A year ago, a little-noticed provision in the state budget initiated the creation of a computer database, to be overseen by the state controller, to be drawn from individual information of state residents collected by state agencies, Scott Mooneyham at The Insider reports. The provision didn't exactly explain the purpose of the database, except to state that it was meant to "reduce unnecessary information silos" and "leverage the data." A series of new provisions in the Senate's proposed budget would rework, add to, and may explain the purpose of something called "the enterprise-level business intelligence initiative."
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A bipartisan bill filed this week would place firm restrictions on drones. The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union immediately praised the legislation as providing needed safeguards.
“Across the country, law enforcement agencies are greatly expanding their use of domestic drones to conduct surveillance on citizens, often without any oversight,” state ACLU policy director Sarah Preston said in a statement.
McCRORY TO SIGN FIRST BILL, GIVE STATE OF STATE ADDRESS: As expected, Gov. Pat McCrory is making the most of an education bill that hit his desk last week, as opposed to another that will cut unemployment benefits. From AP: McCrory planned to put his signature on a law Monday morning in Asheboro that requires the State Board of Education develop by the fall of 2014 new diplomas that make clear a student is ready for college, ready a vocational career, or both. The bill received final approval from the General Assembly last week. McCrory was scheduled to visit Randolph Community College's industrial center for the bill signing. The bill's primary sponsor is from Randolph County.
The bill also tells the state board to look at ways to make it easier to license vocational and technical teachers. The new law fits well into McCrory's campaign platform about public schools preparing students for the work world.
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A coalition of groups on Wednesday renewed their call for the General Assembly to abandon any attempts at requiring voters have a photo ID or other additional documentation. They vowed to fight any such legislation through the upcoming session and into the courts, if necessary.
Civil rights and voting rights groups are launching a campaign against a proposed voter ID law that's sure to pass the legislature early this session.
The state NAACP, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Democracy North Carolina, and others will talk Wednesday about an opposition plan that includes public pressure, a public service announcement and a website.
The Republican-led legislature was not able to get a voter ID law past former Gov. Bev Perdue's veto, but Gov. Pat McCrory wants voter ID.
The American Civil Liberties Union wants political activists and protesters to "know your rights" ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The ACLU is hosting an online webinar Monday at 7 p.m. Panelists include the Charlotte City attorney Bob Hagemann, a Charlotte police department attorney and others. For information on the call, visit acluofnc.org.
The American Civil Liberties Union released its legislative report card Tuesday and no state lawmakers received all positive marks.
The ACLU tracked four main bills this session: expanded ballot access, DNA collection upon arrest, weakening the Racial Justice Act and the gay marriage amendment. Most lawmakers (even Democrats) tripped up on the DNA provision because it was tucked in a bill about the sale of minors.
Many Republicans didn't get any positive "torches" (the brighter Lady Liberty's torch shines, the better position on civil liberties, ACLU explained). The lawmaker with the most torches: Orange County Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a Democrat.
Seventy-four percent of North Carolina voters think police should have to get a warrant or an order from a judge before they track someone’s cell phone calls, according to a new poll.
Respondents would support making that a law, the Public Policy Polling survey found.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday morning challenging North Carolina’s law that effectively prohibits same-sex couples from adopting children.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six gay or lesbian couples from different parts of North Carolina who have one or more children each. It claims the state law violates the constitutional rights of children.
State law prevents unmarried couples from petitioning for adoption, and same-sex marriage has been outlawed in North Carolina for some time. In May, voters approved elevating the same-sex marriage ban as a constitutional amendment.
“Second parents” cannot file for adoption as individuals unless the legal parent of a child gives up all parental rights, under state law.
In 2010, the N.C. Supreme Court voided a state senator’s adoption of the son she raised with her former domestic partner, ruling 5-2 that state Sen. Julia Boseman's adoption was invalid. Her partner, Melissa Jarrell, was his birth mother.
Associate Justice Paul Newby wrote for the majority of the court that the adoption never legally happened. Jarrell sued to undo the adoption after the couple separated.
Boseman, who was the General Assembly’s first openly gay member, has since retired from the Senate.
The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday says it is unfair that the state allows heterosexual stepparents to petition for adoption and the courts consider those cases on their own merits.
Named as defendants in the suit are John W. Smith, director of the state Administrative Office of the Courts; Archie Smith III, clerk of court in Durham County; and David L. Churchill, clerk of court in Guilford County.
The legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina Foundation is stepping down to move with her family to Wilimington.
Katy Parker has been the public voice of the organization’s legal challenges on a variety of fronts for the past six years.
The ACLU currently has two lawsuits pending against the state stemming from laws the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed last year: one over the anti-abortion law requiring ultrasounds, and the other over the “Choose Life” license plate, which would help fund centers that counsel against abortions. The suits have temporarily halted both laws.