no longer allows people to sue and fines to be levied against sheriffs who don't cooperate. The Senate Judiciary committee also discussed a proposal to allow people to purchase as many handguns as they want during a five-year period with a single pistol purchase permit instead of requiring them to get a permit from their local sheriff before buying each gun.

Wednesday News: A key part of the puzzle


GOVERNOR COOPER SAYS EXPANDING MEDICAID CRITICAL IN FIGHTING OPIOID ABUSE: More than half the people who are hospitalized for opioid addiction are uninsured, and they often can't afford to pay for treatment, Cooper said. In some areas, there aren't even any treatment programs available. Expanding the Medicaid program to tens of thousands of low-income working adults would change the landscape in fighting opioid addiction, the governor said. "You hear law enforcement say [addicts] need to be in treatment, they need help. Law enforcement, they know where they need to be, but often, there's no place for them to go, particularly in the rural areas," he said. "This, again, is why Medicaid expansion is key to this issue." Studies show states with Medicaid expansion have made more progress in fighting opioids than states without it.


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