CHRISTMAS PARADES AND CONFEDERATE FLAGS DON'T MIX: On Wednesday, Wake Forest became the second Wake County town in a week to cancel its Christmas parade over safety fears. Santa Claus was planning to come to town on Dec. 14, but Wake Forest officials canceled the parade for what is though to be the first time since it started more than 71 years ago. Town officials said they had received credible information that “extremist” groups on both sides of the issue of how — and whether — to preserve and interpret symbols of the Confederacy were making plans online to attend the parade. Crabtree said no one from either side made any threats, but the fear was that that dozens of people from the different groups would clash at the parade and that the situation could get out of hand. Because the town is a sponsor of the Christmas parade, Crabtree said, it can’t shut out a particular group from participating. In the future, he said, turning over the parade entirely to a private organization or a nonprofit community group would allow for closer scrutiny of who is allowed to join the parade.
FELONS MISTAKENLY VOTING MAKE UP THE BULK OF ELECTION VIOLATIONS IN NC: Over the last five years, North Carolina election officials referred 570 potential voting irregularities to prosecutors, most of them cases where someone voted despite a recent felony conviction. In more than 80 percent of these cases, prosecutors either declined to prosecute or the case is pending, its future unclear as a district attorney weighs its merits. There have been 45 convictions. There are another 40 cases where the suspect was indicted and awaiting prosecution, according to records released this week by the State Board of Elections in what will become an annual report. "In North Carolina, elections violations are neither widespread nor non-existent," the board said in an explainer document provided with compilations of the cases. "They involve a very small fraction of those who participate in elections. Elections violations are most often isolated events that are typically not coordinated and are not confined to any single political party."
LEGISLATIVE MANDATE ON PERSONAL FINANCE CLASSES CUTS BACK ON AMERICAN HISTORY: “We predicted American history would be cut in half and American history was cut in half,” Angie Scioli, a social studies teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, said in an interview Wednesday. Scioli was among a group of social studies teachers who unsuccessfully floated a compromise that would have increased the focus on personal finance in the civics and economics class and moved some of the history instruction from civics to American History 1. But supporters of the new personal finance course said a standalone class is necessary. The new course, approved in June by state lawmakers, will talk about paying for college, home mortgages, credit scores, car loans, managing credit cards and “the true cost of credit.” Shah-Coltrane said that unless a change is made, high schools might be forced to offer seven different required social studies courses to accommodate the different groups of students. She said that would make it harder on some high schools.
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN CONVICTED OF MISUSING CAMPAIGN FUNDS WARNED NOT TO VOTE: The warning from the House Ethics Committee comes after Hunter pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of misusing campaign funds. He had previously pleaded not guilty. The lawmaker and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were charged last summer with using more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses including family vacations, theater tickets and school tuition. In June, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband to spend $25,000 in campaign funds for personal use. As part of the deal, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against her husband. “Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit,” Duncan Hunter said in a TV interview that aired Monday. “My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.” “This provision of House Rules was promulgated to preserve public confidence in the legislative process when a sitting Member of Congress has been convicted of a serious crime,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), and ranking Republican member, Rep. Kenny Marchant (Tex.), said in the letter.
TRUMP DECLARES WAR ON TRANSGENDER-FRIENDLY POLICIES: Across the country, transgender people and groups that are advocates for them have wrestled with the effect of that shift as they have learned of policy changes from the departments of Education and Labor to the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, from the Pentagon to the Justice Department to the Office of Personnel Management. Current and former White House officials say the multiagency efforts to roll back legal protections for transgender people have been run out of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, though it is still unclear who has spearheaded the effort. The Education Department has rescinded Obama-era rules that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice or participate in sports corresponding with their gender identity. The Defense Department has established restrictions on transgender troops that largely prohibit them from transitioning while in uniform. Transgender people who came out before the policy, which went into effect in April, may continue to serve, but that will depend on how four lawsuits play out. And while the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed “conscience” rule regarding health care workers was just rejected by its third court, another proposal from the department would replace Obama-era safeguards that banned discrimination against transgender medical patients and health insurance customers under the Affordable Care Act.