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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

NC Constituents Rally for Tillis to End Shutdown

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Thursday, January 10, 2019   

RALEIGH, N.C. – Concerned voters are asking U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to help end what they're calling a crisis created by the government shutdown.

As 800,000 federal workers forgo another payday, North Carolina constituents are looking to their junior senator to support a bipartisan solution to fund the government.

Sarah Whitehill, whose husband works for a federal agency, signed a letter sent to Tillis' office this week, calling the shutdown "scary" and "devastating."

Whitehill says Tillis should show more concern for the livelihoods of families affected by the loss of pay.

"I want to see my husband back at work,” she stresses. “It's clear from the fact that the Senate managed to pass a spending bill nearly unanimously just prior to the shutdown starting, that they have the votes to override President Trump's veto.

“I want them to actually put these bills to a vote, and get the government back up and running."

In a statement on Tuesday, Tillis' office said he does not support voting on the House-approved spending bill until President Donald Trump signs off on the deal.

Gerald Givens, president of the Raleigh/Apex chapter of the NAACP, says the shutdown is also hurting groups such as small businesses and people with disabilities.

He sees it as holding North Carolinians hostage, and says Tillis ought to speak up.

"We've gone from a man-made crisis at the Southern border to a man-made crisis in almost every airport and government institution in America,” Givens stresses. “His voice matters in the United State Senate. He's a representative of all of North Carolinians, and people in North Carolina are also being hurt by this as well."

Since the shutdown, the Transportation Security Administration says there have been higher than normal numbers of airport workers in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham calling in sick rather than working without pay.

Karen Ziegler, an organizer for the social justice group known as Tuesdays with Tillis that is critical of the senator, is requesting a town hall meeting.

"The president and Sen. Tillis seem completely indifferent to the needs of everyday people,” she states. “Also, we're really concerned about the humanitarian crisis at the border, but this is a crisis that the president has 100 percent created, and we need Sen. Tillis to talk about that."

Tillis is up for reelection in 2020. He has not addressed the group's protests directly, but in an earlier statement on immigration reform, he said, "Congress has failed to produce a solution because too many members have caved to extreme voices."


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