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Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen joined Gov. Nathan Deal, state legislative leaders, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein and Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 16, for an unprecedented news conference by the three branches of government to announce a bipartisan effort at criminal justice reform for the state.

“Constitutionally, public safety is a core responsibility of state government, but that doesn’t mean criminal justice shouldn’t be held accountable for results – or that more taxpayer funds will solve the problem,” McCutchen said. “This news conference shows that our state’s leaders are willing to set aside partisanship for the opportunity to strategically build on Georgia’s early successes and transform our criminal justice system to be more effective and efficient.”


The Macon County Board of Commissioners voted to support the new Western North Carolina Regional Livestock Center in Haywood County with $5,000 in funds to go toward completing the facility in time for its first livestock sale scheduled for mid- March. The money will go to the WNC Communities Association, the non-profit organization which has spear-headed the project, along with a promised match of 50 percent from Buncombe County, for a total of $7,500.

The beef cattle industry is one of the largest sources of agricultural income for the county. According to County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, 5,600 cattle on 155 different cattle farms are in Macon County. “It is a larger industry than you may realize,” Beale said.


House Bill 2, the “N.C. Healthcare Protection Act,” is likely to be reviewed this week by the North Carolina Senate for consideration after the House passed the bill by a vote of 66 to 50 on Wednesday, Feb. 2. This legislation protects North Carolina citizens from what some say is an unconstitutional mandate to enroll in health insurance or to buy medical care under the federal healthcare legislation passed last year. Enactment of HB 2 would also make North Carolina a plaintiff with 28 other states in federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The House vote came two days after U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled the entire federal healthcare bill unconstitutional. Judge Vinson’s ruling agrees with the assertions of the majority of the N.C. House, that Congress cannot mandate individual citizens to purchase health insurance.


DNA work by the State Bureau of Investigation laboratory resulted in 420 hits to the DNA database in 2010, a record number of matches to help local law enforcement solve murders, rapes and other crimes across the state. The database is expected to be even more help as it begins to include some arrestee samples this month.

“This good work by the SBI DNA unit takes criminals off our streets, exonerates the innocent and brings justice to victims and their families,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday.


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