‘Foot soldiers’ of Birmingham to BLM: ‘Keep on keeping on’
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of teenagers and adults helped change the world nearly 60 years ago by marching for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, those same people have a message for people demonstrating against racial justice and police violence: Keep going. Charles Avery spent days in jail and lived with a conviction on his record for parading without a permit for decades, but he says he’d do it again given the chance. So would Myrna Jackson, who follows the Black Lives Matter movement closely. More than 1,600 people including Martin Luther King Jr. were arrested while demonstrating in Birmingham in the spring of 1963. The protests helped build support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Activists blast NC Republican measure raising riot penalties
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Several Black activists are blasting a Republican measure at the North Carolina House that would increase penalties for rioters, calling it racist legislation. The House voted this week for the bill, which also would allow property owners to seek three times the monetary damage caused by a rioter. Speakers at a news conference Thursday said the measure is designed to silence otherwise peaceful demonstrators for racial justice. House Speaker Tim Moore sponsored the bill and says it would shield businesses and residents from mayhem while discouraging violent actors from attempting to hijack peaceful vigils. Nearly half of the House Democrats voted for the bill.
PIPELINE CYBERSECURITY ATTACK
Gas crunch from cyberattack intensifies in nation’s capital
Gas shortages at the pumps are spreading from the South to the Mid-Atlantic states, where Virginia and the District of Columbia have become some of the hardest-hit areas following a cyberattack that led to the shutdown of the nation’s largest gasoline pipeline. The tracking service GasBuddy.com on Friday showed that 88% of gas stations were out of fuel in Washington, D.C., about half were out in Virginia, and 42% of Maryland stations were dry. A gas station owner in Virginia descried the situation there as “a frenzy” fueled by panic buying. A cyberattack struck Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline on May 7.
Enrollment for North Carolina Medicaid managed care ending
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Medicaid recipients are running out of time to ensure they’ll have no trouble getting the doctor they want when the program makes a significant shift soon. Friday is the end of open enrollment for North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care, which begins July 1. Most Medicaid recipients will participate. They can choose their primary care provider and health plan. There are several plans to choose from. People who don’t enroll will be placed in a plan automatically. Everyone will get 90 days to make changes. North Carolina Medicaid is moving away from a traditional fee-for-service program with the shift.
With most work done, NC legislative deadline passes quietly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina General Assembly parliamentary deadline designed to pare down what bills will be considered through 2022 passed quietly without the last-day clamor of previous biennial sessions. The Senate debated and voted on fewer than 10 bills before adjourning Thursday. Bills unrelated to taxes or spending, elections or a few other exceptions that didn’t pass the House or Senate by Thursday face long odds for consideration during the rest of the biennial session. The House completed its work Wednesday after disposing of over 130 bills that reached the chamber floor this week. The focus returns next week to the state budget process.
Conservatives seize on gas crunch to blame Biden, stir base
Thousands of social media posts have misleadingly painted President Joe Biden and his administration as catalysts of chaos who not only mishandled the temporary shutdown of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline last Friday, but engineered it. A graphic called the East Coast fuel supply crunch “Biden’s Gas Crisis.” A tweet speculated that gas stations running dry was an “INSIDE JOB.” A meme depicted the president and vice president cheering about the “Green New Deal” in front of a snaking line at a fuel station. In reality, a ransom-seeking cyberattack, not a Biden executive order or energy policy, triggered the shutdown.
Audit: NC pandemic aid managers fell short keeping up on $3B
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A new North Carolina state audit says Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration failed to thoroughly monitor how $3.1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds were being used. Thursday’s report from State Auditor Beth Wood’s office focuses on federal funds that the state received toward COVID-19 aid in the spring of 2020. The legislature then appropriated those funds. The performance audit’s authors wrote a new Pandemic Recovery Office failed to design procedures to ensure the money was being spent the way the legislature required, thus increasing the risk for misuse. The office executive director and the state budget director say changes are already being made.
BLACK SOFTBALL PLAYER-HAIRCUT
Black softball player told to cut hair in N Carolina game
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school system is calling for a rule change after a Black softball player was told to cut her hair because of the beads she was wearing, adding that the rule is “culturally biased.” The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Nicole Pyles of Durham Hillside High School was told by two umpires that she would either have to remove the beads or leave the game against in-town rival Jordan High School on April 19. The National Federation of State High School Associations official softball rulebook stipulates beads aren’t allowed to be worn. Durham Public Schools issued a statement supporting Pyles and said the rule should be changed.
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