Government

Legislators compromise on coal-ash bill

August 20, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

State legislators could vote as early as Wednesday on a bill that would require Duke Energy to remove coal ash from four power plants. Storage ponds at other coal-fired power plants could be capped without removing ash, provided the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources finds that the ash will not contaminate groundwater (cover story, April).

NC House defeats sales tax, incentives bill

August 20, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

The N.C. House voted against a bill that would have created a $20 million closing fund for corporate recruiting and that would have capped local sales taxes at 2.5%.

Mark Martin named chief justice of NC Supreme Court

August 19, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Mark Martin chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. Martin, a Republican and senior associate justice since 2006, will replace Sarah Parker, who is retiring at the end of August, and will serve in the position for the next two months. He is seeking election to the seat in November.

New law requires 3-judge panel for constitutional cases

August 18, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A new state law will require a panel of three judges, appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, to preside over constitutional challenges to laws. The state legislature passed the law to prevent plaintiffs from shopping for judges who they believe are likely to block laws approved by legislators.

Report: Decision not to expand Medicaid to cost NC $51 billion

August 18, 2014

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

North Carolina will miss out on $51 billion in federal funding over the next decade based on the state's decision not to expand Medicaid, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute. Republican state Sen. Ralph Hise says the report is an exaggeration.

NC to pay off federal unemployment debt sooner than planned

August 18, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

North Carolina says it is ahead of schedule on paying off federal debt amassed to pay off unemployment benefits after the Great Recession. The state now owes less than $600 million, down from a peak of $2.8 billion, and expects to pay it off by August 2015, earlier than its target date of November 2015.

McCrory defends handling of ethics filings

August 15, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory said he sold his stock in Duke Energy in April in response to media attacks that challenged his character, and that no rules were broken in the ethics filings regarding the sale. McCrory, a longtime employee of the Charlotte-based utility, issued the statement in response to the Raleigh News & Observer's front-page story that said he submitted incorrect filings earlier this year regarding his ownership of the stock.

McCrory resubmits ethics filings after acknowledging mistakes

August 14, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory submitted incorrect ethics filings earlier this year that failed to disclose his ownership of Duke Energy stock at the end of 2013. McCrory sold the stock folllowing the utility's coal-ash spill in the Dan River in February (cover story, April). A spokesman said McCrory misunderstood the time frame covering the previous filings.

Duke ordered to submit coal-ash cleanup plan

August 14, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Duke Energy must submit plans by Nov. 15 for removing coal ash from its Asheville, Dan River, Riverbend and Sutton power plants. Those plants were flagged as high priority following the Charlotte-based utility's Feb. 2 ash spill at the Dan River plant.

GOP legislators in Western NC say no shale-gas potential there

August 13, 2014

(The Sylva Herald)

Republican legislators in Western N.C. oppose the state's plan to collect and test rocks in the seven westernmost counties to determine shale-gas potential. Sen. Jim Davis, who co-sponsored the bill that lifted the state's ban on fracking, says it's a waste of money.