Government

Judicial Watch gets involved in lawsuit over election law changes

December 16, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, filed a motion on Friday to intervene on behalf of state lawmakers in a lawsuit filed in August by voter-rights advocates seeking to overturn sweeping election law changes.

Commerce will name new recruitment agency CEO by year-end; 61 workers impacted

December 13, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said 61 state workers will be affected when the department moves its business recruitment and marketing operations to a private nonprofit, costing the state up to $1.8 million in severance payments. Decker said some of the workers may find other jobs in state government and some may work for the new agency. She also said she expects to hire a CEO for the nonprofit by the end of the year.

Close to 9,000 state residents have enrolled on federal health insurance site

December 12, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

As of Wednesday, almost 9,000 North Carolina residents had signed up for health insurance through HeathCare.gov, according to federal officials. Nationwide, about 365,000 have enrolled for private health insurance on the exchange.

Conservation groups say bridge project violates federal wildlife protection laws

December 12, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed an 81-page brief with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of two environmental groups that claims the state's plan for a replacement of Bonner Bridge in the Outer Banks violates federal laws that protect wildlife, and that the public should decide how the state should proceed with the project.

Watt confirmed to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency

December 11, 2013

(The Charlotte Observer)

The Senate voted 57-41 to make Rep. Mel Watt, a native of Mecklenburg County, head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. North Carolina's senators, Rep. Richard Burr and Dem. Kay Hagan, cast votes in favor of Watt's confirmation.

Audit reveals 3,200 defects in NC Tracks since July introduction

December 10, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

According to a state audit released Monday, NC Tracks, the state's Medicaid claims system, has had more than 3,200 defects since July 1, with more than 600 still uncorrected by Nov. 5, near the end of the audit period.

New Hanover commissioners again ask Berger to resign after Friday arrest

December 10, 2013

(StarNews Online)

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners are asking once again for Brian Berger to resign from the board after he was arrested for driving while impaired and felony drug possession Friday. The commission has been trying unsuccessfully to convince Berger to resign since March.

Workers must fill out new tax forms ahead of changes in state income tax law

December 9, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Most North Carolina taxpayers are being asked to fill out paperwork to comply with the implementation of a new state income tax system, which creates a flat individual income tax rate of 5.8% and eliminates many deductions for 2014. Employees need to fill out revised tax forms to determine how much the state will withhold from each paycheck.

Coalition wants to take politics out of district-drawing

December 9, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A diverse coalition of groups wants to change the way legislative and congressional districts are drawn, suggesting nonpartisan legislative staff draw the maps based on federal and state laws and guidelines for compactness. The NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform will hold a community meeting in Apex on Wednesday.

NC awaits outcome of U.S. farm bill talks

December 6, 2013

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Congress is working to pass a five-year farm bill this month that could affect North Carolina in numerous ways, including nutrition assistance for 1.6 million N.C. residents, funding for state university agricultural research programs and economic development programs for many of the state's 85 rural counties.