Friday News: Harm Reduction

NC LEGISLATURE PASSES BILL ALLOWING GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR NEEDLE EXCHANGES: The Opioid Epidemic Response Act, which passed the state Senate, was ratified by the House this week and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper, will allow syringe exchanges to use state funding. It also will decriminalize drug-testing equipment and reduce restrictions for prescribing buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. Jesse Bennett is the statewide overdose-prevention coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that works on issues like injection drug use through activities like advocacy and connecting people to the care they need. In the three years since syringe exchanges became legal, Bennett said they have gone from distributing a few thousand syringes a year to nearly a million. And the syringes are one of the most expensive pieces of the job. “That’s where we’re we struggle the most,” Bennett said. He said they have to be conservative with how many they can give out at times. “It’s scary sometimes, especially when you have hepatitis or HIV outbreaks,” Bennett said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article232543287.html

Offshore drilling opponents on the coast get boost from Asheville

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Would that all NC's major cities show the same support:

Since the spring of 2017 when a shift in policy by the Trump administration caused the prospect of offshore oil and gas exploration off the North Carolina coast to reemerge as real possibility, local governments from Currituck to Calabash have steadily weighed in, passing resolutions in opposition and in some cases multiple times. About 40 of the coastal region’s municipalities and all but two coastal county boards — Carteret and Brunswick — have put their opposition to paper.

One of the latest additions to that list, however, could be a sign that other parts of the state are lining up against new leases as well. In late April, the Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution against both offshore drilling and seismic testing.

Aside from Lousiana's Mississippi Delta region, I'm not sure there is another state whose coastal area is as vulnerable to toxic spills as North Carolina's. Spilled oil could (and would) easily migrate deep into our tidal wetlands, and there's no fixing that. It would be devastating to not only fish and other waterborne species, but also migrating birds. Having Cooper in the Governor's mansion is a huge relief, especially considering McCrory turned his office into the damn headquarters of the drilling effort:

Thursday News: Was ist los mit dir?

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BERGER FLIES OFF TO BERLIN DURING BUDGET STANDOFF: Just hours after Gov. Roy Cooper and Democratic legislative leaders delivered a new budget proposal to Republican legislative leaders, two of them were on their way out of the country. Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County and Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow County, who is the Senate majority leader and a budget writer, were on their way to attend the Senate Presidents’ Forum summer 2019 conference in Berlin. According to the group’s website, there will be sessions on recent trade tariffs, Brexit and nationalist trends, and an update on the Middle East. The conference runs through July 14. The trip comes weeks after Republicans criticized Cooper for leaving the state for non-state business while attempting to set up budget negotiation meetings.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232512972.html

GOP war on women: Cyberstalker Cody Henson gets 3rd continuance

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The Republican leadership's lust for power has no shame:

Henson had a first court appearance on the Class 2 misdemeanor charge on March 28, when his hearing was set for May 2. On May 2, Henson received his first continuance to June 26. On June 26, the case was continued a second time to Tuesday, when it was continued a third time to July 23.

Interviewed outside the Transylvania County courthouse Tuesday by Carolina Public Press, the lawmaker’s attorney, J. Michael Edney, attributed the delay to legislative necessity. “They needed him in Raleigh,” said Edney, who is also a county commissioner in Henderson County.

Compare and contrast: One lawmaker who is suffering from cancer sets aside her pain and weakness to do her duty, while another uses duty as an excuse to postpone punishment over his abusive treatment of his former spouse. That's a stark enough comparison on its own, but consider this: The GOP leadership should have already forced Henson's resignation, but instead, they are reinforcing his bad behavior by "needing him" to not only show up, but to do so on days when his victim was counting on justice to give her some peace of mind. Peace of mind that may not be forthcoming:

Wednesday News: No big surprise

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WHITE MALE CANDIDATE WINS GOP PRIMARY FOR CONGRESS: State Rep. Greg Murphy won Tuesday’s runoff for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District in a race that exposed a gender rift among U.S. House Republicans and attracted attention from some of the biggest names in Republican politics. Murphy will be the favorite to represent the GOP-leaning district in Eastern North Carolina. He joins Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt on the ballot for the Sept. 10 general election. Murphy, a urologic surgeon from Greenville, won the nomination over first-time candidate Joan Perry, a Kinston pediatrician, in a bid to replace Walter B. Jones, Jr., in the House. With all precinct reporting, Murphy had 59.7 percent of the vote and topped Perry by nearly 7,000 total votes.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232470717.html

Tuesday News: You're no Schindler, dude

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DAN BISHOP LIKENS ANTI-LGBTQ CROWD TO JEWS DURING HOLOCAUST: The Republican candidate for an open House seat in North Carolina likened his efforts to undermine LGBTQ rights via religious exemptions to the work of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved Jews during the Holocaust. State Sen. Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee in the Sept. 10 do-over election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, made the remarks in email communications with conservative activist leaders in March 2017. The emails were obtained through a public records request by the liberal news site Real Facts NC, which published them online at the end of June. “As Oscar Schindler said, as many as we can,” Bishop replied, comparing his wish to see the maximum number of people exempted from local anti-discrimination laws to Schindler’s professed desire to hire, and therefore save, as many endangered European Jews as possible during World War II.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dan-bishop-bathroom-bill-repeal-oscar-schindlnorth-carolina-dan-mccre...

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