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Updated: 14 min 23 sec ago

Chief Justice labels GOP plan to shorten judicial terms a disruption of justice

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 10:05

Add Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin to the list of critics who oppose a proposed Constitutional amendment that would reduce all of North Carolina judges’ terms to two years and force them to run for reelection next year. As the Associated Press reports: The head of North Carolina’s court system is against a proposal ...

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While you were sleeping, the U.S. Senate voted to take away your consumer rights

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 07:31

It sure is good to see that how the Trumpists are “draining the swamp” of all those high-powered special interests in Washington. As Ian Millhiser of Think Progress reports, the latest slimy act of conservative leaders in Washington will lessen the rights of tens of millions of American consumers. This is from a new article ...

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DEQ won’t suspend Chemours’ wastewater discharge permit, but company faces class-action lawsuit

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:40

Based on water quality monitoring results at the Chemours plant, state environmental regulators announced today it won’t suspend the company’s wastewater discharge permit into the Cape Fear River. However, the permit renewal is still under review, and the state could still revoke the permit should the company again release perfluorinated compounds such as GenX and Nafion ...

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Florida investigation: Private schools pull in $1 billion in public funds with little oversight

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 16:15

In a story that’s sure to only galvanize critics of North Carolina’s fast-expanding private school voucher program, a recent and extensive Orlando Sentinel investigation takes on Florida’s oversight of its own private school scholarship system. According to that report, Florida private schools are pulling in roughly $1 billion in taxpayer-funded scholarships with lax oversight from the ...

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UNC Board of Governors committees meet this week – still no word on official membership

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:39

If you’ve been following our recent coverage of the UNC Board of Governors, mark your calendars for two meetings on Wednesday. The first meeting of the board’s Subcommittee on Laboratory Schools will be held Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the Spangler Building, 910 Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill. The board’s full committee on ...

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Must-see documentary on rising sea levels on North Carolina’s coast premieres tonight

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:25

Scientists predict about a three-foot rise in sea level along North Carolina’s coast by the year 2100. But coastal dwellers have already seen increased erosion and more frequent flooding. Tonight WRAL-TV will air its latest documentary “Sea Change” further examining what sea level rise will mean for coastal communities in the not-to-distant future. Documentary producer ...

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Berger appoints mostly GOP committee to look at judicial reform, redistricting

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:22

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, whose chief of staff has been pushing a “merit” judicial section plan, has named a majority Republican committee to review judicial reform and redistricting. Senators Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) and Warren Daniel (R-Burke) are co-chairs of the select committee on judicial reform and redistricting. They are two of 10 Republican ...

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UNC Board of Governors hears push-back on tuition cut proposal

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:00

During Monday’s tour of Fayetteville State University, members of the UNC Board of Governors heard push-back on a tuition-cut proposal floated at its meeting last month. The Fayetteville Observer reported FSU Chancellor James Anderson took the opportunity of board members’ visit to address the issue: Last year, FSU pulled out of that effort to cut ...

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Two new commentaries skewer Betsy DeVos

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:30

Two excellent “must reads’ for your Tuesday morning involve the Trump administration’s dreadful and over-matched Education Department secretary, Betsy DeVos. In “Those Turning on Trump Need to Start Turning on Trump’s Cabinet,” national political columnist Charles P. Pierce calls on GOP senators like Bob Corker and Ben Sasse to stop limiting their Trump criticisms to ...

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“Speculative” injuries for trans people, huh? What Berger and Moore need to remember about civil rights

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:15

As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing makes clear, conservative politicians and activists in North Carolina are not about to ease up in their war on LGBT equality. Just read the remarkable statements uttered by North Carolina’s reactionary Lieutenant Governor and the head of the badly-misnamed NC Values Coalition (both of which are reproduced ...

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Former GOP judge, justice question motive of measure to shorten judicial term limits

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 07:00

It’s been one week since lawmakers introduced a Constitutional amendment that would reduce all of North Carolina judges’ terms to two years and force them to run for reelection next year. It’s a proposal that has been met with bipartisan skepticism and criticism, especially from those who have actual first-hand knowledge of the courts. “This ...

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New “must read’ report: One vote really can turn an election in North Carolina

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 15:15

New from the good people at Democracy North Carolina: Does one vote really make a difference in an election? A new study from the nonpartisan voting rights group Democracy North Carolina shows that in a surprising number of cases a handful of votes can determine who wins or loses, especially in odd-year municipal elections like ...

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“Unsubstantiated by competent evidence”: Judge rules against Civitas’s Francis De Luca in Smithfield Foods case

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 12:55

Francis De Luca tried to thread a legal needle but instead poked himself in the eye. In a lawsuit filed last October, De Luca, the director of conservative group Civitas, had claimed that millions of dollars generated by a 2000 settlement agreement between the state attorney general’s office and Smithfield Foods were being unconstitutionally disbursed. ...

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Weekend editorials agree: GOP assault on the state courts is shameful

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 07:00

Multiple editorials in the state’s major news dailies this past weekend agreed: The ongoing effort to raze and remake the state courts by Republican legislators is simply outrageous. Here’s the Winston-Salem Journal in “Shameful power grabs”: North Carolina made the national news again Thursday, but not because of our recovering economy, our beautiful and irreplaceable ...

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Berger’s chief of staff: Senate committee appointments coming to discuss best way to pick judges

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 16:23

The Senate President Pro Tem‘s chief of staff and a former appellate judge turned House Representative faced off Thursday on Spectrum News‘ Capital Tonight about North Carolina’s judiciary. Jim Blaine has, on behalf of Phil Berger, been presenting the idea of a “merit selection” plan to various groups and stakeholders across the state while Rep. ...

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U.S. Senate passes budget that slashes trillions and increases deficit. What’s next?

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:17

The U.S. Senate narrowly voted 51-49 to pass its budget resolution. Unfortunately, the budget passed by the Senate has many similarities to the House budget that was passed less than two weeks ago. Overall, this budget framework will harm millions of Americans and set our country in a downward trajectory as, over the next 10 ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:00

1. Former GOP Supreme Court justice: 2 year terms amendment continued effort to ‘intimidate judiciary’ The North Carolina Senate filed a Constitutional amendment Tuesday that would shorten all judges and state Supreme Court justices terms to two years and end all sitting judges terms in December 2018. Bob Orr, a prominent Republican who served as ...

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WRAL: State schools superintendent moves to staff his office

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:00

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is preparing to take advantage of $700,000 in funding state lawmakers approved to staff his office, WRAL is reporting. GOP budget writers cleared the cash this year for Johnson to hire up to 10 new positions that would report directly to him and not the State Board of ...

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NC business owner explains need for paid leave law

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 11:47

In case you missed it earlier this week, there was a great op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer by local businesswoman and yoga studio owner Monica Shannon about the importance of paid leave for workers and why a law requiring it would be good for business. Here’s the conclusion to “Small businesses need paid leave”: ...

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Education professor explains emptiness of for-profit charter takeover law

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:14

There’s a fine op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Brian Gibbs, who is an associate professor in the Department of Education at UNC Chapel Hill. In it, Gibbs explains what North Carolina lawmakers should be doing if they’re serious about bringing “innovation” to struggling schools. Spoiler alert: It’s not turning ...

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