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Opinion Roundup: Reining in the consumer loan industry's pay-to-play politics

Posted July 26

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the case for vetoing a consumer loan bill riddled with campaign cash, big changes in a landmark equal opportunity education case, a follow-up story on the severe inconsistencies within our state's adult care home inspections and more.

POLICY & POLITICS
BOB HALL: Cooper should veto this measure (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Just before the NC General Assembly adjourned on June 30, the consumer loan industry won a prize piece of legislation from state legislators who have benefited handsomely from the industry’s campaign donations that total over $500,000 in the past four years.

RICK SMITH: Duke Energy joins firms a-to-x pledging to increase diversity, inclusion (WRAL-TV TechWire column) -- Who says fallout can't be positive rather than radioactive? Increasing corporate awareness no doubt triggered through sex and racial bias across the tech and venture capital industries as well as in reaction to various "bathroom bills" has led to efforts to address diversity and inclusion problems. Duke Energy is the latest corporate giant joining a new alliance that pledges to increase both.

CARL HULSE: Trump and Congressional Republicans: It’s Complicated (New York Times analysis) -- “While some may argue that he should not have recused himself from the Russia investigation, Attorney General Sessions demonstrated good judgment by doing so and removed all appearances of a potential conflict,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who sits on the Judiciary Committee. “The attorney general’s recusal was ultimately made in the best interests of the Department of Justice and the country.”

MICHELLE WAGNER: Is it Murder? (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- Will tougher charges for drug dealers work in court? The July 24 indictment of Manteo resident Gregory Wynn for second-degree murder makes him the first person to be tried on that charge in Dare County after allegedly distributing illegal drugs that led to an overdose death.

EDUCATION
LIZ BELL & ALEX GRANADOS: Big changes proposed in 20-year-old Leandro education court case (EdNC analysis) -- Marking the 20th anniversary of a lawsuit around equal opportunity in public schools, both sides in the Leandro case (Leandro v. State), in a joint motion, called for an independent consultant to make recommendations on how to ensure quality education for every N.C. child. Melanie Black Dubis, the lead counsel for the plaintiff school districts in the suit, said the independent consultant is necessary to securing the constitutional rights of all kids.

Stein sides with kangaroo courts over due process (Wilson Times) – College students found responsible for misconduct have begun suing college officials for violations of their due process rights. Since the campus disciplinary hearings rarely resemble a fair trial, plaintiffs are racking up victories. Attorney General Josh Stein should do his homework before barging into the national conversation surrounding Title IX hearings.

HEALTH
FRANK TAYLOR & MICHAEL GEBELEIN: Doubts about NC inspection system for adult care homes (Carolina Public Press analysis) -- In one county inspectors oversee dozens of adult care homes, but issued no state penalties for years, even against facilities operating at the lowest level. In another, county officials worked with the state to close a troubled facility. In yet another county, an adult care home with a history of repeated violations makes a new serious mistake, resulting in a potentially deadly situation. These are real-life examples from the estimated 1,200 private adult care home facilities across North Carolina, businesses that exist to provide 24-hour care to residents with substantial medical issues, including mental illness.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
‘Not off our coast’ (Greensboro News & Record) -- If you’ve been to the beach this summer, most likely the local town there has said no to offshore oil. Nags Head, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Surf City, Topsail Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle and others are all on record.

A big boost for safer water (Fayetteville Observer) -- This is a good place to start rebuilding North Carolina’s efforts to protect its precious natural resources — and the lives and health of its residents. It’s also a good place to show that we know the difference between being business-friendly and being irresponsibly hands-off. The latter condition became too common in state government in recent years. We hope Gov. Roy Cooper brought it to a tire-screeching halt this week.

Cooper brings needed firepower to GenX response (Wilmington Star-News) -- It was long overdue, but we were pleased to see Gov. Roy Cooper make a forceful and much-needed appearance in Wilmington on Monday to brief leaders on the state’s GenX response and to assure residents that his administration is working diligently on all fronts.

CATHERINE CLABBY: Cooper Takes Aim at Chemours, GenX, Other Chemicals (N.C. Health News analysis) -- In Wilmington on Monday, the governor said GenX and other unregulated chemicals released into state waters require more scrutiny.

JOHN DOWNEY: When Duke Energy Carolinas will unveil its N.C. rate-hike plan (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Duke Energy Carolinas will file its formal N.C. rate hike proposal — including whether it will seek to charge customers for any of its work to date on the proposed Lee Nuclear Station — on Aug. 25. Utilities are required to give the N.C. Utilities Commission 30 days notice of their intention to seek new rates. On Tuesday, Duke Carolinas gave the commission that notice for its long-expected rate-hike request.

BRAD RICH: NOAA Funds Aquaculture Debris Cleanup (Coastal Review analysis) -- A recently announced federal grant will be used to help pay for removal of debris from an abandoned aquaculture operation littering public trust waters in Carteret County.

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