Wednesday News: Broken promises


NC REPUBLICANS FACE CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT OVER RETIREE HEALTH PLAN PREMIUMS: More than 200,000 retired state workers might soon receive hundreds or even thousands of dollars, if a class action lawsuit goes in their favor at the North Carolina Supreme Court. The fight started in 2011, when Republican legislators took control of the North Carolina General Assembly and quickly passed a law introducing the premiums, plus other changes. The new retiree premiums started at around $22 a month and have more than doubled since then. The governor at the time, Democrat Bev Perdue, vetoed the bill at first. But after lawmakers compromised by not also eliminating a no-premium option for current state workers, The News & Observer reported, she allowed the changes to become law.

Tuesday News: Fast and loose

MARK ROBINSON'S CAMPAIGN SPENDING IS A BIG, HOT MESS: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s campaign report does not explain why $186 worth of medical bills were campaign-related. Or why he bought “campaign clothes and accessories” for $2,840 with the majority being spent at a sporting goods store. It doesn’t explain why his wife needed to be reimbursed $4,500 for campaign clothing or how and where she spent the money. “I think it’s questionable,” Phillips said. “Maybe his wife is someone who is with him and campaigning and there could be a case for additional expenditures ... but that needs an explanation.” And then there are the medical bills. “I have seen some leeway where people buy clothes or even get a haircut,” Phillips said. “But I’ve never seen a doctor’s bill being used or paid for by a campaign contribution and listed in a campaign finance report.”

Monday Numbers: Failure to expand Medicaid in NC hurts children


Hat-tip to Rob Schofield for keeping his eye on this ball:

39 – number of states (including the District of Columbia) that have expanded Medicaid
12 – number (including North Carolina) that have not expanded
53.8% – share of the uninsured children in the U.S. who live in those 12 states
38.2% – share that live in just four non-expansion states: Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina

NC Republicans never had a good excuse for blocking this, but now they have nothing. Under the Biden administration's new push, the Federal government will cover 90% of the cost, and healthcare providers will cover the remaining 10%. For the mathematically challenged, that leaves Zero percent. The only thing that remains is a childish and irresponsible stubbornness to reject former President Obama's policies, however effective they might be. And as long as they continue to block this, their claims of being "pro-life" are pure hogwash:

Monday News: Ten thousand, nine hundred twenty six


NC HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR COVID 19 CONTINUE DOWNWARD TREND: At least 842,637 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 10,926 have died since March, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 2,541 new COVID-19 cases. At least 1,647 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Sunday, marking the fifth day in a row that hospitalizations have declined. As of Friday, more than 1.1 million first doses and more than 608,000 second doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered in North Carolina. Some Triangle county health departments have had to reschedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments as some doses were not shipped last week due to snow and ice that hit much of the country.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CITIES, PASS THE RESCUE ACT: We understand the need for fiscal responsibility. State law requires balanced budgets. Despite our best efforts, the fiscal challenges the pandemic has caused for local governments are unprecedented. The American Rescue Plan will give our cities the resources we need to fund our essential services — such as keeping our police and firefighters on the job. It’ll fund a vaccination program of the scope we need to end this pandemic. It’ll provide economic relief to North Carolinians facing economic desperation — through $1,400 checks, extended unemployment insurance benefits, rental and utility assistance, affordable child care, and emergency food and nutrition assistance — the kind of help we know can make a difference. We need more tools to rescue North Carolina’s small businesses from further pain through flexible grants and low-cost capital.

Saturday News: Lock 'em up


2 MORE NC RESIDENTS CHARGED IN CAPITOL INSURRECTION: Two more North Carolina residents — including a Davidson County woman accused of being part of a right-wing militia group — have been arrested in connection with the violent Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. They were identified in newly released court documents Friday as Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, and Lewis Easton Cantwell, 35, of Sylva. Steele was one of six new alleged members of the right-wing group from three states who were arrested and charged with breaching the Capitol. The other included her brother, Graydon Young of Englewood, Fla., and two married couples: Kelly and Connie Meggs of Dunnellon, Fla.; and Bennie and Sandra Parker of the Cincinnati area. Cantwell, who had a midday hearing Friday in Asheville’s federal courthouse, is charged with storming the Capitol, destroying property, refusing to leave and interfering with a police officer and attempting to disrupt a government activity, among other crimes.


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