Monday News: Juvenile injustice


"RAISE THE AGE" PANEL BEGINS WORK TO STOP PROSECUTING MINORS AS ADULTS: North Carolina legislators have agreed to stop being the only state that automatically prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for crimes in two years. Now a committee charged with ensuring the "raise the age" legislation approved last summer is carried out well is beginning its work. The Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee scheduled its first meeting for Monday in Raleigh. The panel comprised of law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates for victims and juveniles and others are supposed to develop the plan that increases the age of juvenile jurisdiction for young people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. The "raise the age" law directs the change in December 2019.

Think about this, North Carolina

Our two US Senators voted for a tax bill that neither had read. Nor had either of their staffs. The bill was written by lobbyists for Mitch McConnell, who also has not read the bill. And to think that we, the citizens of North Carolina, are paying these clowns to represent us. They should be sued for failing to uphold their oaths of office.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


CONSUMERS SHOULDN'T PAY FOR DUKE ENERGY'S COAL ASH BUNGLES: As a regulated monopoly, Duke Energy has an obligation to produce reliable, affordable and safe power while still being guaranteed a reasonable profit for the company and its shareholders. It is up to the state Utilities Commission to determine that balance. When the company fails to meet one of the three obligations it has to its customers, it isn’t the fault of the ratepayers, nor should it be their responsibility to pay. The Utilities Commission shouldn’t reward Duke for the failure to do its job, nor should its ratepayers, who have no other choice for electric service, be forced to subsidize that failure. No matter what the rate increase the Utilities Commission may approve, it should not include costs of dealing with Duke’s coal ash mistake.

Saturday News: When fairness hurts the unfair


NC REPUBLICANS NOT HAPPY WITH PROPERLY RE-DRAWN MAPS: The Stanford University professor hired to draw North Carolina election maps for a panel of federal judges weighing a gerrymandering case has submitted a plan that quickly drew criticism from Republican lawmakers and praise from challengers. Nathaniel Persily, a law professor tapped in November to review state House and Senate maps adopted by legislators ordered to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, on Friday submitted proposed election district changes in Cumberland, Guilford, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Wake, Bladen, Sampson and Wayne counties. Persily’s maps only redrew a fraction of the state’s 170 legislative districts, mostly in urban counties that tend to favor Democrats. Most of the districts drawn in August favor Republicans, according to a News & Observer analysis.

Sessions refuses to answer on Trump interference in Russia probe


When the Attorney General of the United States can't be trusted:

"I asked the attorney general whether he was ever instructed by the president to take any action that he believed would hinder the Russia investigation and he declined to answer the question," Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters after the closed-door meeting concluded.

"If the president did not instruct him to take any action that he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, he should say so. If the president did instruct him to hinder the investigation in any way, in my view, that would be a potentially criminal act and certainly not covered by any privilege," the California lawmaker continued.

If you want to know why Jeff Sessions hasn't been fired yet, well there you go. Trump knows removing him won't make his position any safer, and it may actually make it worse, since Sessions would have nothing left to lose by coming clean. But the specter of the highest law enforcement official in the country choosing silence over honesty is about as ugly as it gets. And so is the reluctance of Congressional Republicans to report that silence to the American people:

Friday News: Word of the day: Triggers


SENATE REPUBLICANS SCRAMBLE TO REFINE TAX CUT BILL: The scramble to alter the bill came after the Senate's parliamentarian ruled that automatic "triggers" designed to guard against big deficits would violate Senate rules. GOP leaders' main concern was winning over the hawks worried about adding more red ink to the mounting $20 trillion deficit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had expressed confidence early in the day, but he has little margin for error with a 52-48 Republican majority. He can afford to lose only two votes while counting on Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said the bill will have "alternative, frankly, tax increases we don't want to do" to address deficit concerns. Flake said the "trigger" tax increases would raise about $350 billion over 10 years, though he didn't specify which taxes would go up.


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