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Friday, June 3, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Cat Food?

Posted by on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 8:33 AM

click image ANNA SMITH / FLICKR CC
  • Anna Smith / Flickr CC
Good morning. If you're reading this, that means you're alive. Congratulations.

1. Senate budget passes on a party line vote.

The Senate officially approved their budget early this morning on a strict party line vote, and it was a doozy. From the N&O:
The Senate’s $22.2 billion budget features a faster income tax cut, bigger teacher raises and smaller state-employee raises than the spending plan the House approved last month. A final Senate vote was held at 12:05 a.m. Friday – with a 26-13 tally due to absences – and now the House and Senate will begin budget negotiations.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joyce Waddell (D-Mecklenburg) offered a bleak anecdote about life for state retirees.

Sen. Joyce Waddell, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, noted that retirees haven’t received an increase since 2009.

“Some of them are having to eat cat food as a means of their meals,” she said. “The average pension plan for retirees is just $20,000. That is not enough. This is not good business.”

And Democratic Senate leader Dan Blue offered his thoughts:
Now that the Senate has its own version, House and Senate Republicans will get together to hash out a final budget. House and Senate leaders are looking to pass the final budget and wrap up the short session before the 4th of July. 

In other legislature news, the House passed that Achievement School District bill we told you about last week. It's not clear whether or not the Senate will take it up. 

2. Federal court upholds North Carolina's new congressional districts.

After being forced to redraw the state's Congressional districts back in February, the new maps faced another challenge that threatened to push back the June 7 special primary even further. A federal three-judge panel from the Middle District Court of North Carolina, however, said that what we have is good enough. From WRAL:

The judges said they don't like the idea of such gerrymandering, but that "the Court's hands appear to be tied" by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a similar case that found "no judicially discernible and manageable standards" for handling such maneuvers. They also noted that the plaintiffs didn't provide a standard they might apply in the case, so they had to deny the objection to the new map.

"The Court's denial of the plaintiffs' objections does not constitute or imply an endorsement of, or foreclose any additional challenges to, the Contingent Congressional Plan," the judges wrote in the eight-page opinion.

3. Trump supporters and protesters fight at a San Jose rally. 

Donald Trump held a rally in California last night, and it got ugly. 

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton gave a speech on Trump and Trump responded by calling for her to be jailed. Only fourteen more years until November, folks. 

4. Clyde Edgerton banned from attending his kid's elementary school graduation for...what, exactly?

The N&O has an interesting story about Clyde Edgerton, an award-winning novelist and UNC-Wilmington writing professor.

At issue here is the Spanish immersion program in Wilmington, a popular set of classes available only at Forest Hills. For a year, Edgerton has questioned the racial imbalance among students in the program, which to his eye so heavily favor white families that he filed a complaint in January with Assistant Superintendent Rick Holliday.

In it, he spelled out numbers for students in the kindergarten class: 37 white, two black and six Hispanic. He also included details of his May 2015 conversation with Principal Deborah Greenwood, who told him that kids in the Spanish program were selected according to an unwritten, first-come, first-served basis.

For this, Edgerton got a big old ban from all New Hanover County public schools.

Last month, Edgerton got a letter from Superintendent Tim Markley, giving him notice of his school ban. In it, he noted a parent’s concern that Edgerton may have illegally gotten hold of data about children enrolled in the Spanish program. Edgerton says that’s untrue.

“I’ve never seen a student record that was not my own child’s,” he said. “There was a list (the school system) knew I had that had a phone number on it. I called a parent, and she got upset about how I would see her child’s record. But I didn’t. I saw a phone number.”

To go to Forest Hills for graduation next week, he said, he would need permission from the principal. “The principal is not communicating,” he said.

5. Updates on the UCLA shooting.

A former UCLA graduate student murdered his ex-girlfriend in St. Paul, Minnesota, then drove to California and killed his mentor, a professor in the mechanical engineering department, before turning the gun on himself. From the New York Times:
The murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles, was the latest in a long string of campus shootings, but the fact that professors were specifically targeted heightened what some faculty members said was a growing fear of violence and prompted many to think about experiences they have had that might have angered students.

New laws in Texas and other states allowing people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses have heightened concerns about gun violence, though concealed carry is still prohibited on most campuses around the country, including those in California. Two prominent faculty members have left the University of Texas at Austin, citing the change, and a third has said he will try to defy the law and bar guns in his classroom.
Not going to end on a somber note, so here's a song I've been listening to nonstop recently. Have a good weekend.


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