Weekend reads: Big changes for voting rights, Blue Cross Blue Shield, sports betting and the UNC Board of Governors
In this issue:
By Lynn Bonner
The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill allowing nonprofit Blue Cross NC to act more like a for-profit insurance company over the objections of the state Insurance Commissioner and despite an 11th-hour appeal from the state Treasurer to slow the action.
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, the state’s dominant health insurer, will be able to set up a holding company for its assets. The holding company would be able to buy businesses without oversight from state regulators. [Read more…]
By Lisa Sorg
James Lyons, who started as Durham’s solid waste director just three weeks ago, has been fired, effectively immediately, after an NC Newsline investigation into his work history. In an email sent at 6:56 p.m. Tuesday, City Manager Wanda Page announced Lyons’s termination. As NC Newsline reported earlier Tuesday, the City paid a national search firm [Read more…]
By Lynn Bonner
Senate Republicans want new restrictions on voting that would require signature verification and two-factor authentication of mail-in ballots. In addition to these new requirements, Senate Bill 747 also folds in restrictions that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed in the past. One provision in the bill eliminates the three-day grace period for mail-in ballots. Mail-in [Read more…]
An expansion of the state’s school voucher program to include all families regardless of income isn’t likely to cause an exodus of students from traditional public schools, NC Department of Public Instruction officials said Wednesday. That statement is based on what research shows has happened in other states that allow wealthy families access to school [Read more…]
By Lisa Sorg
Fifty-nine thousand tons of carbon dioxide. Fifteen tons of hazardous air pollutants. Another seven tons of ultra-fine particulate matter that can burrow deep into the lungs, invade the bloodstream and cause babies to be born too early and too small.
Thirteen unlined dumps, their decades-old contents seeping into the groundwater. Fourteen hazardous waste sites, leaving behind a cancer-causing soup of solvents and pesticides, oils and dyes. Millions of gallons of urine and feces excreted daily by 300,000 hogs, plus an untold number of chickens and turkeys. [Read more…]
Additional segments in this series:
- Coping with a “disaster diaspora” in Robeson County
- In a bout between economic development and environmental justice, the latter rarely wins
- In Robeson County, asthma rates are twice the state average — worsened by air pollution
Bill sponsor credits cannabis with helping save his life while fighting colon cancer
North Carolina’s medical marijuana bill has been largely dormant since passing the state Senate in early March. But members of the state House showed signs Tuesday that they were becoming more comfortable with the Compassionate Care Act. The bipartisan bill would allow doctors to authorize cannabis in treating more than a dozen debilitating medical condition [Read more…]
Legislation that would allow North Carolinians to place bets on professional and college sports as well as horse racing won final approval (37-11) in the state Senate Thursday.
The measure drew both bipartisan support and opposition.
Sen. Jim Burgin joined Democrats to speak against the bill. He dismissed the argument that the state was losing out on revenue from sports gambling that was happening in other states or off the books. [Read more…]
By Kelan Lyons
Senate Republican leaders included a provision deep within their budget that would broaden North Carolina’s medical release law that offers sick, elderly and dying incarcerated people a path out of prison so they can spend the end of their lives outside the confines of a cell. Data shared with NC Newsline by Ben Finholt, director [Read more…]
- Juvenile justice bill advances after debate on children’s rights vs. public safety
- Lawyer asks court to delay, dismiss Asheville journalists’ case as trial nears
By Joe Killian
The UNC Board of Governors would change under a bill revised this week in the state House — as would the process for appointing members. But will adding members to the UNC System’s governing board — and the process by which they are appointed — make a substantive difference? The new version of Senate Bill [Read more…]
By Joe Killian
A coalition of more than 100 organizations — several from North Carolina — are calling on the major retail chain Target and the business community at-large to stand up to extremist threats going into LGBTQ Pride month. As Newsline reported, Target reluctantly decided last week to pull some Pride Month merchandise from its shelves as [Read more…]
Bonus read: Monday numbers: Coming of age LGBTQ in the South
In a perfect world – or even a really good one – there’s no doubt that the debt ceiling agreement President Biden struck with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend would be a frustration and a disappointment. The agreement will inflict all manner of painful cuts to core public structures and services that are [Read more…]
11. Weekly Editorial Cartoon from John Cole: