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Recently, during the League of Women Voters' monthly meeting at Tartan Hall, Chris Brook gave an overview of what new voting laws could mean to North Carolinians.

Last year, the N.C. legislature passed bills that would establish new voting regulations and procedures that will go into effect in 2016. Brook serves as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who will be representing the league in a lawsuit opposing some of the provisions in the new voting law.

“A lot of the headlines that we see refer to the voter I.D. portion of the law,” said Brooks. “But that is a small portion. It is important that we understand the other changes that come with the law.”

The league has publicly opposed the law since it gained national attention last spring. Brook began his presentation by giving an overview of the history spanning back to the first bill, House Bill 589.


Students who entered third grade this year became the first batch of students to be affected by the state’s new Read to Achieve law. The law, which requires local districts to retain students who do not test proficient on the end of grade reading test, was predicted to cause nearly 50 percent of third grade students in Macon County to fail third grade at the end the school year.

Monday night, Carol Waldroop, director of Elementary Education for Macon County, informed school board members that the district had been approved for a one-year waiver that allows the district to view alternative assessments in addition to the end-of-grade test when determining which students should be retained at the end of the year.

“We think the retention rate would be about 50 percent statewide if the state board had not added some alternatives to the original law besides the portfolio,” said Waldroop.


On Friday, Feb. 7, President Barack Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law after three years of back and forth battles in the United States Congress concerning a variety of measures.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 959 page legislation is predicted to reduce the national deficit by almost $17 billion. As a result of the passage, funding for food stamps will be decreased by $8 billion over the next 10 years.


Jane Hipps of Waynesville has officially announced her candidacy for the North Carolina Senate seat held by Jim Davis.

To kickoff her campaign, an “Announcement Celebration” is being held for Hipps Thursday evening at 5:30 pm at the Junaluska Elementary School. The public is invited.

Having spent more than 38 years in public education, Hipps understands firsthand what it means to be an educator. Working first as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in Haywood County and eventually as a science consultant for the Western Area Regional Alliance, she has been a school psychologist, a teacher, a program developer, and a National Math and Science Consultant. Hipps states that while she looks at her time in the classroom with pride, she believes recent moves of our North Carolina Legislature have left monumental concerns.

Hipps says she is running for the NC Senate because she is concerned about the future of this state. She highlights how opportunities for our children have been eroded by the massive cuts and threats to public education, including the community colleges and universities. Hipps states that the impact of these cuts at the local level has meant that our counties have fewer teachers, teacher assistants and assistant principals.


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