Daily dose

Monday News: Twelve thousand, eight hundred sixty two


NC COVID METRICS CONTINUE DOWNWARD TREND, LESS THAN 1,000 HOSPITALIZED: At least 989,338 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,862 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,501 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 1,394 reported the day before. At least 926 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, a slight increase from 925 the day before. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 3.8% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 51% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 45.9% are fully vaccinated as of Thursday.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW WHO GETS TAX BREAKS FOR CHARITABLE DONATIONS: The identity of those who promote causes – and those paying for it and getting tax breaks – should be known. This is the kind of transparency that makes democracy work. Nonprofits that qualify for tax-deductible donations are NOT permitted to endorse candidates but can promote and comment on causes and issues. If an organization is essentially going to be a mouthpiece for its donors, the public deserves to know, and should know, who is bankrolling the megaphone. Nonprofits, as a matter of pride and identity, should be anxious to reveal their donors. Those who are giving the money should want people to know of their commitment and concern. Note: the Federal bill Republicans are trying to undermine with this legislation only tracks donations of $10,000 or above.

Saturday News: Justice, finally


HENRY MCCOLLUM AND LEON BROWN AWARDED $84 MILLION FOR WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT: An eight-person jury awarded McCollum and Brown $31 million each in compensatory damages — $1 million for every year they spent in prison after they were wrongfully convicted, twice, of the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Red Springs. McCollum and Brown, both intellectually-disabled with IQs in the 50s, were teenagers when they were charged after they signed confessions they insisted they didn’t understand. The jury also awarded them $13 million in punitive damages after the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, one of the defendants named in the civil suit, settled its part of the case earlier on Friday for $9 million. The judgment on Friday came against former SBI agents Leroy Allen and Kenneth Snead, both of whom were part of the original investigation in 1983 that led to McCollum and Brown’s convictions.

Friday News: Misplaced priorities


BLOCKING THE TEACHING OF RACISM AND ABORTION RESTRICTIONS PASS CROSSOVER: The House voted to limit the use of “Critical Race Theory,” barring schools from advocating that people are inherently racist or sexist or that the United States was created to oppress people. That came a week after the House passed a bill requiring many schools to post a list of the instructional materials their teachers use. Two abortion restriction bills, one in the House, and another in the Senate, passed through their chamber ahead of the deadline. Passing anti-abortion legislation is a high priority for Republicans, who could score points with their political base even if the governor would likely veto the bills. The House voted Wednesday to allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns inside the General Assembly, saying they need to be able to protect themselves. The vote mostly fell along party lines.

Thursday News: Sixteen candles


BILL RAISING LEGAL MARRIAGE AGE FROM 14 TO 16 PASSES UNANIMOUSLY: Fourteen- and 15-year-olds would no longer be allowed to marry in North Carolina under a bill the state Senate unanimously adopted on Wednesday. North Carolina has the lowest minimum marriage age in the country at just 14. Sen. Vickie Sawyer, R-Iredell, initially pushed to raise the marrying age to 18, saying she found that most child marriages involve abuse and poverty and end in divorce. But she backed off after hearing from people who said their mothers or grandmothers had married at younger ages and had happy, if difficult, lives. The International Center for Research on Women reviewed marriage license applications in 50 North Carolina counties from 2000 to 2019 and found more than 4,000 minors had applied to be married during that time.

Wednesday News: The Ostrich bill

NC REPUBLICANS DON'T WANT RACISM OR SEXISM BROUGHT UP IN SCHOOL: The N.C. House Education Committee backed a new bill unveiled on Tuesday that prohibits schools from promoting concepts such as the U.S. being racist and that people are inherently racist or sexist, whether consciously or unconsciously. The legislation comes after backlash over the state’s newly adopted K-12 social studies standards and a fear from conservatives that schools are painting white people as being racist and sexist. But Rep. James Galliard, a Nash County Democrat, called it an “anti-education bill.” Gaillard talked about growing up bi-racial and said the bill would hide the nation’s injustices. “This is an act to ensure discrimination, fanaticism, bigotry,” Gailliard said. “This is really a don’t hurt my feelings bill. Don’t tell me the truth about our history because it may hurt my feelings.”

Tuesday News: Snowflakes in May

REPUBLICANS WANT TO CONCEAL-CARRY IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Three unidentified Council members and “many” House members requested the permit exemptions, according to the chief bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County. Kidwell said he's received death threats in the past, and expects other colleagues have as well. Another co-sponsor, GOP Rep. Mike Clampitt of Swain County, said he wore a bulletproof vest on the campaign trail last fall. Bill opponents focused on the portion of the measure that would allow for armed legislators in their offices, committee rooms and on the House and Senate chamber floors. The legislative complex has undergone significant security upgrades in the past three years, with the installation of metal detectors at the main entrances and ID badges for legislators, staff and news media. “We just spent untold dollars protecting our means of ingress and egress. And we have a robust police force," said Rep. Deb Butler, a New Hanover County Democrat. “I just think that this is just a terrible idea.”

Monday News: Twelve thousand, seven hundred eighty


HALF OF NC ADULTS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF VACCINE: At least 980,498 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 12,780 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,932 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 1,798 reported the day before. At least 1,006 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 1,031 on Thursday. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 4.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 50% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 43.6% were fully vaccinated as of Thursday.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


EXPAND VOTING OPPORTUNITIES, DON'T LIMIT THEM: Current state law requires any mail-in ballots to be postmarked on Election Day AND be received by the local board of elections within three days – unless they are sent from those in the military service or overseas. Now, the folks who run the legislature noticed that 45% of the nearly 1.1 million North Carolinians who voted by mail were Democrats compared to a mere 21% being Republicans. Now they want to command that ALL mail-in ballots must be received ON election day. The impact would be significant. They really think they’d be curtailing Democratic votes. But the reality is that there’s no telling which voters cast ballots when. There is no reason to set this date other than to deny some voters a chance to cast ballots. Votes aren’t officially counted for several days after Election Day – with the official canvass. The REAL votes for president aren’t cast until the Electoral College meets on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, as set by federal law.

Saturday News: Nothing or double


BILL WOULD STOP DOCKING TEACHERS FOR PERSONAL DAYS, IF THEY GIVE A REASON: Currently, teachers who use personal leave on days when classes are in session are charged $50 to help schools cover the cost of finding a substitute teacher. But the state House unanimously passed legislation on Thursday that waives the “required substitute deduction” for teachers if they provide a reason to their principal for taking personal leave. “This bill creates an avenue for teachers to be able to utilize their personal leave benefit without being docked $50 a day from their pay,” Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, a Wilkes County Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor, said Thursday. But if House Bill 362 becomes law, teachers who don’t provide a reason would be charged the full cost of hiring a substitute, which could be more than $100 a day. The bill now goes to the Senate.


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