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Must Reads

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Report: General Assembly mandates are undermining judicial independence

A new report from Prof. Gene Nichol and Heather Hunt at the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund is shining a light on an important area in which the General Assembly has been repeatedly undermining the independence of the judiciary: the micromanagement of court fines and fees. The report is entitled “Forcing Judges to Criminalize Poverty: Eroding Judicial Independence in North Carolina” and in it, authors Gene Nichol and Heather Hunt build on their past research efforts regarding the burdensome nature of court fines and fees for poor people.

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Articles Must Reads Top Story

SPECIAL REPORT: NC’s destructive disinvestment in public health

A 10-year review of public health spending shows that public health funding in North Carolina has not kept pace with the growing population. A new report from the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center gives a breakdown of how state investments in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have changed since 2008.

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The proposed “public charge” rule: An attack on immigrant and working families

The Trump Administration published a proposed rule that would fundamentally alter immigrants’ ability to seek permanent residence or secure a green card or visa to remain in the United States. If the rule is finalized and put into effect, it would fundamentally change...

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Articles Must Reads News Top Story

New report documents North Carolina’s troubling role in the CIA’s rendition and torture program

In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government ushered in a large-scale program of secret detention and torture that relied significantly on the State of North Carolina. Six days after the attacks, President George W. Bush signed a covert memorandum...

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Must Reads Progressive Voices Top Story

New report details racial inequality, poverty and gentrification in Durham

From infant mortality to life expectancy, race predicts outcomes in the United States. Racial inequities, created and sustained through the policies and practices of governments and other institutions, have long-lasting and cumulative impact. In Durham, North Carolina, the revitalization and subsequent gentrification of its downtown has brought these racial fault lines...

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Defending Democracy Must Reads Original Commentary Top Story

The secretly-negotiated 2018 budget: What’s in it? Why won’t legislative leaders allow real debate?

One would think that legislative leaders would be proud of yet another round of cutting taxes for the wealthiest and shortchanging everyone else. But if they are, why did they develop their budget in secret and why are they limiting opportunities for debate and amendments?

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Must Reads News Top Story

New report explains why North Carolina should not give corporations yet another round of tax cuts

Big corporations and wealthy executives have been on quite a run. Corporate profits are at historic levels, stock prices are through the roof, and plush executive pay has become the norm. At the same time, corporate taxes have been slashed both here in North Carolina starting in 2013 and last December at the federal level.

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Policy Prescription #2: Making early childhood education a top policy priority

The first five years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for their development. Research confirms that a child’s early experiences lay the foundation that influences their future health, learning skills, social and emotional abilities, and overall growth.

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Articles Must Reads Top Story

Policy Prescriptions — A new and special Policy Watch series

Food insecurity or the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life remains a huge problem in today’s society. Currently, North Carolina has the tenth highest rate of food insecurity in the nation, with more than 1.5 million North Carolinians meeting this definition. Ultimately, of course, it will not be possible to solve the problem of food insecurity without addressing a host of underlying factors...

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Articles Must Reads Top Story

Special report: Concentrated poverty, segregation on the rise in NC

Every day, families living in poverty face tremendous barriers placed in front of them through no fault of their own. And every day, millions of North Carolinians exude grit and resiliency and navigate those barriers. That tenacity, however, comes at a steep cost. Research and experience has shown that living in persistent poverty can cause a toll on individuals.

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Monday numbers – A closer look at the well-being of North Carolina’s children

The following collection of numbers comes from the 2018 North Carolina Child Health Report Card compiled by researchers at NC Child and the NC Institute of Medicine.

46 - percentage of North Carolina children who live in poor or low-income homes (<200% Federal Poverty Level)

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Must Reads Original Commentary Top Story

The speech and academic freedom wars at UNC: A summary of lessons learned from the man at their epicenter

In “Lessons on political speech, academic freedom, and university governance from the new North Carolina” – an article in the most recent edition of the First Amendment Law Review, Prof. Gene Nichol of the University of North Carolina School of Law provides a detailed and fascinating account of the battles in which he and other faculty members have found themselves enmeshed in recent years as they have grappled with the regular interference of conservative politicians, advocacy groups and university officials.

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Must Reads News Top Story

Isolation and marginalization in eastern North Carolina

Goldsboro, a mid-sized city in Wayne County in eastern North Carolina, faces poverty challenges both historical and contemporary that are too commonly seen across much of the region. Traditionally divided along black and white racial lines, the city is in the process of being transformed by demographic changes, even as it wrestles with the consequences of two recent recessions and the economic transitions that swept the state in the early 2000s.

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Must Reads News Top Story

New report: Court fines and fees are criminalizing poverty in North Carolina

Editor’s note: The issue of constantly rising court fines and fees has long been a big problem in North Carolina. Now, a new report released today by the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund at the University of North Carolina documents that it has reached crisis levels. Through a combination of sobering real life stories and a treasure trove of data, researchers Heather Hunt and Prof. Gene Nichol explain how North Carolina is, quite literally, criminalizing poverty through the imposition of burdensome fines and fees that millions of people cannot afford.

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Defending Democracy Must Reads Top Story

New report shines more light on Thomas Farr’s troubling connections to the extreme Right

Editor’s note: As reported previously in this space, one of Donald Trump’s most disturbing actions during his first months in office has been the nomination of lawyer Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense...

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Must Reads Top Story

Update from Washington: What’s at risk for NC as CHIP, Trump tax plan take the stage

With the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act now on hold for the time being, Congress is turning its attention to other matters that have the potential to have significant impacts on North Carolina. The following essays from N.C. Budget and Tax Center experts Luis Toledo and Alexandra Sirota examine two that rank high on the list -- re-authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program and President Trump's proposed tax cut plan.

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