Wednesday News: Not-so-bright ideas


REPUBLICAN "SIGNING BONUS" PLAN RUNS INTO FEDERAL ROADBLOCK: The proposal would pay $1,500 to someone who takes a job within 30 days, or $800 if the person is hired within 60 days. Lawmakers' original plan was to use federal pandemic unemployment funds to pay for the bonuses, but federal law does not allow those funds to be used as bonuses. Congress would have to take action to allow states more flexibility in how the federal funds can be used. The extended federal unemployment benefits will expire September 6th. But summer tourism season is already underway, and restaurants and hotels are struggling to find enough staff to serve the public. Edwards says the bonuses could help. Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC13) has proposed a bill that would replace the extended pandemic unemployment benefits - currently worth $300 a week - with a $900 federal back-to-work bonus. He called the extended benefits a "stay home bonus."

NC BEHIND THE TIMES ON PROTECTING LANDOWNERS FROM "PARTITIONING": Under current state law, any landowner can file a partition action and ask the court to require the property to be either divided equally among owners or sold. The problems come, supporters of the legislation say, when a speculator buys a share from one of the heirs, giving that buyer the power to force a sale of the entire property. Dozens of distant family members can jointly own heirs property, and a speculator only has to buy a share from one owner to petition the court and force a sale. The price that the entire piece of property sells for is typically far below market value, advocates say, stripping family members of one of their main sources of wealth. One reason other states have moved to protect heirs’ property owners is because of the 2018 Farm Act, a federal law which creates incentives for states that pass the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. The legislation gives heirs’ landowners the ability to qualify for federal assistance, which is unavailable in states that haven’t passed the legislation.

GOP CANCEL CULTURE: BANNING COCA COLA MACHINES IN GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS: One North Carolina county (Surry) banned Coca-Cola vending machines in their office buildings, WXII reports. Officials said that they're unhappy with the company's criticism of Georgia Republicans' new restrictive voting laws. The Georgia-based company has recently been outspoken in defending voting rights. Republicans lawmakers passed a sweeping bill limiting voting across the state in March. The bill cuts down on the number of absentee ballot drop boxes and expands the powers that the Legislature has over elections. Activists and Georgia Democrats say the new law specifically targets voters in minority communities. Eddie Harris, Surry County's longest-serving commissioner, said he hopes this legislation will be implemented in other counties across North Carolina. WXII reports he called Coca-Cola's recent statement "left-wing politics." Harris told WXII that the country needs better election security and voter ID to make sure "the right people" are voting.

TRUMP TRYING TO SELL GOVERNMENT LEASE ON HIS DC HOTEL: The hotel, which Trump’s company leases from the General Services Administration, has suffered financially from both the toll covid has taken on luxury travel and the damage Trump’s brand has endured due to his politics, with many liberal, corporate and international clients unwilling to book rooms or events at the hotel. Rooms were running nearly half empty at the hotel the last time the company put it up for sale, according to marketing documents acquired by The Washington Post. Last year revenue at the property fell by 62 percent, according to Trump’s government disclosure forms. The newly proposed sale comes on the heels of Manhattan’s district attorney convening a grand jury expected to decide whether to indict the former president, other executives at his company or the business itself. The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. Should the hotel sell, it would likely mean the name “Trump” would come down from the building, as industry experts say a new operator would probably want to capitalize on a different hotel brand to grow revenue among a broader swath of clients. In addition to the difficulty of reaching a wide array of guests, hotel management has not reopened the hotel’s outdoor bar seating out of concerns for the comfort and safety of guests. That's what happens when you try to overthrow a duly elected government.

CLIMATE CHANGE BLAMED IN 1/3 OF HEAT-RELATED DEATHS WORLDWIDE: More than a third of heat-related deaths in many parts of the world can be attributed to the extra warming associated with climate change, according to a new study that makes a case for taking strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect public health. The sweeping new research, published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, was conducted by 70 researchers using data from major projects in the fields of epidemiology and climate modeling in 43 countries. It found that heat-related deaths in warm seasons were boosted by climate change by an average of 37 percent, in a range of a 20 percent increase to 76 percent. Some earlier studies have performed similar analysis for individual cities during particular heat waves, but the new paper applies these ideas to hundreds of locations and across decades to draw broader conclusions. In many locations studied, the scientists found, “the attributable mortality is already on the order of dozens to hundreds of deaths each year” from heat attributed to climate change. Climate change has added to overall mortality from all causes by as much as 5 percent in some parts of the world, the authors found; they detected increased mortality from climate-boosted heat on every inhabited continent. While the differences in mortality among the places studied are complex and spring from varied factors that include access to health care as well as architecture, urban density and lifestyle, the research indirectly suggests a divide between rich and poor regions. North America and East Asia, the researchers found, tended toward a smaller proportion of climate-related deaths; some Central and South American nations saw a greater than 70 percent proportion of heat deaths attributable to warming.