Government

Executive order pleases some; others say it doesn't go far enough

April 13, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order that expands protections for state workers to include sexual orientation and gender identity and seeks to restore workers' rights to sue in state court when they feel they are victims of discrimination. But the order leaves many controversial parts of HB2 intact. McCrory's order came just hours after Deutsche Bank said it was freezing plans to create 250 new jobs in Cary.

Crowd rallies at state Capitol in support of HB2

April 12, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

About 700 people gathered on the lawn of the state Capitol on Monday in support of North Carolina's new law limiting LGBT protections. State Sen. Buck Newton was there, with harsh words for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who refuses to defend the law in a suit by the ACLU and others. Newton, a Republican from Wilson, is seeking to replace Cooper as state attorney general; Cooper is running for governor against Pat McCrory.

Springsteen cancels G-boro show, more HB2 fallout

April 11, 2016

Ekornes, a Norwegian furniture maker that employs about 40 people in Burke County, is among the latest to oppose HB2. The president of the company sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday that suggested it could relocate its manufacturing plant, which opened in Morganton in January 2012. And Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert, scheduled for last night in Greensboro, over the controversial bill. Meanwhile, Guilford County Democrats have appointed Chris Sgro to finish out the term of state Rep. Ralph Johnson. Sgro is executive director of Equality N.C., a statewide group that advocates for LGBT rights. Despite opposition from corporations and state governments across the country, many residents in rural areas, such as N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore's Kings Mountain, support the law.

Haley says no need for 'bathroom' law in South Carolina

April 8, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — who landed at No. 17 on Fortune magazine's 2016 list of the world's 50 greatest leaders — said her state doesn't need a "bathroom" law, since her office hasn't received any complaints on the issue. S.C. Sen. Lee Bright introduced a bill similar to North Carolina's HB2 that would prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms of their choice. The S.C. Chamber of Commerce says it will campaign against Bright, who is seeking a third term this year.

Other states try to lure NC companies in wake of HB2

April 7, 2016

More than 40 members of Connecticut's General Assembly sent a letter to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, encouraging the bank to move its headquarters there from Charlotte. BofA politely said "no thank you." Meanwhile, Montana officials invited PayPal to bring its operations center, originally planned for Charlotte, and 400 jobs to Big Sky Country, offering up to $5 million in incentives. Not afraid of the economic fallout and tarnished reputation North Carolina is beginning to face, South Carolina Sen. Lee Bright on Wednesday introduced a bill similar to HB2 that would ban transgender people from using public bathrooms of their choice.

NC GOP chairman could be ousted before convention

April 6, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Republican Party is calling for Hasan Harnett to be removed as chairman, accusing him of "potentially illegal behavior." A special meeting has been proposed for April 30, a week before the party's state convention. Harnett, the party's first black chairman, was barred from state Republican headquarters after he was accused of trying to tamper with the party website and cutting the price of convention fees. The conflict between Harnett and the state GOP has been compared to tensions in the national Republican party.

McCrory pitches teacher pay raises

April 6, 2016

(WRAL.com)

Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday his budget proposal will include plans to increase the average teacher salary in North Carolina to $50,000 per year. He also said his budget would include bonuses averaging 3.5% for teachers and principals. Mark Jewell, vice president of the N.C. Association of Educators, expressed skepticism. "The governor has a track record of signing whatever the legislature sends him, even if it’s a budget that ends up making North Carolina the second-worst for teachers in America," Jewell said.

Lionsgate cancels Charlotte film shoot over LGBT law

April 5, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The pilot for a new Hulu TV show called Crushed will be filmed in Vancouver, Canada instead of Charlotte. Lionsgate pulled production for the show because of the new state law that limits protections for LGBT people. The California-based studio is shooting a remake of the movie Dirty Dancing in western N.C.; Lionsgate will continue that project due since filming is already underway.

DHHS disputes Medicaid audit

April 5, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A state audit shows that North Carolina overpaid Medicaid providers by $835 million last year, thought the state Department of Health and Human Services says the figure is closer to $690 million.

Legislature may axe licensing rules for 12 occupations

April 4, 2016

(Greensboro News & Record)

State lawmakers are set to study a plan to eliminate state licensing requirements for a dozen occupations ranging from podiatrists to public librarians. The bill will be considered Tuesday by a legislative committee and may be considered by the full legislature during the session that starts later in April. State boards that grant the licenses include ones for fee-based pastoral counselors, electrolysis and laser hair practitioners, acupuncturists and athletic trainers.