State government

Rep. Justin Pearson of Tennessee talks to Greear Webb, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill

Celebrated Tennessee legislator tells NC Black elected officials to challenge the status quo

BY: - May 1, 2023

Rep. Justin Pearson of the Tennessee House encouraged North Carolina Black elected officials to be vocal advocates for justice for all, even when the odds are against them.  “Going along to get along will not heal us,” he said.  “We must be angelic dissenters to the status quo and fight actively for the change we […]

A view from above the North Carolina Senate

Obscenity bill heads to the NC Senate amid concerns of how broadly it could be applied

BY: - May 1, 2023

The North Carolina Senate could vote as early as today on a controversial bill that would increase the penalty for disseminating obscenity while knowingly in the presence of a minor. The “Prevent Harm to Children Act” has raised concern among Democratic lawmakers and some advocates about the need for the change and how it might […]

The NC Legislative Building

Weekend reads: Billions more for school vouchers, denying treatment on moral grounds, and three blockbuster court rulings

BY: - April 30, 2023

In this issue: 1. Senate advances bill to to spend billions of public money on private school vouchers North Carolina is moving to a “backpack” school funding model to allow parents to take state education dollars to the schools of their choice, even private ones, says Sen. Michael Lee, a New Hanover County Republican. Lee […]

The North Carolina House Health Commitee

Open-ended bill allowing denial of health care based on provider beliefs is denounced as anti-trans

BY: - April 27, 2023

The legislature is considering a bill that would allow health care workers to deny treatment that conflicts with their moral, religious, or philosophical beliefs.  The proposed legislation would cover a range of health care jobs, from doctors, to nursing home employees, to lab technicians, as well as insurance companies, hospitals and clinics.  Current law allows […]

Senator Sydney Batch speaks at a press conference

Going to work sick and losing income while caring for a newborn. NC workers talk about benefits and the minimum wage.

BY: - April 26, 2023

Blanca Borceguin became a mother of two daughters while working at jobs where she did not have paid maternity leave.  While taking unpaid leave after her eldest daughter’s birth, she still had to pay $553 a month to keep her health insurance, she said. And after her daughter was born, Borceguin said her bosses didn’t […]

As NC legislators target “obscenity,” the nation’s top librarian has her say

BY: - April 26, 2023

Members of the House Judiciary committee passed legislation Tuesday that would increase the severity of punishment for intentionally disseminating obscenity while knowingly in the presence of minors. The ‘Prevent Harm to Children’ act (Senate Bill 579) would increase the penalty from a Class I felony to a Class H for violations. The brief conversation in […]

NC General Assembly (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

Controversial measure deregulating Blue Cross NC advances in state House

BY: - April 26, 2023

The controversial bill allowing the state’s dominant nonprofit health insurer to act more like a for-profit company pushed through a House committee Tuesday after an abbreviated discussion and a divided vote.  The bill would allow the nonprofit, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, to create a holding company that could use insurance company assets […]

Pornography, drag shows are focus of child obscenity bill debate

BY: - April 25, 2023

Legislators advanced a bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning that would increase the punishment for disseminating obscene materials when a minor is present. “[The] material’s got to depict or describe in a patently offensive way sexual conduct,” said Sen. Buck Newton (R-Greene). It’s already a crime to intentionally spread such materials in […]

NC State Capitol (Photo: Clayton Henkel)

Weekend reads: Targeting tenure, transgender sports, and ‘significant strides’ recovering from pandemic learning loss

BY: - April 23, 2023

In this issue: 1. New bill targets tenure, calls for scrutiny of research at UNC System campuses, community colleges Faculty tenure at UNC System universities and community colleges would end under a new bill filed Tuesday. House Bill 715 would “prospectively eliminate academic tenure and establish uniform contracting procedure for faculty at constituent institutions and […]

the North Carolina Legislative Building

NC Senate committee approves caps on medical debt interest, limits on aggressive collection tactics

BY: - April 20, 2023

A bill that would limit aggressive medical debt collection tactics got its first affirmative vote in the legislature Thursday as it moved through a Senate committee with little discussion. Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican running for governor, has been promoting the “Medical Debt De-Weaponization Act” for months at community gatherings statewide.  The bill would prohibit […]

Charity Watkins said her pregnancy-related heart failure went undiagnosed.

Advocates, experts tout proposals to reduce Black maternal deaths in North Carolina

BY: - April 20, 2023

Charity Watkins spoke of the day seven years ago when she was in the hospital with pregnancy-related heart failure, fearing she wouldn’t survive to see her infant daughter grow up.  Watkins, a social work assistant professor at NC Central University and a maternal health researcher at Duke, recalled how her symptoms of fatigue, shortness of […]

the North Carolina Legislative Building

New push for a revised NC hate crimes law

BY: - April 18, 2023

Jewish and Muslim faith leaders and the director of an Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit joined House Democrats on Tuesday in highlighting the need for a revised hate crime law and a statewide tracking of hate crimes.  House bill 596 would expand the law to add ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. It creates a new […]