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Biden signs into law Democrats’ wide-ranging climate change, health care and tax bill

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law Tuesday, capping off more than a year of tumultuous negotiations that saw his original proposal to Congress slimmed down considerably. Flanked by a handful of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, Biden sharply contrasted his outlook for the country with that of Republicans, who unanimously voted against the package. 

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Congress Health News Top Story

Twenty states, D.C. join in opposing Texas lawsuit on emergency abortion care

North Carolina's Josh Stein is among the signatories WASHINGTON — Attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief in federal court on Tuesday, challenging Texas’ assertion that states shouldn’t have to comply with a federal law that protects doctors who end a pregnancy to save the patient’s life.  The brief argues the judge in the case shouldn’t grant Texas’ request for preliminary injunctive relief...

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

State officials move to curb another dangerous virus that threatens North Carolina

As the global pandemic has reminded us with tragic ferocity in recent years, viruses can, despite our best efforts, be enormously destructive and hard to contain – especially as our world has grown ever-more-crowded and interconnected.     And sadly, that goes not just for physical viruses like COVID-19, but viruses of the mind as well. In the era of instant global communication, it’s easier than ever for ideas – even delusional lies and fantasies – to spread like wildfire and do enormous damage before they are exposed and debunked.

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Health News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fentanyl in NC: An epidemic within the opioid epidemic

A year ago this month, Barb Walsh was enjoying a feeling of pride for which every parent longs. Sophia, the second of her four daughters, had come through the COVID-19 pandemic, graduating from Appalachian State University’s business school in 2020 and getting a good job with Milwaukee Tool. Driven, competitive and self-sufficient, Sophia was never the sort of kid her mother had to worry about.

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News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at social capital

For years it’s been clear one of the keys to economic, social success and even health outcomes in America is the old real estate mantra: location, location, location. Studies have long shown children raised in areas with higher incomes, better funded schools and less violence tend to have better adult outcomes. This month a new study  published in the journal Nature uses data from tens of billions of Facebook connections to examine three factors that seem to be drivers of that success -- economic connectedness, cohesiveness and civic engagement.

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Two men serving life sentences lobby lawmakers to expand parole eligibility

"People with no reason to change will not change.” Phillip Vance Smith II first met Craig Wissink in 2004, toward the beginning of the life sentences the men were serving for separate murders. Smith thought Wissink was a friendly guy, the type who was always trying to make those around him laugh. The pair lost touch for about 10 years, a gap in a friendship common among imprisoned men subjected to unanticipated transfers to other correctional facilities.

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Congress News Top Story

With “go everywhere” strategy, Beasley breaks with Democratic playbook for statewide races

In her attempt to break the Democratic Party’s streak of losses in U.S. Senate races, Cheri Beasley has billed herself as a different kind of Democrat. Over the past year, perhaps the most convincing case for that has been the stops on her itineraries.

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Original Commentary Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

To prevent shootings, teachers need to be armed with information, not guns

Schools do not need more resource officers, armed guards or for that matter armed teachers. Schools need to become adept at gathering information, sharing intelligence and, most importantly, making sense of what they learn. In Uvalde, Texas we’ve learned far too well that good guys—many good guys—with guns can’t always stop a bad guy with a gun. In Florida, Nikolas Cruz is on trial for his life after killing 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Biden signs landmark bill aiding veterans exposed to burn pits overseas

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed legislation into law Wednesday that will provide health care and benefits to veterans exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, achieving a long-term, personal goal. “I was in and out of Iraq over 20 times,” Biden said of prior trips to the war zone he took as both a U.S. senator and as vice president.

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Environment Top Story

Moving the misery around: EPA approves plan to truck contaminated soil from one Black community to another

Contaminated soil from a Superfund site in Navassa will be shipped to one of three landfills outside Brunswick County, likely moving toxic pollution from one non-white or low-income community to another.  The proposed cleanup plan, approved by the EPA in late May, highlights the environmental injustices that occur when counties, regulators and polluters offload their problems to communities of color.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

New photos suggest how Trump, flush with power, may have sent official documents down the toilet

Into the sewer. That appears to be the intended destination of what look like torn-up presidential documents in photographs released by reporter Maggie Haberman to the news publication Axios, which published them on Aug. 8, 2022.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

State Treasurer Dale Folwell should be doing a better job of investing NC pension funds

PW investigation raises important questions about holding billions of dollars in cash In a way, there’s something almost quaint about the investment strategy that North Carolina’s conservative Republican treasurer, Dale Folwell, pursues for the massive pension funds he oversees for the state’s public employees and retirees.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Your plane landed safely — thank the bureaucrats at the FAA

A faddish phrase on the right is something called “the administrative state,” which refers to the federal workforce deputized by Congress to craft and enforce rules over the environment, banking, health care, product safety, mass communications, the power grid, etc.  A recent profile of the Claremont Institute — which has the unenviable task of stitching together an intellectual fig leaf for Trumpism — noted that scholars there view our nation’s bureaucrats as a “fourth branch,” effectively overturning the Constitution.

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Health News Top Story

Monday numbers: As U.S. states struggle with post-Roe abortion laws, a look at public opinion around the globe

A lot has happened since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. Republican-led states have made moves to revive previous abortion restrictions or enact new and sweeping ones. Democratic-led states have rushed to enshrine the right in state law.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: NC treasurer’s love for cash in the pension fund hobbled returns during the stock market boom  

State Treasurer Dale Folwell refers to himself as the “Keeper of the Public Purse.” And since he was elected to the job that includes managing pension funds for state and local government employees, Folwell has been stuffing that purse with cash.  Under Folwell’s direction, the pension fund holds more of its money in cash than the department’s own guidelines direct and has considerably higher cash holdings than similar public pension funds. North Carolina’s pension fund is among the 10 largest public pensions in the country. None of the other nine hold close to as great a proportion of their assets in cash as North Carolina does, according to their most recent financial reports.  

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Health News Top Story

The monkeypox outbreak: Where things stand in NC, what you should know

With the monkeypox outbreak spreading across the country, North Carolina has reported more than 70 cases of the virus so far, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly half of the cases have been in Mecklenburg County.

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