Government

NC seniors hit hard by dropped Medicare plans

November 19, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer) 

More than 57,000 senior citizens in North Carolina have been notified their private Medicare plans will be discontinued in 2015, the most of any state according to nonprofit group Kaiser Family Foundation. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, one of the state's biggest providers of the Medicare Advantage programs, is ending two of its HMO plans in 11 counties, though affected residents will be offered different plans with higher premiums and copays.

PR expenses exceed $2M for UNC Chapel Hill

November 19, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

UNC Chapel Hill will pay public-relations firm Edelman more than $1.65 million for its services following the academic and athletic fraud scandal that involved at least 3,100 students. The university had previously spent about $500,000 on public-relations services related to the scandal. UNC officials say state money and tuition dollars will not be used to pay for the PR expenses.

Cannon reports to federal prison Tuesday

November 18, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Patrick Cannon will begin serving a 44-month sentence in a West Virginia federal prison on Tuesday. The former Charlotte mayor pleaded guilty to accepting more than $50,000 in bribes from a local businessman and undercover FBI agents. Cannon could return home or to a Charlotte halfway house in fewer than two years if he participates in a nine-month drug-abuse treatment program and is awarded good-behavior incentives available to federal inmates.

Academic commission needs funding to replace Common Core

November 18, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A panel charged with recommending a replacement for Common Core in North Carolina public schools says it needs money to bring in professionals to help develop new academic standards for math and language arts. The Academic Standards Review Commission has not received any funding since it was established in July.

Mining commission finalizes proposed fracking rules

November 17, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

After receiving more than 200,000 public comments on hydraulic fracturing, the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission met last week and finalized proposed rules for the practice. The state General Assembly could review the rules as early as January. 

NC DOT plans toll lanes for Charlotte's Independence Blvd.

November 17, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to add toll lanes to Independence Boulevard as early as 2016. Drivers would use NC Quick Pass, an electronic toll system that incorporates electronic transponders mounted to windshields that is already being used for Wake County's Triangle Expressway.

Governors McCrory, Martin and Hunt file lawsuit over commission appointments

November 14, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with former governors Jim Hunt and Jim Martin, filed a lawsuit challenging the state legislature's authority to create commissions that perform executive branch functions, such as the new coal-ash commission and a proposed Medicaid board. The lawsuit names Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis as defendants.
Related: NC coal-ash commission set to meet for first time

US Dept. of Labor lowers unemployment tax increase for NC employers

November 13, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The U.S. Department of Labor has granted North Carolina a waiver that reduces the federal unemployment tax increase for the 2014 tax year from $77 per employee to $21 per employee. The waiver will save N.C. employers more than $180 million in 2014, according to a statement from Gov. Pat McCrory's office.

AG Cooper promotes nonpartisan legislative districts

November 12, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Attorney General and presumed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper said this week that Democrats should push for nonpartisan redistricting of the state's legislative districts.
Related: Duke study puts Congressional districts under microscope

Decker says NC close to maxing out JDIG funds

November 11, 2014

(Winston-Salem Journal)

N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said Monday that North Carolina may run out of grant money for corporate expansions and relocations before the state legislature convenes on Jan. 28. Gov. Pat McCrory said last week he would call a special legislative session to consider increasing the cap on the state's Job Development Investment Grant program only if necessary for bringing new jobs to the state.