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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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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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Environment News Top Story

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

Advocates say the nation needs a coherent, cohesive and transparent electric system, but utility companies resist added oversight An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Chancellors discuss challenges of their roles as UNC Board of Governors eyes searches

As the UNC System’s Board of Governors mulls further changes to its chancellor search process, the board heard this week from some of the longest serving chancellors in the 17 campus system. During a day of committee meetings at East Carolina University, board members hosted a panel discussion with N.C. A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin, N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Cummings.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Worries abound for criminal justice under a Republican state Supreme Court

Many advocates for reform are concerned about the high court’s rightward shift. Republicans took control of the North Carolina Supreme Court last week, winning two seats and flipping the court from a 4-3 Democratic majority to a 5-2 Republican one. The Republican majority is guaranteed through at least 2028. That could mean more gerrymandered maps that favor the GOP, a reversal of the landmark Leandro ruling that would lead to a massive increase in education funding across North Carolina, and further restricted access to abortion.

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Congress News Top Story

Migrant women endured medical mistreatment at Georgia ICE facility, U.S. Senate report finds

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. Senate on an investigation panel on Tuesday grilled federal immigration officials about a bipartisan report that detailed how migrant women at an immigration detention center in Georgia underwent questionable gynecological procedures. The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations released an 18-month bipartisan report that found migrant women who were detained at Irwin County Detention Center, known as ICDC, in Georgia were subjected to “excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological procedures,” and many of the women did not consent or understand the procedures they underwent. 

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fewer Black legislators will represent eastern NC counties that have significant African-American populations 

Five Black incumbent legislators lost elections in eastern North Carolina districts last week, contributing to an overall decline in Black representation from rural counties with significant African American populations.   Two of the incumbent House candidates who were defeated last week, Democratic Reps. Howard Hunter III of Hertford County and James D. Gailliard of Nash County, said new district lines, a barrage of negative ads and mailers, and lower turnout among Democrats contributed to their losses.  

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Are Florida Republicans ready for a Trump-DeSantis clash for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination?

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decisive reelection victory last week carried significant GOP coattails throughout the state, ending a debate for now about whether Florida is truly a red state. But it also changed the narrative about the 2024 presidential race amongst the conservative intelligentsia – with DeSantis being hailed as the savior they have been yearning for and the vehicle to dump former President Donald Trump once and for all going into the next national election cycle.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the problem of contaminated drinking water wells in NC

Under a special state fund 658 drinking water wells were sampled for contamination, many of them in Wake County Since 2007 state regulators have sampled more than 5,500 private wells for potential contamination under the Bernard Allen Memorial Emergency Drinking Water Fund, according to an annual report filed by the Department of Environmental Quality. The state legislature created the fund -- named after a former Wake County state legislator -- in 2006.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Young Black and Latino voters seen as key in turning back midterm ‘red wave’

WASHINGTON — Young Black and Latino voters were critical in holding off the Republican “red wave” in several battleground states for U.S. Senate seats and in tight U.S. House races in the midterm elections, according to analyses by researchers and grassroots organizations.  Young, diverse voters between the ages of 18 and 29 had the second-highest youth voter turnout in almost three decades, with youth voter turnout at 31% in the nine battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin...

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