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U.S. House approves bill to boost minimum wage to $15 per hour

The U.S. House on Thursday voted to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.  The measure has little chance of being enacted by the GOP-led Senate, but will be widely touted by Democrats heading into the 2020 campaign season. The current federal minimum wage is less than half of that amount -- it has been stalled at $7.25 since 2009. This month marked a record for the longest period without raising the minimum wage since it was enacted.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

The big scam: Why North Carolina should dump virtual charter schools

Linger long enough in Raleigh’s legislative lagoon and you’ll find there are three kinds of lawmakers: The pragmatists: Take a photo if you spy one of these. Theirs is an isolated, lonely caucus, and their agenda is a more nebulous sort. Find the logic, find the rationale for a proposal and you may have an ally here.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Back to the future? Advocates worry NC’s new drug distribution law is a return to failed policies of the past

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the controversial “Death by Distribution” bill into law last week. Under the new law (which takes effect on December 1), someone who gives certain drugs to another person leading to that person’s death can be...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Republican legislative leaders could end the Common Cause gerrymandering lawsuit tomorrow

There’s an old adage in the law that’s often used to describe situations in which a judge jails someone for contempt of court. Because the jailed individual normally needs only to comply with the judge’s directive in order to be released, it’s said that they “have the keys to the jail cell door in their pocket.” Today in North Carolina, there is an analogous situation under way in state Superior Court

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Environment Top Story

Controversial ex-DEQ chief Donald van der Vaart nominated to Environmental Management Commission

Van der Vaart: supporter of Trump, critic of regulation, was in charge during some of the state's most troubled times in modern environmental history. Before Sen. Phil Berger flew to Berlin to attend the Senate Presidents' Forum earlier this month, he had to attend to an important piece of housekeeping.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina court begins high-stakes partisan gerrymandering trial

North Carolina voting rights groups and Democrats were compared to the legendary Pied Piper at the start of a highly-anticipated partisan gerrymandering trial on Monday – actors who would lure a state court with their legal flutes into a "thicket" of thorns. “There is no need for the thicket under our current constitutional order,” said Phil Strach, an attorney for the legislative defendants. “The court should resist the flute, avoid the thicket and uphold the constitutional order by dismissing these claims.”

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Original Commentary Top Story

Monday Numbers: Don’t be fooled by the raw numbers. ICE is seizing more undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

The right-wing wallflowers of The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, with an almost palpable sense of frustration, that President Trump’s promised weekend roundup of undocumented immigrants did not materialize.

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Environment Top Story

Under pressure, superintendent agrees to second enviro study at Moore County school site

More than 10 pollution sources, including two Superfund sites, are within a mile of the new Aberdeen Elementary School Moore County Schools Superintendent Robert Grimesey has ordered a Phase II environmental assessment of the new Aberdeen Elementary School ...
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News Top Story

CBO report: $15 minimum wage would benefit millions of workers, slash poverty

Report authors, advocates differ over possible side effects On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a cost estimate of the Raise the Wage Act, a federal bill to phase in a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2025. HR 582, whose primary sponsor is Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA)...

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News Top Story

Environmentalists scoff as Burr joins conservation club

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Wednesday joined his GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill in announcing the formation of a new conservation caucus.  The kickoff of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus comes after President Trump gave a speech...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering trial could provide roadmap for other states

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once again. The trial in the case of  Common Cause v. Lewis – the state constitutional partisan gerrymandering challenge – will begin at 10 a.m. Monday

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Education Top Story

Cooper offers revised teacher pay raises, hybrid approach to funding school infrastructure needs

Senate leader slams proposed budget compromise, appears to reject further negotiation North Carolina teachers would see an average 8.5 percent pay raise by the second year of the biennium under a compromise budget proposal...

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The budget chess match: Cooper offers compromise; Berger, Moore offer pork to woo Dems for veto override

Gov. Roy Cooper released a proposed budget compromise Tuesday as Republican legislative leaders continue to search for the votes to overturn his veto. The proposal does offer compromises on areas of disagreement from teacher raises and State Capital and Infrastructure Fund money to tax cuts and school vouchers.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Latest GOP trial balloons confirm Cooper has been right to keep pushing for Medicaid expansion

It’s going to happen eventually. It may not be right away and it may not look exactly like it ought to look at first, but at some point in the not-too-distant future, North Carolina is going to expand its Medicaid program.   The momentum to move forward is too strong and the arguments against doing so are just too weak. Consider the following:

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Will NC run with Supreme Court’s gerrymandering punt?

You have to wonder: What would U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. tell that proud North Carolina gerrymanderer David Lewis if they ever came face to face, just the two of them? OK, we can imagine the cynical answer. He’d tell his fellow conservative...

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