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N.C. Historical Commission meets Friday amid Confederate controversy

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:30

A reminder: the N.C. Historical Commission will hold its fall meeting Friday. On the agenda: Requests to Relocate “Objects of Remembrance.” Under a 2015 law the board must approve moving or removing historical monuments like the Confederate statues that have been at the center of a renewed public controversy for months. In the wake of deadly ...

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To get Duke Energy flood maps near coal ash basins, local governments had to sign confidentiality agreements

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 14:14

Duke Energy won’t tell you if live in an area that could flood if one of its coal ash basin fails. And local emergency managers can’t tell you, that is, if they want a copy of the secret maps. This secrecy has prompted the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of eight clients, to notify Duke Energy ...

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Proper planning needed: Within two years there will be more people ‘over 60’ in N.C. than ‘under 17’

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 14:00

The aging of our societies is one of the greatest success stories of the last one hundred years. However, with that success also come new long-term challenges and opportunities. Today, North Carolina is facing an extraordinary demographic makeover in the age of our population. The latest Prosperity Watch analysis from the NC Budget and Tax ...

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Board of Education asks Court of Appeals to pause transfer of power to Superintendent

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 12:59

The State Board of Education has officially asked the Court of Appeals to stop Superintendent Mark Johnson from taking the reigns of the Department of Public Instruction until the appeal process is complete. The motion for temporary stay and writ of supersedeas was filed late Tuesday afternoon. A three-judge Superior Court panel ruled for Johnson ...

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AARP President: Latest GOP effort to repeal Obamacare would cause ‘many, many millions’ to lose coverage (video)

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:37

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are working overtime to shore up the votes needed to pass their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But AARP’s national president Eric Schneidewind says the proposed legislation would increase health care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage, ...

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Civitas does the right thing about its controversial website…sort of

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:53

There is good news (at least it appears to be good news) in the saga of the Carolina Plott Hound — a web platform owned and operated by the conservative Civitas Institute that had, among other objectionable things, been linking to an anti-Semitic website that accused attorney General Josh Stein of being part of an ...

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Appellate panel in Rules Commission case: Board of Education power subject to General Assembly laws

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:00

While litigation involving a transfer of power from the State Board of Education to Superintendent Mark Johnson, a three-judge appellate panel has ruled in another case that rules made by the Board are subject to statutes enacted by the General Assembly. The Board sued the state of North Carolina and the NC Rules Review Commission ...

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Attorney General expands opioid investigation, calls for more funding to battle crisis

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:43

Attorney General Josh Stein is joining 40 other state attorneys general in an expanded investigation of five opioid manufacturers and three opioid distributors, he announced in a Tuesday press conference. The investigation will look into how the companies may have contributed to the national opioid epidemic through their business, advertising and marketing practices. Approximately 1,600 ...

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State, not local government, to blame for poor school conditions, Appeals Court rules

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 14:44

The local government in one eastern North Carolina county can’t be held responsible for “serious problems” with chronically underachieving local schools, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. Responsibility for Halifax County’s lagging district falls instead on North Carolina’s state legislature and its executive branch, judges argued. That ruling comes after five students in the county ...

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Illegal oil and gas commission postponed, one statement of economic interest still missing

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 14:10

The state oil and gas commission, which had planned to meet, albeit illegally, in Sanford tomorrow, has been postponed for at least a month. Jim Womack, whose chairmanship is in dispute, told Policy Watch that he decided to cancel the meeting because the state ethics commission didn’t have adequate time to review the members’ statement ...

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NC appeals court rules against NC WARN in Greensboro solar power case

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:48

The nonprofit environmental group NC WARN was acting as a public utility when it provided solar power to a Greensboro church, the NC Appellate Court ruled 2-1 today. The decision favored Duke Energy, Dominion Energy and the NC Public Utilities Commission public staff, which had argued that NC WARN’s financial arrangement was infringing on the ...

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Cooper blasts latest Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:04

Add Governor Roy Cooper to the list of lawmakers speaking out against the so-called Graham-Cassidy health care bill. In a statement released by his press office Tuesday, Gov. Cooper said the latest effort to repeal and replace the ACA would leave many North Carolinains worse off: “The latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act ...

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Mark Johnson’s hometown newspaper: State courts must reject his bid for unchecked power in education

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 08:39

This morning’s lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal is on the money with its assessment of a lawsuit challenging the efforts of state lawmakers to bestow essentially unfettered control of North Carolina schools on the state’s rookie superintendent of public instruction  (click here to read Policy Watch reporter Melissa Boughton’s summary of the case from ...

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Report: N.C. drops seven from list of schools eligible for charter takeover

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:00

Seven North Carolina schools are off North Carolina’s list of 48 eligible for the state’s controversial charter takeover model, WRAL reported Monday. According to the news station, state officials with the Innovative School District (ISD) removed those schools because they are receiving federal grants aimed at turning around academic performance. From WRAL: “Those (federal) funds ...

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After plaintiff objection, redrawn legislative maps now in hands of federal court

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:05

The plaintiffs in North Carolina’s recent racial gerrymandering case already made clear to lawmakers’ that their new legislative maps were flawed but filed an official objection Friday with the federal court. The filing states that while the court found 28 state House and Senate districts to be unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered, lawmakers altered 116 districts and ...

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Five things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:16

#1 DACA in Crisis; Panel Discussion A panel of lawyers, activists, and students gather Monday evening at the FedEx Global Education Center in Chapel Hill to discuss the future for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. Panelists will discuss how to protect students and how to support the undocumented and ‘DACAmented’ community. Panelists include: ...

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Weekend editorials agree: NC must stop denying climate change and sea-level rise

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 07:27

Enough is enough: that’s the obvious conclusion of multiple weekend editorials from around North Carolina when it comes to conservative, head-in-the-sand denials of climate change and sea-level rise. With yet another major hurricane brewing in the Atlantic basin, the message delivered by the editorials is clear. It’s time to stop denying and staring doing something. ...

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Chemours’s lawyers fight back against DEQ; let’s parse the arguments

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 10:33

Chemours’s attorneys have accused the NC Department of Environmental Quality of disregarding “even the most basic rudiments of fair play and process,” when it required the company to stop discharging Nafion into the Cape Fear River. Travis Fain at WRAL reported Chemours’s response and posted the letter yesterday evening. In the letter dated Sept. 8, Chemours ...

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Report: With DACA’s fate uncertain, U.S. universities look to protect immigrants

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:30

A new report from the Associated Press indicates the swirling confusion surrounding President Trump’s order last week to rescind DACA has some universities searching for ways to protect immigrant students. The news comes with national outlets reporting a tenuous deal between Democrats and Trump on the order, which would eventually remove Obama-era protections for certain ...

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The cost of securing “Silent Sam”

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:00

As the controversy over Confederate monuments  heads to the North Carolina Historical Commission on Sept. 22, we thought it was worth asking the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill what it costs to secure “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument that has become the most recent flash point in the controversy. MC VanGraafeiland, media relations ...

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