N.C. Senate elects 6 BOG members
The N.C. Senate elected six members to the UNC-system Board of Governors Wednesday.
The six members are former N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg; former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer; Marty Kotis, a real estate investor of Summerfield; Steve Long, a Raleigh attorney; Randall Ramsey, a Beaufort business owner; and Harry Smith, a Greenville business executive.
Kotis, Long and Smith are current members of the BOG— and were elected for another four-year term. Current member Scott Lampe of Charlotte was not re-elected.
BOG chairperson Lou Bissette welcomed the members in a statement.
“This slate represents a range of talents and expertise from a variety of industries and individuals who are committed to greater educational opportunities for the citizens of North Carolina,” he said.
Elections for the Board of Governors faced controversy after the N.C. General Assembly cut the number of board members from 32 to 24. Critics said the shrink would lead to less diverse representation. All six members elected by the senate are white male Republicans.
The N.C. House has not yet voted on its six members but has nominated 14 candidates.
Pence breaks tie to block funds for family planning
Vice President Mike Pence casted a deciding vote to roll back protections for federal funds for family planning and reproductive health.
This is Pence’s second time using his Constitutional power as vice president to break a tie in the U.S. Senate. Former vice president Joe Biden did not use this power during his two four-year terms.
The legislature's 50-51 vote killed a rule that required all states to accept federal grants to clinics that provide contraceptives and other family planning services.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said 4 million people’s health care would be in jeopardy as a result of the decision. She said it would take away birth control access for women trying to plan their families and futures.
“Too many people still face barriers to health care, especially young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas and people with low incomes,” Laguens said. “ We will never stop fighting for the right of every person to access the care they need.”
EPA breaks with past administration's pesticide ban
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt denied a ban of chlorpyrifos, a controversial pesticide widely used in U.S. agriculture, on Wednesday.
“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in a statement. “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”
The Obama administration had previously proposed the pesticide ban in 2015 in response to a petition and lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups.
Recent research has linked the pesticide’s use to neurological harm — including lowered brain function in young children exposed to it — prompting the National Resources Defense Council's actions and the EPA’s proposed ban.
"Failing to act on chlorpyrifos comes at the expense of our children’s health,” National Resources Defense Council senior scientist Miriam Rotkin-Ellman said in a statement. “That’s a price the Trump administration may be willing to pay to promote their agenda of deregulation and polluter profits, but that we cannot afford as a nation.”
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