ultimately end up in bankruptcy, and of those, some will be forced to liquidate.”— JG

Miller: Hold up funding for FBI data-mining program

Rep.Brad Miller, a Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, requested that Congress temporarily withhold funding for the FBI’s National Security Analysis Center in a June 16 letter to Rep.David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. Miller, who chairs the Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee said the FBI failed to answer a number of questions posed by the Government Accountability Office, including what the center’s purpose and scope would be, what types of records and databases it would use, and how it intended to ensure compliance with privacy laws. In an letter to the GAO earlier this month, Miller and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) wrote that the proposed FBI center bears a “striking resemblance” to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Total Information Awareness program, which Congress terminated in 2003. The two congressmen wrote that the center would create 6 billion records by 2012, or 20 for each person in the United States. They cited a report for the libertarian Cato Institute by Jeff Jonas, who warned that “predictive” counterterrorism data mining efforts run the risk of “flood[ing] the national security system with false positives — suspects who are truly innocent.”— JG

Schools cry foul on state education funding

The NC Department of Public Instruction raised concerns this week that a conference budget distributed June 23 by the NC General Assembly’s Joint Education Appropriation Committee would shortchange public schools by $80.5 million in funding that would otherwise pay for transportation fuel, bonuses for teachers and assistants, and at-risk student services and alternative schools. A recent statement released by Guilford County Schools noted that Linda Garrou (D-Forsyth), the Senate’s chief budget writer, said the upper house would restore some $20 million for fuel and bonuses. The statement also noted that Guilford County Schools already faces a $2.6 million shortfall after the Guilford County Commission approved only $10 million of the $12.6 million increases requested for public schools when the county budget was approved on June 19.— JG

The price of justice

A bill proposed by Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) would increase the amount of money wrongfully convicted North Carolina citizens are eligible for upon release. The state currently pays exonerated inmates $20,000 for every year spent behind bars and caps the total award at $500,000. Harrison’s bill would increase the award to $50,000 a year and would bump the cap to $750,000. Inmates cleared of their crimes would also receive free job training and tuition for community colleges and public universities.— AK