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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As a ban on new LGBTQ protections is lifted, advocates and local officials push for progress

After more than three years, the state’s ban on local governments offering new protections against LGBTQ discrimination expired Tuesday. Now, say advocates and elected officials from across the state, it’s time to make some long delayed progress on those protections.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

New pandemic relief proposal rolled out by bipartisan group in Congress

WASHINGTON—More than a dozen U.S. House and Senate members are pushing for a bipartisan coronavirus relief package to aid struggling states and local governments and fund programs such as unemployment and rental assistance that are set to expire later this month. In a Tuesday press conference, lawmakers unveiled a four-month, $908 billion proposal that would fund transportation, the paycheck protection program to help businesses pay their employees, food assistance and coronavirus testing centers.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Immigration advocates push Biden to not just bring back DACA but to expand it

Dreamers looking for bold action from a new administration President-elect Joe Biden said last week he would send to the U.S. Senate a bill that would lay out a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people living in the United States within his first 100 days in office. In the interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Biden built on an early promise to reinstate an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA...

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: As Trump expedites U.S. executions, a closer look at federal death row

Outgoing administration proposes to bring back use of electrocution, firing squads People on federal death row could be executed by firing squad or electrocution, if a U.S. Department of Justice rule becomes final. In the waning days of the Trump administration, US DOJ is both expediting the number of federal executions and expanding the methods of how executions can be carried out.

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Education Top Story

Given the flexibility of charters, Restart schools and their students seem to be improving

Two-thirds of 107 schools in North Carolina met or exceeded academic growth goals Granville County Schools is embroiled in a fierce competition for students, and the is district losing.  Over 10 years, more than 1,700 students have left the ...
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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

We’ve seen this movie before: Like Trump, former Gov. Pat McCrory blamed non-existent fraud for his 2016 loss

Donald Trump's baseless, nonstop public allegations of pervasive fraud, election meddling and disloyalty among his party members are unprecedented for a modern American president. But some observers of North Carolina politics have seen this kind of behavior before.

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Environment Top Story

Could defeat in nuisance lawsuits herald a reckoning for the NC hog industry?

In an extraordinary concurring opinion, a Reagan-appointed judge offers searing indictment of industrialized hog farming Shortly after Smithfield Foods lost its third consecutive hog nuisance case in federal court, company CEO Ken Sullivan wrote a letter.

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Environment News Top Story

Big Ag considers how a Biden administration could reverse four years of Trump’s damaging trade wars

Exports of dairy, pork, soybeans, even blueberries declined. What's in store for farmers under Biden? WASHINGTON — American farmers who have endured the drama and turbulence of trade and agriculture policy in the Trump administration can expect a far more sedate and multinational experience when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday Numbers: UNC’s race and diversity problems

Last week the American Medical Association made international headlines by declaring racism an “urgent public health threat,”  warning that it perpetuates health inequities and calling for systematic change to combat it. “The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities. Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer,” said Dr. Willarda V. Edwards, an AMA board member, in a public statement.“Declaring racism as an urgent public health threat is a step in the right direction toward advancing equity in medicine and public health, while creating pathways for truth, healing, and reconciliation,” Edwards said.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Cherokee defending gains made possible by casinos

This week the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Lumbee Recognition Act, bringing the North Carolina tribe closer to the federal recognition it has sought for more than a century. Reaction from other tribes — particularly the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians  — was swift and negative. They said questions remain about the origins and authenticity of the Lumbee, who have at various points claimed descent from four different tribes.

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Education Top Story

State Superintendent-elect Catherine Truitt: Where she stands on charters, the board and the NCAE

Truitt will have to rebuild trust with the state board, whose relationship with her predecessor was combative. Education in North Carolina has become “highly politicized” to the detriment of student achievement, says State Superintendent-elect Catherine Truitt.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

It’s a big effort with middling results, but health experts say contact tracing in the COVID-19 pandemic needs to continue

Recent CDC study in Mecklenburg, Randolph counties, showed difficulties in effective contact tracing North Carolina doesn’t make the details of contact tracing efforts public as some other states do. But the televised pleas by the state’s leading health official for people to answer contact tracers’ calls offer a clue to the obstacles.

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News Top Story

And so the 2022 campaign gets underway

An NC state senator is exploring a bid for a seat in Congress that doesn’t exist. Here’s what he’s betting. WASHINGTON — How do you run for the U.S. House in a district that doesn’t exist? Well, former Obama staffer and North Carolina state Sen. Wiley Nickel is about to find out. Nickel, a 44-year old Democratic lawyer heading into his second term representing western Wake County, filed paperwork last Friday forming an exploratory committee to run for Congress in 2022.

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COVID-19 Environment Top Story

COVID-19 quarantine creates record amounts of trash

Dan Parker wants to talk trash.  Actually, he’s been talking trash for more than six years. Parker’s job at Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department brings him up close to the discards and undesirables of the city’s residents. But the last seven months of the pandemic brought a load unlike any other for Parker and his team. 

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News Top Story

Experts to civil rights panel: NC must do more to lower maternal death rate

Women of color, in particular, would benefit if state expanded access to Medicaid The United States has the worst rate of maternal death of any industrialized nation, and the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. is more than three times higher for Black women than it is for white women.

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Environment News Top Story

Smithfield, Dominion propose major swine gas project, but details are secret, troubling residents

Public hearing on Align RNG air permit set for this afternoon

Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy plan to deploy 30 miles of underground pipeline in Sampson and Duplin counties, part of a controversial project to buy methane from area hog farms, then transport and sell the energy to major utilities.

In and of itself, decreasing methane emissions in the atmosphere isn’t controversial. Such reductions are key to curbing climate change because methane is even more potent in heating the planet than carbon dioxide. And the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned utilities to generate or buy a minute amount — just 0.02% — of their power from swine and poultry waste.

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