The Pulse

Weekend reads: Veto rally sets up a legislative showdown, the latest battles in education, and a new face enters the 2024 race for NC governor

By: - May 14, 2023 9:01 am

North Carolina General Assembly (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

In this issue:

1. Crowd cheers Gov. Roy Cooper as he vetoes abortion ban

Gov. Roy Cooper
Crowd cheers Gov. Roy Cooper as he vetoes the abortion ban. Photo: Lynn Bonner

A crowd cheered Gov. Roy Cooper as he vetoed a Republican-authored abortion ban in an unusual rally that capped off a week of attempts to pressure a small group of GOP legislators into letting the veto stand.  Some bills are signed in public ceremonies, but bill vetoes don’t usually draw enthusiastic audiences. For Senate Bill [Read more…]

2. Bonus Content:  Photo gallery: Veto rally draws big crowds as NC’s governor vows to fight Republican-backed abortion restrictions

3. Black state senators: An abortion ban will worsen Black maternal mortality rates in NC

a patient is pictured receiving bad news from a health care provider
Research indicates that Black women will suffer the worst effects if North Carolina enacts legislation to dramatically limit access to abortion care. (Photo: Getty Images)

Black women face high rates of pregnancy-related death and will likely feel the brunt of an abortion ban in North Carolina.  Yet, none of the Black women elected to the state legislature, all of whom are Democrats, had any input into the Republican-authored bill banning most abortions after 12 weeks. “We were not invited to the table… [Read more…]

Five simple reasons Gov. Cooper’s promised abortion bill veto must be sustained  (Commentary)

It’s been fifty years now since North Carolina women secured the basic right – if not always the practical ability – to control their own bodies when it comes to deciding whether to carry a pregnancy to term.If Republican legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly get their way, however, that fundamental human right will be dramatically eviscerated in just a matter of days. [Read more…]

Bonus commentary: UNC experts: Abortion ban proposal is not what sponsors say it is

4. Higher ed experts: “Harm can come to our students” in changing accreditation process

Aerial over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
(Aerial over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Ryan Herron/Getty Images)

A bill that would compel UNC System universities and community colleges to change accreditors flew under the radar in the recent flurry of higher education legislation at the General Assembly. But as Senate Bill 680 clears legislative hurdles on the way to becoming law, the public should pay attention to the “in the weeds” issue [Read more…]

5. In Raleigh, GOP supermajorities advance big and controversial changes in public education

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” backed by Reps. Baker, Balkcom and Paré; along with the “Choose Your School, Choose Your Future” bill backed by Rep. Cothom are two of the more controversial education bills that made the crossover deadline.

Two of the more controversial K-12 education bills to make it through the state House and Senate before the General Assembly’s May 4 crossover deadline have relatively innocuous names. “Choose Your School, Choose Your Future” (Senate Bill 406) and the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” (House Bill 574) both appear to promote concepts that, at [Read more…]

6. At the NC Senate, even gun limits favored in Fox News poll fail to gain traction

North Carolina General Assembly (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

When Senator Danny Britt (R-Robeson) rose to explain Senate Bill 650 last Monday night on the Senate floor in hopes of securing the bill’s approval, Senator Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) was quick to offer a bit of tongue-in-cheek praise. “The ‘Gun Violence Prevention Act,’ I love the title, Senator Britt,” said Marcus. “I love it so much that I used the title myself as you now know, when I filed a bill, same name, ‘Gun Violence Prevention Act,’ back in March. [Read more…]

7. Asheville prosecutors want journalists’ lawyer to stop talking to the press

A sign for Asheville's Aston Park
Asheville’s Aston Park, where Asheville Blade reporters Matilda Bliss and Veronica Coit were arrested for covering police sweeping a homeless encampment on Christmas night 2021.

The Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office has asked a judge to reprimand an attorney representing two journalists convicted last month of trespassing while reporting late Christmas night 2021 on police activity in Asheville’s Aston Park. The attorney’s offense, according to Assistant District Attorney Robert A. McRight: talking to the press. A rule set by the…[Read more…]

8. Lawyer fees draw scrutiny as Camp Lejeune claims stack up

An entry sign to Camp LeJeune
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which became law last year, created a pathway for
veterans and their families to pursue damage claims against the government for toxic exposure
at the military base. Now, advocates and lawmakers worry high lawyer fees could shortchange
those injured. Photo:

David and Adair Keller started their married life together in 1977 at Camp Lejeune, a military training base on the Atlantic Coast in Jacksonville, North Carolina. David was a Marine Corps field artillery officer then, and they lived together on the base for about six months. But that sojourn had an outsize impact on their [Read more…]

9. Some states hope to move climate-threatened species, but others say no way

the magnificent ramshorn snail
The magnificent ramshorn, a freshwater snail, has lost its habitat in North Carolina coastal ponds due to sea level rise. A proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow endangered species like the magnificent ramshorn to be moved to areas outside of their historic range to help them survive climate change. (Lilibeth Serrano/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

This story is Part Two of a two-part series about a federal proposal to relocate endangered species outside their historic ranges. See Part One: Federal wildlife managers and ecologists weigh the risks of action — and inaction — to rescue species from climate change. North Carolina might need to move a snail. A tiny mollusk…[Read more…]

Bonus read: Climate change is destroying habitats. But relocating species could be tricky.  (Part one of this two-part series)

10. U.S. House GOP wants spending cuts — and also $10B in home-state earmarks

Photo: Getty Image

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Republicans have requested more than $10 billion in earmarks to be included in next year’s appropriations bills, despite demanding massive spending cuts as a contingent for raising the nation’s debt ceiling. All but a handful of House Republicans barely pushed through a bill that would temporarily raise the U.S. borrowing limit, [Read more…]

11. Former Congressman Mark Walker to seek GOP nomination for governor

Mark Walker portrait
Former Congressman Mark Walker indicated today that he will enter the 2024 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Former Congressman Mark Walker will join the race for the GOP nomination for governor later this month, according to sources close to the campaign. Walker telegraphed his intentions publicly for the first time Tuesday after months of teasing a possible run, with a statement from Tim Murtaugh, vice president of  communication for National Public Affairs, [Read more…]

12. In defeat for pork industry, U.S. Supreme Court okays California animal cruelty law

hog farm
The U.S. Supreme Court today dismissed a challenge to a California law that will impact North Carolina hog farms. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a case challenging a California law approved by that state’s voters in 2018 that could have a significant impact on pork producing states like North Carolina. As was explained in this column last Spring, the case revolved around a law that requires all pork sold in the nation’s [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.