Thursday News: Save the Center


BOG COMMITTEE SCHEDULES VOTE TO BAN CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS FROM LITIGATING CASES: A UNC Board of Governors committee has scheduled a special meeting Aug. 1 to consider whether to ban the UNC Center for Civil Rights from suing on behalf of its clients. Long has said that the center should not sue other government entities under the UNC name. Supporters of the privately funded center say it provides students with vital experience and serves low-income, minority clients who have nowhere else to turn. Banning legal action would effectively end the center, they say, and disrespect the legacy of the center’s founder, the famed civil rights attorney Julius Chambers.

GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES CASINO-STYLE GAMBLING BILL FOR NON-PROFITS: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Wednesday that would make casino nights and some raffles already run by nonprofits officially legitimate, citing worries it could cause "unintended problems" by giving a foothold to otherwise illegal video poker. The bill sought to fix a problem where charities already were offering games like roulette and blackjack as fundraisers, although betting anything of value in such situations is technically illegal. The legislation authorized permitting for such events by nonprofits four times a year at locations where alcohol sales are already permitted. There would be no playing with cash or cash prizes - only chips or tokens that get converted to raffle tickets.

JUDGE SET TO ALTER COURT ORDER BANNING ARRESTEES FROM GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A judge will alter pre-trial release restrictions for some demonstrators arrested at the North Carolina General Assembly in May that bar them from entering the Legislative Building. Wake County District Court Judge Michael Denning said Wednesday the release requirements set by a magistrate were too broad. Denning says he’ll set modified conditions but didn’t immediately give specifics. Media reports say an NAACP lawyer told Denning during a hearing the prohibition infringed upon the protesters’ constitutional right to keep petitioning state government. But a Wake County assistant district attorney wanted the building ban in place until a judicial official authorized something different.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FACING A BARRAGE OF LAWSUITS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL ORGS: Since Trump took office, environmental groups and Democratic state attorneys general have filed more than four dozen lawsuits challenging his executive orders and decisions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies. Environmental organizations are hiring extra lawyers. Federal agencies are requesting bigger legal defense budgets. The first round of legal skirmishes has mostly gone to the environmentalists. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit blocked the administration from delaying Obama-era rules aimed at reducing oil industry releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

AFGHAN GIRLS WILL BE ALLOWED INTO US FOR ROBOTICS COMPETITION: U.S. officials will allow a group of Afghan girls into the country to participate in an international robotics competition after President Donald Trump intervened, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Wednesday, ending a saga that had sparked international backlash. The girls wanted to show the world that Afghans could also construct a hand-made robot and they had been deeply disappointed by the initial rejections. "When we heard that we were rejected we lost hope," said 14-year-old Sumaya Farooqi. "We applied again for the U.S. visa and we were rejected again." They made the 800-kilometer (500-mile) journey to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul twice because their applications were denied the first time, even though that location was targeted by a deadly truck bomb on May 31 in which more than 150 people were killed and more than 400 others wounded.