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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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END THE PARTISAN GAMES, DRAW LEGAL VOTING DISTRICTS NOW: It is time for the North Carolina General Assembly to face reality. They are being ordered to create new legislative and congressional districts. For the third time this year the U.S. Supreme Court has taken North Carolina’s lawmakers to task, unanimously ruling they relied too heavily on race to illegally draw the state’s legislative districts. Simply put, the current districts are unconstitutional. The court should give the state a deadline and provide specific criteria to be followed for drawing the new districts. If the legislature will not follow the guidelines, the court should draw the districts itself. Additionally, the court could also ask for public input to help with the new districts.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-end-the-partisan-games-draw-legal-voting-districts-now/16746847/

Saturday News: The clock is ticking...

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3-JUDGE PANEL WANTS ACTION ON GERRYMANDERING PROBLEM QUICKLY, COOPER CONCURS: A three-judge federal Middle District panel said Friday it wants to move quickly to remedy 28 racially gerrymandered state House and Senate districts. "I'm pleased the court intends to act swiftly," N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday in a statement. "There is no reason for Republican legislators to drag their heels in correcting this wrong after the Supreme Court affirmed their map to be unconstitutional." In its notice Friday, the court invited attorneys for the state, legislators and the State Board of Elections to provide input "as expeditiously as possible."
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina/court-calls-for-quick-action-by-nc-on-redistricting/ar...

Friday News: Tory plan flops

THERESA MAY'S DAYS AS PRIME MINISTER MIGHT BE NUMBERED: May's political position has been seriously weakened after Thursday's election, which she had called to strengthen her hand for Britain's exit talks from the European Union. Instead, the election saw her Conservatives losing their overall majority in Parliament. May, who has resisted calls for her to resign as leader, could now seek to form a government with support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. The Liberal Democrats' leader says Prime Minister Theresa May "should be ashamed" for calling a snap election and joined calls for her to resign. Tim Farron said May had called Thursday's election and gambled with Britain's future "out of sheer arrogance and vanity," adding: "If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign." He said that May's version of a 'hard Brexit' was rejected by the British people, and that Brexit negotiations should now be put on hold.
http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/celebrities/article155241054.html

Thursday News: You broke it, now fix it

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GOVERNOR COOPER CALLS SPECIAL SESSION TO REDRAW RACIALLY GERRYMANDERED MAPS: The session Cooper plans to call would run simultaneously with the ongoing regular session, which is due to end some time this summer. He said such a concurrent session is rare but not unprecedented. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that found 28 legislative districts to be illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall influence of black voters. “That means Republican politicians have been picking their voters instead of voters picking their politicians,” Cooper said Wednesday. “They’ve rigged the system and it’s just wrong.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Wednesday News: Reckless abandon

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LAW ENFORCEMENT REJECTS PERMITLESS CONCEALED-CARRY EFFORT: With the state House poised to debate legislation Wednesday ending the requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina, law enforcement agencies around the state are lining up in opposition to the measure. House Bill 746 would allow any U.S. citizen 18 or over who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit anywhere he or she can carry it openly, except where prohibited. Concealed carry permits are issued through a county sheriff's office, which conducts a criminal background check and looks for records of mental illness or incapacity. Applicants must also be at least 21 years old and must show they have passed an eight-hour gun safety class. "They're getting some training. They're getting some knowledge of the law. But just to say, 'You're 18 years old, take a gun and go,' that bothers me," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday.
http://www.wral.com/law-enforcement-opposes-proposal-to-relax-concealed-gun-rules/16746405/

Tuesday News: Punish the leaker, not the perpetrator

TRUMP'S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ARRESTS CONTRACTOR WHO LEAKED RUSSIAN HACKING DOCUMENT: An intelligence contractor was charged with sending a classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to the news media, the Justice Department announced Monday, the first criminal leak case under President Donald Trump. The case showed the department’s willingness to crack down on leaks, as Trump has called for in complaining that they are undermining his administration. His grievances have contributed to a sometimes tense relationship with the intelligence agencies he oversees. The Justice Department announced the case against the contractor, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, about an hour after the national-security news outlet The Intercept published the apparent document, a May 5 intelligence report from the National Security Agency.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article154527754.html

Monday News: One-Term Pat

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MCCRORY TAKES JABS AT COOPER, WHINES ABOUT VOTER ID ABSENCE: McCrory, a Republican who lost to Cooper last November, had strong words for his successor on Hurricane Matthew relief efforts and on the lawsuits between the governor and legislature. “Shame on Gov. Cooper for trying to blame President Trump” for the government’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew funding, McCrory said. “Don’t blame someone else for the lack of leadership.” The former governor also had advice for the legislature. Republican House and Senate leaders were in the crowd at the NCGOP convention. “I know for a fact that we had a lot of noncitizens that were voting,” McCrory said. “Ladies and gentlemen, voter ID would have stopped it. Keep it a clean bill, stay with a voter ID law and get that passed.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article154239819.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET: MORE COMFORT FOR THE COMFORTABLE: Want to know what the priorities and motives are for the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly? The budgets produced by the state House and Senate provide a clear view. The themes are consistent in both documents -- those who already have the most, get even more. And those with the greatest need are considered freeloaders who refuse to work and want to bilk state government to finance their indolence. So what if we prevent 500,000 people from getting health insurance? They could get a job if they just tried – particularly the elderly and children. How responsible is it to continue to spend millions on private school vouchers when there is practically no accountability or transparency in where the money goes nor how the students perform academically? Not to mention that some of the schools discriminate on admissions.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-s-budget-more-comfort-for-the-comfortable/16735398/

Saturday News: AHCA dead in the Senate?

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BURR SAYS NO HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LIKELY THIS YEAR: U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said Thursday he doesn’t expect the Senate to agree on a comprehensive plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by the end of the year. Burr, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said the America Health Care Act the House passed is “dead on arrival” in the Senate and “it’s not a good plan.” In May, Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis told a conservative group in downtown Raleigh that he and his colleagues in the Senate would wait for a nonpartisan financial analysis of the health bill to be released, but that they would work to address needed changes to the House version of the bill. “I’m confident we’re going to get a bill to the president’s desk,” Tillis said at the time.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Friday News: Mixed messages

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PENTAGON WORRIED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, EVEN IF TRUMP IS NOT: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement puts him at odds with the Pentagon, which has been warning for years that climate change poses a critical national security threat. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called climate change a “driver of instability” that “requires a broader, whole-of-government response.” For more than a decade, military leaders have said that extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and the Islamic State.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article153908859.html

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