Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

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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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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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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Back to the future? Advocates worry NC’s new drug distribution law is a return to failed policies of the past

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the controversial “Death by Distribution” bill into law last week. Under the new law (which takes effect on December 1), someone who gives certain drugs to another person leading to that person’s death can be...

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The budget chess match: Cooper offers compromise; Berger, Moore offer pork to woo Dems for veto override

Gov. Roy Cooper released a proposed budget compromise Tuesday as Republican legislative leaders continue to search for the votes to overturn his veto. The proposal does offer compromises on areas of disagreement from teacher raises and State Capital and Infrastructure Fund money to tax cuts and school vouchers.

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Monday numbers: In Pride Month, a closer look at LGBTQ mental health

June is Pride Month – a time to celebrate of LGBTQ equality and remember the origins of the ongoing struggle for it. This year it is being declared and celebrated in North Carolina from the capital to our smaller towns. But it is worth remembering: while today’s LGBTQ youth live in a world much more accepting than the one that sparked the Stonewall riot, many are still struggling.

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Sources link UNC-Vidant dispute to ongoing battles between Board of Governors and ECU

As lawmakers work to negotiate a final state budget by the end of the month, the ongoing conflict between Vidant Health and the UNC System continues to unfold through public jabs and in private mediation. In the balance: Tens of millions in medicaid reimbursements to one of Eastern North Carolina’s most vital hospital systems.

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Advocates hope changes in Durham are a bellwether for bail reform in NC

Serena Sebring and Kayla Hartsfield were arrested last month after chaining themselves to the gates outside the Durham County Detention Center. The two women, activists with Southerners On New Ground (SONG), were trying to bring attention to a cash bail system they say has utterly failed. Studies show the current system disproportionately jails minorities, the poor and those accused of non-violent crimes while failing to effectively assure defendants make their court dates in higher numbers than those who are offered alternatives to cash bail.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Not so open: Critics say UNC Board of Governors excludes the public from its “public” meetings

Hoping to hear some discussion of the future of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument, Lindsay Ayling and a few other UNC-Chapel Hill students attempted to attend last week’s meeting of the UNC Board of Governors. Attempted, as it turns out, was the operative word.

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Right and left find rare bit of common ground on “second chance” legislation

More than 1,000 people descended on the capitol Wednesday to lobby for the Second Chance Act -- a bill they say will profoundly change the lives of those with criminal charges or convictions on their record. Senate Bill 562 would automatically expunge criminal charges that have been dismissed or disposed...

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PW exclusive: ‘Boy Erased’ author talks surviving conversion therapy in Durham

When a 19-year old Garrard Conley was sent to a “conversion therapy” program in 2004, it wasn’t something people discussed openly. “If you were to search for it on the Internet -- probably on Yahoo back then -- you would have gotten all these smiling pictures and testimonials from people saying how it worked for them, how they weren’t gay now and they were happy.”

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PW spotlight: The case for banning conversion therapy in North Carolina

Mitchell Gold, like many gay North Carolinians, cannot understand why there isn’t already a state law banning so-called “conversion” therapy. Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. now ban the practice, which aims to “cure” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. and polls show a law forbidding it in North Carolina enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support.

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Facing ACLU deadline, N.C. officials balk on transferring transgender inmate from men’s prison

Kanautica Zayre-Brown, a transgender woman seeking transfer out of a men’s prison in Lillington, spent much of last month in solitary confinement. But last week, as the deadline to avoid a lawsuit from the ACLU approached, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety transferred Zayre-Brown from the Harnett County Correctional Institution. Not to a women’s prison, as she and the ACLU had requested...

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NC lawmakers introduce package of LGBTQ-friendly bills

On Thursday Democratic state lawmakers filed three bills designed to protect LGBTQ North Carolinians from discrimination, outlaw harmful “conversion” therapy that targets them and fully repeal HB2 -- the infamous law that cast an international spotlight on the state as a battleground for transgender rights.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at the real world challenges confronting transgender North Carolinians

In 2016 the battle over HB2 cast an international spotlight on the struggles of transgender people in North Carolina. Despite the law’s partial repeal and replacement with HB421 - which critics continue to challenge as “HB2.0” - transgender people in the state continue to face hardships and discrimination.

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In North Carolina, the battle for transgender people’s medical coverage heads to court

At the end of this month, Michael Bunting is leaving his job at UNC-Chapel Hill after nearly 30 years. It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s not that he doesn’t love his job as an assistant athletic director. It’s not that he’s ready to retire at 52...

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