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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Biden surges to victory in NC; Cunningham to face Tillis in Senate race

Governor's race to feature Cooper v. Forest; Runoffs on tap for R's and D's in a handful of congressional and council of state contests; Superintendent Mark Johnson defeated in run for Lt. Gov. Former Vice President Joe Biden was the clear choice of North Carolina Democrats in yesterday's Super Tuesday presidential primary election. The former vice-president and U.S. senator led Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin XX to XX with XX percent of the state’s precincts reporting.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Super Tuesday off to a smooth start across North Carolina

Super Tuesday is finally here, and at least for now, there haven’t been any major hitches in North Carolina. Turnout across the state appeared to start off slow but steady, but by early afternoon several locations were reporting longer lines and wait times of up to an hour, according to voting rights advocates speaking at an "Election Protection" news teleconference.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the Mountain Valley Pipeline (and the doublespeak regulators employ to describe its environmental impacts)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rarely met a pipeline it didn’t like, and the MVP Southgate project is no exception. In its 500-plus-page Final Environmental Impact Statement the commission determined that the 70-mile project — 48 miles of which will run through Rockingham and Alamance counties — won’t significantly impact the environment, as long as contractors properly mitigate the damage.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

N.C. immigrants, allies vow to resist ramped-up ICE enforcement actions

North Carolina immigrants and their allies are making it plain they will not go softly into President Donald Trump’s dark night when it comes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tactics that they say have sown fear in their communities and separated children from their parents. Since January, ICE has increased its presence to target immigrants in 12 counties across the state of North Carolina: Alamance, Chatham, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Johnston, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Surry and, as of last week, Durham.

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News Top Story

Congresswoman Alma Adams warns ‘major failure’ of government oversight imperils sick miners

WASHINGTON — North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams grilled a Trump administration official Wednesday over new charges that the Labor Department mismanaged a fund that supports coal miners with lung disease and their families. Lax oversight has left the fund deeply in debt, shifting the financial burden to provide miners and families with benefits to taxpayers, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a government watchdog agency.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC campuses struggling to make do as state budget impasse nears ninth month

As temperatures fell last week, a few inches of snowfall led to school closures and hot chocolate in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. A few hours west, in Cullowhee, the atmosphere was a bit more anxious. Students, staff and faculty at Western Carolina University were trying not to think about the outdated and failing steam plant that provides heat and hot water on campus. It’s one bad winter – perhaps one bad cold snap – from the kind of complete failure that would shut down the campus.

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News Top Story

DC update: The latest on attempts to restrict abortion access, rollback landmark environmental law

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t allow many bills to get floor votes these days, but he made an exception Tuesday for two bills intended to curb abortion access.  Two GOP-led anti-abortion bills failed on procedural votes Tuesday as expected. The politically charged bills have both failed during previous Senate floor votes and were widely viewed as Republican messaging bills intended to animate the GOP base and to force moderate Democrats to take difficult stances ahead of the November elections. 

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Education Top Story

Guilford County Schools initiative to help eligible 17-and 18-year-olds vote riles GOP critics

Superintendent lauds program designed to help students become "lifelong voters" School field trips designed to teach eligible students in the Guilford County Schools (GCS) about the electoral process by busing them to polling sites to vote has Greensboro embroiled in a philosophical debate about the role of schools in the political process.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Environmental advocates, fossil fuel industry debate Atlantic Coast Pipeline at the U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Where does a trail end and the land beneath it begin? That’s just one of the thorny questions the Supreme Court grappled with Monday morning during a one-hour hearing on a U.S. Forest Service permit for the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The hearing has been hotly anticipated by both the gas and oil industry, which supports the pipeline, and the environmental advocacy community, which opposes the project.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at disparities in school funding

It's no secret that certain school districts are better funded than others in North Carolina. But new figures released by the Public School Forum of North Carolina highlight troubling disparities in the educational investment made for students across our state’s 100 counties. The new Local School Finance Study notes an ever-widening gap between wealthier counties and those with lower levels of wealth, deepening educational inequities across districts .

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Environment Top Story

A Superfund cleanup in Jacksonville failed. Without federal funding for a fix, contamination is spreading.

Beset by budget cuts, bankruptcies, legal disputes and broken equipment, the cleanup of the ABC Cleaners property has been further delayed. ABC Cleaners, a jumble of buildings with a warped vinyl facade and an American flag above the front door, sat across the boulevard from the Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, for nearly 50 years. In its heyday, in the 1960s and '70s, ABC did a bustling business. Its main clientele were Marines whose uniforms —black, gold-buttoned coats, azure trousers with a scarlet stripe on the outer seam — needed cleaning and pressing.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

ECU trustees: Speaker Tim Moore seeking chancellor’s post

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) is seeking the open chancellor’s position at East Carolina University, two members of the ECU Board of Trustees confirmed to Policy Watch this week. “He is interested, he is pursuing it and there’s a lot of conversation about it,” one of the board members said in an interview with Policy Watch.

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Education Top Story

School advocacy group: N.C. must meet Leandro requirement of “sound, basic education”

A public schools advocacy group is calling on North Carolina leaders to take “immediate and intentional action” to meet the state’s constitutional obligation to provide children with a "sound, basic education."  That was the clear message delivered Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public School Forum of North Carolina, which released its annual list of education priorities to inform state lawmakers and educators as they consider K-12 policy decisions this year. 

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As 2020 election approaches, “fake news” goes viral in North Carolina

"Satirical" Facebook site seeks to promote Trump's re-election When Jonathan Jones saw a Facebook post about a bodybuilder befriending a man with Down syndrome, it caught his attention because it purportedly happened at the north Durham gym he frequents. “It said it came from ‘North Carolina Breaking News,'" Jones said. “And I’d never heard of that.”

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Greensboro event fuels movement to reform criminal justice fines and fees

Not everyone in North Carolina understands the implications of court fines and fees and how expenses from minor traffic violations and criminal charges can cause a person’s life to spiral out of control. The North Carolina Fines and Fees Coalition and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program kicked off a campaign last week at Bennett College in Greensboro to change how people think about the burden court debt can pose, particularly to people who are poor.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the huge cuts Trump proposes for the Environmental Protection Agency

A government budget not only details a state or nation’s financial priorities, but also serves as a moral compass. It reflects the budget-writers’ vision of equity and justice, of a fiduciary duty to all residents, not merely those with political, social and economic power. In the case of Trump administration, which last week released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021, the environmental message was clear...

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