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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

House approves voter ID after long debate over voter fraud, student IDs

It was clear during two hours of debate Wednesday where the two political parties at the legislature diverged over photo ID: their belief in voter fraud. The GOP supermajority expectedly passed legislation that would implement a constitutional requirement that voters must show a photo ID to cast a ballot.

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Education Top Story

Facing stiff local opposition, State Board of Education hurtles toward school takeover vote Thursday

Michael Dunsmore, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, has one question for members of the State Board of Education as they mull a bitterly controversial proposal to seize control of a struggling Goldsboro elementary.

“If they vote Thursday to take my school over and Friday we close it, what do they do?” Dunsmore said Wednesday.

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Environment Top Story

Trump administration OKs seismic testing; environmentalists say the battle for the Atlantic is on

Louder than a thunderclap outside your window. Louder than a jet engine 75 feet away. Louder than the Krakatoa eruption 172 miles from the volcano. Conducted in the depths of the ocean, seismic testing blasts sound reaching 250 decibels...

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Trustees’ proposal for a $5.3 million home for Silent Sam draws criticism from students, faculty

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees unveiled its plan for the Silent Sam Confederate monument Monday: a new, $5.3 million University History and Education Center.

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Environment Top Story

NC makes some headway on GenX, but it’s just the tip of a very toxic and problematic iceberg

Last week was a momentous one for PFAS, although considering how widespread and durable they are in the environment, every week is big for industries’ estimated 4,700 perfluorinated compounds. First, DEQ explained in more detail its proposed consent order, developed in conjunction with Cape Fear River Watch, against Chemours for its profligate discharge of PFAS, such as GenX, into the Cape Fear River.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday Numbers: A closer look at the cost of voter ID

Lawmakers didn’t waste any time creating a voter ID bill after North Carolinians passed a constitutional amendment in the midterm elections. The Senate has already passed Senate Bill 824, a measure that will require North Carolina voters present a valid photo identification before casting an in-person ballot.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Florence recovery package wins unanimous approval, heads to Cooper

In an often contentious first week of the N.C. General Assembly’s lame-duck session, Democrats and Republicans unanimously came together to pass a roughly $300 million bill to fund Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Senate Bill 823 passed the state House and Senate unanimously and was sent to Gov. Roy Cooper Thursday afternoon.

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Environment Top Story

Swine farmers, hog industry turns out in force to oppose revisions to draft permits

DEQ proposes stronger regulations, but waste lagoon and sprayfield system would remain status quo

Jed Arena stands in his backyard, placing most of his weight on one bent leg. A former hog farm worker for Tyson, Smithfield and smaller operations, he’s been fighting off a bacterial infection in his spine. About 10 years ago, well before his recent diagnosis of osteomyelitis, he contracted MRSA...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Senate expands some voter ID provisions, advances bill to final vote

The voter ID bill moving through the legislature is not as “restrictive or burdensome” as some Democrats feared but it is still flawed and rushed, according to the most recent Senate debate. Republican Senators and three Democrats passed a second reading Wednesday night of Senate Bill 824...

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

After two years and a raft of allegations, investigation into Sen. Ralph Hise closes with a modest fine

For the better part of two years, allegations of myriad campaign finance violations have hung over state Sen. Ralph Hise, an influential western North Carolina Republican. But Tuesday morning, members of a key state elections and ethics panel unanimously agreed to a settlement that, as far as state election officials goes, closes the book with a relatively modest punishment.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers – a closer look at hunger and the power of SNAP benefits

As House and Senate negotiators work to finalize the 2018 farm bill, hunger-relief groups and anti-poverty advocates are working to call attention to the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The following figures are based on the latest brief by the NC Budget & Tax Center.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

PW exclusive: Voting rights advocates spell out their recommendations for voter ID bill

In less than one week, after all the tryptophan has worn off, lawmakers will be back in Raleigh working on a measure that will require North Carolina voters to have a photo identification to cast a ballot. Residents voted on an amendment to enshrine such a requirement in the state constitution.

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Environment Top Story

EPA could toughen GenX standards: Here’s why and how you can comment

More people living near the Chemours chemical plant in southeastern North Carolina could qualify for alternate water supplies if the EPA's initial findings on the toxicity of GenX, released last week, are finalized. The basis for the potential switch is the EPA's draft report proposing a chronic reference dose for GenX that translates to a health goal of 110 parts per trillion in drinking water.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the impact of gerrymandering on the 2018 election

When North Carolina Democrats and Common Cause N.C. filed a suit in Wake County Superior Court last week, it was the culmination of roughly two decades of claims that the state’s top lawmakers had manipulated district lines for partisan advantage. A decade ago, Democrats were responsible. These days, Republicans are under intense scrutiny. Despite congressional maps that have been ruled unconstitutional, North Carolina elections in 2018 were conducted once again with gerrymandered districts.

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Environment Top Story

High-powered trial lawyers joust as latest hog trial commences

Robert Thackston, who is tall, bald, with a trunk as straight as a redwood’s, removed his midnight-blue suit jacket to reveal a white twill shirt so crisp it threatened to shatter. On the seventh floor, in Room No. 2 of the federal courthouse in Raleigh, the Texas lawyer sat at the head of a scurry of attorneys hired by Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer. He rocked in his chair and flipped through his thicket of notes, as if perusing a wine list.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Partisan gerrymandering will be North Carolina’s next big court battle

Breaking the Republicans’ veto-proof majority was the Democrats’ and voting rights activists’ short game. Their long game? Ending partisan gerrymandering for good in North Carolina. Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party and a group of individual voters filed a lawsuit earlier this week in Wake County Superior Court challenging the...

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