RACIAL EQUITY TASK FORCE RELEASES RECOMMENDATIONS: Gov. Roy Cooper’s task force on racial equity released dozens of recommendations Monday in a report that called for widespread changes to address racial bias within the state’s policing and criminal justice systems. The 125 recommendations address policies and laws that disproportionately affect people of color, from traffic stops to protest responses, arrests and reentry into the community after prison time. Other recommendations in Monday’s report include decriminalizing marijuana, revising the role of school resource officers and increasing oversight and accountability for law enforcement. “This is just the start of a public conversation,” Stein said. “We are committed to working alongside leaders across the state to turn these ideas into action.”
JUDGE BRINGS IN EXPERT ON RELEASING NC PRISONERS DURING PANDEMIC: An outside expert brought in to review the state prison system’s pandemic response said Monday that he'll take a close look at how the system decides which inmates can be let out early and whether it has put the resources needed into that review. “This isn’t meant as a criticism, because I don’t know the answer,” said Thomas Maher, an attorney brought in by Superior Court Judge Vincent Rozier as the judge decides whether to order more releases and other measures to fight coronavirus in state prisons. “I do think that there should be always a strong examination of getting people out of prison who can safely serve their sentence or finish their sentence outside of the prison,” Maher said Monday in an interview with WRAL News and the Carolina Public Press. Maher is executive director of the Center for Science and Justice at Duke University and was previously head of the state's indigent defense office. He’s also a former director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.
NC'S 1ST OFFSHORE WINDFARM SLATED TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION IN 2024: wind farm that is scheduled to be built off North Carolina's Outer Banks is projected to create nearly 200 full-time jobs in Virginia and North Carolina. The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday that the projection comes from an economic study by alternative energy developer Avangrid Renewables. The firm calculated that the project would add $2 billion to the region’s economy over the next decade. The Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Project will be built roughly 27 miles off Corolla. Construction is set to begin in 2024. The project is expected to be completed in 2030. Building the windfarm is expected to create 800 jobs. And it will produce 193 full-time jobs in Virginia and North Carolina once it's running. Those jobs will including turbine generator technicians and welders. Support companies and services could add hundreds more positions. The study was part of a construction and operation plan submitted Friday to the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management.
STATE ELECTORS FORMALLY CAST VOTES GIVING BIDEN 306-232 VICTORY OVER TRUMP: President-elect Joe Biden achieved formal victory over President Trump on Monday, winning his 306 votes in the electoral college and advancing one more step toward inauguration even as die-hard Trump supporters redoubled their efforts to stop the normal transfer of power. Electors gathered in every state and the District of Columbia for a day-long series of votes that delivered no surprises for either Trump or Biden. The proceedings harked back to more typical presidential elections and stood in contrast with the unprecedented — though fruitless — six weeks of legal and procedural chaos triggered by Trump’s refusal to accept his loss. “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said in a prime-time address after the vote Monday. “We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact, and now it’s time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout history.” On Capitol Hill, some Republicans indicated a new willingness to move forward. Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.) said that he was “disappointed” by the results of the electoral college vote but that “we must put aside politics and respect the constitutional process.” “Today, the Electoral College has cast their votes and selected Joe Biden as the President-elect. State Legislatures, State Courts, and the United States Supreme Court have not found enough evidence of voter fraud to overturn the results of the Electoral College vote,” Braun said in a statement.
AG BARR EITHER RESIGNS OR WAS FORCED OUT BY TRUMP, AFTER FAILING LOYALTY TEST: President Trump said on Monday that Attorney General William P. Barr would depart next week, ending a tenure marked by Mr. Barr’s willingness to advance the president’s political agenda and by criticism that he eroded the post-Watergate independence of the Justice Department. Mr. Barr had in recent weeks fallen out of favor with the president after acknowledging that the department had found no widespread voter fraud. Tensions between them escalated this past weekend when Mr. Trump accused his attorney general of disloyalty for not publicly disclosing the department’s investigation into President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son Hunter Biden during the campaign. Mr. Trump sought to play down their differences on Monday, saying in a tweet announcing Mr. Barr’s departure that “our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” The decision to quit was Mr. Barr’s, not the president’s, a person familiar with the matter said, and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, helped to facilitate his exit on cordial terms with Mr. Trump. Mr. Barr brought the Justice Department closer to the White House than any attorney general in a half-century. Defying the distance that federal law enforcement officials have typically maintained from campaign politics, Mr. Barr spent the months leading up to the election echoing Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. He also told an interviewer that the country would be “irrevocably committed to the socialist path” if the president were not re-elected. But Mr. Barr backed off the warnings of voter fraud after the election, saying little publicly for weeks until he said that the department had received no evidence that would overturn Mr. Biden’s election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Mr. Barr told The Associated Press.