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Coming up this week…

dukelogoDuke Energy goes before the state Utilities Commission today seeking its third rate hike since 2009. Last month Duke Energy agreed with the public staff to accept a smaller hike than originally sought, amounting to more than $200 million a year. But environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, NC WARN, the Sierra Club and others are calling on the Utilities Commission to end the serial rate hikes. Look for demonstrators at noon outside the Dobbs Building.

This week’s round of Moral Monday protests will focus on what Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Phil Berger, and Governor Pat McCrory have cost the state and who have they hurt. Organizers will also begin to plan for local actions beyond the Moral Monday events in Raleigh. More than 650 people have been arrested over the past nine weeks protesting the policies of the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The week’s protest will get underway at 5:00 p.m. on Halifax Mall behind the Legislative Building.

Members of the House could give final approval this evening to a new version of Senate Bill 337, which previously would have created a new charter school oversight board separate from the State Board of Education. The new version of the bill requires that public charter schools ensure that 50 percent of their teaching workforce is certified. The House convenes this evening at 7:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, the House Health and Human Services Committee is slated to consider House Bill 695, the Women's-healthcontroversial anti-abortion bill the NC Senate rushed through last week with limited public notice.

The bill prohibits health plans offered on the federal health care exchange from offering abortion coverage. The measure also mandates that abortion clinics have “transfer agreements” with local hospitals, and doctors remain in the room for the entire abortion procedure, (regardless of whether the procedure is surgical, medical, or chemical). Critics say the bill threatens to close most of the state’s abortion clinics.

Members of Planned Parenthood and other advocates for women’s health will rally at 9:00 a.m. on the Bicentennial Mall across from the NC Legislative Building and then head into the committee hearing. HB 695 will be heard at 10:00 a.m. in Room 544 in the Legislative Office Building.

The North Carolina State Board of Education holds its July meeting this Wednesday and Thursday. Members will get an update on legislative changes, Race to the Top, and recommendations for enrollment requested for new charter schools. There will also be special recognition for North Carolina’s teacher, principal, and superintendent of the year.

Frack-free-400Friday afternoon, the Local Government Regulation Study Group of the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission meets. The meeting comes on the heels of the NC Senate’s passage of House Bill 94 that makes chemical disclosure of fracking fluids even more difficult to come by. Friday’s meeting begins at 1:00 p.m. on the 5th Floor of the Archdale Building, 512 North Salisbury St., Raleigh.

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