Daily dose

Friday News: Anti-immigrant fervor

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS WANT TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO COOPERATE WITH ICE: In addition to no longer letting sheriffs decide whether to work with ICE, the bill would also increase the number of people who have their immigration status checked when arrested. State law currently instructs officials to check the immigration status of anyone charged with a felony or a DUI. But this new bill would make them check the immigration status of anyone charged with any crime. Birdsong said that could end up being costly for local governments who hadn’t budgeted for the additional jail population this bill would create. The bill is also an example of an over-reaching big government, she said. “What you see in this bill is a thwarting of local officials making decisions on how to keep their communities safe, and also a thwarting of the will of the people,” Birdsong said. “People voted for these sheriffs for a reason.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227760179.html

Thursday News: Failure to act

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FBI KNEW ABOUT MCCRAE DOWLESS AS EARLY AS MAY 2018: The search warrants also show state officials have worked actively with the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section out of Washington, D.C., on the investigation since at least May 2018. That's when FBI Special Agent James Kaylor conducted surveillance on Dowless while he met with people outside a Bladenboro gas station where one of the CashPoints ATMs was located, according an affidavit filed with the search warrant. In October, Kaylor also accompanied an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation during an interview with Tonia Gordon, one of the Dowless associates charged last month. Kaylor is listed as the point of contact in DOJ subpoenas revealed earlier this week that demand records from the State Board of Elections, Dowless and Republican Mark Harris, who hired Dowless during his Congressional run in the 9th District.
https://www.wral.com/unsealed-warrants-show-fbi-probed-9th-district-issues-before-18-election/18238855/

Wednesday News: Voter ID delayed

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BUT DEADLINE FOR COLLEGE ID PAPERWORK STILL IN PLACE: The state Senate voted Tuesday to essentially delay all photo ID requirements for the 2019 elections. Democrats largely voted against the measure because the bill didn't also deal with the college ID issue, which Republicans were content to put off for now, and which won't be relevant until the 2020 elections. The State Board of Elections hasn't had time to implement all the rules controlling voter ID at the polls, which the General Assembly laid the groundwork for in December, and there are two special congressional elections scheduled this year. Senate Republicans were unwilling Tuesday to tack a change into their 2019 delay bill, saying they wanted to see first how many colleges act by the deadline. They tabled two Democratic amendments on the issue.
https://www.wral.com/voter-id-delay-moving-but-what-about-student-ids/18253734/

Tuesday News: Equal treatment

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TRANSGENDER STATE EMPLOYEES SUE DALE FOLWELL AFTER COVERAGE DISCONTINUED: They say the State Health Plan discriminates against them by not covering costs related to gender dysphoria, the medical term for when someone identifies as a gender different from their physical sex. Max Kadel, a transgender man who works at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the State Health Plan will not cover breast-reduction surgery for him, even though it would cover a non-transgender man or woman who wanted the exact same surgery. That message of unequal treatment was echoed by another transgender man who is part of the lawsuit, former N.C. State University employee Sam Silvaine. “I’ve been sent the message that my medical needs are not valid, and my mental and physical health are not important,” Silvaine said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227408274.html

Monday News: Costly mistakes

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NC GOVERNMENT PAYOUTS TO AVOID LAWSUITS REACH INTO THE MILLIONS: The city of Charlotte provided documents describing the settlement terms of more than 50 lawsuits. Among other things, the documents show that the city paid $950,000 last year to the family of a man who in 2017 was killed by a speeding police car. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was driving up to 100 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone when his car slammed into James Michael Short. The city spent another $9,045 settling a claim after Wilmington police busted into an apartment, pulled a woman out of bed and handcuffed her. She was undressed from the waist down, and repeatedly asked the male officers to cover her exposed body – a request they refused. Authorities later realized they were at the wrong address, and the woman they’d handcuffed was not connected to the warrant they were trying to serve.
https://www.wral.com/behind-the-scenes-of-government-millions-in-payouts-and-little-transparency/182...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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FINDING LIPSTICK TO PUT ON AN ELECTION-FRAUD PIG: It all made for riveting news from a state that has been in the spotlight too many times for all the wrong reasons in recent years, and the sad tale confirms some unflattering facts about North Carolina political life. It exposes questionable election practices that may have been going on for years, in at least some counties, and brings up possibilities that law enforcement and prosecutors may have been asleep at the wheel at best and turning a blind eye at worst. It suggests that some candidates want to win so badly they will cheat to do so. And make no mistake. Voter fraud in which a person tries to or does vote illegally is not in the same league as election fraud, where numerous ballots, in this case absentee ballots, are cast illegally. Some say a few ballots were cast illegally in the 9th Congressional District, some say hundreds were, and it could have been thousands.
https://www.wral.com/margaret-dickson-finding-lipstick-to-put-on-an-election-fraud-pig/18247420/

Saturday News: Protecting rapists?

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GOP BILL ALLOWS PERPETRATORS TO QUESTION THEIR VICTIMS IN CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT PROCEEDINGS: A bill introduced by a North Carolina lawmaker on Thursday would add legal protections for UNC system students who are accused of sexual misconduct. It also would standardize disciplinary proceedings for students at all 16 university campuses. House Bill 305, introduced by Rep. Mitchell Setzer, a Catawba County Republican, would provide due process guarantees that don’t exist now for students accused of sexual misconduct. Setzer did not immediately respond to requests to discuss the bill or what prompted him to introduce it. Co-sponsors Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, and Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, also could not not immediately be reached. The UNC Board of Governors, which would have to adopt new rules under the law, did not wish to comment on it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227326134.html

Friday News: Blaming the victim

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MCCONNELL TRIES TO BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR HARRIS ELECTION FRAUD: Republican leader Mitch McConnell recently used North Carolina’s election fraud case as an opportunity to shame Democrats for overlooking the existence of fraud in elections. McConnell has been criticizing a recent Democratic proposal to make voting easier (HR 1) for not addressing "sketchy" ballot harvesting like the kind found in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. In a speech on the Senate floor last month, McConnell said he and other Republicans "for decades" have called for "commonsense" election safeguards — only to be "demonized by Democrats and their allies." McConnell’s speech gained attention after Vox reporter Aaron Rupar tweeted C-Span footage of his Feb. 26 speech.
https://www.wral.com/fact-check-mitch-mcconnell-says-gop-predicted-election-fraud-like-north-carolin...

Thursday News: Teachercops?

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GOP BILL WOULD ARM SOME TEACHERS AND GIVE THEM ARREST POWERS: The School Security Act of 2019, filed Wednesday, would boost the salaries of teachers who underwent specialized police training to carry firearms on campus. The same bill was filed last year and died in committee, but Sen. Jerry Tillman, one of the new sponsors of Senate Bill 192, said that the climate has changed to give the legislation more support this year. The School Security Act would offer a 5 percent salary boost to up to 3,000 teachers who complete the state’s training programs and become “teacher resource officers.” These teacher resource officers would have the same arrest powers on campus as a school resource officer, who is a certified law enforcement officer assigned to work in schools.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227180999.html

Wednesday News: Rocky Mount way

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COUNCIL OF STATE APPROVES RELOCATION OF DMV HEADQUARTERS: It’s not clear how many of the more than 400 headquarters employees will make the move and how many will choose to leave the agency instead. The DMV asked employees about it last week and of 255 who answered, only 48 said they would stay with the agency after the move. The head of the State Employees Association of North Carolina said the decision to move forward with the lease showed “disrespect and disregard” for the concerns of workers by both the Council of State and the state Department of Transportation. “They have turned the lives of some 400 employees completely upside down,” Broome said in an interview after the vote. “It is profoundly disappointing.” The DMV sought proposals for leased office space in Wake and surrounding counties. Of the dozen offers, the former headquarters of the Hardee’s restaurant chain in Rocky Mount was the only one outside of Wake County or Research Triangle Park and had the lowest annual rent.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227090064.html

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