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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Mysterious ‘pop-up PACs’ attack Cunningham, other candidates as Election Day draws near

Obsolete laws allow big campaign spenders to hide their identities until after Nov. 3 WASHINGTON — A super PAC financed tens of thousands of dollars worth of digital ads in late October soliciting allegations that North Carolina Senate hopeful Cal Cunningham engaged in extramarital affairs. But because of a loophole in campaign finance laws that were written in the era of typewriters...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Catawba casino opponents: Don’t gamble with our lives for financial jackpot

Just off I-85, on the way into Kings Mountain, there’s a truck stop on Dixon School Road. Driving through on a weekday afternoon, you might think it’s abandoned. No one fueling up at the pumps. No cars in the lot. On the towering sign, tall enough to be seen from the highway, the old "Citgo" logo has been blacked out with spray paint.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Supreme Court refuses to take up Equal Rights Amendment dispute; advocates persist

One month after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, having argued that the nation needs the Equal Rights Amendment, the surviving justices have dismissed an effort by women’s groups to enshrine the ERA in the U.S. Constitution. The court refused to take up the matter at the behest of ERA proponents, who will instead make their case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, which they’d hoped to bypass.

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Education Top Story

A look behind the curtain at NC’s charter school oversight process

Recent rejection of proposed Wake charter reveals a system that can get messy, contentious and personal Kashi Bazemore’s dream of leading a charter school in Bertie County came true in 2014 when she became principal of Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy (HCLA), a small school in Windsor that she helped start.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

SC-based GOP mega-donor with shady past and ties to Burr, Tillis is behind controversial Catawba casino

Wallace Cheves, whose previous legal troubles include millions in civil fines, used this money to clear legal obstacles for the project When the Catawba Indian Nation began a seven-year battle to open a new casino resort in Cleveland County, it faced long odds. The South Carolina tribe needed to change federal law and longstanding Indian gaming policy to move across the border, to a state friendlier to gaming.

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Environment Top Story

Controversial plan would bring waste processing facilities to struggling southern NC community

Company proposes to process old railroad ties in low-income Richmond County locale already burdened by pollution Two industrial plants that would “cook” creosote-treated railroad ties and release tons of harmful air emissions are proposed for a predominantly low-income neighborhood near Hamlet, an area already burdened by pollution.

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News Top Story

Host committee for Republican convention in Charlotte doles out millions in leftover cash with few restrictions

WASHINGTON — After the Republican National Convention pulled out of Charlotte earlier this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the host committee pledged to give more than $3 million to local community groups by the fall. But a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission shows the committee has handed out less than $400,000 in cash so far, and the vast majority of the money leaders plan to dole out has yet to come in the form of grants reserved for unnamed economic development organizations.

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Must Reads News Top Story

Your voice, your vote: 14 issues to use in assessing the candidates

[Editor's note: As a part of an ongoing effort to help North Carolina voters become better informed and to use their knowledge in casting ballots in the 2020 election, experts at the North Carolina Justice Center (parent organization of NC Policy Watch) have prepared a series of brief and informative voter guides on 14 key policy issues.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: NC hit by big spike in the number of children lacking health insurance

The number of uninsured children in America increased by 726,000 between 2016 and 2019, reversing a long-standing positive trend, according a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.   Coverage losses were widespread, with a majority of states showing statistically significant increases.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW investigation: Proposed Catawba Indian casino no sure bet for surrounding community

Land ownership records, experiences elsewhere raise big questions as to where benefits from controversial Cleveland County resort would flow Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler is among several well-connected politicians, developers and major landowners who could financially benefit from the controversial $273 million Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort, a Policy Watch investigation has found.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Special DC update: The Barrett confirmation hearings

Republicans, including Tillis, endorse controversial nomination while Democrats express deep concerns Day Two of the extraordinary U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett stretched into the evening hours yesterday, but the event generated few surprises and little new information as the nominee avoided taking controversial stances.

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Education Top Story

Pandemic, budget crisis combine to leave eastern NC school district reeling

Schools in Wayne County were already struggling before COVID-19 When Wayne County Public Schools reopened in August for a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning, Fran Smith, an officer in the local branch of the NAACP, began to receive daily calls from teachers worried about their safety.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

In open letter, more than 5,000 lawyers oppose Barrett Supreme Court nomination

[Editor’s note: On Friday, Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG), the nation’s largest network of attorneys committed to upholding human rights and equal justice for all, in partnership with Alliance for Justice, a national association of over 120 organizations that leads the fight for a fair America, submitted the following open letter, signed by more than 5,000 attorneys representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, to the United States Senate objecting to the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. It is the largest known lawyer opposition letter to a Supreme Court nominee. Click here to see explore the signatures]

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News Top Story

Monday Numbers: There’s still 100 million tons of coal ash to be excavated from Duke Energy ponds

Millions of tons of coal ash have been excavated from unlined ponds at Duke Energy power plants, but an enormous amount has yet to be dug up, according to the inventory listed in the NC Department of Environmental Quality's annual coal ash report to the General Assembly.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Purges or list maintenance? How voter rolls have become so polarized

Inactive registered voters in North Carolina can cast ballots In the last decade, millions of registered voters across the county  have been removed from voter rolls. In 2019, Ohio removed more than 460,000 voter registration files from its list. Georgia removed 313,000 people from its rolls in October 2019 alone, and in Michigan, from 2011 to 2018, 1.2 million voters were removed from voter lists. 

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Slavery, lynching and the era of public hangings

Capital punishment arrived in the colony of North Carolina as part of English common law. Even misdemeanors warranted harsh corporal punishment and a long list of felonies qualified for the death penalty. People were executed not only for murder but also rape, theft, arson, and assault.

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