A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration can’t follow through on plans for an early end to the 2020 Census, noting that doing so could lead to a major undercount. News outlets note that the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to appeal the order, which specifically granted plaintiffs (who included the U.S. Census Bureau) a motion for stay and a preliminary injunction. The New York Times pointed out in its coverage today that stakeholders in an accurate count, like cities and states, have argued that giving the Census Bureau more time in the operation was vital. Census data is used in myriad ways, including funding allocations and the drawing of state and federal electoral districts, the latter of which begins right after the census results are released.
Local parks and recreation programs may now apply for grants to operate remote learning programs while schools are meeting virtually. The N.C. General Assembly allocated $20 million earlier this month for this program. In addition to parks and recreation programs, other local non-profits such as YMCA’s and Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs may apply for grants of up to $100,000. Due to an end-of-year deadline imposed by Congress to spend these funds, turnaround on the grant applications is quick, and organizations face an Oct. 5 deadline to apply for the grants. To qualify for the grants, entities must either have a memorandum of understanding with their local public school system, or they must register with the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services, which has not yet made public registration details. Read more about the grant opportunity here.
The Trump administration has included North Carolina in its moratorium on new leasing for offshore drilling for oil and gas, effective for 12 years. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said he spoke with President Trump and got the confirmation this week. “Over the last several years, I have listened to mayors and elected officials from Brunswick to Currituck County and have been adamant that any decision on new energy production off North Carolina's coast should be made with the input of our local communities,” Senator Tillis said in a news release. In 2018, the League filed comments of opposition to North Carolina’s inclusion in the 2019-24 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. In those comments, we requested that no further action related to seismic testing and oil exploration or drilling take place in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina’s coast. Our arguments recognized the importance of the coastal economy and were in support of the municipalities that had formally opposed offshore drilling.