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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Haven’t read yesterday’s 205-page partisan gerrymandering ruling? We’ve got you covered

Three federal judges agree: North Carolina Republican lawmakers drew a congressional map that intentionally discriminated against voters and entrenched their party’s power.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Special master’s maps focus in latest court battle over racial gerrymandering

The best defense is a good offense, and lawmakers are trying that strategy in federal court.

Their attorneys spent Friday attacking the job of special master Nathaniel Persily, who was tasked by a federal court with redrawing several legislative districts to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers

After President Trump announced he would open the entire US coast to offshore drilling – including areas like North Carolina that have long been off-limits -- governors up and down the Eastern Seaboard, immediately condemned the proposal.

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Education Top Story

Chairman of House Education Committee: Solution to class size crisis is in the works

A plan to resolve North Carolina’s class size crisis is in the works and should be wrapped up in the coming weeks, an influential state legislator tells Policy Watch. “The gap is closing,” says Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican who co-chairs the House K-12 budget committee. “There are folks that are working on a reasonable solution with the session coming as quickly as it is next week.”

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Higher ed battles seem certain to continue in 2018: Here are five to watch

Last year was a tumultuous one for public higher education in North Carolina. Here are five issues to watch carefully 2018 as all signs point to the volume of the debate going nowhere but up. 1) "Silent Sam" – The fight over the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus known as "Silent Sam" has been going on for decades. But in the wake of the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA and the toppling of a Confederate statue in Durham, the movement to remove the controversial marker picked up momentum in 2017. Departments across the Chapel Hill campus, student, faculty and staff groups, even administrators – all called for or suggested it’s time for the statue to come down.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Familiar issues likely to highlight NC courts news in 2018

New Year, new … wait a minute. It’s looking more like this year’s legislative motto will be “New Year, same me.”

It’s fully expected that lawmakers will continue building on many of the same themes North Carolinians saw in 2017, starting with their continued vice grip on the courts. Though it’s possible their fingers may be pried open by several court decisions expected in the first half of the year.

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Must Reads News Top Story

New report: Court fines and fees are criminalizing poverty in North Carolina

Editor’s note: The issue of constantly rising court fines and fees has long been a big problem in North Carolina. Now, a new report released today by the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund at the University of North Carolina documents that it has reached crisis levels. Through a combination of sobering real life stories and a treasure trove of data, researchers Heather Hunt and Prof. Gene Nichol explain how North Carolina is, quite literally, criminalizing poverty through the imposition of burdensome fines and fees that millions of people cannot afford.

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Environment Top Story

The environment in 2018: Forecasting the state policy debates for the coming year

Oh, Magic Eight Ball, will legislators step up in 2018 and pass meaningful laws to prevent contamination and to penalize polluters?

The House? Reply hazy, try again.

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News Top Story

New Year’s numbers (a look back at 2017)

This edition of Monday numbers is a final look at 2017 and includes at least one number from each month of Monday numbers in the past year.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

A contentious year to remember: Our investigative reporter looks back at five big stories

#1 - Opioid crisis hits Wilmington area hard; lack of public resources hinders response This summer the N.C. General Assembly passed a state budget that included about half of what was called for in the bipartisan Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act. Shortly thereafter, I got out of Raleigh to take a long, hard look at the consequences of policy coming out of the capital on people outside the Triangle. I spent a few days in Wilmington, which by some estimates is the worst city in the nation for opioid abuse.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

A look back at this year’s top justice news

Determining this year’s biggest justice news is like tip-toeing through a minefield without detonating a bomb.

Republican lawmakers went all in on the state’s judiciary – they worked hard to pass laws that cater to their needs and they worked even harder to make sure judges think twice before overturning those laws.

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Education Top Story

The year in education: Five stories that shaped public ed in 2017

#1 - Class-size chaos North Carolina public schools—long roiled by sharp funding cuts, a blossoming school choice movement and an often touchy relationship with GOP lawmakers—faced a new kind of challenge in 2017. How do you speed smaller classes in the vital early grades without sacrificing later grades, local school budgets and arts teachers? The year’s wonkiest story may have been its most important, and 2018 figures to offer more tumult when it comes to North Carolina’s class size crisis.

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Environment Top Story

The top 5 environmental stories of 2017 (plus the top quotes)

In 2017, North Carolinians eyed their glasses of water more carefully, breathed less deeply and waited not-so-patiently for Duke Energy and the industrialized swine farms to clean up their pollution. Here are the top five environmental stories of the year.

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Education Top Story

Temporary or a new trend? Applications from struggling schools for charter flexibility status slow to a trickle

Since a North Carolina law cleared the option for charter-like flexibilities in some low-performing schools beginning last March, members of the state’s top school board have approved more than 100 applications. Applications have come in by the dozens for the so-called “Restart” program, with struggling schools seeking the same kinds of freedoms charters receive when it comes to their calendar, staffing, curriculum and hours.

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Environment Top Story

Proposed secret chemical treatment of Jordan Lake could be dead in the water

This is the first of two stories about Jordan Lake. Tomorrow read about the UNC Collaboratory’s findings on algae and pollution in the reservoir. It seemed like a bad idea at the time. Now, confirming the concerns of ...
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News

Board of Governors considers launching conservative academic centers at UNC

At last week’s UNC Board of Governors meeting, Professor Robert George of Princeton University held forth on the merits of his James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.

George, who is hailed as America’s foremost Christian conservative intellectual, calls his program an excellent example of teaching courses dealing with government and civics from a balanced point of view, including ideas from across the political spectrum.

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