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Articles

Billy Ball Commentary Defending Democracy Top Story

The case of the vanishing budget: How N.C.’s secretive budget “process” is bad for the public good

If, in this precise moment, you’re wondering where North Carolina’s multi-billion dollar budget is, the same one that sets crucial policy and spending parameters for state agencies, that dictates classroom funding levels for 1.5 million schoolchildren, that sets pay levels for thousands of state employees, retirees and teachers, it’s in the same place it’s always been.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

State budget negotiators can and should choose a better path

The recent proposal from state Senate leaders for the next two-year state budget compromises North Carolina’s future by underinvesting in our communities while prioritizing the special interests of a select few. As House and Senate leaders confer on the final budget, let’s be clear that a different path — one that involves smart investments and better outcomes — is possible.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Sources link UNC-Vidant dispute to ongoing battles between Board of Governors and ECU

As lawmakers work to negotiate a final state budget by the end of the month, the ongoing conflict between Vidant Health and the UNC System continues to unfold through public jabs and in private mediation. In the balance: Tens of millions in medicaid reimbursements to one of Eastern North Carolina’s most vital hospital systems.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Nine ways in which “school choice” and its overzealous backers are harmful to NC public schools

At a recent Civitas Institute panel discussion, former state senator Joel Ford lamented that – because he supports charter schools – he gets labeled as “anti-public school.” Ford, now a board member of school choice propaganda mill Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), appeared confused as to why critics throw that label at him.

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Education Top Story

Despite local opposition, N.C. charter board clears two new Wake County schools

The state Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) on Monday unanimously stood by its approval of two charters schools Wake County school officials deem are not needed. CSAB members agreed Wake officials’ concerns about Wake County Preparatory Academy and North Raleigh Charter Academy appear to reflect “philosophical” differences about the value of charters rather than fear of school re-segregation or charter saturation.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Refusal to close the Medicaid coverage gap echoes a dark era from the South’s past

In his recent “must read” book on the history of Jim Crow and how it shaped (and was itself shaped) by a typical town of the deep South (“Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White,” Harvard University Press), UNC Chapel Hill historian Prof. William Sturkey provides numerous illuminating and, often, maddening details of the harsh realities of the racial apartheid that was conjured up and enforced by the white supremacists who dominated so much of southern society for so long.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Tillis touts his efforts to help Trump ‘remake the federal judiciary’

WASHINGTON – North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis declared his opposition last week to one of President Trump’s judicial nominees – a rare defection from a freshman Republican who touts his leadership of his party’s efforts to reshape the federal judiciary. Yet North Carolina Democrats are nonetheless gearing up to hit the senator, who is up for reelection next year, on his near-perfect record in support of the president’s lower-level judicial nominees – an issue that typically flies under the political radar.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at why Medicaid expansion is a “must” this session

This is the 74th day of the legislative session and members of the House and Senate face a deadline at the end of this month to finalize the new state budget. What remains unclear at this point is whether Medicaid expansion will be part of the spending plan. If not, will Governor Cooper veto the legislature's budget? Today's Monday numbers column takes a closer look at some of the numbers surrounding the ongoing expansion debate.

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Billy Ball Commentary Top Story

A eulogy: For the abortion bill whose supporters dared not speak its name

Sometime in the latter hours of debate over an abortion bill that North Carolina Republicans insisted was not about abortion – even as the words “abortion” and “abortion victims” were uttered some fourteen-thousand times Wednesday – Speaker Tim Moore descended from his perch at the forefront of the state House chamber to debate.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Hofeller files: Lawmakers lied to federal court in 2017, preventing NC from getting special election

The 2011 North Carolina legislative maps are among the largest racial gerrymanders ever encountered by a federal court, and the state could have held a special election under new voting districts, but GOP lawmakers lied about needing more ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

NC officials dismiss hundreds of thousands of old court cases as part of massive data ‘clean-up’

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has been quietly facilitating the dismissals of hundreds of thousands of criminal charges and infractions across the state for the past two years as part of a data clean-up effort. Each of the cases dismissed had been pending for years – some for decades – without prosecution...

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Advocates hope changes in Durham are a bellwether for bail reform in NC

Serena Sebring and Kayla Hartsfield were arrested last month after chaining themselves to the gates outside the Durham County Detention Center. The two women, activists with Southerners On New Ground (SONG), were trying to bring attention to a cash bail system they say has utterly failed. Studies show the current system disproportionately jails minorities, the poor and those accused of non-violent crimes while failing to effectively assure defendants make their court dates in higher numbers than those who are offered alternatives to cash bail.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Proposed state budget would deal new blows to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause

In 1971, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote an opinion in the landmark case Lemon v. Kurtzman that set forth a the three-pronged test lawmakers should use to avoid violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The three prongs of the test were these:

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News Top Story

With budget veto looming, Republicans wooing Democratic votes with pork

With a close – and bitterly contentious – vote over a potential veto of this year’s state budget looming, North Carolina lawmakers say GOP legislators are scrambling to win over Democrats behind the scenes by offering “pork” spending on local projects.

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