NC DEMOCRATS SOUND OFF ON TRUMP'S RACIST TWEETS: “Just when you think he can’t go any lower, he does it. What is he saying? He seems to be saying these aren’t really full-fledged Americans. He’s saying they came from somewhere else or they need to go back to where they came from,” said Rep. David Price, of Chapel Hill, in a telephone interview. “It is racist and it’s demeaning.” Said Charlotte Rep. Alma Adams, who is black, in a statement: “It’s been more than 24 hours since the President’s hateful, un-American tweets, and there has been no apology. Instead, the President has doubled down on his dangerous rhetoric, proving that he is a racist who is unfit to serve.” Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called it “deplorable, disturbing, divisive and dangerous.” Butterfield, of Wilson, said Trump’s “continuous racist and hateful rhetoric is wrong and only weakens us as a nation. America’s diversity is our strength and should be celebrated.”
FIRST DAY OF GERRYMANDERING TRIAL INCLUDES TYPICAL REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM: Strach says state courts and the constitution already have put limits on redistricting that discourage egregious partisanship, while allowing for some consideration of partisan advantage and protecting incumbents. "There is no way to know what a fair map looks like," Strach said. "That would require the court to decide essentially how many Republicans and Democrats should be in the legislature." Jones said his clients plan to use files from Tom Hofeller, a now-deceased GOP redistricting consultant who helped draw the 2017 maps, to "prove beyond a doubt that partisan gain was his singular objective." Hofeller's estranged daughter alerted Common Cause to the existence of his computer files, which were later subpoenaed. Stephanie Hofeller was deposed before the trial to describe how she discovered the files. The Republicans' lawyers said the Hofeller files the plaintiffs want to use don't prove the GOP legislators who ultimately approved the maps were led by excessive partisanship.
TRUMP TO INSTATE NEW REGULATIONS ATTACKING PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The head of a national umbrella group representing the clinics said the administration is following “an ideological agenda” that could disrupt basic health care for many low-income women. Ahead of a planned conference Tuesday with the clinics, the Health and Human Services Department formally notified them that it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. Another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof would take effect next year. The rule is widely seen as a blow against Planned Parenthood, which provides taxpayer-funded family planning and basic health care to low-income women, as well as abortions that must be paid for separately. The organization is a mainstay of the federally funded family planning program and it has threatened to quit over the issue. Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said in a statement that “our doors are still open” as her organization and other groups seek to overturn the regulations in federal court. “We will not stop fighting for all those across the country in need of essential care,” Wen said.
TRUMP'S EPA COMES UNDER FIRE FOR STACKING SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD WITH INDUSTRY SHILLS: The GAO described a sharp decrease in the number of university researchers serving on the Science Advisory Board, which reviews the integrity of scientific information used by the EPA when writing rules, over the first 15 months of the Trump administration. The number of university researchers on the panel went from 36 in January 2017 to just 22 in March 2018. The panel had between 44 and 47 members during that period. The decrease came as the number of researchers from consulting firms or from companies regulated by the agency went up, a fact that Democrats latched onto as more evidence the Trump adminisitration is overly influenced by polluting industries. “After a careful investigation, the non-partisan GAO confirms what we’ve been critical of all along: The Trump Administration is violating its own rules by putting industry officials in charge of crucially important science advisory boards,” said Sen. Thomas R. Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) led a group of Democrats in asking the GAO to investigate the agency's practices. “This is not a trivial issue, but a serious problem that has profound consequences for enforcement and regulatory actions across the agency.”
UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE AGENCY WORRIED ABOUT TRUMP'S NEW ASYLUM STANCE: The U.N. refugee agency says it's "deeply concerned" about new U.S. restrictions on asylum, saying it will put vulnerable families at risk. UNHCR comments late Monday came after the Trump administration said it will end all asylum protections for most migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The rule is expected to go into effect Tuesday and would affect many refugees fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. It is certain to face legal challenges. According to the plan, migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the United States will be ineligible for asylum. UNHCR says the rule overly restricts the right to apply for asylum, and threatens the right not to be sent back to countries where people could face persecution.