Outside the Box


Opinion Roundup: A late-night Senate switcheroo for the ages

Posted May 18
Updated May 19

Thursday, May 18, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion and commentary on some Senate budget shenanigans, a new renewable energy project, two liquor sales debates and more.

Partisanship wins again in N.C. Senate (Wilmington Star-News) -- We’re all for funding to curb opioid abuse. But this seeming concern by the GOP senators really arose from a stunning example of political retaliation.

Children's Health Concerns Predominate at Final Medicaid Listening Session (N.C. Health News) -- Forty-two people spoke at the McKimmon Center on the N.C. State University campus for the listening session on North Carolina’s Medicaid reform plan hosted by the state Department of Health and Human Services, at least 30 of them directly told HHS Secretary Mandy Cohen that the state’s Medicaid overhaul should include expanding Medicaid. Many of the physicians’ stories were about patients they saw too late.

DOUG CLARK: N.C. Senate uses budget to hide an anti-wind provision (Greensboro News & Record column) -- An ill wind blew out of our state Senate last week.

Cape Lookout Solar Energy Goes Live (Coastal Review) -- Cape Lookout has unveiled a new solar energy system that will power all of the park’s facilities, except for the lighthouse beacon, which is also set to be upgraded later this year.

NC Students Miss More Than 1M Days Of Class Because Of Suspensions (WUNC-FM) -- North Carolina public school students missed more than one million days of classroom instruction while suspended during the last school year. That's according to a new brief on school discipline released Wednesday by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

CHRISTIE MURPHY: Why I have to quit teaching and no it’s not the pay (Greensboro News & Record column) -- I have to leave for my kids — not the students in my classes but the children I brought into this world. The kinds of conditions I see in my school are affecting them in their schools as well. We’re being constantly asked to do more with less. Per-pupil funding in North Carolina has dropped from $6,237 in 2008-09 to $5,616 in 2016-17, when adjusted for inflation, ranking us 44th in the nation.

Give N.C. craft breweries the freedom to self-distribute (Wilson Times) -- An antiquated rule dating to the end of Prohibition was meant to guard against monopolies, but in the modern era of the craft beer boom, it stifles competition. Call it the law of unintended consequences.

WALTER DELLINGER: Trump should appoint a Democrat to run the FBI (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- The single best way to maintain the essential credibility of federal law enforcement would be for President Donald Trump to name a Democrat to run the FBI.

CELIA RIVENBARK: Sean Spicer’s mission impossible (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Trump’s press secretary often sent into battle without a single arrow in his quiver.

DARRELL ALLISON: Opportunity Scholarships score a Triple-A Rating (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Critics claim North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program poses a triple threat to taxpayers and families. Missing in action? Accountability, affordability, and accessibility. Opponents say this program, which provides state-funded private school scholarships to low-income families, offers few quality schools at a price parents can pay. Their bottom line: It’s speculative, risky, and sure to default on its promises. Thousands of families would disagree. Their experience, along with evidence and recent events, suggests the program can meet its commitments. Since the program launched four years ago, families have submitted nearly 33,000 applications. Each year scholarship applications soar to historic levels; already, families have submitted almost 9,000 applications for 2017-18.

EUGENE VOLOKH: Attempt to vanish articles about N.C. local school board member’s (now expunged) 2011 arrest (Washington Post column) -- A complaint was filed with Google Sunday morning under the name of Sherry Womack, a Lee County Board of Education member, seeking to remove search results related to her 2011 arrest. Womack is also the wife of Jim Womack, a North Carolina politician who is running for chairman of the state Republican Party. My view: People shouldn’t be trying to secretly vanish stories about elected officials, behind the backs of voters and reporters, to hide from voters factually accurate information — however unfair and obsolete they may think it to be.

Spartan initiatives (Greensboro News & Record) -- UNC-Greensboro should get approval to develop two millennial campus districts when the UNC Board of Governors meets today and Friday.

Is a half-day off from commercial drinking too much to ask? (Charlotte Observer column) -- The NC legislature is considering allowing alcohol sales on Sunday mornings. Is a few hours of peace and quiet too much to ask for?


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