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A hundred children, including three in North Carolina, were shot and killed in accidental shootings last year, largely in situations where loaded guns had been left unattended and reachable by small children.

The 2013 deaths of children under 14 were tallied through press reports by the gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action and compiled in a report “Innocents Lost” to call attention to preventable child gun deaths.

The report (click here to read) also concluded that two-thirds of the deaths could have been prevented if the guns had been locked and stored away from where children could reach the weapons.

Shooting locations. Source: "Innocents Lost" report from Everytown for Gun Safety

Shooting locations. Source: “Innocents Lost” report from Everytown for Gun Safety

The North Carolina deaths included that of 10-year-old Christopher Stanlane Jr. , who was killed in Fairmont in March 2013 when his father was cleaning a shotgun and it accidentally discharged, instantly killing the boy.

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State Rep. Paul Stam

State Rep. Paul Stam

State Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, an Apex Republican, rankled his fellow lawmakers and others with comments Tuesday he made on the House floor likening pedophilia and sadism to sexual orientations, as opposed to sexual perversions.

Stam is one of the most socially conservative lawmaker in the legislature, and was a leading proponent of 2012’s Amendment One that further codified a ban in North Carolina on same-sex marriage. He made his comments Tuesday during a debate over whether public charter schools should be banned from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring or admissions.

“Sexual orientation is not defined anywhere. I have here 30 different types of sexual orientation,” Stam said, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. “I thought we should exclude pedophilia, masochism, and sadism, which are sexual orientations.”

He also handed out information(click here and here to read) from an outdated 2000 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) on sexual paraphilias that listed a number of sexual perversions and disorders as well as homosexuality. The American Psychiatric Association in 2013 said it erroneously listed disorders like pedophilia under the sexual orientation classification in the updated DSM-V manual.

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Judge Ola Lewis; Source, Judgepedia.org

A campaign website for a judge running for the state’s highest judicial seat posted an N.C. Policy Watch reporter’s article without attribution, leaving the false impression the article had been written by the judge.

Judge Ola Lewis, a Brunswick County Superior Court judge running to be the next chief justice at the N.C. Supreme Court, said a member of her campaign staff made a mistake in posting the article without proper attribution.

The Sept. 25 article, “Discretion at the Supreme Court” was written by Sharon McCloskey, N.C. Policy Watch’s courts and law reporter.

The entire text of McCloskey’s article about how cases comes before the state Supreme Court appeared on Lewis’ campaign website under a June 18th entry that stated (falsely) it was written by Lewis.

A click on the link brought up the text of McCloskey’s article, but with no mention that McCloskey – and not Lewis – had authored the piece.

Screen grab of Lewis' campaign website

Screen grab of Lewis’ campaign website

A second article by McCloskey titled “Business as usual at the Supreme Court” also appeared on Lewis’ website without any attribution. That piece (click here) was originally published in June 2013 on N.C. Policy Watch.

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One of the top Democrats in the state House or Representatives owed more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, according to court filings and tax records reviewed by the Carolina Journal for this report.

State Rep. Michael Wray

State Rep. Michael H. Wray, a Gaston Democrat serving as the deputy minority leader, owed more than $100,000 for federal, state and local taxes that went unpaid on businesses and properties he owned, according to the investigative report by the Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington. (The Carolina Journal is part of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative Raleigh-based thinktank.)

Wray, who describes himself as a small business owner on his legislative website, has been in the state House since 2005, and recently defeated a Democratic challenger in the Mary primary. He has no Republican opponent in the general election this November for his district in northeastern North Carolina that covers parts of Halifax and Northampton counties.

Federal IRS officials also filed two tax liens in February on Wray’s property in Northampton County, seeking $83,979 in unpaid taxes.

Wray did not respond to requests from the Carolina Journal for comment, though an attorney for Wray told Carrington the taxes had been paid off.

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The federal Department of Labor announced today that it will move to include same-sex marriages under the Federal Medical Leave Act, a decision that will mean more legal protections for families in states like North Carolina that don’t currently recognize gay marriages.

The rule change being sought by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez would bring same-sex marriages under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law that allows U.S. workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their ill spouses and immediate family members, or care for an adopted child or newborn baby.marriage amendment

“The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between succeeding at work and being a loving family caregiver,” Perez said, according to a written statement. “Under the proposed revisions, the FMLA will be applied to all families equally, enabling individuals in same-sex marriages to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities to their families.”

Same-sex couples that live in states that issue and recognize gay marriages already are covered by the law, and the rule change would extend those rights to the couples in the 31 states like North Carolina that don’t recognize gay marriages.

If adopted, the change would redefine “spouse” in regulations to include couples that get married in states with marriage equality, and not base that definition on the rules of the state where the couple is living.

The Family Medical Leave Act applies to all public employers, and to private employers that have more than 50 employees and aren’t seasonal businesses. Any employee that’s been on the job for more than a year and has worked at least 1,250 hours in the job is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a number of specified reasons, including tending to ill family members or caring for a newly adopted or newborn child.

The rule change could mean a significant shift here in North Carolina, as litigation seeking to overturn North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages continue to make its way through the courts.

Since Amendment One was passed in 2012 and further solidified the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, school districts and local and state governments did not extend FMLA coverage to same-sex couples married in other states.

The proposed rule change, if adopted, would change that and bring all public employees under the federal law and also make most large private employers do the same.

Labor officials are taking comments from the public about the proposed rule change for the next 45 days and then will issue a final decision, which will apply to employers in the entire nation, according to a DOL spokeswoman. Click here to review the rule change, and submit any comments to the labor department.