Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

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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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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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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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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COVID-19 Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fewer people incarcerated in NC’s county jails during the pandemic, but the ones left are staying longer

Backlogged court system and delayed trials create social justice inequities during COVID-19

While the number of people in county jails has dropped because of the pandemic, some incarcerated people in North Carolina are staying locked up longer, a study monitoring these populations shows.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The year in review: Five “PW investigates” stories to remember

Looking back on the pandemic, some of its many disturbing impacts, and one community's controversial plan to revive its economy In a year upended and dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Policy Watch covered the crisis with daily stories and investigative pieces from the institutional to the personal.

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COVID-19 Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Black Americans are reluctant to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Efforts to build trust are underway.

A history of unethical medical experimentation on Black people has raised vaccine concerns among communities of color. Coronavirus vaccines were a topic of the day for volunteers at Global Scholars Academy in Durham last Saturday. The church across the street, Union Baptist just north of downtown, was hosting a coronavirus testing site on one side of the school, and volunteers were distributing meals and Christmas gifts on the other side.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Experts warn of pandemic-related “eviction tsunami”

With the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine arriving in the state, many North Carolinians are feeling a new kind of hope as the pandemic stretches into 2021. But without swift government action at the state and federal levels, the new year could usher in an “eviction tsunami” and economic devastation, according to experts who gathered to discuss the problem Tuesday.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

More financial trouble is predicted for NC cities and counties. What’s the solution?

In a budget crisis, these entities can lose control of their finances to the state Janet Gerald, mayor pro tem of Kingstown, knew high sewer costs were a financial strain for the town when she was took office three years ago. Still, the realization that the town needed to relinquish control of its spending hit her hard.   “I was a little disappointed,” she said. “I was sad. I was heartbroken. I was embarrassed. I was crushed.”

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Faculty members revolt over UNC plans to triple number of students living on campus next semester

With clusters of campus COVID cases, the fall semester was a failure. In the spring, history could repeat itself. Faculty members and administrators in the UNC System are butting heads over pandemic planning for the spring semester, as some schools consider bringing more students back to campuses.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As a ban on new LGBTQ protections is lifted, advocates and local officials push for progress

After more than three years, the state’s ban on local governments offering new protections against LGBTQ discrimination expired Tuesday. Now, say advocates and elected officials from across the state, it’s time to make some long delayed progress on those protections.

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Immigration advocates push Biden to not just bring back DACA but to expand it

Dreamers looking for bold action from a new administration President-elect Joe Biden said last week he would send to the U.S. Senate a bill that would lay out a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people living in the United States within his first 100 days in office. In the interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Biden built on an early promise to reinstate an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA...

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

We’ve seen this movie before: Like Trump, former Gov. Pat McCrory blamed non-existent fraud for his 2016 loss

Donald Trump's baseless, nonstop public allegations of pervasive fraud, election meddling and disloyalty among his party members are unprecedented for a modern American president. But some observers of North Carolina politics have seen this kind of behavior before.

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Cherokee defending gains made possible by casinos

This week the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Lumbee Recognition Act, bringing the North Carolina tribe closer to the federal recognition it has sought for more than a century. Reaction from other tribes — particularly the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians  — was swift and negative. They said questions remain about the origins and authenticity of the Lumbee, who have at various points claimed descent from four different tribes.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Kathy Manning looks at the road ahead as she heads to Congress

With President Donald Trump refusing to concede and many races still on a razor’s edge as record numbers of mail-in ballots are counted, the post-election period has been stressful for many Americans. But Kathy Manning, the Greensboro attorney and businesswoman who won the Sixth Congressional District race last week, is already thinking about next steps.

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