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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

PW exclusive: Mark Davis, Tamara Barringer vie for NC Supreme Court seat

As part of our ongoing effort to inform North Carolinians about the state judiciary, Policy Watch is publishing a series of Q&A’s over the coming weeks with the candidates seeking statewide judicial office this fall. Each of the 14 candidates (six who are contesting three Supreme Court seats and eight who are contesting four seats on the Court of Appeals) was asked the same seven questions...

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Environment Top Story

How NC can tackle the climate crisis and address environmental justice

New, "must read" report details six ways to create safe, healthy communities and ensure access to clean, affordable energy A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) outlines how North Carolina can reduce the impact of climate change in a way that addresses systemic racism and environmental justice.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

Senate GOP emergency relief plan leaves out direct aid to state and local governments

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans unveiled their latest coronavirus relief proposal Tuesday but were met with swift objections from Democrats. The GOP plan failed to include direct aid to cities and states, a priority for Democrats, or rental relief or nutrition assistance, and it appeared it wouldn’t go far enough to resolve a monthslong stalemate over providing additional emergency aid to Americans. The Senate plans a vote later this week.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

PW exclusive: Cheri Beasley, Paul Newby vie for top NC Supreme Court seat

Editor's note: As part of our ongoing effort to inform North Carolinians about the state judiciary, Policy Watch is publishing a series of Q&A's over the coming weeks with the candidates seeking statewide judicial office this fall. Each of the 14 candidates (six who are contesting three Supreme Court seats and eight who are contesting four seats on the Court of Appeals) was asked the same seven questions by former PW Courts, Law and Democracy Reporter Melissa Boughton.

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Environment Top Story

Caswell County asked a mining attorney about its environmental ordinance. Now the commission could repeal it tomorrow.

Ordinance provides public with information on potential environmental impacts of polluting industries When Caswell County Commissioners were stumped on whether mining company Carolina Sunrock could legally sidestep a local moratorium on polluting industries, they decided to hire an ...
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Education Top Story

Plagiarism, copyright infringement and “low rigor”: State Auditor gives lawmakers an earful about failings of NC Virtual Public School

A complaint lodged by John Scanlon and his family was the catalyst for a damning state audit that found courses offered by NCVirtual Public School lacked quality and rigor, and that educators hired to create content for an honor’s history course engaged in plagiarism and copyright infringement. The state Department of Public Instruction is the administrator for the school. State Auditor Beth Wood cited the family’s role in the investigation while presenting the findings to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Court battle between titans Smithfield and Maxwell Foods lifts veil on corporate hog industry

Maxwell Foods alleges Smithfield intentionally lied, low-balling the price of pigs to drive Maxwell out of business For 22 years, a cabal of the nation’s largest hog producers held an annual private get-together — a high-powered gathering that court documents describe as “The Circle.”

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Education Top Story

Judge in Leandro court case approves $427 million ‘action plan’ to improve state’s schools

State lawmakers have to find the money, but Republicans could dig in their heels The judge overseeing North Carolina’s landmark Leandro school funding case signed a consent order Tuesday calling for $427 million in additional education spending to help the state meet its constitutional obligation to provide all children with the opportunity to obtain a sound basic education.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Voting rights legislation named for John Lewis stalled in Congress

Democrats ranging from presidential nominee Joe Biden to party officials in Georgia are pushing for Congress to restore a key element of the Voting Rights Act as a way to honor civil rights icon John Lewis. The late Georgia congressman was a leader in getting Congress to pass the landmark law in 1965. But so far, few Republicans seem willing to go along and legislation is stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate, even as the November elections approach.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: a closer look at charter school performance in NC

The Charter Schools Performance Framework Report gives insight into the academic, financial and operational performances of the state’s charter schools Each year, the Office of Charter Schools combs though thousands of documents to create a report for the State Board of Education showing whether schools are meeting performance goals.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

New polling data: COVID-19 taking a big toll on physical and emotional well-being of Latinos

Respondents in NC skeptical of Trump's leadership, in-person school reopening One in 10 Latino households have someone in the home who has contracted the coronavirus. More than half of the nation’s Latino families face job loss and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty-five percent of Latino parents are worried about children contracting coronavirus if and when schools reopen for in-person instruction while 77% are concerned about their children falling behind academically if they don’t return to school.

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Environment Top Story

Two weeks after Colonial Pipeline gasoline spill, Huntersville residents alarmed about ongoing lack of transparency

Town of Huntersville holding public meeting tonight to answer questions about the spill and the cleanup plan. In the early evening of Aug. 14, a person riding an ATV near the Oehler Nature Preserve in Huntersville saw a strange phenomenon: liquid gurgling from beneath the ground and spreading downhill.

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News Top Story

Republican National Convention spotlights N.C as ‘ground zero’ for 2020 election

The decision by Republicans to host their national convention in Charlotte this week was always a politically risky one: North Carolina is famously unpredictable when it comes to which party’s candidates it will support. But it also underscored how much is at stake for the GOP in North Carolina this year, with control of the governor’s office, state legislature, U.S. Senate and presidency all potentially hanging in the balance.

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Environment Top Story

Trump’s EPA chief headlines GenX discussion in Fayetteville with distinctly partisan overtones

Mostly Republican pols invited to hear Andrew Wheeler issue an Apprentice-stye challenge for new chemical clean-up solutions North Carolina is now into Year 4 of its GenX crisis — nearing the equivalent of a presidential term — since the residents of Cumberland, Bladen, Brunswick and New Hanover counties learned their drinking water was contaminated with toxic GenX discharging from the Chemours plant upstream.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the largest UNC System schools move online, who is next and who decides?

While the largest schools within the UNC System have moved to online learning after widespread COVID-19 outbreaks, at smaller institutions, disagreements over reopening plans are fraying relations to the breaking point. Students, faculty and administrators are debating whether to go online now — and avoid the same fate as their larger counterparts — or try to make it through the semester unless the number of infections makes it impossible.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at rising COVID cases on NC college campuses

Over the weekend East Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte became the latest UNC System schools to move their undergraduate courses online in the face of COVID-19. UNC-Charlotte says it intends to resume in-person classes Oct. 1. It is the first UNC System school to move classes online before they have actually begun.

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