Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Legislature takes first step to combat sexual harassment; advocates say it’s far from sufficient

When the N.C. General Assembly’s top staffer announced plans last week to roll out sexual harassment training for state lawmakers and legislative employees, some state lawmakers hailed the move as a good first step.

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Removal of state monuments back in the spotlight

Public hearing scheduled for next week This week the North Carolina Historical Commission’s Confederate Monuments Study Committee scheduled a forum to hear public comments on moving three monuments from the State Capitol grounds.

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Owners of bail bond outfits admit industry abuses and shortcomings, call for reforms

Jimmy Roberson has read a lot about the bail bond industry in North Carolina lately - from violence and fraud to wide-ranging criminal investigations and million dollar lawsuits.

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NC Policy Watch stands by its reporting about Rep. Duane Hall

As most of our readers are aware by now, NC Policy Watch reported last week on the allegations made by several witnesses that State Rep. Duane Hall of Wake County had committed a series of inappropriate sexual advances toward women while serving in the General Assembly. All told, seven separate sources told reporter Billy Ball stories of persistent sexual innuendo and, in some instances, unwanted sexual overtures.

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New witnesses elaborate on alleged sexual misconduct by Rep. Duane Hall

North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall forcibly pulled a woman into his lap and kissed her against her will at Equality N.C.’s 2016 gala, according to two people, including the alleged victim, who spoke to Policy Watch Thursday.

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North Carolina’s bail industry draws severe criticism from criminal justice experts

Brennan Aberle sees a lot of tough stuff over the course of his workday. Working on behalf of indigent clients for the Guilford County Public Defender’s office, the 31-year old attorney averages around 200 clients at any given time, most facing mid-level felonies. Working with people facing jail time and too poor to pay for their own defense, there are a lot of casual tragedies to be observed.

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Top Democrats call on Rep. Duane Hall to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations

The first time Rep. Duane Hall made Jessie White feel uncomfortable was in early 2016.

That’s when she says Hall, a nascent star in the North Carolina Democratic Party and a state representative, ran into her at the Anchor Bar in Raleigh.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Elections/Ethics board still silent on Hise investigation; Senator reports spending campaign funds on lawyers, accountants

Nearly a year after the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement began a probe into alleged campaign finance violations by State Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), the investigation continues.

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Ideological battles at UNC continue as board considers equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion report

Last week the UNC Board of Governors received a report summarizing Equal Opportunity and Diversity & Inclusion services at the system’s 17 schools and whether they could be consolidated and centralized for cost savings. The short answer, according to the report: Consolidation is possible, but isn’t likely to save much money. Also, doing so could hurt the good work being done across the system to conform to federal equal opportunity rules and create more diverse and inclusive campus communities.

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Historical Commission members to grapple with Confederate monuments issue next week

Back in September, the N.C. Historical Commission put off a decision on removing three Confederate monuments from the State Capitol grounds. Instead, the commission formed a task force to study the politically fraught issue, which the North Carolina General Assembly dropped into their laps with a 2015 law that makes it more difficult to remove such statues. Next Monday at 3 p.m., that task force – the Confederate Monuments Study Committee – will have its first meeting via teleconference. The public can listen in via a livestream on the YouTube site of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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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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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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Monday numbers

225,000 - Approximate number of students enrolled at schools in the University of North Carolina system.

17 - Number of campuses in the UNC system, including 16 universities and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the first public residential high school for gifted students in the United States.

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Free speech policy, controversial conservative academic on the agenda for tomorrow’s UNC Board of Governors meeting

The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many recent controversies is expected to come to a crescendo, even as the next is cued up. The full board is expected to vote on a controversial new speech policy that civil liberties advocates, students, staff and faculty groups worry could chill speech and discourage certain types of protest on UNC’s 17 campuses.

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Five questions with Professor Valerie Johnson

Historical commission member weighs in on monuments, free speech Valerie Johnson is the Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of Africana Women’s Studies at Greensboro’s Bennett College and chair of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission. She is also one of only two Black members of the 17-member North Carolina Historical Commission, which must approve any proposed removal, relocation, or alteration of historical monuments on state property.

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Board of Governors may consider moving UNC system offices out of Chapel Hill

In the last few months the UNC Board of Governors has proposed a lot of controversial moves for the university system.

One of the latest might be the most perplexing – even to members of the board itself.

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