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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: a closer look at the election turnout rates of white and Black voters

As U.S. Senate Democrats united behind a bill dubbed the "Freedom to Vote Act" that would expand voter registration, promote nonpartisan redistricting and designate Election Day a federal holiday, experts at the Brennan Center for Justice have identified gaps in voter turnout that warrant stronger protection for non-white voters.

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Environment News Top Story

State Fair exploits legal loopholes to clear-cut 19 acres of forest for a parking lot

There was scant transparency and public engagement for the $30 million land deal, which impinges on Raleigh's Westover-Mt. Vernon neighborhood.

The surveyors’ flags were the first warning. The whine of chainsaws was the second.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

Cawthorn, conservatives urge Johnston County school board to end mask mandate

With nearly 200 active COVID cases among students and staff, board will revisit mask mandate Monday

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn was more than 300 miles from his congressional district on Tuesday, arriving in Smithfield to ostensibly speak against the school district's mask mandate.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The expanded federal child tax credit is helping families. Congress is debating its future.

Like millions of women, Sarah Anderson saw her income drop during the pandemic when her two part-time jobs ended and caring for her four children and supervising online school consumed her days.   The federal child tax credit helped fill the gap left by that lost income. Parents started receiving monthly payments of $250 to $300 for each child on July 15 and will do so through December.

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Education News Top Story

U.S. House committees advance ambitious education and climate initiatives

Proposals would fund universal pre-K and free community college, hasten shift to renewable energy WASHINGTON—Two important U.S. House committees advanced ambitious plans to address national education needs and the global climate emergency late last week.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at mass incarceration in NC, and the implications for redistricting

Last week, the Prison Policy Initiative published a report – "States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021" – which compared the incarceration rate of each state in the U.S. to other countries' rates. The research think tank used U.S. and United Nations crime and incarceration data (including figures from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program) to illustrate a stark contrast between America and other countries.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

President Biden unveils new plan to speed mass vaccination, strengthen school safety, aid states in need WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former Army missile plant in Burlington poses “an urgent public health risk”

Private owners neglect the contaminated property, posing an environmental threat to a Black and Latinx neighborhood

This is the second of a two-part story about hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that is threatening a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates

Una antigua planta de misile en Burlington: “un riesgo urgente para la salud pública”

Esta es la segunda entrega de un artículo de dos partes sobre el peligro de contaminación que supone una antigua fábrica de misiles en Burlington para una comunidad predominantemente negra y latina.   El artículo y los documentos ...
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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Clear and present danger: Former Army missile plant has polluted a Black, Latino neighborhood in Burlington for more than 30 years

Military, private owner have allowed toxic contaminants to fester, avoided penalties while residents bear environmental burden Tattooed in ivy, bound in chain-link fence, Building 16 casts an ominous three-story shadow over several homes along Hilton Road. The window blinds are torn, as if it were sleeping with one eye open.

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Environment Featured Articles

Peligro inminente: Una antigua planta de misiles del Ejército ha contaminado un vecindario negro y latino durante 30 años

El Ejército y los propietarios privados han permitido que los contaminantes tóxicos se enconen sin tener que pagar ninguna multa, mientras los residentes soportan las repercusiones medioambientales. Esta es la primera entrega de un artículo de dos partes ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

NC just enacted ambitious criminal justice reform legislation. Here’s what it does.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a comprehensive criminal justice reform package (Senate Bill 300) into law last Thursday. The law became effective immediately. The bill, originally sponsored by Republicans with input from Democrats, gained bipartisan support – though not universal acclaim.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the state’s school facility needs

North Carolina has a nearly $13 billion backlog in new school construction and renovations, according to the 2020-21 Facility Needs Survey.  The backlog represents an increase of more than $4 billion over the $8 billion reported in the Facility Needs Survey five years ago. 

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Sobering test results confirm pandemic’s toll on state’s schoolchildren

State test results show that student learning suffered greatly last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer than half of students – 45.4% – in grades K-12 passed state reading, math and science exams during the 2020-21 school year.  The much-anticipated scores were released this week during the State Board of Education’s regular meeting.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: A treatment for COVID-19…and a giant information gap 

Many North Carolinians who could benefit from a COVID-19 therapy lack information and access Treatment with special proteins called monoclonal antibodies is keeping some COVID-19 patients out of hospitals and is likely saving some lives. But North Carolina has huge information and delivery gaps to fill before many people who might qualify for the therapy know about it and can get it.

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Environment Top Story

Pittsboro commissioners balk at route for North Chatham Park Way

A contentious state road project in Pittsboro hit a detour last week, after town leaders unanimously directed transportation officials to analyze yet another alternate route for the $30 million North Chatham Park Way, one that would avoid lopping off part of the bucolic North Woods neighborhood. 

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