RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina civil rights leaders say Republicans now leading state government have moral and constitutional reasons to make lifting people out of poverty their top priority.

The NAACP in North Carolina organized a policy briefing Tuesday for grass-roots leaders at the Legislative Building. The NAACP and other social action groups brought attention to their annual people's assembly next month in Raleigh.

The coalition says it is focusing on poverty and economic justice issues following a poverty tour that took members to 27 towns and cities last year. They say economic justice includes what they call living wages and labor rights.

Gene Nichol runs an anti-poverty center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He says a Republican proposal to reduce unemployment benefits is discouraging.

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