34 ARRESTED AS POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO LEGISLATURE: Thirty-four protesters were arrested at the North Carolina Legislative Building on Monday while fighting for higher minimum wages and unions in North Carolina. This is the fifth week of protests by the Poor People's Campaign, a coordinated effort across the country to push the plight of the poor to the top of the agenda in statehouses and the U.S. Congress. The Rev. William J. Barber II, the former head of the state NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday protest movement, co-founded the campaign. The protesters and rally speakers used statistics from the Institute for Policy Studies, the N.C. Housing Coalition, census reports, the state Department of Public Instruction and the N.C. "Quality Counts" report to highlight their concerns. Workers from several fast-food chains and other low-wage earners shared their stories to show how any unexpected illness or time away from work can upend a family budget.
SENATE REPUBLICANS PUSH THROUGH FARM BILL THAT SHIELDS HOG FARMS FROM LAWSUITS: A reworked version of the Farm Act, which has been one of the most heavily debated bills of this session and is meant to protect farmers from neighbor lawsuits over hog feces and other issues, cleared the state Senate Monday night. The bill as passed says a nuisance lawsuit can't be filed unless it's filed within one year of the establishment of the agricultural or forestry operation it's targeting or within a year of that operation undergoing a "fundamental change." Fundamental changes don't include changes in ownership, size, new technology or a change in the agriculture or forestry product produced. Punitive damages won't be allowed unless the farm operator has a criminal conviction or a regulatory notice of violation against him or her for breaking the state's farming rules. The Sierra Club said in a statement after the vote that lawmakers should stand up for property rights instead of disregarding legitimate complaints "just because of where they happen to live."
RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL PASSES A NEARLY $1 BILLION BUDGET FOR FY19: Raleigh leaders approved the city's budget — and corresponding property tax increase — with little discussion Monday afternoon. The $971.4 million budget also includes a 1.6 percent increase to the monthly water and sewer bill — lower than the city manager's recommended increase of 3 percent. It will cost the average water and sewer customer $0.91 more per month. The 1.29 cent increase on the city property tax rate was authorized by voters last year after a majority of city voters backed the $206.7 million transportation bond, which will widen roads, build new sidewalks and bicycle lanes, and support a range of transportation projects within the city. The increase will cost the average homeowner $25.36 more on their city property tax bills. There were no other tax increases included in the city's budget. The new city property tax rate, effective July 1, will be 43.82 cents per $100 valuation.
SYMBOLISM: TRUMP'S ECONOMIC ADVISOR SUFFERS A HEART ATTACK: Larry Kudlow, the prominent economic commentator who joined the Trump administration this year as the president's top economic adviser, has suffered a "very mild" heart attack, the White House said Monday night. Kudlow was being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in Singapore. She said Kudlow was in good condition and "doing well." The famously pinstripe-suited Kudlow succeeded Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who left the post in a dispute over Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. With Trump's tax cuts already being implemented, Kudlow has been advising a president who pushed to tax foreign imports — a policy Kudlow personally opposes. Kudlow said he is "in accord" with Trump's agenda and his team at the White House would help implement the policies set by the president.
SESSIONS DEALS BLOW TO MIGRANT WOMEN SEEKING ASYLUM FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday in a ruling that could affect large numbers of Central Americans who have increasingly turned to the United States for protection. “Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-government actors will not qualify for asylum,” Sessions wrote in 31-page decision. “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.” The widely expected move overruled a Board of Immigration Appeals decision in 2016 that gave asylum status to a woman from El Salvador who fled her husband. Sessions reopened the case for his review in March.