Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former university leaders lament GOP’s political push at UNC during online forum

Three former university leaders decried the politicization of the UNC System Wednesday in a discussion with an accreditation expert about university governance and ideological struggles in higher education. The livestreamed panel, organized by the Coalition or Carolina, brought together former UNC-Chapel Hill chancellors James Moeser and Holden Thorp, former UNC Board of Governors and UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees member Paul Fulton and Belle Wheelan...

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Monday numbers: A closer look at the rise in guns found at NC airports

It's been more than 50 years since the iconic slogan "Fly the Friendly Skies" was first used to advertise the appeal and allure of airline travel. But those skies seem a bit less friendly these days with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) highlighting last week that its officers at North Carolina airports discovered a total of 254 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage last year.

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Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Republican U.S. Senate contest among the races impacted by primary date battle

Another potential change in the date of North Carolina’s 2022 primary election, this one initiated by the Republican majorities in the state legislature, is reverberating through races statewide, including the battle for the GOP nomination in the race for Richard Burr's soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat. On Wednesday, General Assembly leaders fast-tracked a bill through both chambers that shifts the current May 17 primary date to June 7.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Legislatures across country back off pandemic protocols

Despite the explosive spread of the omicron variant, many statehouses are attempting to conduct business as usual As Dr. Jennifer Bacani McKenney walked the halls of the Kansas Statehouse on opening day of the legislative session this month, she was taken aback by what she saw. In the hallways, where "people are chatting and hugging and all that stuff, there were probably less than half of the people wearing masks...

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Experts say Black lawmakers are sure to lose seats under new NC legislative maps

Two Black incumbent senators in eastern North Carolina have no chance of winning reelection in their newly drawn districts, according to an analysis by UCLA political scientist Jeffrey B. Lewis, who testified for Republicans in the Superior Court redistricting trial this month. 

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

COVID-19 infections could peak at 1,650 per day at UNC-Chapel Hill

Planning document written by UNC epidemiologists shows alarming numbers

UNC epidemiologists project there could be 1,400 to 2,900 positive COVID-19 tests within the first 30 days of classes at the Chapel Hill campus, according to a Jan. 4 brief obtained by Policy Watch.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at LGBTQ equality in NC’s cities and towns

This year the Human Rights Campaign, the national LGBTQ advocacy organization, is celebrating 10 years of its Municipal Equality Index. The group calls the annual report “the nation’s premier benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policy makers and business leaders to understand how well cities across the nation are embodying LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws, policies, and services.”

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Monday numbers: DOT budget includes $5 million for unmanned aircraft systems

The new state budget, signed into law by Gov. Cooper, the General Assembly included a raft of one-time appropriations of varying sizes that feature extremely vague descriptions and very few details as to the specific purpose for which the funds are to be used. For example, in the Department of Transportation budget, General Assembly allotted a $5 million grant to a Winston-Salem nonprofit known as AeroX for the "development of an urban advanced air mobility system."

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General Assembly sends new state budget to Cooper for final approval

Despite concerns, most Senate and House Democrats vote to approve $25.9 billion plan  The first complete state budget in nearly three years will give teachers and state employees raises retroactive to July 1, spend nearly $1 billion to expand broadband, and billions more on new buildings.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

NC State officials say troubled chemistry building has been found safe, but scientists who work there question testing

After a series of tests at N.C. State’s Dabney Hall, home to the Chemistry Department, the school’s Environmental Health and Safety office is saying concerns expressed by staff, faculty and students about air quality are overblown. But chemistry and safety experts in the department say the methodology of the tests was faulty and still show concerning levels of chemical compounds in areas where they shouldn’t appear — including offices where no chemicals are used or stored.

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Transgender prisoner fighting for gender-affirming surgery

When Kanautica Zayre-Brown was transferred to Anson Correctional Institution in 2019, she became the first incarcerated transgender person in North Carolina to move from a prison designated for one gender to one designated for another. But that hasn’t solved all the problems of navigating a state prison system that seems ill-prepared for the realities of incarcerating transgender people.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

In three-way GOP Senate battle, Walker courts evangelical vote by embracing Robinson

In wake of Lt. Guv's anti-LGBTQ remarks, former rep describes effort to promote conservative Christian agenda as a "street brawl" Looking to distinguish himself in a tough GOP Senate primary field, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is criticizing former Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd for not defending Lt. Gov Mark Robinson’s recent characterization of LGBTQ people as “filth.”

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Journalism historian discusses role of American newspapers in abetting white supremacy

Prof. Kathy Roberts Forde previews upcoming talk at UNC-Chapel Hill and reflects on recent controversies that have roiled her alma mater Journalists like to think of themselves as part of a long lineage of truth seekers, a “fourth estate” in American life keeping government honest and shining light in dark places since the founding of the republic.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

GOP pols Robinson, Walker, Cawthorn align themselves with movement seeking to end to separation of church and state

Lt. Governor offers to pay for departure of those who deny the U.S. is a “Christian nation” The American Renewal Project – and ...
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COVID-19 Education News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Increased demand for COVID-19 testing swamps NC pediatricians

The medical team at Goldsboro Pediatrics sees a steady stream of patients from 8 a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening, their appointment schedules swelled by parents seeking COVID-19 tests for their children.   Slots for the walk-in hour of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. are usually filled by 8:30, said Dr. Teague Horton, a partner in the practice.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Search for new UNC journalism school dean commences in aftermath of Hannah-Jones/Hussman controversy

The search committee charged with finding the next dean of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media set out its goals and a rough timeline this week. The search comes in the wake of this summer’s fight over the school’s failed attempt to hire Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones in a tenured position...

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