NC reports results of welfare drug-testing program

February 10, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Between August and December of 2015, 89 welfare applicants were ordered to take drug tests, and 21 tested positive. A new state law requires that people seeking government assistance are to be screened and could be subject to drug testing; if results are positive, the applicant loses their welfare benefits.

NC leaders appeal ruling on voting maps

February 9, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State leaders have filed an appeal to a federal court ruling that found two congressional district maps are racially gerrymandered. In Friday's ruling, a panel of three federal judges said the 1st and 12th District voting maps were drawn so the majority of voters were black, and gave the state two weeks to redraw the maps.

State lawmakers could slash tuition at some UNC campuses

February 8, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A new proposal would reduce tuition at some UNC system campuses to $500 a year for in-state students and $2,500 a year for out-of-state students. Campuses being considered for the tuition break include Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Winston-Salem State and UNC Pembroke. The plan would cost the state about $65 million a year, which could be recouped through higher out-of-state tuition at other system schools.

NC Commerce chief promotes crowdfunding, broadband access

February 5, 2016


N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla told legislators Thursday the state needs to legalize crowdfunding as a way for small businesses to grow. He also emphasized the importance of high-speed Internet access in rural counties.

Insurance commissioner warns of effects of ACA

February 4, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin says the Affordable Care Act is driving up the cost of health insurance, and he is concerned that insurers will withdraw from the state, leaving residents with few options. Goodwin, a Democrat, supports expanding Medicaid and establishing a state insurance exchange.
Related: State workers' health insurance may be cut

Tax credit could save CSX millions

February 3, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

If CSX follows through with plans to build at $272 million cargo hub in Johnston County, the company could benefit from a 50% state tax credit for railroads that spend at least $30 million on terminals. The N.C. Department of Transportation also is considering whether to provide $100 million to help pay for the terminal.

NC voter ID trial comes to a close

February 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Attorneys on Monday presented closing arguments in a six-day federal trial over 2013 changes to North Carolina's election law that requires voters to present picture IDs at the polls. It is unclear when a ruling will come.

Former UNC president begins Duke fellowship

February 1, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Tom Ross was named the first Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, where he will work on changing the way political district boundaries are drawn. Ross, who stepped down as president of the UNC system in January, plans to return to UNC Chapel Hill as a member of the faculty after a one-year sabbatical.

House speaker rejects proposal for 10% teacher pay hike

January 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said a proposal to give teachers a 10% base pay raise is unrealistic. State Superintendent June Atkinson had suggested the pay increase, which would cost the state about $540 million. Veteran teachers this year received one-time $750 bonuses, but no pay raises.

Anti-drilling advocates lobby on Capitol Hill

January 28, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Actors including Ted Danson and Kate Walsh joined elected officials including Rep. Mark Sanford from South Carolina at an anti-drilling summit in Washington, D.C. The federal government is expected to release by March a five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leases that includes waters off the coast of the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. The event was organized by conservation group Oceana.