Daily dose

Friday News: A tale of two Houses

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SENATE WILL LIKELY CHANGE HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL BILL SUBSTANTIALLY: The next step in repealing and replacing Obamacare promises to be a long, slow slog with enough political obstacles to tie it up for months, if not years. Republicans hold a more narrow majority of 52 to 48 in the Senate. And divisions within the GOP are just as stark as the differences between its factions in the House of Representatives that stymied the bill’s progress in that chamber. But the legislation could look very different – and there is a possibility that the House bill won’t even be considered. Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., congratulated the House on its bill but said the Senate would finish its own and would “take the time to get it right.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148626219.html

Thursday News: Drowning in the high-risk pool

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TRUMPCARE 3.0 BACK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TODAY: The fortunes of the beleagured American Health Care Act changed on Wednesday when Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Billy Long of Missouri voiced their support for the bill after meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump. Upton and Long had previously opposed the legislation. Their amendment would add $8 billion to a proposed $115 billion pot of money that states could use to fund high-risk pools to provide health coverage for people with expensive medical conditions. But a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress estimates the new amendment would subsidize care for only 76,000 more people out of millions who have pre-existing medical conditions.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148464289.html

Wednesday News: Introducing the Pittenger Award

NC CONGRESSMAN SUGGESTS PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS JUST MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE: U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger Tuesday defended his support of a provision in the Republican health care proposal that would let some states charge more for coverage of pre-existing conditions, telling reporters that “People can go to the state that they want to live in.” “Those who believe that big government, one-size-fits-all policies best serve the American people have trouble understanding legislation which protects those in need while giving states flexibility in how to meet those needs. Historically, individuals have relocated states because of tax advantages and other reasons. States are attractive for multiple policy interests.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article14...

Tuesday News: 2017, year of the march

MAY-DAY MARCHES IN US MAINLY ANTI-TRUMP IN NATURE: May 1 is International Workers' Day and protesters from the Philippines to Paris celebrated by demanding better working conditions. But the widespread protests in the United States were aimed directly at the new president. Trump, in his first 100 days, has intensified immigration enforcement, including executive orders for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. "It is sad to see that now being an immigrant is equivalent to almost being a criminal," said Mary Quezada, a 58-year-old North Carolina woman who joined those marching on Washington. She offered a pointed message to Trump: "Stop bullying immigrants."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article147781774.html

Monday News: GOP "healthy" care

REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL WILL LEAVE PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS IN THE LURCH: The latest proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act has become a much harder sell for Republican moderates who will determine whether the bill passes the House of Representatives in a possible vote later this week. Their main sticking point: concerns about how a new amendment could weaken consumer protections, particularly for people with pre-existing medical conditions. The proposal would allow states to opt out of the ACA’s “community rating” rule that prohibits individual insurers from charging sick people more for coverage.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article147758779.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC CHAMBER IS AWOL IN THE FIGHT FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: At the height of the debate last week North Carolina’s foremost business organization, the state Chamber of Commerce was asked how it stood on House Bill 13 (which only partially deals with the problem, was passed and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper this week). “The North Carolina Chamber does not currently have a position on House Bill 13 and remains focused on policies that return accountability to the talent pipeline while raising student and school achievement,” was the reply. This non-answer, answer represents the unfortunate lack of leadership the state Chamber has shown in those issues most critical to supporting North Carolina’s public school system.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-n-c-chamber-is-awol-in-fight-for-public-schools/16669220/

Saturday News: Hog wild

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CURRENT LAWSUITS MOVE FORWARD IN HOG FARM NUISANCE CLAIMS: Last October, over the objections of Murphy-Brown, the court allowed investigators to visit the hog farms, take air-quality samples, record video evidence, send in drones and catch as many pathogen transmission vectors – flies – as they could. The lawsuits also allege that the smells, pig transport trucks, open-air lagoons and spraying of waste onto fields are so offensive that people living in the vicinity can’t have visitors to their homes or have outdoor activities. The company says it complies with all existing laws and regulations, rendering the lawsuits groundless. The federal trials cleared their most recent hurdle Thursday. The state legislature passed proposed legislation protecting hog farms against lawsuits, after lawmakers agreed to remove a provision that would have made the protections retroactive to the Murphy-Brown lawsuits.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article147425529.html

Friday News: Trolling Trump

NEW TRUMP INITIATIVE FOR CITIZENS TO REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS BACKFIRES: A newly unveiled federal hotline intended to collect reports of crimes committed by immigrants has instead been inundated by accounts of UFOs, killer robots and Superman. The Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement, or VOICE, office opened Wednesday to track crimes committed by immigrants – legal or undocumented – to the United States. The office, part of the Department of Homeland Security, also rolled out a hotline for tips from the public. It didn’t take long for non-fans of President Donald Trump to come up with ways to register their disapproval of the whole idea. And the internet rose to the, well, call.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article147295794.html

Thursday News: Brocking the African-American Vote

EXTENDING VOTING HOURS DUE TO FAULTY MACHINERY UNFAIR, ANDREW BROCK SAYS: Voting hours could not be extended in a precinct where there was equipment malfunction or another problem unless every other precinct in the state stayed open just as long, under a bill approved in the Senate on Wednesday. Citing problems in Durham County in the last general election, when voting was extended at eight precincts due to technological problems, bill sponsors said it wasn’t fair that some voters benefitted from longer hours of voting. Heightened news media coverage of the problems elevated the importance of those votes, sponsors said. “Durham was given an extra at-bat,” Sen. Andrew Brock, a Republican who represents Davie, Iredell and Rowan counties, said in a committee meeting Tuesday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article147013814.html

Wednesday News: Constitutional union-bashing

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HOUSE PASSES AMENDMENT REFERENDUM TO PUT "RIGHT TO WORK" IN NC CONSTITUTION: N.C. voters would decide if the state’s anti-union “right to work” law should be added to the constitution under a bill approved by the state House Tuesday in a 75-44 vote. Under House Bill 819, voters would decide in November 2018 if the state law governing union activity should be added to the constitution. The law – and the constitutional amendment – bans employers from requiring their workers to join a labor organization or pay dues to a group.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article146765979.html

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