Government

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

(WRAL.com)

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.

 

Apodaca: Voters should decide on HB2

April 27, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Senator Tom Apodaca told an Asheville TV station he thinks voters should decide on whether to keep the state's controversial LGBT law. "Let's put it on the ballot and get it over with once and for all," he said. The Hendersonville resident is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and second-in-command to Senate leader Phil Berger.

NC housing agency receives $224M for mortgage assistance

April 27, 2016

(Burlington Times-News)

The federal government has allocated $224 million for the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund, which was started in 2010 to provide loans to homeowners facing hardships to help with their mortgage payments. An agency spokeswoman says the funds were unexpected and program was winding down; the money will allow it to continue operating for about two more years.

Highlights of first day of legislative short session

April 26, 2016

House Democrats filed a bill to repeal House Bill 2, while a coalition of Anti-HB2 groups delivered boxes of petitions to Gov. Pat McCrory's office on the first day of the General Assembly's short session. Protestors and supporters of the bill turned out in large numbers, and 54 people were arrested. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas became the latest entertainers to boycott the state over the bill, canceling a Charlotte concert that was scheduled for June, and the American Institute of Architects canceled plans for a four-day conference in Wilmington. Asheville also lost a four-day conference as the Kellogg Foundation canceled due to HB2. Aside from HB2, state Reps. Tricia Cotham and Charles Jeter introduced separate bills to try to stop construction of the Interstate 77 toll project in north Charlotte.

Federal judge upholds North Carolina's voter ID law

April 26, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling upholding the state's 2013 election law that requires voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. The ruling dismisses all claims in the challenge to the law and also upholds portions of the law that shorten the early voting period, eliminate same-day registration and prohibit people from casting ballots outside their precincts.

Protests expected as legislative short session begins

April 25, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Sit-ins and rallies by groups both for and against House Bill 2 are expected as the N.C. General Assembly begins its short session on Monday. Chris Sgro, an openly gay Greensboro resident and executive director of gay-rights group Equality NC, was sworn in Sunday to finish out the term of Rep. Ralph Johnson, who died last month. President Obama weighed in on the controversy on Friday, calling for the law to be overturned, and an interfaith group organized by about 40 liberal clergy gathered Sunday evening in Charlotte, also calling for the law to be repealed. Gov. Pat McCrory will be more interested in promoting his budget proposal, which includes teacher raises and infrastructure improvements.

Can North Carolina reverse its declining appeal to decision-makers?

April 22, 2016

Two weeks ago, BNC wrote about how House Bill 2 would surely damage North Carolina's brand. Unfortunately, in this prediction, we got it right. With lawmakers appearing unlikely to repeal HB2, next week's General Assembly session promises to be an international spectacle.

Trump, Cruz divided on HB2 issue

April 22, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Donald Trump blasted North Carolina for getting involved in deciding which bathrooms people should use, though it wasn't clear whether his criticism was for Charlotte's city ordinance that started the controversy or for the state law overturning it. Ted Cruz fired back, saying Trump "has succumbed to the Left's agenda."

Jeter plans to keep fighting I-77 toll lanes

April 21, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

N.C. Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Huntersville) said he plans to introduce a bill next week to cancel a contract with a Spanish company that is building toll lanes on Interstate 77 north of downtown Charlotte. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger responded by saying he doesn't see the need for it. The General Assembly begins its short session on Monday.