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Thursday News: V is for Veto

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REPUBLICAN BILL WOULD STRIP $300 PAYMENTS FROM THE UNEMPLOYED: More than 200,000 North Carolinians receiving $300-per-week federal unemployment benefits will lose that money earlier than planned if Gov. Roy Cooper signs a bill passed Wednesday evening. Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a new version of a bill that they say will help understaffed businesses find more workers. It’s a state-level version of a national discussion over the status of the restaurant and tourism industries and the labor market for those low-paying jobs. “With a severe labor shortage, now is no time to pay people extra money not to work,” said Sen. Chuck Edwards, a Republican from Hendersonville. Edwards, who has several McDonald’s restaurants in western North Carolina, is the Senate’s point person on unemployment issues.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252314728.html

Wednesday News: Tit for tat

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GOP BUDGET LEAVES OUT FUNDING FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN MONUMENT: “Really? That’s an insult,” Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Guilford County Democrat told The News & Observer on Tuesday. The Senate’s lead budget writer, Autryville Republican Sen. Brent Jackson, said the Senate decided not to put it in the budget this time, even though it had proposed funding the project in a previous year’s proposal and in a different bill last year. “That was discussed, and the decision was since the monuments were being taken down, or they got vandalized during all the protests and they were being taken down on the Capitol square, we just felt like this was not the time to put something back up there of any type,” Jackson told The N&O on Tuesday. It's exactly the time for it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252000573.html

Tuesday News: Miserly and negligent

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NC SENATE'S BUDGET IS A TAX-CUT EXTRAVAGANZA: There would also be bonuses of $1,500 for law enforcement, correctional officers and staff and employees of 24-hour residential and treatment facilities. Additional bonuses across the board, using state funds, would go to teachers, who would get $300, and principals, who would get $1,800, respectively. The budget’s tax cuts include cutting the personal income tax rate to 3.99% by 2026. The current tax rate is 5.25%, and the budget would reduce it to 4.99% in 2022. The budget also includes parts of the same tax-cuts plan the Senate already passed, including phasing out the corporate income tax entirely. There is no cost of living adjustment for retired state employees in the Senate budget.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252252848.html

Monday News: Take your shot

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PRESIDENT BIDEN TO PROMOTE VACCINES IN NC: It’s Biden’s first visit to North Carolina since taking office. The visit comes as part of Biden’s “National Month of Action,” a nationwide sprint in June to get 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. But two weeks out from that date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that roughly 65% of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. And in North Carolina, that figure is significantly lower. As of June 18, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports that just 55% of adults in the state have received a dose of the vaccine. Earlier this month, The News & Observer reported that at its current pace, the state will not reach Biden’s vaccine target until November.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252241648.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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EXPANDING MEDICAID CAN ACTUALLY CUT STATE-FUNDED SPENDING: Even with added spending of about $400 million needed for Medicaid expansion (which the state’s hospitals and other healthcare providers have offered to help shoulder) North Carolina would still be ahead of the game by as much as $500 million. This federal law, passed by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, is a real deal for North Carolina taxpayers. Gaining half-a-billion dollars – even amid the budget surpluses the state now enjoys – is significant. It offers the opportunity to invest in other critical needs that have for too long gone unmet – particularly complying with the state’s constitutional guarantee to provide every child in the state with access to a quality education.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-expanding-medicaid-can-actually-cut-state-funded-spending/19729893/

Saturday News: Backroom boondoggle

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DUKE ENERGY'S SECRET BILL LIKELY HEADED FOR A VETO: Duke Energy and House Republicans say the legislation would lead to a 61% reduction in carbon emissions and diversify the state’s energy sources. But environmental groups and House Democrats have widely criticized the bill, focusing on provisions that mandate using natural gas to replace coal-fired plants at one, and potentially two, power stations. Critics have also said the legislation undermines the N.C. Utilities Commission’s independent decision making. Gov. Roy Cooper released his first statement on the legislation Thursday, saying, “The House Republican energy legislation revealed for the first time this week would cost ratepayers too much, fall short of clean energy goals, hamper job recruitment and weaken the Utilities Commission which exists to provide accountability for utility companies.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252181288.html

Friday News: Domino effect

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BLACK PROFESSORS AT UNC CONTEMPLATE LEAVING OVER TENURE ISSUES: Members of the Carolina Black Caucus took a poll at their regularly scheduled Zoom meeting this week and found that 70% of the about 30 attendees are considering leaving UNC-CH and more than 60% of them are actively looking for other jobs. “It’s been a conversation that we’ve been having for a couple of years,” Field said. “The Nikole Hannah-Jones situation really just brings the issue to the forefront.” UNC-CH has 226 Black or African American full-time faculty members as of Fall 2020, according to a university report. And 69 of them have tenure, which is about 30%. Black and African American faculty members also make up less than 5% of the total tenured faculty. There are more than 4,000 total full-time faculty members at UNC-CH.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article252177963.html

Thursday News: Victory for Women

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3 JUDGE PANEL BLOCKS NC'S 20 WEEK ABORTION BAN: The law tightened the definition of a medical emergency and extended the waiting period before a woman could obtain an abortion, among other changes. The underlying law, both before and after the 2015 changes, allows abortion within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. “The amendments impose additional regulations on abortion providers by restricting who may perform abortions and what information providers must report to North Carolina; the amendments reduce the availability of abortion to women facing medical emergencies; and the amendments extend the mandated waiting period women must observe before obtaining an abortion,” a panel of three judges from the court wrote in a unanimous opinion.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252154278.html

Wednesday News: Antebellum blues

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MECK ENDS CONTRACT WITH LATTA PLANTATION OVERSEERS: Mecklenburg County is not renewing its contract with the nonprofit that manages Historic Latta Plantation, after a controversial Juneteenth program planned for the Huntersville site sparked a social media uproar last week. Lee Jones, Mecklenburg’s Park and Recreation director, told county commissioners Tuesday evening the annual agreement will end June 30. But the future use of the site remains unclear, and the county is still urging the plantation to rethink upcoming summer programming for children about training to be like young Confederate soldiers and southern belles, Jones said. “The outrage in the community is real,” said County Commissioner Mark Jerrell, who called the possibility of confederate camps a “trauma-causing event.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252135238.html

Tuesday News: Racist bandwagon

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TILLIS PUSHES BILL TO DEFUND TEACHING THE 1619 PROJECT: “The 1619 Project is a racially divisive and revisionist account of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded,” the legislation says. The legislation would prohibit federal funds from being used by any elementary or secondary school to teach the project. It calls for reducing federal funds to schools that do teach it by the costs associated with teaching the 1619 Project, including planning time and teaching time. “Americans do not want their tax dollars going towards promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us instead of being used to promote the principles that unite our nation,” Tillis said in a statement. The 1619 Project has been lumped together with Critical Race Theory as Republican lawmakers object to new ways of teaching American history.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article252107873.html

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