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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

1. UNC Board vote on Civil Rights Center the latest move in an ideological crusade

Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross.

The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason given for forcing Ross to resign.

The board chair said after the meeting that Ross had been doing a wonderful job. But everybody in Raleigh knew the reason.

Ross’ firing was the beginning of the Republican assault on the university system with most of the focus on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, long derided by forces on the Right as a key center of progressive thought in the state. [Read more…]

2. Parent of special needs child battles troubled Charlotte charter school
Case raises questions of whether charters are complying with state and federal law

Skye, a 10-year-old from Charlotte, was vomiting stomach bile when her mother decided something must change.

LauraLee McIntosh saw the health of her daughter, diagnosed with a rare chromosome condition and mitochondrial disease, declining steadily along with her weight. McIntosh blames the Charlotte charter school that refused to loosen its strict lunch policies to allow a modified lunch for Skye, despite doctor’s orders.

Skye, whose symptoms include neurological problems, could not adapt to the school’s rigid healthy and organic lunch requirements. Skye’s response to various textures and tastes made meal time difficult, so she all but stopped eating at Veritas, while school leadership refused to make adjustments. [Read more…]

3. Even after revisions, Atlantic Coast Pipeline plan still threatens NC rivers, drinking water

The temperature in Rocky Mount was tipping 100 degrees and the hallway of Nash Community College was hot, as it held hundreds of people lined up to speak on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Nothing sounded better than a cold glass of water.

But these days, with contaminants known and unknown flowing from their taps, North Carolinians can no longer take clean water for granted.

Worries about their drinking water, as well as property values and environmental damage, compelled hundreds of people to attend the NC Department of Environmental Quality’s two recent public hearings on water quality and buffer requirements for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. [Read more…]


4. Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month

Republican legislative leaders are staying mum about a federal court ruling that requires them to submit new maps by September 1.

The date is almost three months in advance of the deadline they asked for, though the three-judge panel did deny a request for a special election – a win for GOP lawmakers who argued against such a request after delaying drawing new maps until the 11th hour.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and Redistricting Committee chairmen Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) have not responded to an email request seeking comment about the court’s timeline. They also have not released any public statements.

Democrats and advocates, on the other hand, have both commended and criticized the court’s ruling.[Read more…]

5. What the fight over fair elections is really all about
As NC looks at election rules and redistricting, a powerful new book reminds us why these issues are even on the table

This is an especially busy week in the fight for fair elections in North Carolina. Late yesterday, a panel of three federal judges issued an order in the case of North Carolina v. Covington – a challenge to North Carolina’s unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative districts. The ruling came just hours after the North Carolina State Board of Elections conducted a hearing on a set of new proposed rules that could rein in some of the worst voter suppression tactics employed by conservatives during the 2016 election.

With any luck, we could be on the verge of some important breakthroughs in the effort to enfranchise voters and reclaim our democracy. [Read more…]

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