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Environment Top Story

Plastic is not fantastic: Durham considers 10-cent fee on single-use bags

They clutter the gutters and girdle the turtles. They snag in the trees and float in the seas.  Plastic bags are strangling the planet. To reduce the amount of plastic waste in Durham, the city-county Environmental Affairs Board last week unanimously endorsed a proposed draft ordinance that would assess a 10-cent fee on most single-use plastic and paper bags, as well as Styrofoam containers, at many food and retail outlets.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at North Carolina’s affordable housing crisis

If you struggle to pay your rent or mortgage each month, this next fact won’t surprise you: In no state in the U.S. can a worker who earns the federal minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home working the standard 40-hour work week.

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Environment Top Story

PW exclusive: Documents reveal years of illegal dumping near Falls Lake

Complex rules, poor coordination by regulators have allowed single property owner to put Raleigh's water supply in harm's way First, the land suffocating under 40 feet of dirt and construction trash was to become a horse pasture. But no horses ever arrived.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Must read: The N.C. Racial Justice Act and why it still matters in the fight to end the death penalty

Editor's note: On August 26th and 27th, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in six death penalty cases involving the Racial Justice Act -- a law enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2009 and later repealed after Republicans took control of the legislature and the Governor's mansion in 2013. The following review of the law and its history...

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News Top Story

NC Democrats press Republicans to move on gun laws after recent mass shootings

State Representative Marcia Morey, flanked by fellow Democratic lawmakers, implored Republican members on Tuesday to join them in taking action on two gun bills that have been languishing in committee since they were introduced early in the 2019 legislative session.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at 1,4-Dioxane levels in the Cape Fear

Levels of 1,4-Dioxane, which the EPA has linked to cancer, increased for a fourth straight month in raw water entering the Cape Fear River Authority’s Sweeney plant in Wilmington, according to the utility.

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Education Top Story

Rowan County charter school seeks to sever agreement with Raleigh-based management firm

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School in the Rowan County town of East Spencer recently notified the Charter School Advisory Board that it will part ways with its management firm – Raleigh-based Torchlight Academy Services (TAS) – after only one year due to poor fiscal and operational management.

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Environment Top Story

Pork giant Murphy-Brown battling insurers over who should pay for hog nuisance verdicts

If you drive through eastern North Carolina some days, especially in the wet heat of a summer afternoon, you might become immersed in the stench of hog waste. Many farmers hail it as the smell of money. Some neighbors of the industrialized swine operations denounce it as the foul air of misery. But for Murphy-Brown and their insurance companies, the odor represents nearly $100 million in damages and legal fees from hog nuisance lawsuits that as it stands today, somebody will have to pay.

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Law and the Courts Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Durham’s new D.A. is breaking the mold

In a one-on-one interview, Satana Deberry explains how she's transforming the prosecutor's office in NC's 6th largest county When Satana Deberry was executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, it was easy for her to see the ripple effects of interactions with the justice system. A single arrest, a single plea, a single conviction for even a low level infraction could close doors to employment, housing and education, she said. That could lead to further arrests, perpetuating generational cycles of poverty.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Board of Elections does a 180 on decision to delay certifying voting machines

The North Carolina State Board of Elections plans to move forward with certifying new voting machines ahead of the 2020 elections after a member mistakenly voted Monday night to delay the process to create stricter requirements out of concern for cyber security. The reversal of course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens who had praised Board members last night for postponing certification in the name of voter integrity.

The reverse course came as a surprise to voting rights advocates and citizens...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: Six months into a new ethos in the Durham DA’s office

When Satana Deberry took office as district attorney of Durham County in January, she pledged to make some serious changes. Deberry followed through, particularly in concentrating on the racial and economic disparities in how and for what people are prosecuted and in making Durham part of a national movement for bail reform.

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Environment Top Story

Congress urged to make ‘Apollo-type’ investment to combat climate crisis

WASHINGTON -- Climate change could cost Americans billions of dollars, destroy coastal communities and put agriculture, healthcare and military facilities at risk unless the government acts swiftly, experts warned Congress Wednesday.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Partisan gerrymandering trial to conclude today after Thursday bombshell

A two-week long trial about whether Republican lawmakers violated the constitution when they drew voting maps to maximize their partisan advantage will come to an end today. The Wake County Superior Court three-judge panel likely won’t make a decision for a least a few weeks...

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Environment Top Story

Activists to Congress: N.C. residents living ‘on bottled water and fear’

WASHINGTON -- What did leading chemical corporations know about the health risks of PFAS, and when did they know it?  Members of Congress sought an answer to that question this week at a hearing on widespread public exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a dangerous class of chemicals that’s ubiquitous in North Carolina and other states. One lawmaker described PFAS as “the DDT of our era.”

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The budget, the veto and Medicaid

Democratic Senator who initially supported the budget says it's time for the GOP to negotiate

The political stand-off over whether to expand Medicaid is stretching the state budget stalemate deep into summer with no end in site. But this week Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) said she’s worried about how the gridlock could hurt the 1.6 million low-income North Carolinians already using Medicaid and undermine planned changes to the system.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Expert witnesses, lawyers offer dramatically different assessments at state gerrymandering trial

They say the best defense is a good offense, and GOP legislative leaders appear to be attempting heed that old adage. The legislative defendants in North Carolina's partisan gerrymandering trial, Common Cause v. Lewis, started presenting their case this week and, simultaneously, started sending out daily...

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