Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Local election officials detail problems with controversial early voting bill

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when the General Assembly fast-tracked a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to early voting.

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Allegations of sexism, partisanship follow local election board’s disqualification of Berger challenger

On May 25, the news headlines read that Democratic state Senate candidate Jen Mangrum had been disqualified from her bid to unseat Sen. Phil Berger, arguably the most powerful state lawmaker in North Carolina. Republicans had challenged Mangrum’s residency in Berger’s district near the Virginia line, and a panel of election officials from Berger’s Senate District 30 voted on party lines to oust Mangrum...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the legislative session winds down, Democrats seek a compromise for storing “Silent Sam”

A new bill to relocate the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument on UNC’s flagship Chapel Hill campus aims to be a compromise in the contentious, decades-long fight over the statue.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the need to expand NC’s existing hate crime laws

As LGBTQ advocates face an uphill battle to expand North Carolina’s existing Hate Crime laws this legislative session, they do so against a backdrop of increased violence against lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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Amid anti-LGBTQ violence, N.C. Democrats seek expansion of state hate crimes law

Last week Democratic lawmakers filed a bill to expand existing hate crimes statutes to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Filed by Senators Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) and Valerie Foushee (D-Orange), Senate Bill 794 would add sexual orientation, ...
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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The politics of “pork”

Much has been written this week about the process of the secretly-crafted $23.9 billion budget unveiled by the General Assembly’s GOP majority Monday night.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC officials order dozens of campaigns to forfeit illegal PAC contributions from pharma giant

In one of the largest campaign donation forfeitures in state history, 48 improper donations from the Pfizer Inc. political action committee will be forfeited by political campaigns and committees across the state.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Speakers at Durham conference: Criminalization of poverty is big and growing problem in NC

When Andrea Hudson was pulled over for a routine traffic violation in 2013, the police officer found outstanding warrants for her arrest. The charges – abusing an elderly person and fraud – were a surprise to Hudson, who insisted it was a case of mistaken identity. Her bail was initially set at $10,000 – out of reach for the mother of two. Even pulling together the ten to fifteen percent that’s necessary to pay a bail bond agent to secure her release was a stretch. When a judge raised the bail to $30,000, she could see no way out.

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A surprising voice comes to NC in support of progressive policy solutions

Republican Chief Justice of Texas Supreme Court pushes for legal aid funding, criminal justice reforms in Raleigh talk

Equal access to justice isn’t a partisan issue, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht told a crowd of more than 100 at the N.C. Bar Association Tuesday. It just looks like one.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Orange County: Part of the changing-face of pretrial justice

The inequity of the cash bail system is something Orange County has long understood. The county is one of dozens across the state that supports pretrial services - a jail alternative system that identifies poor people who are low risks for violence and likely to show for their court dates and allows them to be released on very low or no bail.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers

In a unanimous vote by its board of county commissioners, Orange County recently became one of the latest jurisdictions to proclaim their support for the 3DaysCount campaign.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

National pretrial expert: Reform is coming to the broken cash bail system

When Cherise Fanno Burdeen talks about the U.S. justice system, she’s speaking from more than 20 years of experience. After getting her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Indiana University, she worked with the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, did post-9/11 work with the Department of Homeland Security and field work with the Safer Foundation in Chicago.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Experts: We already know how to reform the state’s flawed cash bail system

In a 2016 report, the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice called for pretrial justice reform – reform that would move the state away from a de facto system of requiring all criminal defendants to post a cash bail in order be released from jail prior to their day in court.

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Veteran NC judges: State’s bail system is a “scam,” “immoral,” and in need of “massive change”

Gregory Weeks had a distinguished career as as judge for Fourth Division of the Superior Court of North Carolina and Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for the 12th Judicial District.

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Is NC’s cash bail system just? Advocates, reforms in other states raise serious doubts

David Clark works in the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office, representing clients charged with high level felonies. All of them are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t mean they receive equal treatment.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Arrests, convictions, predatory behavior plague North Carolina’s bail bond industry

By the time Phillip Armachain was arrested last year, the 50-year old man from Cherokee had for years built a reputation for being “creepy” and “a pervert” who made women in the town uncomfortable and afraid.

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