NC House education panel wants to replace Common Core

June 4, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The House Education Committee voted in favor of a bill to phase out Common Core standards for math and language arts education. Some parents, teachers and conservatives have complained that the state is losing control of curricula under Common Core, but supporters argue that the standards make students better prepared for future employment.

Cannon pleads guilty

June 4, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon apologized to the community and pleaded guilty of a federal charge of accepting bribes including cash and airline tickets in exchange for his influence over city officials. Meanwhile, federal investigators say the case is not closed, and they are still following leads to see if the corruption goes deeper in the Charlotte's government.

Cannon expected to plead guilty to corruption charge

June 3, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is expected to plead guilty this morning to a federal corruption charge. Cannon was arrested by the FBI on March 26 for taking bribes including cash and airline tickets in exchange for influencing local officials. Cannon faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Obama to announce plan to reduce coal pollution by 30%

June 2, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The Obama administration will announce today a proposed regulation from the Environmental Protection Association requiring power plants to reduce carbon pollution 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. EPA data shows power plants have already cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13% since that time, almost halfway to the new goal.

McCrory signs bill to eliminate privilege taxes

May 30, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

After gaining approval from the state House and Senate, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that revokes the authority of local governments to charge businesses privilege taxes. Municipalities will lose an estimated $62 million when the change goes into effect July 1, 2015. The bill also includes a new tax on electronic cigarettes. McCrory is also expected to sign a bill that would fast-track fracking, allowing the state to issue permits for the practice as soon as next spring. 

NC Senate budget plan boosts teacher pay, cuts teacher assistants

May 29, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The state Senate's budget plan, released Wednesday, offers an 11.2% average salary increase for teachers but cuts funds for teacher assistants nearly in half. The proposed budget also would cut funds for the state Justice Department from $82.3 million to $34 million and result in 638 job cuts, though some of those positions would move to the Department of Public Safety.

NC Senate leaders to introduce new teacher pay plan

May 28, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State Senate leaders will propose a new teacher pay plan that would increase pay for teachers by an average of 11%, but would keep pay flat for those who keep their tenure. The plan also would continue to pay teachers more if they have a master's degree or national board certification. The new pay plan is part of an overall budget plan expected to be submitted later this week. 

Gastonia developer seeks film incentives for mill renovation

May 27, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

State officials are auditing receipts from a Gastonia real estate developer's film project that is claiming $1.1 million in state film incentives. Nathan Kirby spent more than $4 million to renovate an old hosiery mill in downtown Gastonia, and claims the construction costs were related to the filming of a reality TV show that demonstrated Kirby's work rehabbing old buildings. 

McCrory proposes broad changes to film incentive program

May 23, 2014

(Star-News, Wilmington)

Gov. Pat McCrory filed a budget proposal Thursday that would replace the 25% tax credit for film productions with several separate credits and would cap the rebate at $6 million compared with the existing $20 million. McCrory's proposal also would increase the amount of required qualified spending from $250,000 to $1 million. (BNC goes inside the N.C. film industry in our May cover story)

NC Senate passes bill to allow fracking

May 22, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Senate passed a bill that would lift the state's moratorium on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The legislation must return to the Senate for one more vote on Thursday before moving on to the House.