Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC Native American tribes make headway in bringing vaccine to oft-neglected members

Dozens of tribal elders lined up outside the community building on Haliwa-Saponi land in Halifax County early Saturday morning to wait for the opening of the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic they could get to in this rural part of northeastern North Carolina. Jamie K. Oxendine, tribal administrator for the Haliwa-Saponi, pushed to bring a one-day vaccine clinic to the tribal grounds in tiny Hollister.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New ‘Silent Sam’ revelations contradict past public assurances offered by UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz

In December 2019, Kevin Guskiewicz, then the new UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor, appeared before a concerned and angry Faculty Council. The UNC System had just announced its Board of Governors had settled a lawsuit with the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans. The settlement would not only give the group the controversial Silent Sam Confederate monument but also $2.5 million in trust to care for it. 

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

When a hospital is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, deciding who gets critical care

New state plan guides doctors, nurses on difficult ethical questions It is a nearly impossible decision: Who would get life-saving treatment when hospitals are overwhelmed by critically ill patients and running out of equipment or space?

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Applicant errors, not fraud, main source of $70 million in unemployment benefit overpayments

Lawmakers indicated they would support waiving repayments for non-fraud overages

An unprecedented surge in applications for unemployment benefits overwhelmed the state Division of Employment Security, Assistant Secretary Pryor Gibson told state lawmakers this week. And nearly a year into the pandemic, it is still struggling. 

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

A bitter Register of Deeds contest spurs allegations of racism in Wayne County

Dems joined with GOP to recruit write-in candidates to try to defeat disfavored Black candidates The path to victory in the 2020 Wayne County Register of Deeds contest looked as if it would be easy for Constance Coram. She had defeated incumbent and fellow Democrat Judy Harrison by a slim 145 votes in the March 3 primary.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Protesters say university is exercising a double standard on free speech by absolving employee with alleged white supremacy links

Melanie Flowers had a lot to do this week, and a protest was yet another item on her list. The student body president at N.C. State University was beginning classes, juggling her studies and student government commitments in an ongoing pandemic that makes everything harder. “There’s ... a lot going on...”

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fewer people voted illegally in 2020, but voting rights groups want the state to stop punishing people who say they voted by mistake.  

People on felony probation or parole can be prosecuted for voting illegally even if they don't know they're ineligible. Fewer people were suspected of illegally voting while on probation or parole for a felony in the 2020 general election compared with 2016, according to a state audit. However, the state Board of Elections found more possible cases of double voting.

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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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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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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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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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