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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at mining, including one polluter that refuses to pay

Last week, the newly constituted state Mining Commission met for the first time since the Earth cooled. The delay was due to a Gov. McCrory-era legal rigmarole that raised the question of whether it was constitutional for state lawmakers to appoint people to the Mining Commission, along with similar bodies overseeing coal ash, and oil and gas.

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Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Transgender North Carolinians see legal victories on birth certificates, health coverage

Transgender people born in North Carolina can now change the gender marker on their birth certificates without undergoing medical transition, according to a consent judgment in a federal law suit issued Wednesday. The lawsuit, filed last year by Lambda Legal, Baker Botts LLP and Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard, challenged state restrictions on how transgender North Carolinians can change their gender markers.

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Congress News Top Story

Biden pitches a summer gas tax holiday as price hovers around $5 a gallon

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Congress and state legislatures to provide a temporary reprieve from gas taxes — but members of his own party and Republicans appeared opposed, making it look unlikely on the federal level. In addition, many state legislatures are out of session for the year and aren’t expected to return to their capitals until January.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Trump led pressure campaign on state election officials, Jan. 6 panel says

Former President Donald Trump was directly involved in efforts to pressure state officials in Georgia, Arizona and elsewhere to overturn the 2020 election results in their states, according to evidence the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack presented Tuesday at the panel’s fourth hearing this month.

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Congress News Top Story

Will it be Maryland or Virginia? Feds near a verdict on new FBI headquarters

WASHINGTON — Maryland and Virginia politicians vying for the prize of a new FBI headquarters have just a few months left before a crucial federal government decision. The U.S. General Services Administration is expected to pick the best of three locations as soon as September, ending nearly two decades of advocacy, confusion and frustration...

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the prevalence of extremist views in different groups of Americans

Earlier this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center released the results of a poll designed to determine the extent to which extremist beliefs and narratives have become prevalent the general public. The poll of more than 1,500 Americans, conducted in late April, found a rising acceptance of the use of violence against political opponents and of the notion that marginalized groups such as LGBTQ people are inherently dangerous.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

State Board of Elections will rule on GOP request for signature checks on mail-in ballot requests

Proponents tout election security, but opponents say signatures change and predict significant voter disenfranchisement The North Carolina Republican Party wants local county elections officials to set aside requests for absentee ballots and double-check the mail-in ballots themselves based on whether they think voter signatures match.

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Congress News Top Story

Effects of gun violence on kids probed by U.S. Senate committee

Experts say repeated exposure to trauma is changing and harming American kids WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday examined the public health effect gun violence has on children. “Guns are killing our kids at a devastating rate,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chair of the committee, said in his opening statement.

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Environment Top Story

Citing toxic effects on humans, EPA issues strict new health advisory goals for GenX, other PFAS

WILMINGTON -- Even infinitesimal levels of several types of PFAS, including GenX, can harm human health, the EPA said today, underscoring the toxicity of these compounds in drinking water. Radihka Fox, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Water, announced the more stringent lifetime health advisory goals at the national PFAS conference in Wilmington.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Report on UNC System campus free speech provides insights into climate, student experiences

Some conservative students say they feel stifled, but generally not by faculty members When Policy Watch reported on conservative writer and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s visit to UNCG in April, it had all the hallmarks of the current debate over free speech on campuses. A highly partisan figure drawing huge crowds with divisive -- in this case, transphobic and homophobic -- language. Students protesting, holding a competing event and verbally sparring with the speaker.

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Crowd of people who are frowning because the Yadkin County planning board is approving a rezoning for a mine
Environment News Top Story

Despite overwhelming community opposition, proposed Yadkin County mine clears first hurdle

Dean Swaim, the stern chairman of the Yadkin County Planning Board, stifled an outburst with a whack of his gavel. “You will respect the board,” he told the roughly 200 people who had just released a collective groan. A vote was pending to rezone land for a controversial rock quarry, proposed for a 498-acre tract in Hamptonville — and it didn’t appear to be going the residents’ way.

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Law and the Courts News Top Story

Raleigh “March For Our Lives” demonstrators demand action from lawmakers in combating gun violence

Hundreds turn out as part of a national day of action in response to recent mass shootings On Saturday June 11, hundreds of activists with the group March for Our Lives in North Carolina gathered in Raleigh at one of more than 450 demonstrations that took place across the country to protest gun violence and mass shootings. The protests were held in response to the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and Tops Grocery Store in Buffalo, New York.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at AR-15-style semi-automatic assault weapons and the grim details of what they do to human beings

The recent horrific mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York have caused Americans to intensify their longstanding national debate over so-called “assault weapons.” In 1994, the federal government enacted a ban on the purchase of these weapons – what the U.S. Justice Department described at the time as...

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Congress News Top Story

Jan. 6 panel says Trump, far-right groups responsible for insurrection

 A widely anticipated hearing Thursday by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol alleged two groups supporting then-President Donald Trump planned the riot to stop the transfer of presidential power — while Trump tacitly endorsed the insurrection and was indifferent to calls to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

State Treasurer backs legislation that would give millions in NC free or discounted hospital care. It faces more review.  

Millions of North Carolinians would be eligible for discounted or free hospital care, even after their insurance was billed, under proposed legislation debated this week.   People who make up to 200% of the federal poverty level – this year, that’s $55,500 for a family of four - would receive free hospital care, under House Bill 1039. People in households of four people with incomes between $55,500 and $166,500, or 600% of the federal poverty level, would be eligible for discounts.

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Environment News Top Story

Two dozen violations and $40,000 later, Stericycle in Haw River still pumping pollutants into vulnerable communities

Stericycle, a multinational company with a facility in Haw River, has again been cited by the state for Clean Air Act violations related to its incineration of medical, hospital and infectious waste. The facility at 1168 Porter Ave., has amassed at least two dozen air quality violations over the past decade, totaling nearly $40,000 in civil penalties.

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