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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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Education Top Story

State Board of Education unanimously revokes struggling Rowan County school’s charter

State education officials will help place students in other schools for 2021-22 academic year A tardy audit submission in late December couldn’t save Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School.  The State Board of Education on Thursday unanimously voted to revoke the Rowan County school’s charter because its leaders failed to submit required financial audits for 2019 and 2020 on time.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

U.S. Capitol attack is another sign of the rise of domestic terrorism, a Duke expert says

After he leaves office, Trump will likely still have a platform for disinformation

Pro-Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday was more evidence of a growing domestic terrorist movement in the country that the next administration needs to address, a Duke University expert on national security and terrorism said. 

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Original Commentary Radical Right Reality Check Top Story

Chaos in Washington: So now the enablers think things have gone too far?

Voices that long abetted Trumpism seem to finally awaken as his backers storm the Capitol

Mike Pence. Mitch McConnell. William Barr. Ted Cruz. Lindsey Graham. Thom Tillis.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC experts discuss tensions in Washington, possible prosecutions and the future

On Tuesday night, as runoff elections in Georgia decided control of the U.S. Senate and Congress braced for a standoff over certifying the presidential election, legal and political experts from UNC-Chapel Hill gathered for a public discussion of a tumultuous first week of 2021.

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