JUNE 5 AT NOON: PACK THE GALLERY to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto of S359, the Born-Alive Abortion bill! Read more on Facebook here. Read more information about S359 via Carolina Public Press.

JUNE 5 AT 7PM, people will gather at locations across the state to remember and honor those who have suffered or died because they were uninsured. This is a life and death situation for too many of us, and further delays are not acceptable. Please find a vigil near you and support efforts to close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicaid NOW!

The Durham County Board of Elections is holding free seminars about the new voter ID requirements from now through August. Spanish seminars are also available. Check out their flyer here and spread the word!

The State Ethics Commission has named an interim director after a bit of confusion: Kathleen Edwards.

New reports from Sutton Lake and Belews Creek in Forsyth County show that the environmental impact of coal ash is far greater than previously thought. Mercury and radium are now among the toxins found leaking into the environment from unlined coal ash pits across North Carolina. In Sutton Lake, which served as a cooling lake for about 30 years, has seen levels of several metals including arsenic and cadmium, known carcinogens, elevated to toxicity. These elevated levels are the result of unmonitored spills. Duke has already been told to clean up their mess, and they’re already planning to charge us more for it. Contact your legislators and urge them to hold Duke accountable.

Unfortunately there is no provision for outright expansion of Medicaid in the Senate budget upon which Patti and Michelle reported last week and this Monday. Thanks, in large part, to our “Beloved Leader” Phil Berger, who continues to oppose Medicaid expansion mostly out of spite, as a majority of his own party—52.4%-- support expansion, along with 90% of Democrats and 67% of unaffiliated/independent voters. Last week a coalition of doctors and business leaders met at Wake Tech to rally support for Medicaid expansion. You know when businessmen and capitalists throw their weight into the ring, it’s not something to ignore.

The Republicans know this, which is why they're trying to win Democrats over to their side as they debate the budget. How? Pork. No, not hog farm pork. I'm talking about political pork: incentives in the budget designed to convince a few Democrats to vote with the Republican majority to approve the budget and to override a potential veto by Governor Cooper.

If you live in Wake County, expect to see your property taxes rise a little in order to fund Wake County schools and “provide funding to the Wake County Board of Elections, so it can hold the March presidential primary election and operate 11 early voting sites across the county.” Details here.

Speaking of early voting, Democracy NC hosts a detailed and informative, albeit lengthy, summary of the effects of the early voting uniform hours requirement that took effect last year. HB893, mentioned at the bottom of the post, would change early voting law back to the way it was, “restoring the mandatory last Saturday of Early Voting (giving all North Carolina voters a weekend voting option), allowing counties the option to operate until 5 p.m. on that last Saturday, and providing maximum flexibility to county Boards of Elections to design and set Early Voting schedules that could vary across satellite sites.” Unfortunately, HB893 didn't make the crossover deadline, but that doesn't mean we can't still contact our legislators and remind them to fix this problem.

Know thine enemy, goes the old proverb. In that spirit, take a look at the 3 candidates running for NC GOP Executive Chairman this year, to replace Dallas Woodhouse.

NOT actual footage of the 3 candidates. Image via google search.

If 2016 taught us anything, it's that polls conducted even weeks in advance of an election may not predict the truthful outcome. That said, let this recent poll give you a good dose of get-up-n-go. According to Emerson College, Democrats have the edge in the upcoming presidential, Congressional, and gubernatorial elections. Most pleasingly, the poll sees Erica Smith, Democratic challenger to Thom Tillis and a virtual unknown in the race, beating Tillis by seven points. This may say as much about Tillis' vulnerability as Smith's strength, but no matter what, it's worth celebrating. Share this poll around!

Tags: (ICYMI, coal ash, budget, medicaid expansion, voting rights)

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