HB2 showdown results in pair of lawsuits

May 10, 2016


The U.S. Justice Department sued the state of North Carolina and the UNC System on Monday, hours after Gov. Pat McCrory filed his own lawsuit asking that the federal courts declare House Bill 2 doesn't discriminate against LBGT people. If the courts find the law to be discriminatory, billions in federal funding could be withheld. U.S Attorney General (and Greensboro native) Loretta Lynch called the bill "state-sponsored discrimination." UNC System President Margaret Spellings says the university is "caught in the middle," with 11 campuses passing resolutions opposing HB2. Spellings responded to the Justice Department's request with a letter describing the university's longstanding policy of nondiscrimination. The UNC Board of Governors will hold a special meeting to discuss the matter Tuesday afternoon.

Opinion: US needs to uphold promise to Swain County

May 9, 2016

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

Swain County is preparing to sue the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior over $40 million owed to the county. In the 1940s, as the federal government began acquiring land to build Fontana Dam, a new road was promised for the lake's north shore. Dubbed "The Road to Nowhere,"  it was never completed. A settlement of $52 million was reached in 2003, but so far Swain has only received $12.8 million.

House speaker: NC lawmakers won't meet Monday deadline on HB2

May 6, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

"We will take no action by Monday" said N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, referring to a federal deadline to declare that House Bill 2 won't be implemented. But a spokesman for Gov. Pat McCrory said the governor is planning to respond to the Department of Justice order by the Monday deadline. The DOJ sent letters to state leaders on Wednesday warning that billions in education funding could be in jeopardy if the state doesn't overturn the law, which the DOJ says violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

US Justice Department challenges HB2

May 5, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

North Carolina is at risk of losing billions in federal education funding over House Bill 2. In three separate letters — to Gov. Pat McCrory, the secretary of public safety and the UNC System — the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said the law violates the Civil Rights Act, giving state officials until Monday, May 9 to respond. If the finding is upheld, the government can withhold education funding. This year, N.C. public schools received $861 million; in 2014-15, the UNC System got $1.4 billion.

McCrory loses round in suit over public records requests

May 4, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A superior court judge denied Gov. Pat McCrory's request to dismiss a complaint filed by several news organizations contending the state repeatedly delayed requests for public records. The lawsuit cites cases including a 2012 request by The Charlotte Observer for records from the Chief Medical Examiner's office. The request was filled only after a year's delay and threats of legal action. McCrory's team said it will appeal the ruling.

Op-ed: Managed-care Medicaid program will be too costly for docs

May 3, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

David Tayloe, a pediatrician from Goldsboro, says the General Assembly's Waiver Proposal, which would convert the state's Medicaid program to a for-profit managed-care system, will lead to high administrative costs for physicians. Providers will drop out of the program, Tayloe says, leaving patients without access to high-quality care.

Former US Rep. Robin Hayes to lead NC GOP after Harnett ouster

May 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Following months of accusations aimed at Chairman Hasan Harnett, the North Carolina Republican Party voted for his removal on Saturday. Former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord will finish out Harnett's term. Hayes previously served as chairman from 2011 to 2013. Harnett, the state party's first black chairman, was accused of not raising enough money; lowering the party's convention fees, a moved opposed by other party leaders; and attempting to hack the party website.

Proposal to repeal HB2 sent to 'graveyard' of Senate

April 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A bill filed Wednesday that would repeal the state's controversial LGBT law has been sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee — know as the graveyard of the Senate — which hasn't met in years. An identical proposal filed Monday by House Democrats was referred to the Judiciary IV Committee. That committee's co-chairmen will decide if it gets a hearing.
Related: March sadness: The NCAA adopted a nondiscrimination policy for cities wanting to host its games, meaning North Carolina could be shut out if HB2 stays

McCrory's budget includes 5% raise for teachers

April 28, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory's $22.8 million budget proposal would give state employees a one-time bonus averaging 3%. Teachers would get an average salary increase of 5%, bringing the average teacher pay to $50,000. The proposal also includes $21 million for salary increases for state troopers, law enforcement agents, prosecutors and public defenders. McCrory's budget reflects a 2.8% increase over the current fiscal year; Senate leaders are targeting a 2% increase.

NC to receive $45M in settlement with drug companies

April 28, 2016


Drugmaker Pfizer will pay $784.6 million a national settlement over allegations that Wyeth, owned by Pfizer since 2009, underpaid Medicaid rebates. North Carolina will receive more than $45 million, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.