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Opinion Roundup: The clock is ticking on CHIP funding

Posted October 4

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on states' reactions to the federal CHIP funding lapse, a new poll on North Carolinians views of President Trump's job performance, the latest twists and turns in the GenX funding discussion and more.

HEALTH
ROBERT PEAR: States Gird for Worst as Congress Wrestles with Children’s Insurance Program (New York Times analysis) -- In statehouses around the country, officials are preparing for the worst as lawmakers in Washington struggle to find money for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, which insures nearly nine million children but lost its spending authority on Sunday, with the start of the new fiscal year. Congress has known for two years that federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program were expiring this fall. By the end of this year, North Carolina, Arizona and Minnesota are likely to run out of money for their programs, according to the panel, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

POLITICS & POLICY
N.C. voters disapprove of Trump’s job performance, say president should work across the aisle (Elon Poll) -- The latest statewide survey by the Elon University Poll asked about President Trump's job performance, Congressional action on Obamacare and DACA, NFL player protests, whether Confederate monuments should be removed from public spaces and other issues.

ROBERT BARNES: Supreme Court takes up Wisconsin as test in partisan gerrymandering claims (Washington Post analysis) -- Opponents of political gerrymandering had reason for optimism at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the likely swing vote, appearing more in sync with liberal colleagues who seemed convinced that a legislative map can be so infected with political bias that it violates the Constitution.

JESSE BRAVIN & BRENT KENDALL: Supreme Court Appears Divided Over Gerrymandering (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- The Supreme Court confronted the hard-edged politics of electoral redistricting, with justices divided over whether judicial intervention or allowing legislative majorities to manipulate maps posed a greater threat to democracy.

Justice Kennedy on Hot Seat in Major Voting Rights Case (Reuters analysis) -- Supreme Court justices clashed on Tuesday over whether courts should curb the long-standing U.S. political practice of drawing electoral maps to entrench one party in power, with conservative Anthony Kennedy likely to cast the deciding vote.

A chance for fairness (Fayetteville Observer) -- We’ll cross our fingers but we won’t hold our breath. There just weren’t enough clues from the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to conjecture much about gerrymandering’s future. We’ll hold fast to our hope, though, that the process of creating legislative districts with extreme partisan malice will finally be ruled unconstitutional.

ALAN RAPPEPORT & JIM TANKERSLEY: Republicans Are Reconsidering Full Repeal of State and Local Tax Deduction (New York Times analysis) -- A plan to repeal the state and local deduction is running into resistance from Republican lawmakers whose constituents use the tax break.

MARK BARRETT: Politics or justice? Legislators consider shaking up voting for judges (Asheville Citizen-Times analysis) -- A Republican-backed plan bound for the state legislature as soon as Wednesday could hand the GOP a majority of Buncombe County's nine judicial seats even though most Buncombe voters tend to pick Democrats. The bill in the state House would create one county judicial district where Republican candidates would generally be favored and one where Democrats would have a strong majority. The change would be among several the bill would make statewide that are likely to favor the GOP.

Retain public notices (Winston-Salem Journal) -- As the state legislature convenes for a session today, one bill it may take up could ultimately adversely affect our older readers, as well as those of modest means, who rely on our print editions to read legal notices that affect their lives, ranging from ones on zoning cases to public hearings on landfills.

TYLER DUKES AND TRAVIS FAIN: Cooper's out-of-state travel leaves lieutenant governor in the dark (WRAL-TV analysis) -- When Gov. Roy Cooper leaves the state, his office does not inform the lieutenant governor, who automatically becomes acting governor. It's a practice that marks a significant departure from the policy of Gov. Pat McCrory.

SUSAN LADD: Mass shooting will likely produce fewer, not more, gun regulations (Greensboro News & Record column) -- The NRA's absolutist view of gun ownership and its funding of politicians closed off any reasonable debate about regulation and control.

Resist giving in to this reality (Charlotte Observer) -- The Las Vegas shooting leaves us deflated because we know Congress will not act to combat gun violence.

In Tragedy's Wake, More Community (Southern Pines Pilot) -- The events in Las Vegas leave us hollowed out and yet, at the same time, full of questions and doubts. We’ve been working these last two days to make sense of how a night of entertainment could turn so suddenly into one of horror and violence.

BIANCA STRZALKOWSKI: Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway talk challenges with Lejeune spouses (Jacksonville Daily News analysis) -- ‘You are the backbone of America.’ That was the message delivered to hundreds of military spouses at a career event aboard Camp Lejeune. The “Keeping a Career on the Move” Military Spouse Symposium brought together Trump Administration officials, Bonnie Amos, wife of the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and military family members from the local area.

RICK SMITH: Price, Goodmon call for FCC to reverse rule affecting TV station ownership (WRAL-TV/TechWire column) -- Congressman David Price and Capitol Broadcasting Chairman and CEO Jim Goodmon are calling for the FCC to reverse a recent rule change impacting ownership of local TV stations. The demands came as Sinclair Media Group seeks to merge with Tribune Media in a deal that would create what has been called "a broadcast colossus."​

JEFF HAMPTON: Nearly every Outer Banks town affected by unprecedented rash of vehicle break-ins (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- Police are searching for leads in an unprecedented rash of vehicle break-ins in which guns and cash were stolen. Investigators have responded to more than 120 reports since August of break-ins from locked and unlocked vehicles in nearly every Outer Banks town. “I’ve never seen a rash this persistent and this widespread,” said Lt. John Towler of the Kill Devil Hills Police Dept.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
TRAVIS FAIN: Chemours skips public hearing on GenX (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Chemours officials declined to participate in a public hearing about compounds the company released into the Cape Fear River for years, asking instead to meet in private with Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, the chair of a Senate committee studying the issue.

KIRK ROSS: GenX Battle Expected As Legislature Returns (N.C. Health News/Coastal Review analysis) -- Legislators return to Raleigh with an unclear agenda. But one agenda item is likely: GenX, the chemical that's been found in the Cape Fear River.

ADAM WAGNER: Senate committee talks GenX funding (Wilmington Star-News analysis) -- CFPUA, UNCW and a UNC Chapel Hill research gave presentations explaining how they would use funds allocated in the bill.

JAMES MORRISON: Controversy Simmers Over NC Wood Pellet Plant (WUNC-FM analysis) -- A biomass fuel plant that processes tree scraps into wood pellets has some North Carolinians concerned about its potential environmental and health impacts.

CATHERINE CLABBY: What if DuPont Had Gone Green in North Carolina? (N.C. Health News analysis) -- DuPont never ramped up a greener production technique that the company licensed from UNC that might have reduced demand for chemicals like GenX years ago.

JACK IGELMAN: Big Ivy support bucks trend of local government opposition to wilderness (Carolina Public Press analysis) -- In late August, the Asheville City Council voted to endorse a proposal for land that could become Buncombe County’s only federally designated wilderness, in the Craggy Mountains and Big Ivy watershed.

There’s a win-win solution in those failed dams (Fayetteville Observer) -- Members of the City Council nearly landed on an everybody-wins solution to the problem of breached private dams during their meeting Monday. They circled the answer a couple of times but didn’t follow it to its conclusion. We hope they will soon.

EDUCATION
CANDACE SWEAT: School board, parents fight to 'Defend Durham Schools' amid proposed charter takeover (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The Durham County Board of Education said it’s prepared to fight if the state tries to take control of any of its schools amid talks of a charter school takeover. A group that calls itself “Defend Durham Schools” says it wants what’s best for local children and, in members’ opinion, having schools handed over to charter school operators does not meet that criteria.

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