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Senate, House reach budget deal, rush to approve $22.34 billion plan (video)

The state Senate will take the first vote today on a $22.34 billion budget compromise. House and Senate leaders offered highlights of the spending plan in a Monday evening press conference, with the corresponding documents not being made available until hours later.

The budget compromise is now available here.

The budget’s money report is here.

Don’t miss the NC Budget & Tax Center’s initial take on the deal.

The spending plan will face the first of two votes in the Senate this afternoon. The state House could vote as early as Wednesday, and remains on target to pass the state budget by the end of this week.

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U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

Abortion rights advocates are declaring a victory today after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down (in a 5-3 ruling) Texas abortion restrictions that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The Texas rules also required that clinics must meet hospital-like standards, prompting several clinics in the Lone Star State to shutter their doors.

In writing for the majority, Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted that such restrictions “provide few if any health benefits for women, pose a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes a, ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Read the full opinion in  Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt here.

Here’s reaction to the opinion from social media:

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House Democrats stage sit-in, demand gun-control legislation (video)

Congressional Democrats staged a sit-in on the U.S. House floor Wednesday, demanding the chamber vote on common sense gun-control measures.

Congresswoman Alma Adams appealed to her colleagues to take action after the Orlando shooting that left 50 dead and 53 wounded. Adams drew applause as she demanded “NRA, get the hell out of the way!”

Here’s how other members of the state’s congressional delegation responded:

But several Republicans, including Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro, called the action a stunt:

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Moral Monday movement mourns Orlando shooting, anti-LGBT House Bill 2 (video)

NC NACCP President Reverend William Barber and members of the Moral Monday movement spoke out yesterday against gun violence, homophobia, and the anti-LGBT bill known as HB2.

Barber told the audience of about 150 people that :

“Religious hate, class hate, and the rhetoric of hate is always a precursor and a prerequisite to the actions of hate. And so we gather as one human family  in a vigil for love, justice, equality, and non-violence. And by our very presence we stand in protest to hate and discrimination.”

The NC NAACP is calling for a full repeal of HB2.  Click below to hear more from Monday’s rally outside the state legislature:

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Six things to have on your radar this week

love is loveMoral Monday – In the wake of the June 12th mass shooting in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 others wounded, the NC NAACP and Forward Together Movement will hold a Mass Moral Monday Vigil for Love, Justice and Equality against Hate and Discrimination.

“We cannot let hate have the first, last or loudest word,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the NC NAACP.

Today’s rally begins at 5:00 p.m. outside the NC General Assembly in downtown Raleigh.bitzer

And if you missed it over the weekend, be sure to listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s radio interview with Catawba College political scientist Dr. Michael Bitzer as he discusses the impact of the Orlando shooting on the presidential race, the politics of hate, and the fate of HB2.

The future of transit – Anthony Foxx, US Secretary of Transportation and former Mayor of FoxxCharlotte, will speak on the benefits of transit this evening at WakeUP Wake County’s Community Forum.

This event runs from 5:30 PM to 8:45 PM at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Find a complete agenda here.

Voting rights back in court – A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, will hear oral arguments Tuesday over North Carolina’s restrictive voting law.

VoteThe American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit out-of-precinct voting. The groups argue the law unduly burdens the right to vote and discriminates against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act.

Tuesday’s hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1000 East Main Street, Butzner En Banc Courtroom, Richmond, Virginia.

A closer look at the Carolina Comeback – Is the North Carolina economy improving or stagnant? Are we in the midst of a “Carolina Comeback” as Governor McCrory and others allege or a prolonged and problematic malaise?

The answers to these questions depend in large part upon the measurements we use and how we use them.

Professor Dirk Philipsen is Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and a Duke Arts and Sciences Senior Research Scholar.

Philipsen will address the economy Tuesday at noon at the latest NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation.

The event begins at noon at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillary ClintonHillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Clinton comes to Raleigh – Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be campaigning in Raleigh Wednesday discussing “her vision for America.”

Clinton will appear at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds Exposition Center in Raleigh. Her event is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. with doors opening at 12:30p.m. Additional details can be found here.PV-SB817

Controversial constitutional amendment – Finally, the state Senate is expected to vote Saturday on a controversial bill that would have voters cast a ballot this fall for or against a 5.5 percent cap on incomes in the state.

Sponsors say Senate Bill 817 will control future spending by the legislature.

The N.C. Budget and Tax Center says the constitutional amendment is a bad idea that would reduce state revenue moving forward hurting education spending and support for other critical needs in our state.

Learn more about the harms of SB 817 here.