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Congress News Top Story

How the fight for tribal rights in North Carolina could reshape Native Hawaiian housing

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is trying to cut a last minute deal that could bring tens of millions of dollars in new funding to the islands for Native Hawaiian housing. WASHINGTON — As Congress prepares to wrap up work for the year, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz is looking to cut an ambitious deal that could pump tens of millions of dollars of new money into Native Hawaiian housing for at least the next decade.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Company for the governor: Criminal justice reform advocates launch vigil to urge use of clemency powers

For the third year in a row, Decarcerate Now NC will host a vigil outside the governor's mansion urging Gov. Roy Cooper to use his clemency power to reduce the number of people in North Carolina prisons and pardon people who have since gone home so they have a chance to move on with their lives after serving their time behind bars. Organizers will maintain a constant presence outside the mansion for the next month, calling for justice, fairness and second chances for those locked in prisons across the state, especially those who are Black and other people of color.

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Original Commentary Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Immediate action is needed to aid Afghans who put their lives on the line for Americans

U.S. Marine vet from North Carolina: Congress should pass the Afghan Adjustment Act ASAP More than a year ago, as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, I concluded twenty-seven years of uniformed service. I spent more than a year of my life in Afghanistan, serving in special operations, a fact only relevant because it brought me into close contact with members of the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan civilian interpreters.

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Congress News Top Story

Same-sex marriage protected under bill passed by U.S. Senate with GOP support

Tillis and Burr 'aye' votes help assure measure could not be filibustered WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would enshrine protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, codifying many of the rights that would disappear if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn those landmark decisions the way it overturned the nationwide right to an abortion this summer.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Black voters, students home for the holiday help drive early turnout for Georgia Senate race

Early voting in the U.S. Senate runoff got off to a busy start in Georgia, with more than half a million ballots cast as of Monday night, including more than 300,000 votes cast Monday. “Just…WOW!” tweeted Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for the secretary of state Monday night. “GA voters, facilitated through the hard work of county election & poll workers, have shattered the old Early Vote turnout...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The link between politicians and anti-LGBTQ+ violence

It’s an age-old, chicken and egg discussion: Is it extant societal forces of exclusion, hatred and reaction that give rise to authoritarian politicians who in turn foment division, prejudice, and violence, or does it work the other way around? A global survey reveals compelling examples of both scenarios in action. It’s hard, for instance, to imagine the repressive religious fundamentalism and secular authoritarianism we see enforced today in many modern nations if there weren’t already some preexisting levels of support for it in pockets of the general public.

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Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

Supreme Court case could curtail rights of Medicaid patients

Gorgi Talevski did not live long enough to see his case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this month. A Macedonian-born resident of Indiana, Talevski operated a crane for three decades, raised a family and loved to dance before his dementia deepened, and he died last year. But the court’s decision, expected in spring, could have profound effects for tens of millions of beneficiaries of federal safety net programs, including those that provide health care, housing, education services and heating aid.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: After the Club Q mass shooting, a look at violence faced by the transgender community

As the LGBTQ community observed Transgender Day of Remembrance last week, it woke to further losses. After a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs just before midnight on Nov. 19, police said a man armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a handgun killed five people and injured at least 19.

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Congress News Top Story

Thousands of veterans deluge VA with claims for toxic exposure benefits, health care

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is processing claims at the fastest rate in its history, hoping to avoid a significant backlog as hundreds of thousands of veterans apply for health care and benefits under the landmark toxic exposure law Congress passed earlier this year.

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News Top Story

Abortion rights advocates look to build on recent electoral successes using 2024 ballot measures

Encouraged by six victories — and zero defeats — in this month’s midterm elections, abortion rights advocates are considering another round of ballot measures in 2024 that would enshrine reproductive freedom in state constitutions. This time, they’re mostly aiming at states with tight abortion restrictions already on the books, hoping to outflank anti-abortion state lawmakers and courts that are out of step with most residents.

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Congress Higher Ed News Top Story

Student loan repayment pause extended by White House amid legal battles over relief plan

WASHINGTON — The Department of Education announced on Tuesday it is extending the pandemic-era pause on federal student loan repayments until June 30 while legal challenges to the administration’s student debt relief program are fought over in the courts. The agency said if the student debt relief program has not been put in place by June 30, and if litigation is still tied up in the courts, student loan payments will begin 60 days after that.

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Environment News Top Story

Dishonorable discharge: Runoff from a former industrial site is contaminating an important NC lake

Alcoa's continued discharge of toxics into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination, linked to paltry fines, lax state oversight  Alcoa, the eighth-largest aluminum company in the world, whose global reach spans 11 countries, claims on its website that it "operates with excellence" and "cares about people around the globe." The residents of West Badin, in Stanly County, and many of their neighbors across Badin Lake disagree.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Judges not legislators: State Supreme Court’s legitimacy depends on continued respect for precedent

Maybe the change was an inevitable byproduct of our current charged and contentious era. Maybe it was naïve to ever think that things were dramatically different in the past. Whichever the case, one thing for sure in 2022 is that public perceptions of the American judiciary as a neutral dispenser of blind justice ain’t what they used to be. And indeed, those altered perceptions may reflect a new, sobering, and thoroughly politicized reality.

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Health News Top Story

Two communities find a cure for medical debt: pandemic stimulus funds

Local governments in Ohio and Illinois are using American Rescue Plan Act money to relieve residents struggling with medical debt by partnering with an organization that buys debt and wipes the slate clean for debtors. It’s a strategy advocates say could be duplicated across the country to help erase a multi-billion-dollar problem.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at how Buncombe County women are criminalized for poverty and substance use

A new study finds authorities rely on police and jails to address low-level charges that don’t threaten public safety. Drug abuse and violence are experiences commonly shared among the women detained at the Buncombe County Jail, according to a study released last week by the Vera Institute of Justice.  Of the 40 women surveyed in the Buncombe County Detention Center in September 2021, all but one said they struggled with drugs or alcohol use.

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