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Law and the Courts Top Story

Round-up: NCGA discusses four constitutional amendments — hunting and fishing, voter ID, victims’ rights, legislative appointment of judges

GOP lawmakers want North Carolinians to make sweeping, permanent changes to the state Constitution and trust them to sort out the details of it all later.

The legislature considered four constitutional amendment proposals yesterday and voted to move along two of them and continue discussing the other two.

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Environment Top Story

Susan Wind had a reason to press state officials about a possible cancer cluster near Lake Norman. Her daughter had the disease.

The lump started small and hid behind her ear. Harmless, the doctor said, nothing to worry about.

So Taylor Wind, then 14, went about her business, attending high school, hanging out with friends and enjoying life in her neighborhood on the shores of Lake Norman in Iredell County.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Lawmakers on their way to changing judicial districts during candidate filing

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday night to overturn a partial judicial redistricting bill in an apparent attempt to flex its political muscle at Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Local election officials detail problems with controversial early voting bill

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when the General Assembly fast-tracked a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to early voting.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday numbers: All about voting

With midterm elections around the corner, lawmakers have, unsurprisingly, taken aim at last minute changes that would affect voters at the polls. Senate Bill 325 eliminates the last early voting Saturday before this year’s elections and create uniform early voting hours across the state. It was sent to the Governor’s Office Friday. Legislators have also introduced a constitutional amendment that would require voters to present a photo identification before casting a ballot. It’s expected to be voted on next week.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Allegations of sexism, partisanship follow local election board’s disqualification of Berger challenger

On May 25, the news headlines read that Democratic state Senate candidate Jen Mangrum had been disqualified from her bid to unseat Sen. Phil Berger, arguably the most powerful state lawmaker in North Carolina. Republicans had challenged Mangrum’s residency in Berger’s district near the Virginia line, and a panel of election officials from Berger’s Senate District 30 voted on party lines to oust Mangrum...

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Environment Top Story

Industry bill to limit nuisance suits against hog operations nearing final passage

If it seemed impossible that neighbors of industrialized hog farms had any legal rights left to lose, a new version of the N.C. Farm Act strips those residents of any ability to sue industrialized hog farms for nuisance. After being amended six times Wednesday, the Farm Act, also known as Senate Bill 711, is on the verge of becoming law, even though several Republicans broke rank and opposed the measure.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

PW exclusive: Previously undisclosed fiscal note says victims’ rights constitutional amendment could cost state millions

Can you put a price tag on victims' rights? A fiscal note obtained by NC Policy Watch that has been kept confidential for the past year would indicate that you can – and a hefty one at that. The fiscal note, dated February 8, 2017, from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), estimates that a change to the victim rights section of the state constitution -- a multi-part proposal known as known as Marsy’s Law -- would cost the courts $16.4 million to implement and $30.5 million annually in subsequent years for additional district attorney staff.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the legislative session winds down, Democrats seek a compromise for storing “Silent Sam”

A new bill to relocate the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument on UNC’s flagship Chapel Hill campus aims to be a compromise in the contentious, decades-long fight over the statue.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the need to expand NC’s existing hate crime laws

As LGBTQ advocates face an uphill battle to expand North Carolina’s existing Hate Crime laws this legislative session, they do so against a backdrop of increased violence against lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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Environment Top Story

After court loss, N.C. pork producer turns to legislature for a win

Near the end of an hour-long debate on the Senate floor, Senator Brent Jackson sounded exasperated. "I shouldn't have to defend this dang bill," he said, his voice cracking as if he were leading a tent revival. "There's not a dang one of you all that has not eaten today or this week ...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Amid anti-LGBTQ violence, N.C. Democrats seek expansion of state hate crimes law

Last week Democratic lawmakers filed a bill to expand existing hate crimes statutes to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Filed by Senators Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) and Valerie Foushee (D-Orange), Senate Bill 794 would add sexual orientation, ...
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Education Top Story

Bill to allow municipal charters becomes law despite bipartisan opposition, specter of resegregation

On Wednesday, members of the N.C. House of Representatives were prepared to cast a vote on town-run charter schools with major ramifications for the future of public education, but Rep. Kelly Alexander’s mind was on the past. In the late 1950s, as Alexander explained, some North Carolinians were urging state lawmakers to pursue predominantly white sub-districts, an attempt to assuage the budding uproar over the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 order to desegregate public schools in Brown v. Board of Education.

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Environment Top Story

State lawmakers moving suddenly and swiftly to shut down nuisance suits against industrial hog farms

As the second hog nuisance trial against Murphy-Brown enters another week of testimony in federal court, a few blocks away, Republican lawmakers, working at the behest of the state’s hog industry, are trying to stop these cases against the world’s largest pork producer from ever happening again.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

“Piecemeal” judicial redistricting: Lawmakers pushing a trio of bills that would impact a third of state’s residents

Lawmakers are still trying to sort out their plans for judicial redistricting less than two weeks before candidate filing commences for judicial office and it’s not at all clear where the finish line will be. Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) all but promised last week that a Friday committee meeting at which two bill were approved would be the end of judicial redistricting, but Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said Monday that there were still imbalances across the state that could be dealt with.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The politics of “pork”

Much has been written this week about the process of the secretly-crafted $23.9 billion budget unveiled by the General Assembly’s GOP majority Monday night.

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