Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Top Story Weekly Briefing

The GOP’s latest gerrymander ought to be the last straw for NC

Republican legislative majorities took yet another stab at enacting new congressional districts last week (the state constitution gives the Governor no veto authority in this realm) and, for those who didn’t dig below the surface, it would have been easy to get the misimpression from some reports that things had gone well.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Wallowing in the mire: The UNC Board of Governors hits another low

“The hymn in church yesterday,” Dan Gerlach, the embattled former ECU interim chancellor, tweeted Sunday. “‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well…’ And it will.” Whether you’re inclined ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

GOP swings and misses with pipeline attacks on Cooper

Back in the early 1990’s, the late and sorely missed Bob Hensley – a talented, feisty and frequently funny trial lawyer and Democratic state representative from Wake County – was engaged in a tense debate on the House floor with a Republican adversary when things suddenly turned personal. Having been cornered by Hensley’s formidable skills at debate, the GOP lawmaker lashed out and accused Hensley of being untruthful in some of his claims about the bill in question.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Teacher: 100 days in, Superintendent Mark Johnson still hasn’t turned over my public records request

Today marks 100 days since I filed an official request with the Department of Public Instruction to release records of communication related to NC Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Istation contract award. North Carolina public records law deems such records “property of the people,” and continued failure to furnish them may amount to a violation of state law.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Law professor: NC Courts need the power to protect the state’s immigrants from unlawful detention

Yesterday, the North Carolina Supreme Court considered whether immigrants detained unlawfully under state law by state officials can challenge their detention in the state’s courts. The lower court previously said no, breaking with every other state in the ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

North Carolina’s full-time part-time legislature

The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its 2019 legislative session last week. Sort of. Lawmakers did head home, but unlike in years gone by when the end of the so-called legislative “long session” inaugurated a break that typically stretched to the following spring, the honorables have already announced that they will return next Wednesday, November 13 with a plan to take up redistricting legislation and, essentially, anything else that captures their fancy.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Gerrymanderers: Seeing the light, or scared straight?

Perhaps the Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly have finally gotten the message: their decade-long efforts to rig the state’s legislative and congressional voting district boundaries in their party’s favor simply won’t fly when challenged in the courts. Perhaps they’re starting to take seriously the views of those, including the N.C. Council of Churches, who have called for districts to be drawn via a process less susceptible to partisan abuse.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A reminder of what the GOP budget would mean for North Carolina

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger placed a motion to override Gov. Cooper’s June veto of the 2019-2021 state budget bill on the Senate calendar this week and though no vote was taken last night, Berger’s action appears to make it possible that a vote could take place at virtually any moment.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

North Carolina lawmakers: Time’s up to write an education budget, pay our teachers

Next week is Halloween. Shortly after that comes the holidays. Which is to say that the N.C. General Assembly is more than nine months into its deliberations in Raleigh, and they still haven’t delivered this squealing baby -- in other words, a budget that appropriately funds North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school children.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Now is no time for another giveaway to Duke Energy

In any discussion of North Carolina politics and policy debates, it’s hard to overstate the footprint of a player like Duke Energy. That’s mostly because there is no other player like it. Charlotte-based Duke is the largest investor-owned utility provider in the United States and while it is not technically the biggest corporation in the state, it clearly touches more lives more regularly – both directly and indirectly – than any other North Carolina-based private actor.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

Amid Trump’s lies, what to do about a problem like Facebook?

When the journalist Michael Kinsley wrote in 1984 that a gaffe “is when a politician tells the truth,” perhaps he saw the future. Kinsley could not, however, have foreseen our current political climate.

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