Monday News: Maps!

NC SENATE AND HOUSE WILL HEAR PUBLIC COMMENTS TODAY ABOUT REDISTRICTING: New electoral boundaries for North Carolina General Assembly seats demanded by state judges are on track to be finalized by this week's court deadline. The Senate scheduled floor debate on its proposed plan for Monday evening. The House passed its own map late last week, but it and the Senate are holding a public hearing earlier Monday to take citizen comment. Each map must pass both chambers by Wednesday to meet a directive from a three-judge panel that declared dozens of districts unconstitutional because of excessive partisanship in current lines favoring Republicans. The changes originate from the work of an expert witness for plaintiffs who sued over the maps. Legislators adjusted them to prevent pairs of incumbents from having to run against each other in 2020.

TEMPORARY BERM TO STOP FLOODING IN LUMBERTON IS NOW PERMANENT: The wall of earth in the breech of the Jacob Swamp Dike that the city of Lumberton erected in the days before Hurricane Dorian’s arrival is now a permanent defense against flooding in low-lying areas of South Lumberton and West Lumberton. In advance of the hurricane, Lumberton’s Public Works Department, with aid from an array of public and private groups, put up a 12-foot-tall wall spanning almost 200 yards of open ground, across a road and over railroad tracks. Public Works Director Rob Armstrong discussed the Herculean task on Friday. About 750 Hesco containers, designed for military use to protect soldiers, were used to keep the sand in place. “This time, we had better timing and better cooperation from everyone, including CSX Railroad,” Armstrong said. “Planning began on Saturday (Aug. 31) when (North Carolina Department of Emergency Management Director) Mike Sprayberry got us in touch with dam and soil experts." On Sept. 2, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers also weighed in. CSX, which had been skeptical of crossing its vital lifeline, was on board 100% this time after experiencing two major hurricanes in the past three years, Armstrong said.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CALL FOR KAVANAUGH'S IMPEACHMENT AFTER NEW SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS SURFACE: Democrats called Sunday for a new investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in response to a New York Times piece that said Kavanaugh was seen sexually harassing a female student while at Yale. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro, Democratic presidential candidates, pushed for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Harris and Warren had voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October, a process during which Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were high school students in the 1980s. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the claim during what became a bitter confirmation process, which catapulted the debate over the sexual assault allegations into daily conversation amid the #MeToo movement. It also prompted a backlash among those who felt the Supreme Court nominee was being unfairly judged for something that may or may not have happened over three decades ago. Those debates were reignited this weekend with the Saturday evening publication of the Times piece. “He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice,” Harris said in a tweet. “He must be impeached.”

UAW GOES ON STRIKE AT GENERAL MOTORS PLANTS: The United Automobile Workers union went on strike at General Motors, sending nearly 50,000 members at factories across the Midwest and South to picket lines on Monday morning. With the two sides far apart, U.A.W. regional leaders in Detroit voted unanimously on Sunday morning to authorize the strike, the union’s first such walkout since 2007. It began at midnight, after the union’s current bargaining agreement expired on Saturday. “Today, we stand strong and say with one voice, we are standing up for our members and for the fundamental rights of working-class people in this nation,” Terry Dittes, a union vice president, said after the meeting. The U.A.W. is pushing G.M. to improve wages, reopen idled plants, add jobs at others and close or narrow the difference between pay rates for new hires and veteran workers. G.M. wants employees to pay a greater portion of their health care costs, and to increase work-force productivity and flexibility in factories.

TRUMP THREATENS RETALIATION AFTER HOUTHIS CRIPPLE SAUDI OIL PRODUCTION: Yemen’s Houthi rebels have threatened additional attacks on Saudi oil installations just days after claiming a crippling assault on facilities in the desert kingdom, the group’s al-Masirah TV reported Monday. The new threat came as U.S. officials were pointing fingers at Iran and its other proxies around the region and President Trump said the United States was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond. Iran has denied any involvement. The Iran-backed rebels warned foreigners to leave the area of Saturday’s attacks, which targeted installations belonging to the state-owned oil company, Aramco. The facilities could be attacked again at “any moment,” a Houthi military spokesman said. “We assure the Saudi regime that our long hand can reach wherever we want, and whenever we want,” spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement, adding that drones modified with jet engines were used in the operation Saturday.