HEALTH CARE BILL PASSES: Summoned to success by President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled Congress approved historic legislation Sunday night extending health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and cracking down on insurance company abuses, a climactic chapter in the century-long quest for near universal coverage.
"This is what change looks like," Obama said a few moments later in televised remarks that stirred memories of his 2008 campaign promise of "change we can believe in."
Widely viewed as dead two months ago, the Senate-passed bill cleared the House on a 219-212 vote. Republicans were unanimous in opposition, joined by 34 dissident Democrats. (AP)
NOW WHAT? Few issues since the Vietnam War have generated as much heat as the health care debate, which prompted street corner rallies in Raleigh, packed town halls from Wilson to Durham and prodded both sides to mobilize.
But the question with Sunday's historic House vote for President Barack Obama's health care plan is how it will play in the November elections.
In a moderately conservative state like North Carolina with its traditional skepticism of the federal government, the issue poses risks for the Democrats. Public opinion polls suggest that the majority does not support the president's plan, although voters say
they like some parts of it. (N&O)
JUST (SOME OF) THE FACTS, MA'AM: Some North Carolina police departments routinely withhold incident reports that don't include criminal allegations, citing a section of state law that's intended to keep criminal investigations private.
Raleigh, Cary and other towns contend that even the police reports that don't lead to criminal investigations or charges still begin as criminal cases and include criminal intelligence, and therefore are protected under the state public records law.
Media lawyers and other open-records advocates say the agencies interpret the law incorrectly. (N&O)