Wednesday, June 20, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis on: Senate votes to override Cooper vetoes, NAACP says lawmakers again attacking voter rights, proposed Duke settlement splits environmentalists, Triangle leads NC in tech job openings, removing National Guard troops from the border and more.
Constitutional alterations on hunting, taxes go to panels (AP reports) – N.C. Republican legislators are ready to advance proposed constitutional amendments, some which could make it more attractive for conservatives to go vote in November.
GARY D. ROBERTSON: Overrides of vetoes on 2 election-related bills halfway done (AP reports) — Senate Republicans began carrying out overrides on a pair of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes of election-related legislation. Cooper had complained that the bills meddle in elections and continue GOP efforts to reshape the courts.
LAURA LESLIE: NAACP says lawmakers again attacking voter rights
(WRAL-TV reports) — NAACP officials threatened a court fight if Republican legislative leaders enact changes to early voting or put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls.
REP. DEB BUTLER: Remove absurd ‘swamp’ designation
(Wilmington Star-News column) -- The catastrophic contamination of the drinking water supply for a quarter of a million people in the Cape Fear watershed has had one encouraging outcome. Our citizens, many of whom really didn’t even know where their drinking water came from, are now keenly aware of our state’s water-quality crisis.
GARY ROBERTSON: Judge won't restore N.C. judicial primaries (AP reports) -- A federal judge has definitively ruled out judicial primaries in N.C. this election year, favoring Republican legislative leaders who said they wanted to avoid confusing the voters. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles announced Tuesday she would side with the GOP defendants in a lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party and several county Democratic Parties. They had demanded the restoration of primaries for trial and appellate court seats. A one-day trial was held this month in Greensboro.
GARY ROBERTSON: Appeals court says Forest campaign can sue over challenged ad (AP reports) – N.C. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's campaign can seek monetary damages for a television ad run by a group backing his opponent, even though he won the race, a divided state appeals court panel ruled.
POLICY & POLITICS
Cooper sending guard members home; Stein wants policy ended (WRAL-TV reports) — Gov. Roy Cooper says he's bringing home the three N.C. National Guard members currently working at the U.S.-Mexico border because of the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their families.
Separation of families at borders must end, and Trump can do it
(Fayetteville Observer) -- The Trump Administration in early May announced a new policy that separates children from parents who illegally cross the southern border. The numbers are in, and so are the images — and both are ugly. More than 2,000 children are now being held separately from their parents at detention centers in the United States.
LISA MASCARO and ALAN FRAM: Trump, GOP leaders strain for migrant-kids solution (AP reports) — Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump searched for a way to end the administration's policy of separating families after illegal border crossings, with their focus shifting to a new plan to keep children in detention longer than now permitted — but with their parents.
JONATHAN MAHLER: How One Conservative Think Tank, the Heritage Foundation, Is Stocking Trump’s Government
(New York Times reports) -- To lead the project, Jim DeMint turned to a woman who had spent decades building Heritage’s network and knew just how to staff a government: Becky Norton Dunlop. … Dunlop’s name may be unfamiliar to most Americans, but she is something of a legend among movement conservatives. She came to Washington in 1973 straight from college to work for the American Conservative Union, the lobbying group best known for organizing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and later married an aide to Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who gave her away at their wedding. (Her father, a Baptist minister, officiated.) Congress eventually pushed her out of the Interior Department for trying to demote or fire several National Park Service employees and replace them with political appointees.
STEPHANIE CARSON: NC Schools Combat Suicide with Emotional Education
(Public News Service reports) – N.C. public school employees may soon be better equipped to offer mental-health services and emotional education to students, now that the General Assembly has passed a bill that would create programs to support suicide prevention and mental-health services in schools. It's an effort that Wake County Public Schools already has been employing. The school system begins emotions education in first grade with the program "Funny Tummy Feelings" and continues various lessons in coping skills and problem-solving all the way up through high school.
LISA SORG: DHHS investigating suspected cancer cluster near Lake Norman
(N.C. Policy Watch reports) -- Two areas near Lake Norman have reported statistically higher than expected incidences of thyroid cancer, according to a May 29 letter obtained by Policy Watch from the state Department of Health and Human Services. Most of the cases occurred in two Zip Codes: 28115 and 28117. The state undertook the analysis because of community reports of thyroid cancer, including several cases involving teenage girls. Thyroid cancer is unusual in young people. It more commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Our Coast’s People: Rachel Noble
(Coastal Review column) -- She’s a coastal scientist who developed a quick test for bacteria that health officials use to gauge the safety of shellfish waters and swimming areas and that can also be used for other foods, meet Rachel Noble.
Birthplace of singer, activist Nina Simone to be preserved (WRAL reports) — The dilapidated wooden cottage in North Carolina that was the birthplace of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.