Longleaf Politics | A recent memo sent by the N.C. Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association to its members this week provides us a revealing glimpse of how politics works in real life. The new deal with state lawmakers that the memo discloses is a little in the weeds. The bill in question is House Bill 500, currently under consideration. It’s an omnibus ABC bill, meaning that it makes a lot of little adjustments to the state’s alcohol laws. It passed the House last April and is now in Senate committees. The bill got a few new amendments in a Senate committee. One enables wholesale business owners to transferRead More →

Longleaf Politics | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on October 9, 2016. A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June. Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild. The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters. Why is recovery taking so long? It mostly has to do with the processes setRead More →

A lagoon for hog waste. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture North Carolina Health News Now that neighbors to one hog farm have one court victory against the world’s largest pork producer, state legislators are moving to shield hog farms from nuisance lawsuits. This is not the first time the General Assembly has tightened protections for both livestock growers and the corporations that own the animals they raise. They’ve done it multiple times in recent years, sometimes in direct response to court cases. The 2018 farm bill, on a fast track for approval in Raleigh this week, would create a statute that says a farm cannot be consideredRead More →

Longleaf Politics The General Assembly is taking a highly unusual route toward accomplishing its even-year requirement, a budget adjustment bill. It’s a little complicated and hard to understand. But the way that House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are choosing do to things has already drawn strong condemnation from Democrats, who are calling it a “sham” process. And while the state’s minority party is often hyperbolic and hypocritical in calling out political gamesmanship — this time, they might have a point. It’s all about November. Let’s get beyond the finger-pointing. Here is what’s actually happening. More  Read More →

REVEAL NEWS / Center for Investigative Reporting For years, North Carolina officials looked the other way while a rogue drug rehab program exploited people struggling with addiction and put disabled patients at risk. Recovery Connections Community, a two-year rehab program near Asheville, sent participants to work as unpaid caregivers at adult care homes throughout the state. Participants got little addiction help, but were ordered to work 16-hour days caring for elderly and disabled patients, often with disastrous results. Jennifer Warren has spent years recruiting the poor and desperate to her drug rehabilitation program in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. She promised them counseling and recoveryRead More →

By FRANK TAYLOR Carolina Public Press More than a week after the arrests of some 40 people in Western and Central North Carolina, additional accusations of improper behavior against federal immigration agents continue to stir tensions. A lawyer claims agents refused to let him talk with his clients while they were being processed in Hendersonville on April 14. Also in Hendersonville, immigrant advocates organized a protest at a public park on Friday where federal agents and members of local law enforcement were having a picnic. In both cases, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency responded with a version of facts or perspectivesRead More →