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.

McCrory: Johnston County site not a viable option for rail hub

January 27, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Tuesday the proposed site for a CSX railroad hub in Johnston County may not be a viable option. A spokesman for McCrory said the state will continue to work with CSX to find an alternative site. CSX announced the $272 million project last week, though some landowners don't want to sell their properties to the Jacksonville, Fla., company, which could forcibly purchase the land through the power of eminent domain.

Meanwhile, officials in Wayne County say residents would support a CSX intermodal rail yard either within its borders or in nearby Johnston County.

Voter ID trial begins

January 26, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The trial over North Carolina's voter ID law began Monday in Winston-Salem. A 2013 law requires voters to show one of six specified IDs at the polls unless they can show a "reasonable impediment" for getting one.

Is McCrory in 'huge trouble' over I-77 toll project?

January 25, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Some Republicans say Gov. Pat McCrory's unwillingness to stop construction of controversial toll lanes in north Mecklenburg and Iredell counties will cost him important votes in this year's election. "He's in big trouble, he's in huge trouble," said Lake Norman Chamber President Bill Russell.

Burr denies AP report, says he'll vote for 'whoever the GOP nominee is'

January 22, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Sen. Richard Burr asked for the retraction of an Associated Press story that says he told supporters at a recent fundraiser he would vote for Democrat Bernie Sanders over Republican Ted Cruz. "I will support whoever the GOP nominee is," Burr tweeted.

UNC System sets enrollment record

January 21, 2016

(News & Record, Greensboro)

The University of North Carolina's 16-campus system broke an enrollment record this fall as nearly 225,000 students signed up for classes. The number of students had been steadily increasing but leveled out during the recession of 2007-09. Only five campuses saw decreasing headcounts this year.

Advocacy group says offshore drilling would be safe, profitable

January 20, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

More than 100 people turned out for a panel discussion on offshore energy exploration, held Tuesday in Raleigh. Michael Whatley, executive vice president of Consumer Energy Alliance, which sponsored the meeting, said a five-year plan, if approved by Congress, calls for 14 potential lease sales in eight areas around the country — one area includes North Carolina.