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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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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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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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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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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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Environment Top Story

State budget, new scientific tests shine a light on NC’s growing drinking water pollution problem

PFAS contamination found in both and Jones and Orange counties Maysville, which sits on the rim of the Croatan National Forest, is home to 1,000 people — about half of whom rely on the town’s sole drinking water well. And that well, according to a brief sentence in the both the House and Senate versions of the state budget, is contaminated.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Not so open: Critics say UNC Board of Governors excludes the public from its “public” meetings

Hoping to hear some discussion of the future of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument, Lindsay Ayling and a few other UNC-Chapel Hill students attempted to attend last week’s meeting of the UNC Board of Governors. Attempted, as it turns out, was the operative word.

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Environment Top Story

Proposed legislation would dramatically weaken state hog farm oversight

A sentence here, a paragraph there. A strike-through, a repeal, a new section. Individually, the Farm Act and the House and Senate budgets chip away at the incremental yet significant progress the state has made toward regulating industrialized livestock operations. But taken in total...

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Education Top Story

Teachers would get 3.5 percent pay raise under proposed N.C. Senate budget

Teachers would get an average 3.5 percent pay raise over the next two years under a biennium spending plan released Tuesday by state Republican leaders. The plan calls for spending $23.9 billion during the 2019-20 fiscal year, and it increases spending on public education by $1.3 billion over the next two years.

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News Top Story

More Black mothers are dying. This N.C. congresswoman wants it to stop.

WASHINGTON -- Black mothers are dying in childbirth at alarming rates in the United States, and a North Carolina congresswoman wants the federal government to do more about it. Rep. Alma Adams (D) is gathering allies and pushing legislation...

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Education Top Story

Controversial virtual Pre-K experiment is already underway in NC

The chuckles usually come before a question about the viability of an online preschool can be completed. There’s just something about the concept that makes people want to giggle.

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Environment Top Story

Senate panel advances controversial bid to allow dumping of toxic electronics in landfills

That sleek flat panel TV with the ultra high-definition screen — or the anvil of an ancient model that can still muster a picture — are safe when hanging on your living room wall. But crush them in a landfill and their contents are toxic. A controversial provision in the state legislature's Regulatory Reform Bill would allow local governments to opt out...

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Higher Ed Top Story

In major reversal, UNC Board of Governors chair voices opposition to return of ‘Silent Sam’

Restoring the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument to its original place at UNC-Chapel Hill is "not the right path," UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith said Wednesday. His thinking has undergone an evolution, Smith said at a press conference following a full meeting of the board of governors.

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