By Andrew Rice
In local news, the Blowing Rock town council approved a new childcare facility for full time employees at their March meeting. According to the Watauga Democrat, the Blowing Rock Academy is set to open on July 1st and will cost $400 dollars. Before opening, the building will undergo renovations which will include building lattice on the back porch, a privacy fence around play areas, two new doors, a new outdoor porch, hand-washing sinks, and an interior wall to separate toddlers and infants. The cost of the renovations is estimated to be between $50-60,000. The facility will operate with two full-time employees with a director and a staff member. Ten children will be able to attend at the start of the academy but it can could have up to 20 children. The academy is not open to the public.
In state news, the North Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday requiring students at state universities and state community colleges to take a three-credit hour course on the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents. According to the Carolina Journal, the bill passed by a vote of 69-47, with all Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The class would include the required reading of documents such as the Declaration of Independence, five Federalist Papers, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from a Birmingham Jail. Students would also be required to pass a final exam on the documents, their historical context and authors’ perspectives. The Board of Governors would have the ability to remove the chancellor of a university and the state board of community colleges would be able to remove the president of a community college that fails to comply with the course requirement. The bill will now go to the State Senate where, if supported by Republicans, would pass with a veto-proof margin.
In national news, the CEO of TikTok appeared before a U.S. Congressional committee Thursday. According to AP News, CEO Shou Zi Chew was questioned on data security and user safety, while making a case to prevent banning the app. TikTok has acquired 150 million American users and drawn sharp criticism and calls to ban the app from U.S. officials on the basis of its data privacy and user safety concerns. On Wednesday, the company sent dozens of popular TikTokers to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers to preserve the platform. It is unclear how officials would go about a ban on the app but many have anticipated pressure being placed on Google and Apple to restrict or limit services the app provides, virtually making it useless.
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