Wednesday News: Adjourned


NC SENATE CALLS IT QUITS AFTER OVERRIDE FAILURES: The vote on the teacher raises bill was 28 to 21, which failed to reach the supermajority required for an override. There was no vote on the state budget covering the fiscal year that is now more than half over, including teacher raises and other spending and tax policies. The Senate adjourned without ever calling up the budget, instead sending it back to committee. The Senate also upheld Cooper’s veto on a bill dealing with regulations. The state has been operating on the last budget, which rolled over, along with several mini budget bills that became law over the past several months, including raises for most state employees. Berger said Medicaid expansion is holding up the budget. Cooper has demanded Medicaid expansion to cover more of the uninsured.

UNC STUDENTS FILE APPEAL IN SILENT SHAM CASE: A national civil rights organization filed an appeal Tuesday on behalf of University of North Carolina students who want to intervene in a settlement that gives $2.5 million and a Civil War commemorative statue to a Confederate heritage group. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed the appeal on behalf of five students and a faculty member who want to intervene in the deal between the UNC Board of Governors and the North Carolina Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans regarding the statue of the Confederate soldier known as “Silent Sam.” In December, Judge Allen Baddour of Orange County ruled that the students lacked standing to become involved in the legal case. He signed that order Friday, the news release says. Meanwhile, the student newspaper at UNC-Chapel Hill has sued the UNC Board of Governors, saying it violated the state's open meetings laws by secretly negotiating and approving the deal to dispose of Silent Sam. DTH Media Corp., which publishes The Daily Tar Heel student newspaper, sued last week.

ADDITIONAL $2.4 MILLION FOR MILITARY CHILD SCHOLARSHIPS PASSES NC SENATE: Tuesday’s vote came at a particularly poignant time for some military families in North Carolina, as around 5,000 troops from Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune deployed last week to the Middle East among heightened tensions with Iran. Democratic Sen. Kirk DeViere, who represents Fayetteville and other areas near Fort Bragg, asked the legislature to join him in a prayer, after the votes were done, “not only for the men and women who deployed but their families.” The legislature was only back in Raleigh for a single day on Tuesday, with a primary goal of overriding Cooper’s budget veto. That failed, but lawmakers were ready with a separate bill containing the $2.4 million in promised scholarship funding. The scholarship bill sped along quickly, passing unanimously in both the House and Senate before being sent to Cooper, who is expected to sign it into law.

IMPEACHMENT TRIAL IN SENATE COULD BEGIN TOMORROW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is poised Wednesday morning to unveil the team of House managers who will prosecute the case against President Trump in the historic impeachment trial expected to get underway Thursday in the Senate. Later Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on a resolution that will trigger the transmission of the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The House managers plan to walk the articles across the Capitol and present them to the chamber led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has repeatedly characterized the House case as weak. The procession will come almost exactly four weeks after the House first voted to impeach Trump. Once that process is complete, the Senate will make final preparations for both the logistics of preparing the chamber — such as where to set up tables for the House members to sit — and notify Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to make his way from the Supreme Court. Roberts is expected to be sworn in Thursday to preside over the trial and then swear in the 100 senators to serve as jurors. After that, senators plan to go home for a long weekend over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and resume the more substantive portion of the case against Trump next week.

APPLE IS ONCE AGAIN BATTLING THE GOVERNMENT OVER ENCRYPTION ON IPHONES: Apple is privately preparing for a legal fight with the Justice Department to defend encryption on its iPhones while publicly trying to defuse the dispute, as the technology giant navigates an increasingly tricky line between its customers and the Trump administration. Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has marshaled a handful of top advisers, while Attorney General William P. Barr has taken aim at the company and asked it to help penetrate two phones used by a gunman in a deadly shooting last month at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla. “We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday in a post on Twitter. “They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country.” At the heart of the tussle is a debate between Apple and the government over whether security or privacy trumps the other. Apple has said it chooses not to build a “backdoor” way for governments to get into iPhones and to bypass encryption because that would create a slippery slope that could damage people’s privacy. The government has argued it is not up to Apple to choose whether to provide help, as the Fourth Amendment allows the government to violate individual privacy in the interest of public safety. Privacy has never been an absolute right under the Constitution, Mr. Barr said in a speech in October.