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Six things to have on your radar this week

Equal Rights Amendment – Legislators and members of organizations supporting women’s rights will gather at the Legislative Building in Raleigh this afternoon to call upon the leadership of the House and Senate to prioritize action on bills (HB 102 and SB 85) that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. The action comes on the heels of recent action by the Nevada legislature to ratify the Amendment. Activities will commence with a 3:00 pm press conference led by Rep. Carla Cunningham.

Vote to allow firearms in churches and schools – Current N.C. law generally prohibits gun owners from bringing guns onto school campuses, but it does not bar guns from places of worship — so long as the church, synagogue or mosque does not bar them. A proposed bill would make clear that gun owners can bring their firearms onto the property where schools and churches co-exist as long as it’s outside the operating hours of the school and the place of worship doesn’t say affirmatively bar them. Gun violence advocates have concerns about the proposal and would much prefer that the presumption be that guns are banned in places of worship unless they are affirmatively welcomed. The Bill (House Bill 174) is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on this evening.

Teaching Fellows 2.0 – On Tuesday, the House Education Committee for Universities will meet in Room 1228 of the Legislative Building to take up legislation by Rep. Craig Horn to revive the Teaching Fellows Program – a program abolished by Republicans after they took control of the General Assembly earlier in the decade.

Governor Roy Cooper is also proposing in his budget a plan to increase teacher recruitment:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Role in the Transition to a Low-Carbon
Acting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Chery LaFleur comes to Duke’s campus on Tuesday.  She’ll be discussing the electricity sector’s period of rapid change and FERC role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The talk will take place in Duke University’s Ahmadieh Family Grand Hall (Gross Hall room 330) from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Look for questions from the audience about the impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

LaFleur’s talk is sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Duke University Energy Initiative, and the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Rural Education Advocacy – Retired Congresswoman Eva Clayton, policymakers, education and business leaders and others will spearhead Rural Education Advocacy Day in Raleigh on Wednesday. The event is designed to highlight the fact that while North Carolina has the second largest rural population in America, the unique needs of rural school districts are often forgotten. More than two-thirds of North Carolina’s traditional public school districts are rural and nearly 40 percent of students in traditional public schools are educated in a rural district. The program will run from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Department of Public Instruction’s Education Building Auditorium.

Community College Day at the General Assembly – The North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents will kick off “Community College Day at the General Assembly” on Wednesday. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and include interactive simulations and demonstrations of feature community college programs in the 1000 and 1300 court of the NC Legislative Building. A press conference in the Legislative Building press Room will take place at 10:00 am.

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