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The sound of silence: Judges all but muzzled in complaints against lawmakers

Judges are considered to be in command of their courtrooms. But when state legislators pass laws attacking them— shortening their terms, shrinking the appellate court — judges are no longer in charge and have few ways to defend themselves.

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Education Top Story

Robeson County officials vacillating on planned charter school takeover

Weeks after the top school board member in Robeson County predicted the southeastern North Carolina district would close the state’s only choice for a controversial charter takeover program, local leaders may be gearing up to accept the Innovative School District after all.

Multiple Robeson officials tell Policy Watch that state law...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

More than just a giveaway to the rich: GOP tax plan also endangers church-state separation, access to health care for millions

With Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House desperate to post a big legislative win, their push for so-called tax reform – the label being used to sugar-coat costly tax changes mostly benefiting profitable corporations and the wealthiest among us – has reached red-line intensity.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

This is what government looks like when you run it on the cheap

Latest court system mess is directly linked to the Right’s ideological war on public structures Sometimes you have to hand it to the ideologues on the far right. They’re so persistent and creative and have gotten so effective at attacking, bad-mouthing, defunding and just plain undermining government, that often their destructive “victories” slide in right under the radar.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The radical Trumpcare scam hidden in the Senate tax reform bill

Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit so that they can give corporations permanent tax breaks. And now Senate Republicans have decided to turn their already awful tax bill into a secret Trumpcare bill by including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

13---percentage of households in the U.S. that were food insecure on average from 2014-2016. Meaning they were without reliable to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service)

41 million---number who live in households that are food insecure (Ibid)

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Education Top Story

Legislators consider abolishing teacher salary schedule as they study NC school funding labyrinth

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding maze, but lawmakers’ hints that they may abolish the state’s teacher salary schedule or other state-set funding allocations is already spurring criticism from local district advocates.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC Board of Trustees face growing pressure to remove Silent Sam

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been raging for decades. But it appears to be approaching a critical mass this year as students, faculty, staff and community members push for removal of the statue in the wake of deadly white supremacist violence at the University of Virginia.

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Environment Top Story

Using biogas to clear the air near hog farms

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up

A blanket of gray hangs over the hills refracting the late July sun and sealing in a thick scent of gas and compost.

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Environment Top Story

Neutering nuisance laws in North Carolina

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Environmental Health News. Tomorrow Elizabeth Ouzts reports on the possibilities of swine waste-to-energy projects.

Big hog producing states are chipping away at the last legal resorts for residents who feel they've been wronged ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Updated maps: Where judges land in judicial redistricting bill to be considered by Senate

Few issues in the North Carolina’s contentious policy wars have been more consistently front and center during the past year than the future of the state judiciary.

The battle was first joined during a series of special legislative sessions that were called after the 2016 election and has continued...

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Alamance County sheriff should not regain immigration enforcement powers

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a jaw-dropping civil rights lawsuit against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson. Following a two-year investigation and interviews with more than 100 witnesses, DOJ amassed widespread evidence that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) was systematically and unlawfully targeting Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The Right wages class warfare in Washington

Will Burr and Tillis really vote for this?

For much of the 20th Century, one of the labels that American politicians of a progressive bent feared most was the accusation that they were engaging in “class warfare.” Even for many on the left, the concept of class warfare – that is, of attempting to motivate and mobilize people of low and/or modest income to rise up against the wealthy – was widely frowned upon as antithetical to the nation’s longstanding tradition as a broadly middle class (or even class free) society. Forty years ago, the iconic liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith dismissed the idea of waging class warfare against the rich in America as “uncouth.”

Today, sadly, this aversion to class warfare seems quaint – and not because the left got over its queasiness about the subject.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Déjà vu: Another tax plan for the rich

President Trump and Congressional Republicans aim to rebrand enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest households and corporations as a boon to everyday Americans – but North Carolinians, in particular, should recognize this canard. We have heard it before in defense of state-level tax changes that have yet to pan out and that each day cause us to miss opportunities to boost our communities’ well-being.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

20—number of years since a bipartisan coalition in Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“9 million kids get health insurance under CHIP. Congress just let it expire,” Washington Post, October 1, 2017) 14—percentage of children in the ...
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Other Voices Top Story

Special report highlights Trump judicial nominee in NC who championed voter suppression

Editor’s note: A new report released this week by the Washington, DC-based Center for American Progress shines a new and disturbing light on some of the extreme federal court nominees submitted in recent months by President Trump. The report devotes special attention to Thomas Farr, Trump’s nominee to fill the decade-plus long vacancy on the federal bench in North Carolina’s Eastern District. As Policy Watch has reported previously, Farr’s nomination has drawn passionate opposition from the national civil rights community.

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