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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

Bipartisan lawmakers announce bill to raise the age of juveniles prosecuted as adults

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 15:54

The time is now. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates and officials gathered Wednesday morning to introduce a bill that would raise the juvenile age of prosecution in the adult criminal system. North Carolina currently is one of only two states that prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. “North Carolina must not be last,” said Judge Marion ...

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Older adults, Trump supporters worry about the Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:37

If you’re wondering how you might fare under the Republican’s plan to replace Obamacare, be sure to read today’s story in The New York Times. The piece profiles two North Carolinians who are concerned the tax credits will be insufficient to cover the comprehensive care they need. Here’s an excerpt from the story by reporters ...

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Two new “must reads” on the death penalty (Video)

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:41

Kristin Collins of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation has two new “must read” posts on the Center for Alternatives to the Death Penalty blog. The first highlights the outrageous story of Duane Buck — a man whom the state of Texas has been trying to execute for two decades even though his original death ...

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GOP introduces bills to roll back renewable energy standard, repeal plastic bag ban

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 09:42

In 10,000 years, archaeologists will excavate our landfills and ask one another, “What was the deal with the 21st century obsession with plastic bags?” The environmental bane –500 billion used worldwide each year — litter the roadsides, tree branches and, most important for the Outer Banks, the beach and the sea. Turtles and other marine ...

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Raising wages is a women’s issue

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 07:00

As an organizer for the January Women’s March on Raleigh, I have been asked, “What is a women’s issue?”  The answer is simple. Policies that affect women’s lives are women’s issues. Consider for example, the minimum wage. Nearly 1 in 3 workers in North Carolina earn a wage below the federal poverty level, making North ...

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3-judge panel deliberating Cooper constitutional challenges to laws reducing powers

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 17:00

A three-judge panel did not decide three constitutional challenges Tuesday to laws the General Assembly passed during a special session in December that was devoted to reducing incoming Gov. Roy Cooper’s powers. Attorneys for Cooper and legislative leaders argued at the trial over three laws — the Senate’s new advise and consent process; the dissolution ...

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House committee continues to vet bill to punish “sanctuary cities”

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 16:39

As Tuesday afternoon’s N.C. House Judiciary II committee got under way, it was quickly apparent to Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford) that House Bill 63 – the “Citizens Protection Act of 2017” – was not quite ready for prime time. Blust, who chairs the committee, said he’d hoped to have a vote on the bill Tuesday – but ...

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Why won’t North Carolina leaders think long-term?

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 15:52

Governor Cooper announced a clear vision for where North Carolina should aim: one of the top 10 most educated states in the country, an attractive place for people and business, and a state that supports the health and well-being of all residents. Thinking long-term isn’t the norm for many leaders in North Carolina. Many argue ...

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Duke report blasts lack of accountability, results in North Carolina school voucher program

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 14:18

Calling accountability measures in North Carolina’s private school voucher program “among the weakest in the country,” a new report from a Duke University law clinic shreds the state’s lack of data, regulations and basic protections against discrimination. The report, prepared by the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke Law School, calls for a gamut of reforms ...

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Rowan County Commissioner “jokes” about lynching then issues public apology

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:55

Wow. Just wow. One wonders if the conservative crusaders against so-called “political correctness” will rally to defend this very troubled politician’s disgusting/outrageous statement. Reporter Josh Bergeron of the Salisbury Post has the story: Commissioner Chairman Edds apologizes for lynching joke Rowan County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds publicly apologized Monday for a lynching joke he made one ...

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Senate votes to make last of judicial elections partisan again

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:00

The Senate voted 32-15 Monday night to make Superior and District court judicial elections partisan again. House Bill 100 will now be sent to Gov. Roy Cooper to be signed into law. It will be the last law to make all of North Carolina’s judicial elections partisan since lawmakers already added party labels back into Supreme ...

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This is what’s at stake in North Carolina when Trump cuts the EPA budget by 24%

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 09:53

This is the first of several stories about how EPA cuts could harm North Carolina’s environment and economic development. A dozen buzzards roost atop the smokestack like sentinels, guarding 15 acres of brick, concrete, steel and debris. Overhead, more buzzards, 25 or 30 of them that cannot fit on the rim, ride the thermals until they reach a tree ...

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HB2 compromise also attacked from the political right

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 07:47

Last week we saw several press conferences calling for the end of gridlock on repeal of HB2. Among those calling for the law’s repeal last week was LGBT advocacy group Equality N.C., which called HB186 – touted by its sponsors as a compromise repeal – no compromise at all. This week, we have a reminder that ...

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Senate votes unanimously to confirm Larry Hall to Veterans Affairs post

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 07:00

The Senate voted unanimously Monday night to confirm former legislator Larry Hall as Secretary of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The vote was taken after weeks of back-and-forth in the courts over whether or not the Senate could continue with confirmation hearings while a lawsuit was pending. Gov. Roy Cooper sued legislative leaders ...

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Report: Trump voucher plan could “decimate” traditional public schools

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 15:10

A new report from the progressive Center for American Progress says President Trump’s campaign call for $20 billion in federally-backed private school vouchers could have dire impacts for the nation’s traditional public schools. While details of such a plan have been difficult to come by since his inauguration, expanding school choice options and vouchers is ...

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Federal appeals court schedules arguments in HB2 challenge

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 14:35

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation. The hearing is May 10 in Richmond, Virginia. The ACLU of North Carolina announced Monday that a three-judge panel with the federal appeals court will consider a request to block the anti-transgender provisions of ...

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U.S. Supreme Court punts Virginia transgender bathroom case back to lower court after Trump’s rights rollback

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 11:44

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded a transgender bathroom case in Virginia back to a lower court as a result of President Donald Trump’s rollback on protections for transgender students. In sending the case back, the high court avoided ruling on the matter and vacated a judgment in favor of plaintiff Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old student who was born female and identifies as male. The ...

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Monday surprise: Jeffrey Warren named research director of NC Policy Collaboratory

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:55

Jeffrey Warren finally got the job he wanted. After a national search, the soon-to-be former science adviser to Sen. Phil Berger, Warren has been named the research director of the NC Policy Collaboratory, a environmental think tank at UNC Chapel Hill. Warren will report to Brad Ives, the director of the Collaboratory, who also serves as the ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 07:00

There were several fine editorials in the state’s major newspapers over the weekend. The Charlotte Observer rightfully called for the resignation of the nation’s Attorney General in light of the blatant perjury in which he engaged during his confirmation hearing. Both the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News & Record lauded Governor Roy Cooper’s education budget ...

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This Week in Pollution: Bacterial contamination closes 2,450 coastal acres to shellfish harvest

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 12:54

High levels of fecal bacteria have prompted state environmental officials to close some coastal and inland waters to harvesting oysters, clams and mussels. The 2,450 acres stretching across eight counties will be off-limits until further notice, state environmental officials announced. The affected counties are Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow, Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Hyde. The bacteria ...

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