Thursday News: It's what they do


CLUB FOR GROWTH RUNS FALSE AD AGAINST MCCREADY OVER REPS: The Club for Growth ad says McCready backed regulations that would cost consumers $149 million a year in their electric bills. While it is true that the clean-energy group pushed to keep a renewable portfolio standard in North Carolina, the standard had already been established for close to a decade at the time McCready joined the group’s board. It is misleading to say that NCSEA lobbied for “costly state regulations” when RPS had already been in the law for years before the House put forward legislation that would have watered it down. The ad gives an exact figure for the costs of the standard, but experts told us that estimates on the effects of RPS vary widely, ranging from savings to costs. What’s more, the ad fails to mention that renewable energy decreases toxic and costly carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, we rate this statement Mostly False.

LAYOFFS AVOIDED FOR 220 VIRTUAL SCHOOL TEACHERS: DPI will manage and pay the teachers directly through the state’s integrated HR-payroll system, also known as BEACON, instead of using Temporary Solutions, the OSHR division that provides payroll administration for temporary state agency employees. The Office of the State Controller, which implements the BEACON system, said it can accommodate the transition of VPS teachers from Temporary Solutions to DPI. "The Office of State Human Resources will continue to provide support and guidance during this transition," OSHR Communications Director Jill Warren Lucas said in a statement. "No teacher will miss a paycheck and students should prepare for their classes to start as scheduled." If the layoffs had not been halted, it would have required canceling or reducing enrollment in half of NCVPS's 150 courses this year, and an estimated 7,300 students would have been unable to take advantage of the online school's courses this year.

GOVERNOR COOPER CHOOSES DAMON CIRCOSTA TO REPLACE BOB CORDLE ON NC BOE: Gov. Roy Cooper has picked a nonprofit's executive to rejoin North Carolina's Board of Elections days after the chairman resigned following criticism about a sex joke he made at a training conference for election officials. Cooper said Wednesday that Damon Circosta of Raleigh will fill the vacancy created by Bob Cordle's departure. Circosta runs the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and served on the board last year when it had nine members. That board was struck down as unconstitutional and replaced with a five-member board. Circosta was a registered unaffiliated voter while serving last year. He's now one of three registered Democrats — like Cooper — on the five-member board. The board picks the next chairman. It next meets later this month to consider which elections equipment can be used by counties.

FIVE YEARS AFTER FERGUSON, NOT MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE: Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white Missouri police officer stands as a seismic moment in American race relations. The fledgling Black Lives Matter movement found its voice, police departments fell under intense scrutiny, progressive prosecutors were elected and court policies revised. Yet five years after the black 18-year-old was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on a steamy August day, racial tension remains palpable and may be even more intense. From the march on Charlottesville to President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking congressional Democrats of color and Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling at NFL games, the country often seems more divided than ever. Ferguson “drew attention to the practices of police violence and a lot of the stereotypes and viewpoints that people had about black Americans,” said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a Washington University sociologist and expert on race relations. “I wish I could be a little more optimistic about its overall implications, but I am not sure yet that there is too much reason for optimism. I think that we’re in a place where we kind of see some progress coupled with some steps backward.”

ICE ROUNDS UP RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER OF MIGRANTS IN MISSISSIPPI: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept through seven work sites in six cities across Mississippi on Wednesday, arresting approximately 680 people the agency said were undocumented immigrants in what officials said is the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in U.S. history. The raids targeted agricultural processing plants, part of a year-long investigation into illegal employment of immigrants in the state, officials said. They did not say how many individuals they were targeting in the operations, nor what proportion of those taken into custody were what ICE calls “collateral” arrests — those who were swept up along with those ICE was seeking. The Trump administration has been openly stepping up pressure on the nearly 11 million immigrants believed to be in the United States illegally, threatening mass arrests of families who have arrived recently as part of an effort to deter migrants from coming to the country. The administration also has sought to turn away asylum seekers — forcing some to await their court hearings in Mexico — and now plans to deport some Central Americans to Guatemala to seek asylum there instead as part of an international agreement.