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Congress Health News Top Story

New fight opens in Congress over VA policy that sidesteps state abortion bans

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the U.S. Senate are confident the Department of Veterans Affairs can implement a new policy that allows its doctors to provide abortions when the pregnancy threatens the patient’s life or health, or when it's the result of rape or incest.  The VA announced the new policy last week to cheers from Democrats who have been searching for ways to broaden abortion access in states where the procedure has been outlawed since the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in June.

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Environment Top Story

Lincoln County slow to respond to extremely high levels of cancer-causing arsenic in residents’ drinking water

It's still unclear if the source of the arsenic is naturally occurring or a former lithium mine Before Abby and Jason Hollis bought their 1,200-square-foot house on Laboratory Road in rural Lincolnton, the inspector required them to test their drinking water well, a routine step when purchasing a home.

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Education Top Story

U.S. education secretary urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

First Lady Jill Biden will accompany Sec. Miguel Cardona to NC next week as part of "Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour" WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession.

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Congress News Top Story

Latest polling finds big gap in candidate “favorability” ratings is influencing NC’s U.S. Senate race

With the start of early voting just seven weeks away, Democrat Cheri Beasley continues to run stronger than pundits had projected. It’s probably just a coincidence that the Pantone company chose "Very Peri," a vibrant purple, as its 2022 color of the year, but it would be hard to find a better shade to describe North Carolina’s electorate. Both are trending this fall.

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Congress COVID-19 News Top Story

COVID-19 vaccine may become annual, like flu shot

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 boosters shots are on track to become as frequent as the annual flu shot, though high-risk people may need more than one dose per year, Biden administration officials said Tuesday. “For a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high degree of protection against serious illness all year,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said during a briefing.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Panel to examine free speech, self-censorship at UNC

Like many colleges and university systems across the country, UNC has long been embroiled in a debate about free speech on campuses. In a politically volatile era in which extremist views have gone mainstream, the extent of free speech disagreements at UNC campuses is unclear, as are potential solutions. On Sept 13, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will hold the university’s first student-centered discussion on the issue. ”Can We Talk? Student Thoughts on Free Expression at UNC,” was sparked by a series of surveys about free speech — surveys that themselves have become controversial.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: Stopping school shootings before they happen

Behind state efforts to prevent targeted mass shootings After the massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, ...
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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

508 years: The cumulative amount of time hurricane survivors have been displaced from their homes

ReBuild NC also revises -- upward -- expenditures on motels, other temporary housing for hurricane survivors 508 years or 185,522 days: That’s the total amount of time spent displaced for the 1,774 households receiving temporary relocation assistance from ReBuild NC’s homeowner disaster relief program ReBuild NC, whose formal name is the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, sent the information to Policy Watch, which requested the figures under public records law. 

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Education News Top Story

State Supreme Court asked to direct NC lawmakers to fully fund Leandro education plan

After 28 years of legal wrangling, North Carolina’s lawmakers continue to fail children by not adequately funding public schools, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the long-running Leandro school funding case told the State Supreme Court on Wednesday.

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Environment News Top Story

Community members turn out in force to oppose proposed Yadkin granite mine

Board of Commissioners issues final ruling on controversial proposal to rezone 495 acres Craig Justus stood before the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners with the full force of a community behind him. “Tonight is a very important decision. I would consider this as a legacy vote,” Justus, an attorney representing opponents of a proposed granite mine, said.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Biden touts public safety policy in visit to Pennsylvania

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — President Joe Biden knocked defenders of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol while touting his recent public safety policy wins in a visit to Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. “You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection,” Biden said.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

‘The End of Isolation Tour’ and the push to end solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons

How three performances of a play relate to efforts to end solitary in North Carolina It’s the sound of jangling keys that reminds Craig Waleed of his time in solitary confinement. “That brings me back to being in there and hearing the keys jingle next to the cell door, thinking, ‘OK then, they’ll let me out. Today's the day I get out,’” Waleed said.

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Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: Two days ahead of pivotal Leandro court hearing, a look at the state of NC education funding

Well, that’s a wrap on the Summer of 2022. Students and teachers on the traditional calendar head back to school this week. And ...
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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

How election-denying GOP governors could tilt the 2024 presidential election

Republican candidates who claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump have been nominated for governor in four critical swing states, raising concerns that if elected they could try to sway election results in 2024 and beyond.  In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Republican primary voters elected a candidate who has denied the results of the 2020 election and believes that voter fraud influenced the results.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

One thing is certain after the state Supreme Court ruling on constitutional amendments – more court hearings

North Carolina Republicans’ long desire to impose a photo identification requirement to vote has been threatened by the legislature’s failure in 2011 to draw constitutional election districts.   The Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court majority wrote in its opinion last week that constitutional amendments proposed by a legislature with members elected from unconstitutional racially gerrymandered districts aren’t automatically considered valid.  

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Congress Higher Ed News Top Story

Biden to wipe out $10,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers ...
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