CHERIE BERRY REFUSES TO CLASSIFY COVID 19 AS A WORKPLACE HAZARD: Berry noted that on Oct. 26, as an example, less than 1.5% of people who had contracted COVID-19 in North Carolina died from the virus. She wrote that most of those deaths were people over the age of 65, who are generally “no longer active in the workforce.” Public health officials contest this logic. “This is not a disease to gamble with,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Kelly Haight said in response to a request for comment on the letter from The News & Observer. Haight noted that “people of all ages play a role in transmission of COVID-19 to older North Carolinians.” There have been 280 reported clusters at workplaces, with 6,636 associated cases and 30 associated deaths through the end of November, according to the state health department, including 4,047 cases associated with meat processing plants alone.
U.S. HOUSE VOTES TO DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA: Supporters say the pot bill would help end the decades-long “war on drugs” by removing marijuana, or cannabis, from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to set their own rules on pot. The bill also would use money from a new excise tax on marijuana to address the needs of groups and communities harmed by the so-called drug war and provide for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions and arrests. “For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health,″ said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a key sponsor of the bill. “Whatever one’s views are on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, the policy of arrests, prosecution and incarceration at the federal level has proven unwise and unjust.″ Drug reform advocates called the House vote historic, noting it is the first time comprehensive legislation to decriminalize marijuana has passed the full House or Senate.
TRUMP FACES NEW LAWSUIT OVER RENT FRAUD FILED BY PREVIOUS NY TENANTS: The lawsuit alleges that the Trumps illegally raised rents by inflating the costs of apartment improvements. Under New York law, a landlord may increase rents if significant upgrades are made. The tenants’ lawsuit claims that Trump and his family used All County Building Supply to create doctored invoices reflecting inflated costs of improvements and resold items such as stoves and refrigerators to themselves for more money than they were worth. In doing so, the lawsuit alleges, the Trumps had license to increase rents higher than they would have been able to had they paid fair prices for making such improvements. The lawsuit alleges that President Trump’s late cousin John Walter created the All County invoices, and that Walter and the Trumps would keep the profits. “This is a massive fraud spanning 28 years, victimizing several hundred thousand tenants in Trump regulated apartments and needs to be addressed,” Parker said in statement. “These regulated tenants, many of whom struggle just to pay the rent and put food on the table, must be made whole for the money that was unlawfully and unknowingly taken from them by the Trump family for their own personal gain.”
TRUMP'S BOGUS ELECTION FRAUD LAWSUITS SUFFER WITHERING REJECTION BY JUDGES IN SEVERAL STATES: President Trump and his allies faced a crush of defeats in post-election litigation Friday, a further sign of their ongoing failure to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory through the courts and to gain traction through baseless claims of widespread fraud. Just over a month after the Nov. 3 election, the Trump campaign and other Republicans suing over Biden’s win were dealt court losses across six states where they have tried to contest the results of the presidential race — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. Judges ruled decisively that Trump’s side has not proved the election was fraudulent, with some offering painstaking analyses of why such claims lack merit and pointed opinions about the risks the legal claims pose to American democracy. In a detailed, 35-page decision, Judge James T. Russell of the Nevada District Court in Carson City vetted each claim of fraud and wrongdoing made by the Trump campaign in the state and found that none was supported by convincing proof. The campaign “did not prove under any standard of proof that illegal votes were cast and counted, or legal votes were not counted at all, due to voter fraud, nor in an amount equal to or greater than” Biden’s margin of victory, which was about 33,600 votes, Russell wrote.
GEORGIA REPUBLICANS FEAR TRUMP MAY SPOIL THEIR CHANCES IN SENATE RUNOFFS: Even as he tweeted this week that he wanted “a big David and Kelly WIN,” Mr. Trump called Brian Kemp, the state’s Republican governor, “hapless” for failing to work to overturn the election results, while also criticizing Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. His sustained assault on Georgia’s voting system prompted an extraordinary rebuke this week from another high-ranking elections official, who warned of violent threats against poll workers and publicly pleaded with the president to cool down his conspiratorial rhetoric. But some Republicans in Georgia and Washington are fearful that Mr. Trump will go off-script, and potentially attack Mr. Kemp or Mr. Raffensperger. Party officials also worry that the president’s claims of fraud could backfire, undermining turnout by convincing Republican voters that the special elections are rigged against them anyway. L. Lin Wood, a lawyer and Republican supporter of Mr. Trump, and Sidney Powell, a lawyer who has filed lawsuits on the president’s behalf, urged Georgians on Wednesday not to vote “unless your vote is secure.” That same day, a number of prominent Georgia Republicans, including former Gov. Nathan Deal, signed an open letter in which they warned that “the debate surrounding the state’s electoral system has made some within our party consider whether voting in the coming runoff election matters.” Chip Lake, a Georgia-based Republican strategist who most recently worked for Representative Doug Collins — who unsuccessfully vied in November for Ms. Loeffler’s Senate seat — said Friday that Mr. Trump was facing “one of the biggest political speeches the president’s ever had to make, because the stakes are that high.” “If we have any portion of our base that might decide to boycott this election for any reason whatsoever, then we might be handing over the Senate to Democratic control,” Mr. Lake said.