Wednesday News: Public funds, private profits


BILL WOULD GIVE CHARTERS LOCAL (TAX) MONEY TO BUY BUILDINGS: Senate Bill 522 makes a number of changes to state charter school regulations. The biggest may be that it would waive a prohibition on local tax dollars being used to buy buildings or other facilities. This has been a major priority for charter schools for years and a concern for traditional K-12 schools worried they'll lose money for their own construction needs. Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, the bill sponsor, said it's not fair to treat charters differently than traditional schools because both are public schools, both are funded by the same taxpayers and both are open to the same children. "The kids are the kids," Tillman said. Last year, lawmakers allowed municipalities to operate their own charter schools for the first time, although no such school has opened yet.

ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVISTS PUSH FOR HOUSE OVERRIDE OF COOPER'S VETO: About 200 people gathered near the Legislative Building Tuesday evening to urge members of the N.C. House to follow their state Senate counterparts and override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359. Members of the pro-life movement held the rally they called “Stand for Life” in the Bicentennial Plaza to show their support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which Cooper vetoed April 18. They held signs proclaiming “North Carolina Stands for Life” and that “North Carolina Protects the Innocent.” They lit candles as darkness fell on the plaza. Anti-abortion groups blasted Cooper’s veto, his first of the session. Republicans, who lost their veto-proof majorities in 2016, will need at least seven Democrats to reach the 72 votes required in the House for the override. Four House Democrats voted for the bill when it originally passed 65-46, seven votes short of the veto threshold.

APPEALS COURT ALLOWS TRUMP ADMIN TO MAKE ASYLUM SEEKERS WAIT IN MEXICO: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — a frequent target of the president’s complaints — reversed a decision by a San Francisco judge that would have prevented asylum seekers from being returned to Mexico during the legal challenge. The case must still be considered on its merits and could end up at the Supreme Court. But allowing the policy to remain in effect in the meantime lets the administration carry out an unprecedented change to U.S. asylum practices. The administration has said it plans to rapidly expand the policy across the border, which would have far-reaching consequences for asylum seekers and Mexican border cities that host them while their cases wind through clogged U.S. immigration courts. Cases can take several years to decide. The policy was challenged by 11 Central Americans and advocacy groups that argued it jeopardized asylum seekers by forcing them to stay in Mexico, where crime and drug violence are prevalent.

COHEN "FIXED" LEWD PHOTO PROBLEM FOR JERRY FALWELL JR: Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, claimed to have helped prevent the release of personal photographs embarrassing to Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. shortly before the influential evangelical leader endorsed Trump’s insurgent presidential bid in 2016. Cohen made the assertion, which was first reported by Reuters, in a phone call in March with actor Tom Arnold. Arnold provided The Washington Post with a recording of the call Tuesday night. “There’s a bunch of photographs — you know, personal photographs — that somehow, the guy ended up getting,” Cohen said on the call. The person who had the photos, who is not identified on the call, was demanding money from the Falwells, and Cohen threatened to report the person to legal authorities, according to Reuters. It is unclear what the photos allegedly depicted. Cohen described the images as “photos between husband, wife, and the whole bit.” “I actually have one of the photos,” he said on the recording. “It’s terrible.”

AMERICA'S BIGGEST LOSER: TRUMP LOST OVER A BILLION FROM BUSINESSES IN THE 80'S & 90'S: The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years. Over all, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years. It is not known whether the I.R.S. later required changes after audits.