Associated Press

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Federal judges have approved North Carolina legislative districts redrawn by an expert they hired to address their concerns about continued racial bias with some boundaries and new constitutional violations.

The News & Observer of Raleigh

Federal judges on Friday approved changes a court-appointed expert made to two dozen North Carolina legislative districts, agreeing that maps approved by Republican lawmakers last summer didn’t fully remove previous illegal racial bias.

Corey Lowenstein/The News & Observer, via Associated Press

 The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday delayed a lower-court order that would have forced North Carolina Republican lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional districts by next week because of excessive partisan bias in current lines.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to block enforcement of an order throwing out the state's congressional map because the lines were too partisan and directing a redraw almost immediately.

Federal judges have ruled that North Carolina's congressional district map drawn by legislative Republicans is illegally gerrymandered because of excessive partisanship that gave the GOP a rock-solid advantage for most seats and must quickly be redone.

Rob Carr/AP

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says he'll keep fighting efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to expand oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast, saying such drilling "represents a critical threat" to the state's coastal economy.

Cooper responded Thursday to news of additional opportunities proposed by the federal government for offshore energy development starting in 2019. He said in a release his administration "will pursue every option" to prevent drilling near the state's beaches, fishing waters and coastal communities.

WRAL

Friday update:

(Associated Press) The North Carolina House leader predicts redrawn election districts for trial court judges can be finalized with Senate Republicans by the end of January. But he's unsure what his colleagues think about a Senate proposal eliminating head-to-head judicial elections.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger appointed Thursday members of a special bipartisan joint committee tasked with recommending judicial changes to the General Assembly.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — New Census estimates show that North Carolina and South Carolina are among states with the biggest population increases in 2017.

The Census data released in late December shows that North Carolina held onto its spot as the ninth most populous state in the U.S. with nearly 10.3 million people. It ranks just behind Georgia and just ahead of Michigan. It also ranks fifth in terms of numeric growth, picking up about 117,000 residents between 2016 and 2017.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Senators meeting to discuss whether to retool how judges are chosen in North Carolina are now collecting information from some professors and a national judicial reform group.

The Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting holds its second meeting today at 1pm, with representatives from the University of North Carolina law school and Brennan Center for Justice making presentations.

AP Photo

President Donald Trump endorsed embattled Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race on Monday, looking past sexual misconduct allegations against the GOP candidate to argue that his vote is needed in Congress.

Trump tweeted early Monday that "Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama."

By EMERY P. DALESIO

AP Business Writer

Charging North Carolina consumers the full, multi-billion-dollar cost of cleaning up coal ash dumps is comparable to tire stores charging customers an extra fee to dispose of an old set of wheels, a Duke Energy Corp. executive said Monday.

Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The country’s largest electric company heads into a fight for a rate hike with regulators in its top market now focused on setting a precedent on whether consumers should pay the full cost of cleaning up coal ash pits loaded with toxic metals.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission opens hearings today into whether Duke Energy Corp. will be allowed to charge consumers nearly $200 million a year for the cleanup.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The nation's largest electric company has agreed to seek a lower rate increase on more than a million North Carolina customers and charge a lower potential profit margin, but still wants nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal.

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina's legislative district boundaries for excessive racial bias announced Wednesday she's running for the state Supreme Court next year.

An outside expert appointed by a federal court to help draw some North Carolina legislative districts that judges worry remained unconstitutional has suggested changes.

Updated 8:51 a.m. November 11, 2017

In Raleigh, unaffiliated incumbent Nancy McFarlane won a fourth term as mayor of the state's capital city.

Updated 3:06 p.m., October 19, 2017

A Senate panel on Thursday narrowly backed the nomination of a North Carolina attorney to fill the nation's longest judicial vacancy over the objections of Democrats, black lawmakers and some civil rights groups.

The redistricting practices of North Carolina Republicans are getting scrutinized yet again in court, this time in a trial in which federal judges must decide whether mapmakers can go too far drawing boundaries that favor their party.

A three-judge panel begins hearing evidence Monday in litigation filed by election advocacy groups, the state Democratic Party and voters who allege unlawful partisan gerrymandering in the state’s current congressional map, which favors the GOP. Those who sued want the map redone.

A divided panel of federal regulators granted approvals Friday evening for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines, major East Coast projects.

A proposal to extensively realign North Carolina's judicial election districts for the first time since the 1950s smacks of a Republican effort to put more GOP lawyers on the bench, critics said Wednesday.

AP

SPINDALE, North Carolina (AP) — Former members of an evangelical North Carolina church say their leader coerced congregants into filing false unemployment claims after the faltering economy threatened weekly tithes from church-affiliated companies. The members say company owners who were leaders in the Word of Faith Fellowship church would file unemployment claims on employees' behalf, but that the employees would continue working.

Gerry Broome/AP

The country's largest electric company is refusing online access to federally mandated maps showing the scope of disaster resulting if a coal-ash pit burst and spilled its toxic muck onto neighboring properties, two environmental law groups said Wednesday.

WRAL

The leader of a North Carolina House committee considering changes to judicial election districts says updated boundaries based on outside feedback will be considered at the panel's next meeting, possibly next week.

WRAL

A divided North Carolina appeals court says a clean-energy advocacy group can't install solar panels on a church roof and charge for the electricity generated.

The state Court of Appeals panel split 2-1 Tuesday, with the majority ruling in favor of Duke Energy's legal monopoly to sell electricity to most of the state. The split means a state Supreme Court appeal is possible.

Lucy Nicholson/ Reuters/ Landov via stateimpact.npr.org

A reconstituted panel charged with regulating oil and gas exploration in North Carolina plans to meet this week even as Gov. Roy Cooper's administration questions whether it can legally do so.

Jim Womack was initially appointed to the state Oil & Gas Commission before a state Supreme Court ruling struck down how its members were chosen. The General Assembly altered the law creating the commission last year to reflect that ruling.

WRAL

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes in two weeks, and some House Republicans keep working meanwhile to get proposed changes to judicial election districts on the agenda when colleagues return.

A House committee discussing redrawing voting districts for trial court judges and district attorneys holds its second meeting today at 1pm. A wholesale redraw hasn't occurred in more than 60 years. Republicans say redistricting would create fairer districts. Democrats argue it's a pretense for GOP gerrymandering.

With approval of new North Carolina legislative districts behind them, House Republicans returned Tuesday to Raleigh to advance their efforts to redraw election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors.

WRAL

Democrats in the North Carolina General Assembly remain suspicious about an effort by Republicans to redraw election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors.

A special House panel examining judicial redistricting met for the first time Tuesday, with a goal of passing proposed boundaries in time for the full chamber to consider them when the legislature reconvenes in early October.

Updated at 5:50 p.m., September 7, 2017

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia sued Wednesday to block President Donald Trump's plan to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation — an act Washington state's attorney general called "a dark time for our country."

Mapmakers are proposing new districts for most members of the North Carolina House, a move forced after federal judges ruled state Republicans illegally gave too much emphasis to race in the current version of legislative voting lines.

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