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Articles

Fitzsimon File Top Story

Americans want the Affordable Care Act improved not undermined

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Charlottesville and the disturbing reaction by President Trump.

Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe that Trump and his administration should do all they can to make the Affordable Care Act work while only 17 percent believe they should try to make the law fail so they can replace it.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Election officials still silent on Hise investigation at five-month mark

State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement refuses to disclose any details of probe into alleged campaign violations by powerful state senator

Five months after an initial complaint, the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement is still investigating the campaign finance problems of State Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) and refuses to make any material related to the investigation public under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Merit or maps? Judges’ futures could come down to clashing legislative proposals

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill

The fate of judicial selection in North Carolina may come down to a clash between the House and Senate.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The thing that wouldn’t leave

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal

The North Carolina General Assembly will return to Raleigh yet again this week. Despite abysmal poll numbers, the toxic national political environment and their close association with a president of the United States who continues to set new standards for mendacity and outrageous behavior, legislative leaders will commence yet another special session on Friday to take up any number of matters that could include gubernatorial vetoes, new legislative maps, pending legislation from the “long session” that adjourned in June and maybe even constitutional amendments. Despite the Friday-at-noon start time, actual legislative action is not expected to get underway in earnest until next week – emphasis on the word expected.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Gerrymandering update: Federal judges push NC lawmakers for new legislative maps sooner rather than later

The three federal judges could have just come right out and said it: The Republicans who rule the N.C. General Assembly have elevated foot-dragging to a fine art. Their stall tactics take the cake.

Instead, the trio overseeing the legislature’s efforts to draw new voting district maps seems to have angled for another prize – for understatement.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

3---number of states that adopted new state Earned Income Tax Credits in 2017---Montana, Hawaii, and South Carolina (“State EITC Wins Help Spread Prosperity,” Off the Charts Blog, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 10, 2017)

80,000---number of low and moderate income families in Montana who will benefit from a new state refundable EITC (Ibid)

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

The Follies

Lawmakers vote to protect themselves and illegal districts

The big story in Raleigh this week was the adoption by a joint House and Senate redistricting committee of the criteria lawmakers will use to redraw legislative districts in the next few weeks after the federal courts found the current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Architect behind changes to NC judiciary late (again) in filing campaign finance report

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative session to change the judiciary are in the dark.

The five-term Republican legislator from Stanly has not yet filed his mid-year semi-annual campaign finance report, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The report was due July 31.

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Environment Top Story

Company that benefited from secret budget provision refuses to disclose chemicals it proposes to introduce into Triangle’s Jordan Lake

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the algae in Jordan Lake, but the company is keeping key details of its proposal — including a full ingredient list of the products — secret from the public.

The proposed chemical treatment of a drinking water source for 300,000 people is yet another questionable technique backed by some lawmakers and business interests, who have been reluctant to instead enforce rules limiting development in the Jordan Lake watershed.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Hotly contested local races set to take the political stage in NC

Across the state, this year’s historically crowded municipal elections have drawn new types of candidates.

Young candidates. First time candidates. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

The scandalous special sessions that subvert our democracy

The General Assembly will convene a special session next week but most people in North Carolina, including the vast majority of the members of House and Senate, have no idea what legislation they will consider while they are in town.

Last week lawmakers met in a one-day special session supposedly to consider overriding a series of vetoes by Governor Roy Cooper. That was the stated purpose anyway.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

There’s simply no way to know whether NC school vouchers are really helping low-income kids

The leader of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, Darrell Allison, said recently that school vouchers aren’t likely to hurt children from low-income households who use them. But he couldn’t say definitively that the voucher program actually helps these children, either.

Why? Because despite the fact that North Carolina spends millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year on vouchers, we have no meaningful data that can tell us if this is an effective way to help poor students who deserve a high quality education.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The fight for democracy gains momentum

Despite lawmakers’ latest big stall, redistricting reformers are on the offensive

“The dog ate my homework.” If you thought this old cliché of an excuse lost all currency in the world after about the fourth grade and/or when students start turning in their assignments online, think again.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Attack on UNC Center for Civil Rights: Even worse than it looks

The optics, as they say, are terrible. But in a state whose motto is “To Be Rather Than to Seem,” it’s even more important to look at the substance.

And the substance is worse.

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