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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Who died, when and where in NC county jails

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 14:14

If you haven’t yet read the first of the News & Observer’s five part series Jailed to Death, you should. But don’t stop there. You should also check out the database of 151 inmates who died in custody in 65 N.C. county jails between 2012 and 2016. The database is a good platform for further ...

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DEQ hosts more public listening sessions on Atlantic Coast Pipeline; new FERC members bode ill for opponents

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 13:13

If you missed the recent public hearings on the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline, you have three more chances to speak your mind before state environmental officials. The NC Department of Environmental Quality is holding additional public listening sessions about the project, which will cross parts of eight eastern North Carolina counties, including low-income neighborhoods and ...

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NC paramedic recounts stories from front line of heroin epidemic

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 12:17

A weekend piece at Salon takes a look at North Carolina’s opioid epidemic through the eyes of a Guilford County paramedic. The piece, by Salon’s Young American journalist Lauryn Higgins, is worth your time – particularly if you’ve been following our recent coverage of the issue at NC Policy Watch. From the piece: In 2015, ...

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Policy issues impacting NC seniors the subject of August 15 luncheon

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 10:06

Please join us August 15 for a very special Crucial Conversation – The silver tsunami: What’s on the policy horizon for North Carolina’s seniors? Click here to register In one of the brighter and underreported developments of the 2017 legislative session, North Carolina lawmakers took some important steps to secure consistent, quality care for seniors. ...

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This week’s “must read” about North Carolina government

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 06:44

There are a lot of ways in which the conservative obsession with doing government “on the cheap” is limited in its effect on the citizenry. Potholes and crumbling roads, closed parks and rest stops, court delays and rising college tuition: these problems are real and often hugely problematic, but often manageable for those affected — ...

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USDA cracks down on use of term “climate change,” prompting a chilling effect on agency scientists

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 15:36

At 107.39 degrees, Death Valley set the record for the average hottest month — July 2017 — in US history. Parts of Europe and the Pacific Northwest, where air conditioning is not de rigueur as in the South, are wilting under a relentless and unprecedented heat wave. The Arctic could be ice-free by 2030, and ...

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Reduction of emergency judges results in 68 days of cancelled court so far, including 3-week Henderson trial

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:52

There are 68 days of court cancelled in North Carolina from July 10 through November 3 as a result of lawmakers cutting the number of emergency judges by more than two-thirds. Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) spokeswoman Sharon Gladwell responded to a request last week with a chart that reflects district and superior court ...

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Editorial blasts legislature’s “pitiful stall tactics” on redistricting

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:07

In case you missed it this morning, today’s lead editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times (“NCGA’s pitiful stall tactics only delay justice”) blasts the ongoing “dog ate my lunch” excuses of legislative leaders when it comes to drawing new and fair legislative districts. In lamenting the legislature’s ongoing inaction and the recent refusal of a panel ...

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NC GOP boss Dallas Woodhouse goes all Trump in latest outrageous claim

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:30

North Carolina Republican party executive director Dallas Woodhouse (pictured at left) is the Donald Trump of our state’s politics. Just when you’re convinced he can’t sink any lower in his delusional myth-making and snake oil salesmanship about the state of the world, he does it once again. The latest case-in-point: yesterday’s attempt to link the ...

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Redistricting meeting: co-chair says maps not yet drawn; public demands fair, transparent process

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 17:09

Rep. David Lewis, chair of the House Committee on Redistricting, said during a meeting Friday that he did not know of any legislative maps already drawn at his or legislative leaders’ direction. Rep. Henry Michaux Jr. (D-Durham) questioned Lewis about whether or not there were already maps drawn that had not been unveiled to the ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:59

1. UNC Board vote on Civil Rights Center the latest move in an ideological crusade Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross. The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason ...

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The quarterback sneak of House Bill 162: Measure would stymie DEQ’s ability to strengthen environmental rules

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 13:46

House Bill 162 began its life last February as a wonky aggregation of technical corrections. But by summer, the measure hasdmorphed into yet another attempt by lawmakers to curb the authority of the NC Department of Environmental Quality. (Because cutting 16-plus jobs and more than $2 million from the agency’s budget isn’t effective enough?) The ...

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Environmental bills annotated, Part 1: Problematic SB 16 weakens landfill and coastal development rules, now heads to governor

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:49

  What was supposed to be the legislative equivalent of fast food — a quick in-and-out special session — turned into an elaborate eight-course meal — a full-day rife with backdoor discussions, testy debates and attempted sleights of hand. Senate Bill 16, which passed both chambers,  includes some cut-and-paste portions of a failed measure, HB ...

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Editorial: Use of gerrymandering expert as consultant shows GOP lawmakers not serious about redistricting

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 11:40

Hiring conservative gerrymandering expert Tom Hofeller as the man to help draw new and fair legislative maps in North Carolina is a little like a company hiring potty-mouthed Anthony Scaramucci as a consultant to help it bring civility to office communications. This morning’s lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal echoes this sentiment in somewhat more ...

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Columnist blasts Justin Burr’s partisan judicial redistricting plan

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 09:06

In case you missed it yesterday, veteran columnist Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record had an excellent essay this week on the ongoing efforts of North Carolina Republican lawmakers (led by Rep. Justin Burr) to remake the state’s judiciary into partisan and less representative branch of government. Here’s Clark in “Next target for ...

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Chemours’s troubles deepen as US Attorney’s Office subpoenas documents from DEQ over GenX

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 14:59

The Star-News in Wilmington is reporting that the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of NC has issued a criminal subpoena to the NC Department of Environmental Quality asking for all records and correspondence regarding Chemours’s Fayetteville plant and its discharge of GenX into the Cape Fear River. DEQ will comply, the Star-News quoted ...

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With $3 million to go, AG Josh Stein says he cannot make any more cuts to DOJ (with video)

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 14:46

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that he was forced to eliminate 45 positions at the Department of Justice after the legislature slashed his budget by $10 million. Agencies that are DOJ clients have agreed to fund an additional 40 lawyer positions, which represents about $3.5 million in savings. That leaves $3 million ...

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Today’s “must read” op-ed

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:45

In case you missed it, there’s a great essay in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer that deserves to be shared widely. Written by a Hillsborough physician named Aparna Jonnal, it  includes some hard and important truths about poverty, inequality and the first and most obvious way to tackle those problems. This is from ...

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The mind reels: Civitas, foe of EPA and government regulation, demands EPA enforce Clean Water Act re: GenX

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 10:53

Ultra-conservative think tank the Civitas Institute, which has never met an environmental regulation it didn’t want to obliterate, is now invoking the Clean Water Act to keep GenX and other chemicals out of the Cape Fear River. In a letter to the EPA, Chemours and the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Civitas Executive Director Francis ...

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Lawmakers return today; Cooper vetoes of small loan, “garbage juice,” casino nights and newspaper bills at risk?

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 07:04

The North Carolina General Assembly takes yet another step toward becoming a more or less full-time legislature today as it returns for its umpteenth special legislative session in recent years. To make the whole exercise that much more fun and in keeping with the way things have run during recent so-called “regular” sessions, no one ...

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