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NC Democrats Talk Up Gun-Law Proposals

Mar 20, 2018
George Frey/Getty Images

Several North Carolina Democratic lawmakers unveiled gun restriction and school safety proposals Monday in response to the Florida school shooting, calling those "common sense" ideas that Republicans have already supported elsewhere.

The five House and Senate members from urban counties unveiled gun changes similar to those that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week that he wanted the GOP-controlled General Assembly to approve.

MURPHY, N.C. (AP) — When Brian Hogan got a call that his wife had suffered a massive heart attack, he knew he had to get to the hospital fast. So Hogan asked his neighbor to take care of his 10-year-old daughter, then headed 60 miles east to the intensive care unit in Asheville, North Carolina.

What happened next would eventually expose a practice by a child welfare agency that illegally removed potentially hundreds of children from their homes in this poverty-stricken mountain community.

Pexels

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from the taxes you pay the city to the tuition required to attend public universities meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve.

A North Carolina congressional candidate said the website she used when she campaigned for another office is now owned by a Russian.

Duke Energy said its top executive's compensation has more than doubled over the past two years. 

RICHMOND, Va. — Civic leaders in town after town along the 600-mile (966-kilometer) route of a proposed natural gas project have posed for similar photographs, smiling and accepting poster-sized checks from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Woody Durham, the retired "Voice of the Tar Heels" who called North Carolina football and basketball games for four decades, died Wednesday. He was 76.

David Boraks/WFAE

A week after allowing Duke Energy a rate increase that includes charges for coal ash cleanup for about half its North Carolina consumers, state regulators on Monday began considering raising prices on an additional 2 million customers.

The state Utilities Commission opened a hearing on the company's request to charge an extra $539 million a year to customers of its Duke Energy Carolinas subsidiary in central and western North Carolina. That translates into a 14 percent increase for the typical residential customer's $104 monthly bill, a spokesman for the Charlotte company said.

A Washington-based group asked North Carolina ethics officials Monday to investigate some of state House Speaker Tim Moore's business interests and interactions with state environmental regulators over the site of an old poultry plant.

WCU

 North Carolina election administrators are asking state lawmakers for additional money and changes in the law to improve the security of registration and balloting from external and internal threats.

State elections board Executive Director Kim Strach wrote Tuesday to General Assembly elections oversight committee leaders.

Strach's requests follow warnings by federal officials nationwide about Russian hackers during the 2016 elections. Two local election workers also pleaded guilty last year following separate investigations.

aliengearholsters.com

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's schools chief is opposed to arming teachers in classrooms, an idea President Donald Trump and some legislators in North Carolina and other states have suggested following the shootings at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

By RACHEL ZOLL, Associated Press

MONTREAT, N.C. (AP) — The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday. He was 99.

NC NAACP

Thousands rallied Saturday at an annual social justice march that began 11 years ago in North Carolina and focused this year on protecting voting rights and ending gerrymandering.

Arlene Thomas of Burlington told The News & Observer of Raleigh that she attended the "Moral March on Raleigh" on Saturday despite the rain because the 2016 election turned the formerly apolitical 68-year-old into an activist.

Primaries for North Carolina state appellate court seats won't happen this year if a federal appeals court decision stands. A panel of judges Friday reversed a lower court decision that would have required the primaries, giving a victory to Republican state lawmakers.

Gerry Broome/Associated Press

A North Carolina appeals court should keep alive a five-year-old lawsuit because it increases the pressure on Duke Energy Corp. to clean up groundwater contaminated by its coal ash pits, environmental lawyers argued Thursday.

The Charlotte-based electricity utility admits coal ash has tainted underground water supplies, but says the potentially toxic brew hasn't harmed neighbors using water wells. Coal ash, the residue left after decades of burning coal to generate power, can contain toxic materials like arsenic and mercury.

sarahshawphotography.com

Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux, currently North Carolina's longest-serving state legislator and a fixture at the General Assembly in the fight for voting rights and funding historically black colleges, said Thursday he won't seek re-election.

Michaux, a Durham attorney, first joined the House in 1973 and has been elected to 20 two-year terms, with a stint as a federal prosecutor and unsuccessful runs for Congress sprinkled in between.

Pexels

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina law that cancels primaries this year for judicial seats has been partially halted.

A federal judge on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction directing state election officials to hold primaries for appellate court judgeships in May. But U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles refused to restore primary elections for local trial court seats.

Democrats sued to overturn the law and asked Eagles to step in, with candidate filing for other races starting Feb. 12.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Few things are certain about North Carolina's 2018 elections, except that voters ultimately will choose members of Congress and the General Assembly and those for county positons.

A tangled web of legislation and litigation stretching to the state's highest court and nation's highest court has made it unclear how this year's elections will be administered, even though candidate filing for some seats begins in two weeks.

There are several court cases and proposals that make murky the election calendar and its management.

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A three-judge panel has refused a request by North Carolina Republican lawmakers to block the use of new legislative district maps the judges approved for this year's elections.

North Carolina's Supreme Court on Friday declared unconstitutional a law forcing the governor to pick state elections board members from names the political parties select. Judges said the law makes Cooper unable to fulfill his duties to make sure election laws are followed. 

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."

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