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Five things to have on your radar this week

1. Trump’s cabinet picks move toward confirmation – Confirmation hearings begin Tuesday in Washington for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees. First up will be the hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s choice to be our next U.S. Attorney General. On Wednesday, Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State nominee, will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee.

Democrats are urging Senate Republicans not to rush the process as some of Trump’s nominees — including Education Sec. nominee Betsy DeVos — have not yet completed the ethics review process.
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2. Charter school expansion and segregation – The number of charter schools in our state has more than doubled in the last five year, and this week we could see more schools on the path to opening their doors.

The NC Charter Schools Advisory Board will hold its first meeting of the year Tuesday-Thursday. You’ll find their  agenda here.

Ahead of the meeting, you might want to check out Amy Hawn Nelson’s piece on demographic data that shows charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools. Nelson is the Director of Social Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.
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3. Medicaid expansion – Assuming the remnants of last week’s wintry weather does not postpone it, members of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services meet Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

Legislators are likely to share a few thoughts on Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement that he will push for Medicaid expansion.

Speaking of expansion, be sure to read Chris Fitzsimon’s Monday numbers column.
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4. NC General Assembly returns – After five special sessions in 2016, members of the North Carolina House and Senate return to Raleigh on Wednesday for the beginning of the 2017 “long” session.

Republicans in control of the House and Senate will have to decide how that want to work with Governor Roy Cooper on hot-button issues such as Medicaid expansion and the repeal of HB2.

Meredith College political scientist David McLennan says this session will also be shaped by the recent federal court order to redraw legislative districts by mid-March and hold new elections in 2017:

You can hear our full radio interview with David McLennan here.
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5. Nationwide Mass Mobilization to Protect Immigrants & Refugees – Just one week before Donald Trump’s inauguration, immigrants, families and allies will rally, march, and hold vigils and mass community gatherings to build momentum for sanctuaries of safety and deportation defense networks in cities, schools, churches and states.

Saturday’s mobilization is part of a growing wave of resilience and defiance against Trump’s promises to rip families apart, create a Muslim registry and enact policies like “stop and frisk” rooted in racial profiling and discrimination. Further,  immigrants contribute vastly to our economy, and Trump’s mass deportation plan could lead to additional exploitation of immigrant works and would drive down wages for all workers.

On January 14th, people from coast to coast will stand together and say that we are #HereToStay and will not be moved.

Events are currently planned in over 20 states across the country, including local events in Charlotte and Raleigh.

See the current nationwide event list here.

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