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Five things to have on your radar this week

#1 – Barrett Supreme Court hearing begins – All eyes will be on Washington this week as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins moving forward with the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Republicans hope to cement her place and a solid conservative majority on the high court ahead of Election Day.

Senator Thom Tillis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in early October, tweeted Sunday evening that he was ready to emerge from quarantine and help advance the Barrett nomination. 

Tillis will be able to take part in the committee proceedings virtually for the first few days. 

A confirmation vote would need to be in person, so leadership will need to be sure Tillis  and and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) are no longer contagious before that vote takes place. 

You can read Barrett’s opening statement to the committee here.  

#2 – Fragile Democracy  – America is at war with itself over the right to vote, or, more precisely, over the question of who gets to exercise that right and under what circumstances. Conservatives speak in ominous tones of voter fraud so widespread that it threatens public trust in elected government. Progressives counter that fraud is rare and that calls for reforms such as voter ID are part of a campaign to shrink the electorate and exclude some citizens from the political life of the nation.  

In Fragile Democracy, James L. Leloudis and Robert R. Korstad tell the story of race and voting rights, from the end of the Civil War until the present day. They show that battles over the franchise have played out through cycles of emancipatory politics and conservative retrenchment. When race has been used as an instrument of exclusion from political life, the result has been a society in which vast numbers of Americans are denied the elements of meaningful freedom: a good job, a good education, good health, and a good home. That history points to the need for a bold new vision of what democracy looks like.  

Join NC Policy Watch Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. for a very special (and virtual) Crucial Conversation as the authors discuss their important work at this critical moment in history.  

Click here to register.  

#3 – The Color of Education series continues Tuesday at 4:00pm with a special discussion on COVID-19 and racial equity in education.  

Featured speakers include: Kisha Clemmons, 2020 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year; N.C. Senator Valerie Foushee; James Ford, State Board of Education and Center for Racial Equity in Education; MariaRosa Rangel, Office of Equity Affairs, WCPSS; and Matt Bristow-Smith, 2019 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.  

The series is sponsored by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, and the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.  

Learn more about the series here  

#4 – Early voting – The early voting period for the 2020 general election kicks off Thursday (October 15) and runs through October 31. Early voting sites can be found on the State Board of Elections’ website.  

Working to make up ground as early voting gets underway, President Trump will be back in the state Thursday with a rally in Greenville. The “Make America Great Again” rally is planned for 1:00pm at Pitt-Greenville Airport.  

#5 – Deadline to apply for  North Carolina Extra Credit Grant –  Thursday is also the deadline for parents who didn’t file a state tax return in 2019  to fill out additional paperwork needed to qualify for a one-time $335 stimulus payment from the state.

The funding was approved by the General Assembly in September to help families with virtual schooling and child-care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Learn more about the North Carolina Extra Credit Grant here. 

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