1. General Assembly-ordered cuts likely to hamper services for poor, rural schools
Support for needy districts and key positions within North Carolina’s top public school agency may be in jeopardy this week as the State Board of Education mulls ways to pass down millions in legislative cuts.
Officials confirmed that the State Board of Education could vote as early as Wednesday on how to dish out $3.2 million in General Assembly-ordered funding reductions for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
State Superintendent Mark Johnson, a Republican, turned over multiple options for distributing the cuts to the state board, which has provided feedback behind closed doors, Policy Watch has learned. Neither the board nor Johnson’s office would turn over specific details given the cuts broach confidential personnel matters. [Read more…]
When Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention or STOP Act into law last month, he called it an essential tool in the fight against an opioid epidemic now gripping the state.
The law imposes limits on the prescription of opioid pain medications – no more than a five day supply of the pain medications on an initial visit. It also requires doctors electronically submit the prescriptions they write as part of a reporting system to prevent over-prescription and drug seeking behavior.
For some active addicts in Wilmington, ground zero for opioid abuse in the state, doctor shopping is a way of life. They go from doctor’s office to hospital to treatment center – some widely known as “pill mills” where it is easy to score – maintaining habits for years or decades without ever breaking the law. [Read more…]
It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what has been happening in North Carolina for the last seven years, a takeover by far-right ideologues hell-bent on dismantling the fundamental institutions of the government they lead, without regard to the suffering their decisions will inflict on the people they are supposed to represent.
At least two distinct battles are now constantly raging in Raleigh in Washington. One is being led by the new regime’s political opponents both inside and outside of government who are relentlessly reminding voters of the devastating consequences of decisions to privatize public schools, repeal a health care law that has cut the number of people without insurance in half, and wage war on the environment by recklessly rolling back key regulations and abandoning efforts to address climate change.
The other battle is internal, between the new rulers and a few reasonable holdovers within their ranks from the days when the Republican Party was not dominated by vindictive extremists determined to punish their political opponents while remaking the government they detest. [Read more…]
When Gov. Roy Cooper visits Wilmington on Monday, it’s unlikely that he will be greeted by the friendly faces he encountered during his campaign. Instead, the people of New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties want answers to questions about the safety of their drinking water now that the chemical GenX has been detected in it.
GenX, an “emerging contaminant,” as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency, is entering the Cape Fear River and public water treatment plants from the Chemours plant upstream in Fayetteville.
But GenX is only one of several known emerging contaminants that have been detected in drinking water throughout the North Carolina. Chromium 6 has been found in private drinking water wells near coal ash plants; 1,4-dioxane, prevalent throughout the US, has been found in the Haw River and other state waterways.[Read more…]
5. Trump nominates hyper-partisan conservative activist to NC federal court vacancy
Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned
Sometimes all one can do is stand and marvel in slack-jawed wonder at the breathtaking brazenness, hypocrisy and double standards that Donald Trump and his allies in the modern conservative movement are willing to employ and embrace. Six months into this dark new era, it’s truly gotten to the point at which it’s hard to think of any political act under the sun that conservatives would be unwilling to engage in in order to pursue and accomplish their goal of radically overhauling the American social contract.
The ultimate manifestation of this appalling new reality is, of course, Trump’s symbiotic relationship with one of the globe’s most powerful and immoral organized crime bosses, Vladimir Putin, but there are dozens of other – if more mundane – examples.
Here in North Carolina, the steady decline in any pretense by legislative leaders of adhering to basic rules of process and open government stands out. So too does the startling willingness of self-described “Christian” conservatives to cozy up to Trump and his serial mendacity. [Read more…]
***Bonus reads from Courts & Law:
- State Supreme Court dismisses Cooper’s request to halt already merged Elections, Ethics Board
- State Board of Education will appeal constitutional challenge decision favoring Superintendent
- Republican legislative leaders dismiss lawsuit against Cooper over Medicaid expansion
*** Upcoming Crucial Conversation luncheon on Wednesday, July 26th: Professor Nancy MacLean on her provocative new book, “Democracy in Chains”