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Today is the first day of the new fiscal year, but there’s no state budget adjustment in sight. That’s because legislators can’t agree on two big issues: Medicaid funding and teacher raises. Last week, the House passed a partial spending plan that would’ve given teachers average raises of five percent despite the absence of a larger budget deal, but last night the Senate rejected the measure.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.
NAACP

The Moral Monday protests from Raleigh have garnered national attention over the past year. A key component of the protests has been media attention on arrests. Dozens were arrested this year for various non-violent offenses, a move some say is becoming an overt aim of many protestors.

Amy Laura Hall is a professor of ethics at the Duke Divinity School.  She has participated in the Moral Monday protests from the start, but she says the tactic of getting arrested -- or "orderly submission" as she calls it -- is flawed.   

creative commons

North Carolina counties are bracing themselves for statewide education cuts under consideration by the General Assembly. Guilford County schools stand to lose between $6 million and $21 million from the state. 

In an effort to mitigate the loss, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is considering a referendum on increasing the sales tax rate. Host Frank Stasio talks with News & Record reporter Kelly Poe.

A North Carolina Senate committee has recommended a conservative member for the state commission that hears worker’s compensation claims, a placement that critics say would make a majority of the board more likely to side with businesses.

In a 20-minute hearing Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Commerce Committee recommended Charlton Allen to the state Industrial Commission, a six-member board that is similar to a court and makes decisions when workers file compensation claims against their employers and on the state’s eugenics compensation fund.

Senate Leader Phil Berger takes an impromptu meeting with Moral Monday protesters.
Reema Khrais

Monday night, 15 Moral Monday protesters sat in front of Senate Leader Phil Berger’s door.  Berger wasn't in his office, so the protesters sat there until the Senate session ended. Soon, State Capitol Police began to usher everyone out. They said that the building was closing, everyone had to leave. Reporter Dave DeWitt was with the protesters. He wrote about what happened next this way:

Host Frank Stasio and NC Budget Director Art Pope
Anita Rao / WUNC

In 2012, Governor Pat McCrory selected Art Pope to serve as the state’s budget director.

Pope has a long history in North Carolina politics and government. The attorney and businessman served in the legislature before launching several charitable organizations and think tanks centered on libertarian principles.

Sociologist Stephen Vaisey
Stephen Vaisey

For a million dollars, would you: 

  • Throw a tomato at a politician? 
  • Kick a dog in the head?
  • Sign away your soul?

Sociologist Stephen Vaisey asked these questions and more in the first stage of his project, Measuring Morality, which seeks to understand moral beliefs and moral divides. The study also followed teenagers for more than a decade to monitor the development of morality in young adults. 

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  Moral Monday protests resume as the General Assembly's short session continues. Protestors visit individual lawmakers today to lobby for Medicaid expansion, unemployment insurance and education reform. Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved a fracking bill and tentatively approved a regulatory overhaul. Both pieces of legislation may face challenges in the House. 

Former Brazilian Soccer Player Pelé is shirtless and being hoisted up by fans after the 1970 world cup on Cover of Fútbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America
http://upf.com/ / University Press of Florida

  

Sports say a lot about a city, state, or nation. Joshua Nadel’s new book explores the place of soccer in Latin America, and how it's influenced national identity in a post-colonial world. Nadel is the author of “Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America” (University Press of Florida; 2014) and a professor of Latin American and Caribbean History at North Carolina Central University. 

Thom Tillis speaking
http://thomtillis.com/

  

North Carolina's primary elections were a big deal both in and out of the state this year. National organizations and outside groups spent a lot on some of the state’s contests. We will sit down with a roundtable of experts to discuss the primary election results. 

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