The Pulse

Weekend reads: The latest on NC abortion restrictions, the state budget, protecting our voter rolls….and bombs in swamps?!? Really.

By: - May 21, 2023 9:08 am

North Carolina State Capitol (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

In this issue:

1. NC legislature overrides governor’s veto of abortion ban to make new restrictions law

By Lynn Bonner

Republican state legislators overturned Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a 12-week abortion ban Tuesday as hundreds of spectators packed the chamber galleries or watched from the hallway. Cooper’s veto was canceled in party-line votes in both the House and Senate. The GOP has veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Cooper dramatically vetoed Senate Bill 20 [Read more…]

2. As Mark Walker enters GOP primary race for governor, a party weighs statewide appeal

Former US Rep. Mark Walker talks to abortion opponents at Legislative Building on May 16, 2023. (Photo: Lynn Bonner)

By Joe Killian

When former Congressman Mark Walker takes the stage Saturday at the Triad Baptist Christian Academy in Kernersville, he’ll be mounting an uphill battle for the Republican nomination for governor. For Walker, it’s a familiar battlefield. In 2014 Walker, then a politically unknown Baptist pastor from Greensboro, entered a crowded, bare-knuckle scrum of a GOP primary [Read more…]

3. NC Senate budget proposal receives bipartisan support, though Democrats’ amendments are sidelined

A picture of money and the words "state budget"
Getty Images/iStock

By Lynn Bonner

The Senate on Wednesday took a crucial 36-13 vote to pass its version of the next state budget, with seven Democrats joining Republicans in pushing the spending plan to its next phase.  After another vote scheduled for today, Senate and House negotiators will write a compromise version of the budget that the legislature will pass [Read more…]

4. House Democrats condemn ‘hurtful’ GOP remarks about Black colleagues’ abortion, education

Rep. Jeff McNeely (R-Iredell Co.)

By Greg Childress

Democrats issued a statement late Wednesday condemning “hurtful remarks” Rep. Jeff McNeely, a Republican from Iredell County, made questioning whether a Black colleague was only able to attend Harvard University because he was a track athlete and a minority. House Democratic Leader Robert Reives said lawmakers must conduct themselves appropriately and with respect for other [Read more…]

4. GOP senators decline to explain reason for controversial budget provision

Sen. Natasha Marcus questions policy inserted in Senate budget. (Photo: NCGA video)

By Clayton Henkel

Spending bill would bar funding for pregnancy prevention, adolescent services Members of the Senate Appropriations committee got their first look at the $29.7 billion proposed state budget Senate Republican rolled out on Monday. As the budget writers took turns sharing highlights of the massive bill, Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg Co.) wanted to know why the [Read more…]

5. NC Republicans prohibit the state joining an organization meant to keep voter rolls clean

a voter at the polls
Photo by Hill Street Studios/Getty Images.

By Lynn Bonner

State House and Senate Republicans agree that North Carolina will not join a multi-state effort to maintain accurate voter rolls.  Both chambers included provisions in their budget proposals that prohibit the state from participating in the Electronic Registration Information Center and eliminate what was to be next year’s $35,000 membership fee.  Republican states started abandoning …[Read more…]

Bonus read in election news: The House budgeted for Voter ID. The Senate did not.

6. Bill would mandate history course, prescribe curriculum at UNC universities, community colleges

History professors call the NC REACH Act (HB96) an ideologically driven pruning of U.S. history with token Black representation. (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

By Joe Killian

Should students at UNC System Schools and community colleges be required to take a course on history and government, irrespective of their majors? Should lawmakers be able to prescribe the curriculum for such a course, rather than campus leaders and faculty? Those are a couple of the thorny questions sparked by House Bill 96, one [Read more…]

Bonus read: Architect of bill mandating history and civics course surprised by resistance

7. Activists discuss the harm inadequate public schools funding causes educators, students

Nancy Rogers (Center) speaks at Every Child NC rally.

By Greg Childress

Inadequate school resources help to fuel the school-to-prison pipeline, says Letha Muhammad, co-executive director of the Raleigh-based Education Justice Alliance. The lack of school counselors, social workers and other school support staff and funding for restorative justice programs that provide alternatives to harsh discipline policies all help to feed students with discipline problems into the [Read more…]

Bonus read: Public school advocates rally against vouchers, demand adequate funding

8, City, prosecutors resist records demand of lawyer for Asheville journalists

images of the police raid on Aston Park
Screenshot from Asheville PD bodycam footage.

By Kelan Lyons

After two Asheville journalists were convicted of trespassing last month, their lawyer, Ben Scales, said he would get a bevy of documents and records before his clients appealed to Buncombe County Superior Court.  On May 1, Scales attempted to make good on that promise, subpoenaing a long list of items from the Asheville Police Department. [Read more…]

9. Justice Michael Morgan not running for re-election to NC Supreme Court

NC Supreme Court (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

By Kelan Lyons

Associate Justice Michael Morgan announced on Twitter Thursday morning that he will not run for re-election to retain his seat on the state Supreme Court. “With the incredibly good fortune to be the only person ever in NC to serve in 4 different judgeships over my 34 years of judicial service, I shall not seek [Read more…]

10. Bombs in a swamp: Robeson County residents battling proposal for private military training site

a bomb laying in a field
Disposal of military munitions is one of the proposed uses for a tract of land in Robeson County. Photo: Elrond Peredhil/Getty Images

By Lisa Sorg

Bombs in a swamp.  A fraught piece of land ensnared in a family drama. Separately, the issues stir enough conflict to employ a dozen lawyers. Together, they could contaminate groundwater, creeks, rivers and ultimately drinking water supplies for an untold number of residents in southern Robeson County — and potentially South Carolina. Alottabang, LLC, wants [Read more…]

11, The least that abortion rights flip floppers can do is explain themselves

NC House (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

By Rob Schofield

As anyone who’s spent much time observing the proceedings at the North Carolina General Assembly can attest, those who issue pleas for more debate on important issues can sometimes have second thoughts later on. While the Legislative Building has seen its share of impressive orators through the years, this is much more of an exception [Read more…]

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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.