Influential state senator won't run again in 2016

December 1, 2015

(The News and Observer of Raleigh)

Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, won't run for an eighth term. He has been chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, overseeing much of the legislation considered by state lawmakers. His decision follows a similar retirement plan of Sen. Bob Rucho, a Matthews Republican. Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger praised Apodaca and called him one of his best friends.

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State wants a sponsor for Asheville-Salisbury bus service

December 1, 2015

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

State government hopes to lure a sponsor to fund bus service between Asheville and the passenger rail station in Salisbury. Service for a statewide rail plan is scheduled to start in 2018 under state Board of Transportation plans. Officials want to promote passenger rail as the state improves tracks between Charlotte and Raleigh. Asheville businesses see the bus service as a potential boost to tourism.

Clean energy debate expected to return

November 30, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Though recent efforts to get rid of the state's renewable energy portfolio law failed, state Rep. Mike Hager and others plan to revive the issue in next year's legislative short session. The law mandates that utilities produce increasing amounts of energy from renewable sources through 2021.
Related: Federal, state battle over emissions could impact the NC coast

Dale Folwell resigns as head of employment security

November 25, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Dale Folwell, assistant secretary of the state Department of Employment Security, will step down Dec. 1. During his tenure, the state paid off $2.8 billion in debt to the federal government, and the state's unemployment trust fund reserve was restored to more than $1 billion. Folwell is considering a run for state treasurer.

NC's chief information officer resigns post

November 24, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A month after his Office of Information Technology became a cabinet-level department, Chris Estes says he is returning to work in the private sector. Estes will return to PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked in the 2000s. He has served as the state's chief information officer since January 2013.

NC pension fund posts 3Q loss

November 23, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The North Carolina pension fund fell 3.7% in the third quarter. The fund is down one-half percent over the last 12 months but has gained 7% over the last five years. The fund's stock portfolio, which accounts for 41% of total investments, fell 9.2% in the third quarter while investment-grade bonds, accounting for 30% of investments, rose 1.3%.

NC leaders united in stance on refugees

November 20, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Leaders from both political parties stand behind Gov. Pat McCrory's request to President Obama to stop sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, also said he wants to "pause refugee entries" to ensure they are properly screened.
Also: Democrats blast Roy Cooper for comments on Syrian refugees

UNC board faces lawmakers on chancellor pay raises, open meetings

November 19, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Lou Bissette, vice chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, said Wednesday the board made a mistake when it did not immediately disclose pay raises for 12 university system chancellors last month.

Former SEANC director pleads guilty

November 18, 2015


Dana Cope was sentenced Tuesday to 58 to 82 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges. The former director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina resigned in February after the SBI uncovered spending irregularities, including more than $570,000 in SEANC funds that were used for personal expenses including landscaping work at Cope's home and flying lessons.

UNC board was split on chancellor pay raises

November 17, 2015

(News & Record, Greensboro)

The UNC Board of Governors voted 16-13 to approve pay raises for 12 university chancellors, according to a summary of the Oct. 30 meeting that was released Monday. Leaders of the N.C. General Assembly requested more information about the salary increases, but acting board chairman Louis Bissette said those documents could not be released because they contain confidential personnel information.