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Opinion Roundup: Health care legislation, without the care

Posted July 25

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Senate will be kept in session the first two weeks of their August recess.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on Congress' continued attempts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, N.C.'s response to GenX water contamination, a heated town hall for one state legislator and more.

HEALTH
JESSICA SHORR SAXE: A tax cut in sheep’s clothing (Charlotte Observer column) -- What do you call a bill that provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy – by taking health care away from other Americans? It should be called a tax cut bill for the rich, disguised as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA), which has nothing to do with providing care.

KYLIE MOORE: Charlotteans might be choosing to have pets over kids, and it's showing up in the numbers (Charlotte Agenda column) -- Fertility rates in Mecklenburg County are on a steady decline. Why? Some are blaming millennials.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
KIRK ROSS: Cooper Rolls Out State Response to GenX (Coastal Review analysis) -- Gov. Roy Cooper went to Wilmington to outline a state action plan to deal with the GenX contamination, promising to deny the company’s discharge permit and investigate potential criminal violations.

STEPHANIE CARSON: N.C. Wind moratorium faces blowback from advocates (Public News Service analysis) -- The wind energy potential for North Carolina may be stunted by a bill that now sits on Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. House Bill 589 includes an 18-month moratorium on on-shore wind development - which could have devastating effects on the industry.

‘Not off our coast’ (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Gov. Roy Cooper rightly said loud and clear Thursday that he’ll fight oil and gas drilling off our state’s beautiful, moneymaking coast. We hope he and all the other opponents in our state prevail against the Trump administration’s wrongheaded plan to open our coast.

POLICY & POLITICS
TODD WETHERINGTON: Speciale New Bern town hall draws jeers, walkouts, and some applause (New Bern Sun Journal analysis) -- A New Bern town hall meeting grew heated as many audience members walked out on state Rep. Michael Speciale following an exchange about women’s marches across the state. Speciale spoke as part of a three-day trip covering each of the three counties he represents – Craven, Pamlico and Beaufort offering “brief informative talk on legislative activities during this year’s session followed by a question and answer session.”

Courts should flush lawsuit challenging House Bill 2 repeal (Wilson Times) -- While HB 2 overreached and sought to insert big government into personal restroom choices, House Bill 142 fixed the problem. The ACLU’s lawsuit is flimsy, frivolous and deserves to be flushed.

In Texas, not learning from NC’s HB2 mistake (Durham Herald-Sun) -- Good grief: Texas’s most right-wing lawmakers are actually pushing an HB2 of their very own.

JIM BRUMM: When waiting can be deadly (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Wilmington area domestic violence related slayings this year are at numbers not seen since 2004, District Attorney Ben David said. Calling 2017′s increase an inexplicable anomaly, he said a package of bills that cleared Raleigh’s hurdles last month is “an important new tool to hold people fully accountable for these heinous killings” by making it easier for domestic violence offenders be found guilty of first-degree murder.

WILL MICHAELS: New Policy Limits Solitary Confinement Time For Inmates (WUNC-FM analysis) -- The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has implemented a new disciplinary policy that limits the time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement.

Lots of candidates and opportunities (Fayetteville Observer) -- We’re not sure what, exactly, has fired up the interest in public service, but we applaud it. And if we find it, we’d like to bottle it and sell it to communities plagued by municipal indifference. We’ve got 40 people running for mayor and City Council in Fayetteville. That’s extraordinary. Veteran politics watchers say they’ve never seen a year with such interest and commitment. And it’s not just Fayetteville.

Putting land back on tax rolls (Jacksonville Daily News) -- Some parcels have little real usefulness to governments. Selling off publicly owned land can be a politically tricky business. And in some cases, putting land up for sale means admitting that public officials probably went overboard by purchasing it in the first place. The reality is that some local governments own a lot of land.

EDUCATION
Schools showdown (Greensboro News & Record) -- Who’s in charge of public education in North Carolina?

JON ELLSTON: Understanding STEM across the globe (EdNC column) -- The garden at Erwin High School in Buncombe County may be just over a year old, but it looks like it’s been there for a fruitful spell already. School staff, along with family and friends, donated the more than 20 species of plants that invite the pollinators to stay in a setting designed just for them — one complete with a bee house of bamboo chambers that key species of the pollinators seek out for shelter.

AND MORE
ROXANE GAY: I don’t want to watch slavery fan faction (New York Times column) -- Each time I see a reimagining of the Civil War that largely replicates what actually happened, I wonder why people are expending the energy to imagine that slavery continues to thrive when we are still dealing with the vestiges of slavery in very tangible ways.

JIM CARNETT: There’s no difference between Carl’s Jr. and Hardee's — until there is (LA Times column) -- My wife Hedy and I spent last week with our daughter and her family in rural North Carolina. It was blessedly quiet — except for the full-throated cicadas — but also hot. Ah, summer in the South.

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