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Q & A with the new head of NC’s controversial Achievement School District

Eric Hall says he has education in his blood.

The soon-to-be superintendent of North Carolina’s controversial achievement school district says both of his parents were educators. His wife, meanwhile, is a public school social worker.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

One year in, LGBT lawmakers address HB2

Thursday marks one year since HB2 was signed into law, setting off a firestorm of controversy that led to statewide boycotts, mass protests and contributed to the downfall of the governor who supported it.

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Education

School choice supporters tout questionable data on charters

Charter schools in North Carolina are becomingly increasingly white and affluent. Those are two of the overriding conclusions derived from recent analysis of the state’s charter population by a variety of stakeholders.

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Must Reads News

New data document the many perils of Trumpcare for North Carolina

This Thursday, March 23, marks the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) -- the landmark federal law that secured and guaranteed health insurance for millions of previously uninsured Americans and saved tens of thousands of lives. Unfortunately however, Thursday is also the day on which leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives currently plan to vote on a “replacement” for the ACA that they have dubbed the “American Health Care Act” and that many outside of Washington have come to refer to as “Trumpcare.”

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Law and the Courts

An in-depth look at N.C. lawmakers’ attempt to shrink the Court of Appeals

Each of the 15 North Carolina Court of Appeals judges writes on average about 100 opinions per year.

When former Judge Linda Stephens used to explain the court’s workload to students, she’d often compare opinions to term papers.

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Environment Top Story

The Senate’s Regulatory Reform measure could harm waterway, but help the bill sponsor

Just three paragraphs in the Senate’s Regulatory Reform bill could not only weaken the health of North Carolina’s waterways, but also increase the likelihood of devastating floods and mudslides.

As written, this portion of Senate Bill 131 could benefit not only the entire development industry, but one of the bill’s primary sponsors...

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Policy Watch Investigates

House committee advances legislative crackdown on undocumented immigrants

A North Carolina House bill targeting undocumented immigrants charged with crimes, those who make or supply fake IDs and so-called “sanctuary cities” moved closer to becoming law Tuesday.

N.C. House Bill 63 was approved by the House Judiciary II Committee, clearing its first major legislative hurdle.

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Education Top Story

Democrats pair support of vouchers with calls for accountability

N.C. Rep. Rodney Moore knows he broke rank.

But the four-term legislator and state House Democratic Whip, who joined seven other African American Democrats last month in publicly backing private school vouchers—long a bastion of the political right—says he’s “disheartened” by persistent data on racial achievement gaps and the so-called school to prison pipeline. That’s a term describing K-12 discipline practices that disproportionately funnel at-risk students, particularly students of color, into the criminal justice system.

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Policy Watch Investigates

Beyond boardrooms and basketball courts: HB2 still casts a destructive shadow for many North Carolinians

Nearly a year after HB2 was signed into law, Candis Cox is still fighting for its repeal.

But a year in, the fight has become exhausting and infuriating.

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Environment

Duke Energy, NC WARN in power struggle over the right to sell solar energy

Faith Community Church lies over the railroad tracks south of downtown Greensboro, an area with few trees to shade it from the sun. That makes for a hot walk in the summertime, but the neighborhood, and specifically, the 11,839-square-foot church and community center, is an ideal place for NC WARN to install a solar energy system on a roof.

“We deeply believe that solar energy is a gift from God from which all can and should benefit,” Faith Community’s Rev. Nelson Johnson and other members of Concerned African-American clergy, wrote to the state legislature in 2015.

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Law and the Courts

Cooper-legislature power struggle unfolds at trial addressing constitutional questions

The leadership battle between North Carolina’s executive and legislative branches came to a head Tuesday in what one judge described as a historic separation of powers case.

Gov. Roy Cooper sued legislative leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, in response to new statutes enacted during a special session in December before he took office that reduce his powers.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Larry Hall wins unanimous committee approval for Veteran Affairs post

Decked out in ‘Marine Corps red,’ nominee impresses Senate committee

Larry Hall stood tall Thursday in a bright red jacket holding a cigar in one hand and a similar-colored cover in the other. He had just been recommended by a Senate committee for confirmation as Secretary of the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

“This is Marine Corps red,” Hall told a reporter. “The Marine Corps has a tradition you’ll notice, usually it’s a red stripe down the dress blue trousers, and that’s a blood stripe.”

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Environment

Gov. Cooper’s DEQ budget adds more than 20 people, but Trump’s cuts to EPA could hurt programs

For the last six years, the NC Department of Environmental Quality has served as a budgetary piñata. Republican lawmakers, and for most of that time, Gov. McCrory, often took a whack at the department, spilling personnel and programs all over the House and Senate floor.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As bipartisan support for redistricting grows, community rallies around issue in effort to get lawmakers’ attention

When the Democrats were the majority party at the North Carolina General Assembly, Republicans wanted redistricting reform. Now that the Republicans are at the helm of power, Democrats want redistricting reform.

But advocates say gerrymandering is not a partisan issue, and if redistricting reform isn’t passed soon, it will permanently corrode the public’s confidence in elections.

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Education

School choice advocates push to rebrand vouchers, virtual charters for legislators

Public school supporters call the tactics misleading

North Carolina public education backers are fired up this week over a new round of advocacy at the N.C. General Assembly that seems geared toward rebranding for-profit virtual charters and private school recipients of taxpayer-backed vouchers as public schools.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

As senators subpoena Cooper cabinet pick, experts weigh legal options, potential outcomes

Larry Hall, a former legislator and Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to head the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has been subpoenaed by a Senate committee but he may not be legally obligated to appear.

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