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June 15, 2018 - 12:00 am

AP EXPLAINS-POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN

AP Explains: Poor People's Campaign 1968 vs. 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of anti-poverty activists have launched a campaign in recent weeks modeled after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign of 1968. Like the push 50 years ago, advocates are hoping to draw attention to those struggling with deep poverty from Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta, from the American Southwest to California's farm country.

The latest effort is led by reverends out of North Carolina and New York, who are encouraging activists in 40 states to take part in acts of civil disobedience, teach-ins and demonstrations to force communities to address poverty. They say only a "moral revival" can bring it to the nation's consciousness.

FISHY BUSINESS

AP Investigation: Sustainable seafood dealer sold fishy tale

MONTAUK, New York (AP) — An Associated Press investigation finds that a leading sustainable seafood distributor who promised wild-caught, domestic fish traceable back to a dock has been duping chefs across the U.S.

Reporters traced the supply chain of New York-based Sea To Table to migrant fishermen in foreign waters who described labor abuses, poaching and the slaughter of sharks, whales and dolphins.

Other seafood promoted as "just landed" at one dock was actually trucked in from other states.

Sea To Table's CEO says his intention was never to mislead customers, but he will take steps to avoid confusion.

He says he strictly prohibits imports and is temporarily suspending business with two suppliers to investigate.

HOG SMELLS-LAWSUITS

Bill blocking future hog farm nuisance suits finalized

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators have finalized tougher restrictions upon neighbors of hog farms seeking to sue for damages because of the stench and other nuisances coming from industrial-scale livestock operations.

The state Senate agreed Thursday night to accept House changes to legislation spurred on by the agribusiness industry following the results of the first of nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against pork producers. Smithfield Foods was hit with a nearly $51 million verdict — cut to about $3 million because of state limits on punitive damages.

Language within the bill would all but block other neighbors from suing the operations in the future. Farmers have filled Legislative Building galleries this week supporting the changes.

The bill now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper, who hasn't said whether he'll veto it.

EARLY VOTING

Early voting bill would change North Carolina schedule, time

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican lawmakers are looking again at changing the rules on early voting, a popular idea which has prompted legal action.

A House committee voted Thursday to change the 17-day early-voting schedule and require more consistent voting times during that period.

The proposal would end the early-voting period statewide on the Friday evening before a primary or election day. Currently counties must offer voting until the Saturday afternoon before the election. Counties also would have to open all of their early voting sites from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and be required to keep uniform hours if sites are open on weekends.

The legislature passed an election law in 2013 reducing the number of early-voting days from 17 to 10, but federal courts struck that down, citing racial bias.

SCHOOL SAFETY

Bill addressing mass violence threats gets legislative OK

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislation now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper would give harsher punishments for threatening mass violence at a school or place of worship, but also give extra help to accused young people.

The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday for a measure making such threats a felony. They are currently misdemeanors.

First-time offenders under age 20 could reach an agreement whereby a judge would dismiss a charge in exchange for community service, probation and mental evaluation and possible treatment. The case ultimately could be removed from their records.

Someone accused of making the threats could be held for 48 hours while a judge determines release conditions.

Sen. Tamara Barringer of Cary says the bill represents a chance to intervene before violence occurs and to keep schools safe.

HEALTH PLANS

Future of health benefit bill uncertain following House vote

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The fate of a proposal allowing North Carolina-based nonprofit organizations to offer health benefit plans not subject to state insurance regulations is uncertain because House lawmakers wouldn't agree to the Senate idea out of hand.

The House declined Thursday night to accept changes senators made to a House measure that originally focused on how to recruit more school psychologists.

The new provisions envision groups offering coverage that doesn't necessarily comply with the 2010 federal health care law. North Carolina Farm Bureau and the NC Realtors have pushed for the language. Critics say the plans would offer weak health coverage.

Key House Republicans said Thursday more time was needed to review the idea. It's unclear if Senate and House leaders are willing to work out differences before the session ends.

OPIOID ABUSE

Latest N Carolina opioid abuse legislation going to Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly has sent to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk the latest legislation addressing opioid abuse by creating new crimes against medical workers and granting certain police investigators easier access to prescription records.

The Senate quickly voted 41-3 on Thursday for the measure authored by the House, which held extensive debate on the measure Wednesday. House members were divided on a provision that would allow an investigator to get records from the state's controlled substance database without a warrant or court order.

The measure also makes it a felony for medical professionals to embezzle or divert pain medicines designated for a patient for their personal use or sale.

Attorney General Josh Stein backs the bill. He also worked with legislators in passing an opioid bill last year.

AP-US-CRIME-LAB-EMPLOYEE-SHOT

North Carolina crime lab employee accidentally shoots self

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say an employee at North Carolina's state crime lab accidentally shot herself while testing a weapon.

North Carolina Department of Justice spokeswoman Laura Brewer says the employee was released from the hospital after a few hours of treatment.

Brewer said in an email the worker was doing forensic testing Thursday at the State Crime Lab when the gun accidentally fired and she was wounded.

Brewer didn't release the employee's name or details of her injury.

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