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North Carolina Republicans want to let police view patients’ medical records with no warrant

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In their efforts to combat the deadly opioid crisis, lawmakers are lurching all over the place: from demanding doctors prescribe fewer opioids to shutting down pill mills to class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. Others are finding novel ways to funnel more people who suffer from addiction into prison, such as by prosecuting dealers for homicide in death-resulting cases.

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A new North Carolina bill, sponsored by Republicans in the House and Senate, would likely fall in that latter category. The Heroin & Opioid Prevention & Enforcement Act would give police “unprecedented” power to sift through a person’s entire prescription drug history—no warrant required—if they’re being investigated for any drug crime, the ACLU notes.

Patients’ records are stored in a Controlled Substance Reporting System, which tracks prescriptions to help doctors meet their patients’ needs. Current law restricts law enforcements’ access to the database.

The ACLU explains how the law would erode patients’ rights.

“First, it erodes civil liberties by eliminating the requirement for law enforcement to obtain a court order before searching someone’s prescription records in the database, a crucial protection for our constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures,” they write.

“Second, it opens up a person’s entire history of prescription records at the pharmacy after a single drug charge. Arrested on suspicion of possessing a little marijuana? Under the North Carolina bill, law enforcement could look at your entire pharmaceutical history, without any warrant or court order. Do you use birth control? Take medication to treat depression or anxiety? Ever taken antibiotics to treat a sexually transmitted disease? North Carolina law enforcement would get to know all that and more.”

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Meanwhile, much of the state has yet to expand access to evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction.


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2020 Election

‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.

During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.

"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."

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CNN’s Bakari Sellers schools Rick Santorum over claim Trump is not part of the ‘extreme hard right’

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During a panel discussion on CNN's State of the Union, contributor Bakari Sellers set fellow panelist Rick Santorum straight after he tried to claim that Donald Trump doesn't take far-right positions.

Following a discussion on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucus win, Santorum tried to note the major differences between Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Responding to conservative commentator Linda Chavez who called both Sanders and Trump "two angry people," Santorum remarked, "I wanted to take issue with what Linda said: two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree with that, with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing, no question, the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree."

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GOP lawmakers melt down after Maryland AP history class teacher uses illustration to compare Trump to Nazis

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According to a report from the Washington Times, Maryland Republicans are up in arms after an AP history teacher at a local high school used a slide to illustrate similarities between Donald Trump's policies and those of the Nazis.

The report states, "A slide used in an Advanced Placement history class at Loch Raven High School in Towson shows a picture of Trump above pictures of a Nazi swastika and a flag of the Soviet Union. Two captions read 'wants to round up a group of people and build a giant wall' and 'oh, THAT is why it sounds so familiar!'"

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