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Monday News: Energy & Focus

MEREDITH CUOMO CHOSEN AS NCDP'S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The former finance director of the North Carolina Democratic Party will now step into the group's top job. The party said in a statement Saturday that Meredith Cuomo will serve as its new executive director. The statement says Cuomo has nearly two decades of experience working to elect Democrats in North Carolina. She has overseen multimillion-dollar budgets and much of the party's day-to-day work. She was also previously the finance director for the N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus. Meredith graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999, and served as a Director at United way and as a paralegal before working with the Democratic Party.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article232649427.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHEN LEGISLATORS SAY THERE ISN'T MONEY, THEY MEAN CORPORATE TAX CUTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT: Corporate tax collections were nearly $1.33 billion in the 2014 budget year. This year collections will be about half that. If corporate tax revenues simply remained the same as they were in 2014, there would have been an additional $2.3 billion available for important needs over the last five years. While Rep. Horn observed: “We simply don’t have the money,” he’s not quite correct. The money is there. It is just that Horn and most of his fellow legislators would rather not spend it on programs that, say help children get ready to learn when they start school. It’s far more important to spend it on tax cuts for businesses. Don’t believe it? Just check with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-when-legislators-say-there-isn-t-money-they-mean-corporate-tax-cuts-a...

Saturday News: Indiscriminate

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ICE ROUND-UPS OF NON-CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS SKYROCKET IN SOUTHEAST: “ICE continues to focus its enforcement efforts on criminal offenders,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said in a statement to the Observer this week. “Claims of any type of random or indiscriminate enforcement by this agency are not accurate.” But in the Southeast, ICE has steadily been arresting more immigrants who lack a criminal record, according to an Observer analysis of data released by the agency last week. The Atlanta office for the agency, which oversees Georgia and the Carolinas, has not changed the number of people it detains each year across the region in the current administration: Since at least fall 2017, it apprehended about 1,230 immigrants each month. (Arrest numbers, however, are down from the early 2010s under President Obama.) In the past year and a half, though, the percentage of those arrested who lack criminal convictions or pending charges has been rising steadily, up almost 50% in the past two years for the Atlanta field office, from 7.75% to over 11.5%.
https://www.newsobserver.com/article232503812.html

Friday News: Harm Reduction

NC LEGISLATURE PASSES BILL ALLOWING GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR NEEDLE EXCHANGES: The Opioid Epidemic Response Act, which passed the state Senate, was ratified by the House this week and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper, will allow syringe exchanges to use state funding. It also will decriminalize drug-testing equipment and reduce restrictions for prescribing buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. Jesse Bennett is the statewide overdose-prevention coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that works on issues like injection drug use through activities like advocacy and connecting people to the care they need. In the three years since syringe exchanges became legal, Bennett said they have gone from distributing a few thousand syringes a year to nearly a million. And the syringes are one of the most expensive pieces of the job. “That’s where we’re we struggle the most,” Bennett said. He said they have to be conservative with how many they can give out at times. “It’s scary sometimes, especially when you have hepatitis or HIV outbreaks,” Bennett said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article232543287.html

Thursday News: Was ist los mit dir?

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BERGER FLIES OFF TO BERLIN DURING BUDGET STANDOFF: Just hours after Gov. Roy Cooper and Democratic legislative leaders delivered a new budget proposal to Republican legislative leaders, two of them were on their way out of the country. Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County and Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow County, who is the Senate majority leader and a budget writer, were on their way to attend the Senate Presidents’ Forum summer 2019 conference in Berlin. According to the group’s website, there will be sessions on recent trade tariffs, Brexit and nationalist trends, and an update on the Middle East. The conference runs through July 14. The trip comes weeks after Republicans criticized Cooper for leaving the state for non-state business while attempting to set up budget negotiation meetings.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232512972.html

Wednesday News: No big surprise

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WHITE MALE CANDIDATE WINS GOP PRIMARY FOR CONGRESS: State Rep. Greg Murphy won Tuesday’s runoff for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District in a race that exposed a gender rift among U.S. House Republicans and attracted attention from some of the biggest names in Republican politics. Murphy will be the favorite to represent the GOP-leaning district in Eastern North Carolina. He joins Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt on the ballot for the Sept. 10 general election. Murphy, a urologic surgeon from Greenville, won the nomination over first-time candidate Joan Perry, a Kinston pediatrician, in a bid to replace Walter B. Jones, Jr., in the House. With all precinct reporting, Murphy had 59.7 percent of the vote and topped Perry by nearly 7,000 total votes.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232470717.html

Tuesday News: You're no Schindler, dude

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DAN BISHOP LIKENS ANTI-LGBTQ CROWD TO JEWS DURING HOLOCAUST: The Republican candidate for an open House seat in North Carolina likened his efforts to undermine LGBTQ rights via religious exemptions to the work of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved Jews during the Holocaust. State Sen. Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee in the Sept. 10 do-over election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, made the remarks in email communications with conservative activist leaders in March 2017. The emails were obtained through a public records request by the liberal news site Real Facts NC, which published them online at the end of June. “As Oscar Schindler said, as many as we can,” Bishop replied, comparing his wish to see the maximum number of people exempted from local anti-discrimination laws to Schindler’s professed desire to hire, and therefore save, as many endangered European Jews as possible during World War II.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dan-bishop-bathroom-bill-repeal-oscar-schindlnorth-carolina-dan-mccre...

Monday News: Dog whistle stop

PERRY AND MURPHY CALL EACH OTHER LIBERALS AS RUNOFF LOOMS: On a sultry summer morning, Diane McKillop stood in her driveway gushing over Dr. Joan Perry, the Republican congressional candidate who showed up at her door to ask for her vote. McKillop, a 72-year-old nurse, loves that Perry is a pediatrician, and regards her as exactly the kind of person she wants to send to Washington: a strong conservative who opposes abortion and will deal with what McKillop describes as “all these Mexicans” by building a wall and securing the border. But there’s something else on her mind, she tells Perry, leaning in slightly and lowering her voice as if sharing a secret with a girlfriend. “I sort of like that you’re a woman; is that a little prejudiced?” McKillop said last week with a giggle.
https://www.wral.com/a-battle-of-the-sexes-in-north-carolina-fuels-a-wider-republican-clash/18496179/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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JULY 4 CITIZENSHIP EVENTS SHOW EMPTINESS OF LT. GOV'S ATTACK ON MULTICULTURALISM: Dan Forest wants us to believe, as he says he does, that North Carolina and the United States is a weaker place because of differences in background, nation of origin, forms of faith and worship. But he is wrong – and our nation’s unique and successful history is ample evidence. It is our nation’s ability to embrace those differences in a system where allegiance isn’t to any individual, royalty, family claims of divine right, or dictator whose power rests in fear. Citizens in the United States don’t swear allegiance to a president or any politician. Our allegiance is to the Constitution and the law. It was unique 243 years ago. It is the model of democracies that have followed. Dan Forest doesn’t get it. But we do. We support legal immigration. We support paths to citizenship. We welcome these newest citizens. We are a stronger nation for their participation and loyalty.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-july-4-citizenship-events-show-emptiness-of-lt-gov-s-attack-on-multic...

Saturday News: The fix is in

MARK JOHNSON REJECTS COMPLAINT ABOUT COMPUTER TESTING CONTRACT: In a letter sent Wednesday, the state Department of Public Instruction said that New York-based Amplify failed to submit a protest letter in a timely fashion, on the grounds that the company missed the 15-day cutoff to lodge a complaint about the contract process. “We disagree with their assertion that this letter is untimely,” said Mitch Armbruster, North Carolina counsel for Amplify. “State law has been clear for 200 years. If the deadline falls on a weekend, it rolls over to the next Monday.” The state, in its rejection letter to Amplify, said that this particular dispute did not fall under the statutes the company cited regarding whether a weekend should count toward meeting the deadline. “I cannot emphasize enough the fact that the Department followed all laws, policies, and rules related to the RFP and contract award,” State Superintendent Mark Johnson wrote in the letter.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article232323222.html

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