Lottery proceeds won't benefit teachers

January 13, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A surge in sales of Powerball tickets – the jackpot total had reached a record $1.5 billion as of late Tuesday – is sure to benefit the N.C. Education Lottery, though a change enacted during the 2015 legislative session means proceeds won't go to teachers and assistants but instead to bus drivers, janitors and other support staff.

Spellings picks Boston Consulting to give UNC a close look

January 12, 2016

Boston Consulting Group has the contract to study the UNC System, an early move by new President Margaret Spellings. It may signal big changes ahead for the system.

Food stamp recipients must log 20 hours of work, education

January 11, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A federal requirement for food stamp recipients that was suspended during the Great Recession has been reinstated in 23 counties. Adults under 50 who don't have children must prove they are working, volunteering or taking classes at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits. The requirement will be restored in the other 77 counties – many of them rural and undergoing a slower economic recovery than urban areas – starting July 1.

New sheriff in town overseeing North Carolina budget

January 8, 2016

Gov. Pat McCrory named Industrial Commissioner Chairman Andrew "Drew" Heath to succeed outgoing Budget Director Lee Roberts, who is returning to the private sector. The governor also appointed Jeff Epstein as Secretary of Revenue to replace Lyons Gray, who was appointed to serve on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

McCrory met privately with Duke Energy officials

January 7, 2016


Gov. Pat McCrory and other top state officials hosted Duke Energy executives at a private dinner at the Executive Mansion in June, amid legal issues concerning the company's handling of coal-ash pollution, according to a WRAL report. Officials did not provide information about what topics were discussed at the meeting.

Senator: Corning incentives a 'stick in the eye'

January 6, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Sen. Andy Wells, a Hickory Republican, says state incentives for Corning Inc. to move about 500 workers to Mecklenburg County is a "poke in the eye with a stick" for Catawba County. North Carolina has pledged up to $2.35 million for the New York-based company to move the headquarters of its Optical Communications business from Hickory.

Charlotte committee backs toll lanes for I-77

January 5, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Charlotte City Council's transportation and planning committee voted 3-2 in favor of building toll lanes on Interstate 77. The vote signals the full council is likely to support the project, which is already underway in north Mecklenburg County. The full council is scheduled to vote on Jan. 11. Charlotte's support of the project is key to a regional committee vote on the issue, scheduled for Jan. 20.

State GOP leaders question report over FBI probe

January 5, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and other Republican leaders say the FBI hasn't contacted them regarding a potential investigation reported last week by a Charlotte TV station. The report didn't provide details of the FBI investigation, though it suggested Moore and others could have been involved in possible violations of campaign finance law.

$2B bond referendum fast approaching

January 4, 2016

(Rocky Mount Telegram)

It's been 15 years since North Carolina voters approved $3.1 billion in bonds for education projects. Now, backers of a $2 billion bond referendum have about 10 weeks to drum up support for the March 15 vote. This time the bond package is more diverse: It includes more than $1.3 billion for the UNC and community-college systems plus various infrastructure and construction projects, including money for parks, the N.C. Zoo and the National Guard.

A third of N.C. lawmakers face virtually no competition in 2016 races

December 22, 2015


About a third of the candidates seeking state House or Senate seats are all but guaranteed victory in 2016 because of lack of competition. There are 50 state Senate seats and 120 state House seats. Nine Senate Republicans and four Senate Democrats face no challengers, as do 22 House Republicans and 19 House Democrats. N.C. State University Prof. Steven Greene called it "an embarrassment for democracy."