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Fewer people voted illegally in 2020, but voting rights groups want the state to stop punishing people who say they voted by mistake.  

People on felony probation or parole can be prosecuted for voting illegally even if they don't know they're ineligible. Fewer people were suspected of illegally voting while on probation or parole for a felony in the 2020 general election compared with 2016, according to a state audit. However, the state Board of Elections found more possible cases of double voting.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

President Biden urges a divided nation to ‘end this uncivil war’ in inaugural address

WASHINGTON — Calling on Americans to bridge the widening divisions in the country, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, completing the peaceful transition of presidential power on the same stage where a violent mob just two weeks ago sought to prevent him from taking office.

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Can Biden activate the political center?

Veteran national journalist explores the political opportunities and risks for the new administration WASHINGTON – The battle cry “Go Big, Joe! Go Big!” echoed among Democrats after their underdog candidates scored stunning upset victories in Georgia, picking up two vital senate seats earlier this month. And with his $1.9 trillion corona relief plan, Joe Biden has indeed decided to “Go Big.”

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Don’t rely on the ABC Science Collaborative study to inform school re-opening decisions

As schools begin spring semester classes, local leaders in North Carolina face the weighty decision of whether to offer in-person instruction. Local leaders have been handed no favors from federal and state officials who have abrogated their responsibility to establish objective criteria for in-person instruction that would apply to all schools, public and non-public alike.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Reasons for hope and optimism as a new administration takes office

There are a lot of reasons that all Americans – at least those willing to think and pay attention– should feel a profound sense of hope and optimism as a new presidential administration takes the helm of the ship of state this week. Perhaps most obvious is the simple fact that we’re not where we were four years ago at this moment: watching the assumption of power by an administration for which chaos, corruption and credible questions regarding its loyalty to the nation would quickly become hallmarks.

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Environment News Top Story

Industry released 39 million pounds of pollution into the environment last year, most of it into the air

North Carolina industry released the least amount of air pollution last year — 21.5 million pounds — since 2003, according to federal data released last week. Releases to land were also at 16-year lows, but discharges to waterways — 8.1 million pounds — were the highest since 2015. Releases for air, land and water totaled 39 million pounds.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New local LGBTQ protections could set up a fight with the General Assembly

This week, three towns in Orange County passed LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances, the first since a state ban on such local protections expired last month. The move by the towns of Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill signals the willingness of progressive communities to wade back into a civil rights fight that exploded in 2016 with the North Carolina General Assembly’s passage of House Bill 2.

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Education Top Story

Youth Justice Project seeks racial reform in use of suspensions, school resource officers in Durham

Nicholas Brown, a junior at Jordan High School in Durham, has had the uncomfortable experience of being followed to class by School Resource Officers hired by the district who are supposed to make students and staff feel safe.  Brown, 16, wasn’t doing anything wrong, just moving from one class to another to attend a study session or to take a teacher-approved restroom break. 

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Legal scholars: Constitution clear that Trump’s impeachment for role in Capitol attack is appropriate

As the U.S. House impeached President Trump for the second time for "incitement of insurrection" Wednesday afternoon, many legal and political science scholars have decried his behavior and are demanding accountability to the Constitution.  The Constitution lays the ground rules in Article 2, Section 4...

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC legislature opens facing COVID-19 pandemic challenges 

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore were re-elected to the top positions in their chambers in the first day of the new legislative session, formally beginning another two years of divided government with Republicans in control of the legislative branch and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper as the state’s chief executive. 

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

N.C. tries to speed vaccine rollout as the federal government puts out new guidelines

North Carolina, which remains one of the slowest states in vaccinating people for COVID-19, is facing new federal recommendations on who should be among the first to get shots.   Questions about stumbling vaccine distribution consumed Raleigh on Tuesday: Two legislative health oversight committees spent more than two hours talking about vaccine distribution, and it was the major topic at Gov. Roy Cooper’s news conference.

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Environment News Top Story

Hog farm that spilled 1 million gallons of feces, urine into waterways had been warned of lagoon problems

DC Mills Farm has familial ties to another operation that incurred a record fine A Jones County farm that spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of hog feces and urine into a tributary of the Trent River shortly before Christmas had been cited twice in the past year by state regulators because its lagoon was too full.

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Defending Democracy Top Story Weekly Briefing

Five important takeaways from last week’s assault on democracy

It’s been less than a week since a mob of traitorous criminals, directly incited by the President of the United States, carried out one of the most despicable acts in American history. Happily, in the hours and days that have followed, there have been some encouraging signs that finally, at long last, several powerful conservative voices who have long tolerated and abetted Trumpism have had enough.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

New Administrative Office of Courts director replaced top employees with Republican loyalists on his first day

Five employees asked to resign with just a few hours' notice Last Friday, within hours of being appointed by State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby as the head of a key judicial office, Andrew Heath began purging it of some career employees. As new Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) director, Heath forced top senior employees to resign with only a few hours' notice and replaced them with Republican loyalists, including the daughter of a conservative appellate judge.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: COVID cases skyrocket in NC while vaccine rollout lags

It's Monday, Jan 11. At least 7,425 North Carolinians did not see the sunrise today after dying of COVID-19. The number of cases and deaths is growing, as the state grapples with record-high daily new cases, a shortage of hospital beds and a slow vaccine rollout. “In the ten months that we have been fighting this pandemic, this is the most worried that I have been for our state,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said last Friday at a press conference.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

In inaugural address, Gov. Roy Cooper looks to North Carolina emerging stronger after the pandemic

Gov. Roy Cooper started his second term Saturday facing the challenges of a pandemic that is killing dozens of North Carolina residents each day, as well as political divisions in the state and the nation.  Dozens of North Carolinians ...
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