Commentary, News

This week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

Full coverage of the 9th District hearing and its implications, including:

1. In shocking reversal, Mark Harris calls for new election; Board agrees unanimously

When 9th congressional candidate Mark Harris took the stand Thursday and called for a new election in light of evidence his political operative orchestrated a fraudulent absentee ballot scheme, a collective gasp resonated through the room.

It was the fourth day of an evidentiary hearing conducted by the State Board of Elections to decide whether it would certify the last undecided congressional race in the nation or order a new election altogether — which it ultimately did. [Read more…]

**Bonus reads:

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2. Superintendent Mark Johnson outlines new education priorities at controversial private event

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson on Tuesday released a lengthy list of education priorities he contends will ensure North Carolina’s public schools are the best for teachers and students by 2030.

The list of priorities includes pay increases for teachers (at least five percent pay raises this year), the elimination of high-stakes testing, the recruitment of the best and brightest teachers and more flexibility for school districts, among others. [Read more…]

**Bonus commentary: What was missing at Superintendent Johnson’s private education summit

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(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

3. Richard Burr in the spotlight as Senate’s Trump-Russia investigation inches toward a conclusion

WASHINGTON — Sen. Richard Burr is in the awkward position of investigating whether his ally in the White House colluded with Russia to meddle in a U.S. election.

As the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the North Carolina Republican is overseeing an effort to assess Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election that elevated President Donald Trump to the White House. Burr had previously assured North Carolina voters that there was no “separation” between him and Trump, and he worked as a national security adviser to the presidential campaign. [Read more…]

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4. Chemours, DEQ, Cape Fear River Watch hammer out final consent order on GenX, PFAS contamination

After receiving 380 public comments on a proposed consent order with Chemours, state environmental regulators are asking a Bladen County judge to sign the final version of the document, which would put it into effect.

The consent order lays out several new requirements for Chemours to analyze monitor and report its emissions and discharges of GenX compounds and other per- and polyfluorinated compounds into the air and water, including the Cape Fear River. The document also requires the company to remove 99 percent of the contamination of the surface water and groundwater at an old outfall at the Fayetteville Works site. [Read more…]

**Bonus read: Residents skeptical of Chemours’ proposed air permit; comment by Feb. 22.

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5. Demystifying abortion: How myths and stigma only feed attacks on Roe v. Wade

Many of us may remember the often very implausible notions we had of “where babies come from” when we were kids.

And even as we learned more details when we got older, many of us still entered adulthood with only a partial understanding of the complexities of pregnancy, childbirth and sexual and reproductive health care. These are expansive and complicated topics, and there is still an incredible amount of stigma that creates barriers to honest and open conversations on these issues.

This silence and lack of understanding comes at a price…[Read more…]

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Editorial Cartoon:

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