Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Silence on Silent Sam appears to violate open records laws

When the Silent Sam Confederate Statue was toppled at UNC-Chapel Hill last month, a flurry of text messages and e-mails began. The UNC Board of Governors. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt. UNC President Margaret Spellings. The University Police.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Reform advocates voice optimism as Courts Commission prepares to tackle bail reform

When the North Carolina Courts Commission meets Friday, it will begin to take a look at an issue making national headlines: bail reform. Last month, California became the first state in the country to officially end cash bail. Republicans and Democrats in the state came together to end a system the Chief Justice of the California called “outdated, unsafe and unfair.”

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Education Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase

When N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced a $6.6 million purchase of iPads to support early grade literacy in August, it seemed welcome news for North Carolina school districts that have long complained of inadequate state resources.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Silent Sam’s future still uncertain; UNC Board demands plan from Folt, trustees by Nov. 15

A week after protesters toppled the only Confederate monument on a UNC campus, the fate of Silent Sam is still uncertain. The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors held overlapping special meetings Tuesday, a week after protesters tore the statue down.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Two days after protesters tear down Silent Sam, state commission balks at removing Raleigh Confederate monuments

Two days after protesters forcefully removed the "Silent Sam" statue in Chapel Hill, a dramatic scene that fetched jeers from many state leaders and cheers from long-time Confederate statue critics, members of a key state commission voted against the removal of three similar monuments to Confederate soldiers in downtown Raleigh.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

N.C. Historical Commission member on ‘Silent Sam’: Deal with injustice in face of unjust laws

On Wednesday the North Carolina Historical Commission's Confederate Monument Study Committee will meet. It will give its recommendation on whether to remove three Confederate monuments in downtown Raleigh. The full commission will then vote on the issue.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

ICE on campus? UNC reps mum, faculty concerned re: email warnings

The emails began going out at the University of North Carolina earlier this summer. Warnings that federal and state agents might be visiting campus to ask questions about immigration, export control, compliance with applicable laws and national security issues. “I had a briefing today...

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Policy Watch “Crucial Conversation” panel decries six constitutional amendments on the ballot

At a standing-room only gathering to discuss the six proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution Wednesday, Gerry Cohen had a simple summation of the Republican-controlled legislature's message to Democrats. "You can win the governorship and the state Supreme Court," Cohen said the message went. “But we'll make it worthless for you."

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

State commission explains two constitutional amendments; punts on four more as they await court hearing

Members of a key state commission on Monday fleshed out descriptions for two of the six controversial constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall. Yet the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, which is tasked with crafting succinct...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC Alumni on Confederate statue stagnation – “We deserve better.”

When Dr. Nora Dennis spoke before the UNC Board of Governors last week, her palpable frustration was shared by many UNC alumni.

Dennis, now a physician and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University, was a Morehead Scholar who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New UNC Board of Governors chairman holds his fire at first meeting in charge

As Harry Smith opened Thursday’s UNC Board of Governors meeting – the first since he took over as chairman – he struck a conciliatory tone even as he doubled down on conservative changes he’s championed for the system.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Plea deal offers glimpse into rampant bail industry fraud

When Sarah Jessenia Lopez plead guilty last month to attempted notary fraud related to bail bonding, it was not earth shattering. After all, fraud and criminality in North Carolina’s for-profit bail industry has been rampant for years.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Not final yet: Trio of state officials must still agree on ballot language for proposed constitutional amendments

Lack of implementing language in amendment legislation raises additional concerns When the General Assembly’s legislative session closed last week, six amendments to the state constitution had been approved for November’s ballot.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Local election officials detail problems with controversial early voting bill

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when the General Assembly fast-tracked a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to early voting.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Allegations of sexism, partisanship follow local election board’s disqualification of Berger challenger

On May 25, the news headlines read that Democratic state Senate candidate Jen Mangrum had been disqualified from her bid to unseat Sen. Phil Berger, arguably the most powerful state lawmaker in North Carolina. Republicans had challenged Mangrum’s residency in Berger’s district near the Virginia line, and a panel of election officials from Berger’s Senate District 30 voted on party lines to oust Mangrum...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the legislative session winds down, Democrats seek a compromise for storing “Silent Sam”

A new bill to relocate the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument on UNC’s flagship Chapel Hill campus aims to be a compromise in the contentious, decades-long fight over the statue.

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