UNC BOG STILL BEING COY OVER ECU CHANCELLOR DISMISSAL: In the days before the meeting, Long said that Board Chairman Harry Smith had orchestrated Staton’s departure. Smith denied having anything to do with it, saying Roper had handled the matter. Also at the press conference, a reporter asked about Staton’s resignation. In announcing it on Monday, Staton did not describe events leading to the resignation except to say, “I did not initiate this.” A reporter asked Roper on Friday who did. In response, Roper said, “On behalf of the university system, we thank Chancellor Staton for his service at ECU and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.” The reporter pressed, saying, “That doesn’t answer the question.” Roper said, “I don’t have a legal obligation to answer your question.”
A YEAR AFTER PARKLAND MASSACRE, TWO SURVIVORS COMMIT SUICIDE: Just over a year after the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two students took their own lives within a week, officials said. The first suicide victim, Sydney Aiello, survived the Feb. 14 massacre and had PTSD and survivor's guilt, her mother said. It's not clear if the latest apparent suicide was related to the attack. "The trauma associated with what happened on Feb. 14 last year is not over for this community," said Ryan Petty, whose daughter died in the shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members. "This is a new normal for the MSD, Parkland and Coral Springs communities," Petty said. "We just have to recognize that. We can't go back to Feb. 13 as long as we'd like to." The gunman behind the Feb. 2018 shooting was a former student at Stoneman Douglas. He confessed to the crime and was indicted on 17 murder counts. In the weeks that followed the massacre, many students started a national movement that called for policy changes.
ANTICLIMACTIC MUELLER REPORT PUSHES DEMS TO WORK ON POLICY ISSUES: The newly released summary of the Mueller report has already emboldened Republicans to declare victory, encouraged by the special counsel’s conclusion that neither Donald Trump nor any of his campaign officials colluded with Russian actors during the 2016 presidential election. But to Democrats already formulating their party’s message for the 2020 election, the findings were a reminder to get back to the pocketbook issues that delivered the party the House last fall. “Time to get to the hard work of winning the election,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. That’s not to say Democrats are ready to completely ignore the report, especially given how much more information is yet to be released. Attorney General Bill Barr only released a summary of the report on Sunday, and Democrats are sure to call for congressional hearings on the subject. But too much focus on it carries political risks for Democrats, some strategists say.
WORRYING ABOUT CAMPAIGNS, REPUBLICANS START THROWING MONEY AT TEACHERS: Schoolteacher raises of $5,000 are on the table in Texas — a proposed pay hike that ranks among the biggest in the U.S. since a wave of teacher unrest began last year. But protests aren't why the money is suddenly available. Texas hasn't even had a teacher strike. But as in other GOP strongholds this spring, lawmakers who have spent years clashing with public schools by slashing budgets, ratcheting up testing and cheerleading private schools are blinking in the face of election pressure as much as picket lines. Rattled by a dreadful midterm election for Republicans — and looking ahead to 2020 — conservative-leaning states including Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina are pouring new money into schools. And to ensure it doesn't go unnoticed, Republicans are making a show of a renewed commitment to public classrooms, courting voters turned off by years of cost-cutting that catered to the party's base.
SUPREME COURT TAKES ON PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING STARTING TOMORROW: Nobody disputes that the North Carolina map was drafted to elect a maximum number of Republicans to the House, not even the Republicans themselves. The map has a 10-3 Republican tilt, one of its drafters said, “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether such partisanship violates the Constitution. One case involves the Republican-drawn map in North Carolina. A companion case centers on Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which Democrats admit they redrew in 2011 to make it harder for the Republican incumbent there to win re-election. The two cases hold the potential to set the course of American politics for generations. A decision to rein in partisan gerrymanders could reshape House maps in a number of states, largely but not exclusively to the benefit of Democrats. A decision not to rein in the mapmakers would give both political parties carte blanche to entrench themselves and hogtie their opponents when state legislatures draw the next decade’s House districts in 2021.