Top Story

Top Story

Education Top Story

Teacher development, struggling schools on chopping block as State Board of Ed implements G.A.-mandated cuts

Members of North Carolina’s State Board of Education passed down $2.5 million in legislative cuts Tuesday, ordering layoffs and operations reductions that are most likely to impact professional development and support services for the state’s poor and low-performing districts.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

“Public” is not and should not be a dirty word

The destructive delusions in the Right’s opposition to public transit

The modern day conservative opposition to public transit has always been a bit of a puzzle.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Attorney General Josh Stein scrambling to cover $10 million budget gap

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s most important job is to keep people safe.

For the Department of Justice, which he heads, that can mean helping to keep criminals behind bars, protecting residents’ drinking water...

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

73---number of days since the Senate passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (N.C. General Assembly, Senate Bill 237 bill status history)

52---number of days since the House passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (Ibid)

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Progressive Voices Top Story

NC budget proponents’ distorted notion of leaps and bounds

When you lower the bar enough for what’s possible, you create a new normal in which an inch forward can be falsely sold as leaps and bounds. The austerity budgeting that has defined nearly a decade of North Carolina policymakers’ approach to serving their communities has been driven by an insatiable appetite among House and Senate leadership for costly tax cuts. This approach has ushered in a new normal in which expectations have been lowered for what our state can and should be.

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Environment Top Story

GenX, Chromium 6 and 1,4-dioxane: No federal, state regulations and less guidance about how to protect drinking water

When Gov. Roy Cooper visits Wilmington on Monday, it's unlikely that he will be greeted by the friendly faces he encountered during his campaign. Instead, the people of New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties want answers to questions about the safety of their drinking water...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

From pills to heroin in Wilmington

When Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention or STOP Act into law last month, he called it an essential tool in the fight against an opioid epidemic now gripping the state.

The law imposes limits on the prescription of opioid pain medications - no more than a five day supply of the pain medications on an initial visit.

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Top Story

Khaleef’s story: How excessive court costs ruin lives

“My primary focus in life is my daughter,” Khaleef told the judge. On May 2, 2016 Khaleef’s love for his daughter presented him with an impossible dilemma. Earlier that evening he received a text message from his friend warning him that his six-month old daughter Nadeera was lying on the floor, neglected. Nadeera was unattended while the child’s biological mother was under the influence of drugs and alcohol outside in the backyard. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to be around Nadeera’s mother but you can’t leave a helpless child like that.”

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Sorry Republicans, facts matter—in Raleigh and in Washington

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what has been happening in North Carolina for the last seven years, a takeover by far-right ideologues hell-bent on dismantling the fundamental institutions of the government they lead, without regard to the suffering their decisions will inflict on the people they are supposed to represent.

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Education Top Story

General Assembly-ordered cuts likely to hamper services for poor, rural schools

Support for needy districts and key positions within North Carolina’s top public school agency may be in jeopardy this week as the State Board of Education mulls ways to pass down millions in legislative cuts.

Officials confirmed this week that the State Board of Education could vote as early as Wednesday on how to dish out $3.2 million in General Assembly-ordered funding reductions for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Trump nominates hyper-partisan conservative activist to NC federal court vacancy

Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned

Sometimes all one can do is stand and marvel in slack-jawed wonder at the breathtaking brazenness, hypocrisy and double standards that Donald Trump and his allies in the modern conservative movement are willing to employ and embrace.

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Must Reads Top Story

A predatory model that can’t be fixed: Why banks should be kept from reentering the payday loan business

In the new Washington, D.C. of Donald Trump, many once-settled policies in the realm of consumer protection are now “back on the table” as predatory businesses push to take advantage of the president’s pro-corporate/anti-regulatory stances. A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending explains why one of the most troubling of these efforts – a proposal to allow banks to re-enter the inherently destructive business of making high-interest “payday” loans should be fought and rejected at all costs.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

5.0---percentage of overall state spending in the 2017-2018 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (“New Budget, Same Missed Opportunities for North Carolina,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, July 2017)

4.9---percentage of overall state spending in the 2018-2019 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (Ibid)

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Opioid crisis hits Wilmington area hard; lack of public resources hinders response

Wilmington is bustling this summer.

Downtown, horse-drawn carriages take tourists along the riverfront the city advertises as “America’s best” where they drink at local pubs, eat seafood, sip cold brew coffee in cafes that also sell designer shoes and limited-edition t-shirts.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Trial judges gain new, valuable resources in Judicial Fellowship program

For the first time in a long time, trial judges in North Carolina have independent research assistance for complicated cases and questions of law. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) launched the N.C. Judicial Fellowship program in April after a recommendation from the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ). The Fellowship is currently staffed by a director and four fellows, with four more to be added in August. Fellows provide independent legal research and writing support to the state’s 370-plus superior and district court judges. ...
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Must Reads Top Story

What you need to know about the new state budget

Lawmakers miss opportunities for progress; double down on austerity and trickledown economics

Lawmakers have passed a new state budget that will serve as a roadmap for how North Carolina will operate for the next two years — unfortunately, this roadmap has numerous potholes and an unclear destination. It does not reflect the spending decisions that can drive better economic outcomes or strengthen the connection to opportunity for every community across the state.

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