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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


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.

Saturday News: Backroom boondoggle


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.”

Friday News: Domino effect


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.

Thursday News: Victory for Women


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.

Wednesday News: Antebellum blues


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.”

Tuesday News: Racist bandwagon


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.

Monday News: Thirteen thousand, two hundred sixty five


POSITIVE TEST RATE DROPS DOWN TO 1.6% IN NORTH CAROLINA: At least 1,007,698 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 13,265 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 425 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, down from 464 reported the day before. At least 535 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday. As of Friday, 1.6% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 54% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and about 50% were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, the latest date for which data is available.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DON'T TELL WOMEN WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THEIR BODIES, FUND THE SERVICES THEY NEED: So when we talk about why, why a prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome can be so frightening for a family. I think it is important that we consider, maybe it’s because we have not provided adequate supports for these families and for their children. We must work towards reducing stigma and providing supports. We know how to do that. We know that early childhood intervention services can change the trajectory for a child with down syndrome. Yet these services are woefully underfunded. We know that as these children grow some will need community living supports, and yet, these services are not readily available to those who have the greatest need. Colleagues, if we want to get serious about walking with women through their journey of a prenatal diagnosis, the prescription is not to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. The prescription is funding for services, information for families, and comfort for families in knowing that their child will have access to education, therapies and the medical supports that they need.

Saturday News: Word on the street

DURHAM WILL REMOVE BIG YELLOW "DEFUND" PAINTED IN FRONT OF POLICE STATION: The Durham City Council and Mayor Steve Schewel unanimously agreed Thursday to remove the “Defund” sign painted in big yellow letters on the street outside the police department. A coalition of activists painted the word “Defund” on East Main Street, with an arrow pointing toward the Durham Police Department headquarters, about three weeks after George Floyd’s murder last year, The N&O reported. They also painted the word “Fund” in front of the Durham County Health and Human Services building. Schewel directed city staff to remove both signs within a month after June 25. “In the months following, many community members and City employees have asked for the removal of the “Defund” street art as a matter of staff morale,” he said.

Friday News: Leandro Rules


JUDGE WARNS LEGISLATURE TO PROPERLY FUND NC SCHOOLS: A state judge is warning that he may force lawmakers to act if they don’t begin funding a multi-billion dollar plan to provide every North Carolina student with a sound basic education. This week, state Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order approving a plan from the State Board of Education and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding through 2028. Lee said in the order that “time is of the essence” because so many children aren’t getting what they need educationally. “If the State fails to implement the actions described in the Comprehensive Remedial Plan … ’it will then be the duty of this Court to enter a judgment granting declaratory relief and such other relief as needed to correct the wrong,’” Lee wrote in the order. In a January 2020 court order, Lee said the state is further behind than it was in the 1990s in terms of providing students with a sound basic education.


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