Government

Mecklenburg GOP chairman resigns

December 16, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Curtis Watkins abruptly resigned Tuesday, two days after N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho asked Republican Party officials to investigate him for allegedly trying to recruit someone to run against Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County. Hager is one of the largest opponents of the state's renewable-energy mandate. Watkins is the founder of SparkTank Advisors, an energy consulting company.

McCrory calls for vote on I-77 toll lanes

December 15, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. Pat McCrory asked the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization to decide whether it supports the I-77 toll project, which is already under construction, or to develop a new regional transportation plan. While some smaller towns in the I-77 corridor north of Charlotte are strongly opposed to the tolls, the city of Charlotte's vote counts for 31 of 68 votes. The state could have to pay a penalty of up to $100 million if its cancels the project.

Legislative staff calls for end to economic tier program

December 15, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

North Carolina's economic tiers program has "outlived its original purpose," legislative staff members said at a meeting on Monday. The group recommends ending the program, which it says is ineffective in aiding the state's poorest counties, by July 1, 2018.

25 investment workers in state treasurer's office get raises

December 14, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The raises, which took effect in June and averaged more than $49,000, were designed to align wages with salaries at other public pension funds. The employees receiving the raises, which total $1.2 million, are investment professionals for the state's $90 billion pension fund.

NC Utilities Commission approves subsidies for industrial power users

December 11, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Utilities Commission approved electricity discounts for industrial customers, a financial incentive intended to keep companies from laying off workers or relocating to another state. Opponents of concept, including grocery-store chain Kroger, say it is unlawful to offer discounts to a particular group of customers at the expense of others.

Former NC Rep. Robert Brawley to challenge McCrory

December 10, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Brawley, a Mooresville resident and outspoken critic of toll lanes on Interstate 77, says he will run against Gov. Pat McCrory in March's Republican gubernatorial primary. The former state representative could use the tolling issue to draw needed support away from McCrory in northern Mecklenburg County.

Support for Trump growing in NC

December 9, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

New poll results show Donald Trump's lead is growing among North Carolina Republicans. Public Policy Polling found that 33% of Republicans likely to vote in the primary support Trump, up from 31% in October. The report cites Trump's "Islamaphobia" as a "central feature of his appeal" to conservatives in the state. Sen. Ted Cruz was second with 16%, followed by Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio, who were tied at 14%.

Film about UNC scandal to premier Jan. 8

December 8, 2015

(WRAL.com)

A former academic adviser at UNC Chapel Hill is making a movie about the academic-athletic scandal, which he claims has been misrepresented in the media. Bradley Bethel says some of his fellow school counselors who didn't realize they were part of the fraud unfairly lost their jobs.

Dan Blue III to run for state Treasurer

December 7, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Dan Blue III, a Democrat, will file to run for state Treasurer on Monday. He joins Dale Folwell, a Republican who led the state unemployment division, and Ron Elmer, a Democrat from Cary, in seeking the office. Current Treasurer Janet Cowell is not seeking re-election.

State OKs removal of wet coal ash at Wilmington plant

December 4, 2015

(WRAL.com)

The state issued the first permit allowing Duke Energy to begin draining coal-ash ponds at its Sutton power plant near Wilmington. Dry ash is already being removed from Sutton and three other plants; this is the first permit for removing wet ash.
Related: NC regulators find violations at another Duke coal-ash deposit site