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U.S. Senate to try again on abortion rights after bombshell disclosure of draft opinion

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday pledged a new vote codifying the right to an abortion after publication of a draft court ruling that showed the Supreme Court on track to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Democrats, who likely won’t have the votes to advance that bill, also predicted that abortion will emerge as a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections for members of Congress.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

Florida gave voting rights to people with felony convictions. Now some face charges for voting.

Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud. But Kelvin Bolton’s arrest raises questions about the rollout of Amendment 4, passed by Florida voters in 2018 to restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look charter schools in North Carolina

Few issues spark debate in North Carolina’s education circles like charter schools. Save for school vouchers and the state’s long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit, few topics that stir a higher level of passion. Supporters, many of whom are conservative voters, see charters as "school choice" options that help families looking to flee low-performing schools.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

National prognosticators say NC Senate race will favor whichever GOP candidate emerges from May 17 primary

Presumed Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley faces an uphill fight, but will bring plenty of experience and funding to the effort Absentee ballots are starting to roll in and in-person early voting began Thursday in this year’s U.S. Senate primary, an election in which nearly all of the focus is on the bare-knuckled fight in the Republican race. But even before that’s decided, the country’s top political prognosticators are out with predictions for the fall.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Well-heeled candidates sink millions of dollars of personal money into races for open congressional seats

While the political drama in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional district is focused on who will win the Democratic primary and the chance to succeed incumbent the U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Republican candidates in that district have raised about as much for their campaigns as the two most prominent Democrats combined.  

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Retailers urge NC legislators to crack down on organized retail crime

Pandemic, opioids, rising prices blamed for sharp rise in retail thefts "In retail, we're in business to sell, they are in business to steal." Craig Dowdle, the regional investigation manager for Lowe's Home Improvement, told state legislators Tuesday that Organized Retail Crime has been rising steadily since the pandemic.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Health risks for families in military private housing probed by U.S. Senate panel

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel on Tuesday grilled officials running private housing for service members about reports of deplorable living conditions from military families. The hearing, led by Chairman Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, and top GOP member Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, followed a joint release of a report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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Education Top Story

Present day controversies are front and center at legislative hearing on the future of public education

Committee chair challenges the relevance of state's landmark Leandro school funding case The state’s decades-old school funding case, Leandro, could become “moot," depending on decisions by a House select committee charged with “reinventing” North Carolina’s public education system, State Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and chairman of the committee, told Policy Watch on Monday.

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Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Criminal justice leaders tout the benefits of ‘restorative justice’ at NCCU forum

Durham police chief, sheriff, and D.A. agree that county's practices and experience can be a model for systemic reform Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews teared up as she sat in a close circle of people in the Great Hall of North Carolina Central University’s Law School.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Nine rare cancers tied to burn pit exposure added to VA benefits list

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is adding nine rare respiratory cancers linked to burn pit exposure to the list of illnesses eligible for disability and health benefits. President Joe Biden, who has said his son Beau Biden’s exposure to toxic fumes from the pits could have led to his death, announced the policy change Monday, saying in a statement he hopes to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

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Education Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the impact of North Carolina’s community college system

While North Carolina's economy has fully returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, concerns remain over resignations and unfilled job openings. “Our significant success increasing jobs during the pandemic shows North Carolinians are resilient," Gov. Roy Cooper said last month. "We need to focus on training workers and educating children to continue to grow our workforce.”

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Environment News Top Story

3 big reasons why the Biden climate agenda is floundering

President Joe Biden’s climate agenda took a hit this month when the Interior Department said it would open 144,000 acres of federal land up for oil and gas development to comply with a court order to restart fossil fuel development. The announcement marked yet another setback for a presidential climate plan that was once seen as historically ambitious.

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News Top Story

Federal attempts to legalize marijuana flail, even as public support grows

A majority of voters in all 50 states support the idea, but the U.S. Senate doesn’t Across the country, attitudes toward cannabis are becoming more permissive and accepting, but partisan gridlock in Congress virtually ensures that legislation to decriminalize marijuana will languish and die in the U.S. Senate. Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) by a narrow 220-204 margin. ...

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Health Law and the Courts News Top Story

States rush to revise their abortion laws as a major U.S. Supreme Court decision nears

WASHINGTON — Abortion access throughout the country could soon depend on a patchwork of state laws if a U.S. Supreme Court dominated by conservatives overturns the constitutional right it established nearly 50 years ago. The court’s decision on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is expected sometime within the next two months. But state legislatures have been racing to prepare for the expected landmark ruling by shepherding new, vastly different pieces of legislation to their governors.

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Congress Education News Top Story

LGBTQ community, people of color in the crosshairs of banned book movement

Students in one Pennsylvania school district were not allowed to read a biography of the first Black President, Barack Obama. In some Tennessee classrooms, a nonfiction comic book about the atrocities of the Holocaust is banned. And one school district in Wisconsin banned from libraries a picture book about a gay rights activist who was assassinated.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Chapel Hill’s plan to build offices and housing atop a coal ash disposal site

In the 1960s and 1970s, when coal was still king, the UNC power plant in Chapel Hill generated millions of tons of ash, the byproduct of burning the fuel for energy. Some of that ash had to go somewhere, and that somewhere was 828 Martin Luther King Blvd. on the north side of town. In 1980, the town unknowingly built its police headquarters on that property. But not until 2013 did town officials realize that ash was present.

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