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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fewer Black legislators will represent eastern NC counties that have significant African-American populations 

Five Black incumbent legislators lost elections in eastern North Carolina districts last week, contributing to an overall decline in Black representation from rural counties with significant African American populations.   Two of the incumbent House candidates who were defeated last week, Democratic Reps. Howard Hunter III of Hertford County and James D. Gailliard of Nash County, said new district lines, a barrage of negative ads and mailers, and lower turnout among Democrats contributed to their losses.  

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Voters to politicians: Leave abortion rights alone

So now what? What are we to make of the results of the 2022 midterms now that they are – at least for the most part – finally in the books? While most everyone agrees that the results generally defied expectations given the much-smaller-than-anticipated size of the Republican “red wave” (and the best performance by a sitting president’s party in more than 40 years), triumphant claims of ideological victory and mandates have been understandably scarce.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Are Florida Republicans ready for a Trump-DeSantis clash for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination?

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decisive reelection victory last week carried significant GOP coattails throughout the state, ending a debate for now about whether Florida is truly a red state. But it also changed the narrative about the 2024 presidential race amongst the conservative intelligentsia – with DeSantis being hailed as the savior they have been yearning for and the vehicle to dump former President Donald Trump once and for all going into the next national election cycle.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the problem of contaminated drinking water wells in NC

Under a special state fund 658 drinking water wells were sampled for contamination, many of them in Wake County Since 2007 state regulators have sampled more than 5,500 private wells for potential contamination under the Bernard Allen Memorial Emergency Drinking Water Fund, according to an annual report filed by the Department of Environmental Quality. The state legislature created the fund -- named after a former Wake County state legislator -- in 2006.

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Congress Defending Democracy News Top Story

Young Black and Latino voters seen as key in turning back midterm ‘red wave’

WASHINGTON — Young Black and Latino voters were critical in holding off the Republican “red wave” in several battleground states for U.S. Senate seats and in tight U.S. House races in the midterm elections, according to analyses by researchers and grassroots organizations.  Young, diverse voters between the ages of 18 and 29 had the second-highest youth voter turnout in almost three decades, with youth voter turnout at 31% in the nine battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin...

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Environment Top Story

After intense public scrutiny about hurricane disaster response, Ivan Duncan, a top official at ReBuild NC, is resigning

Ivan Duncan, whose tenure as chief program delivery officer with ReBuild NC has come under increased scrutiny, is resigning, sources told Policy Watch. ...
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Education Top Story

In Martin County, a school board candidate felt the sting of weaponized conservative attacks

When Amy Swain decided to run for a seat on the nonpartisan school board she didn’t anticipate the conservative backlash both from outside and within Martin County. An education professor at East Carolina University with a long history of social activism, Swain was quickly and pejoratively tagged by conservative provocateurs as a promoter of “woke” culture who, if elected, would foist critical race theory upon the small, rural district’s nearly 3,000 students.

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Defending Democracy News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Republicans fall short of a veto-proof legislative majority, but advocates foresee tough fights on several key issues

Close votes loom on bills impacting the environment, abortion rights, gun violence, public education, LGBTQ rights Republicans fell short of winning a supermajority in the state House, which may help preserve the strength of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.   Republicans needed to pick up three seats in the 120-member House to win a supermajority, but fell short by one, the Associated Press reported.

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Elections
Congress Law and the Courts News Top Story

Budd defeats Beasley, but expected GOP ‘red wave’ is more of an uneven ripple

Repubs sweeps state appellate courts, but fall just short of veto-proof General Assembly; Dems gain in state US House delegation, while national picture remains undecided -- Full team coverage At the top of the ticket this year, three-term congressman Ted Budd defeated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in a close race to determine who replaces retiring Sen. Richard Burr.

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Environment Top Story

Amid a major federal investment in electric cars, it’s time for states to step up, advocates say

For years, electric vehicles posed something of a chicken-and-egg problem. Mass adoption, seen as critical to cutting the largest single source of U.S. ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When legislators veto constitutional rights

"The answer to all your questions is money." For well over 200 years, Americans have understood and widely accepted the concept of “judicial review” – the idea that the courts (and in particular, the U.S. Supreme Court and state high courts) will have the final say as to what laws and acts of government are and aren’t constitutional. There have, of course, been many efforts to challenge and undermine the premise of judicial review.

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Environment News Top Story

Coal plant operators shirking responsibilities on ash cleanup, report contends

Duke Energy facility in NC cited as among the worst contamination sites, but company pushes back In the wake of major coal ash spills from power plant containment ponds in Tennessee and into the Dan River along the North Carolina and Virginia border, the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 laid out the first federal rules for managing the ash, one of the nation’s largest waste streams, and the toxins it contains.

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Health News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the fragile status of abortion rights in North Carolina on Election Day eve

Tomorrow is Election Day, and while North Carolina is not a referendum state in which citizens can place initiatives on the ballot, for better or worse, this year’s vote will serve – at least effectively – as a referendum on the future of a fundamental and long-established constitutional right for women in several U.S. states. As Policy Watch Lynn Bonner reported last week, North Carolina has become a sanctuary state for people seeking abortion care.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts News Top Story

PW special report: Restoring hope in the vote among those with felony convictions in North Carolina

More than 50,000 North Carolinians can vote this fall thanks to a court ruling that restored the rights of people on probation and parole. But their gains are precarious. One hot afternoon in early October, Corey Purdie helped put the finishing touches on the exterior of the 300-square-foot house at Broad and Queen streets in New Bern, North Carolina.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Gov. Cooper’s new commission will study how the UNC System is governed, but change is unlikely

After years of conflict and controversy within the UNC System, a bipartisan commission will study its governance, but without the power to implement changes, it’s unclear what impact the commission’s work will have. On Tuesday Gov. Roy Cooper announced the Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina, created by executive order. It will be headed by former UNC System presidents Tom Ross and Margaret Spellings, a prominent Democrat and Republican, respectively.

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Environment Top Story

Report shows contaminated groundwater is migrating toward Teer Quarry, site of Durham’s future water supply

High levels of several toxic chemicals have been detected in groundwater near Teer Quarry, storage site for Durham’s future water supply, and are migrating toward the pit itself, state documents show. However, it is still uncertain if these compounds will reach the quarry, and if so, at what concentrations. The contaminant of greatest concern is 1,4-Dioxane, a likely carcinogen.

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