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.

Poll: Cooper's lead over McCrory is growing

April 20, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State Attorney General Roy Cooper has a 48% to 42% lead over Gov. Pat McCrory in the race for governor, according to the latest Elon University Poll. The candidates had been neck-and-neck in previous surveys. Gov. McCrory's approval rating dropped to 37%, the lowest since first polled two years ago.

Hunt: Recession is over, invest more in education

April 20, 2016

(The Daily Reflector)

Former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt says a child's earliest years are "the most important years" and, speaking in Greenville on Tuesday, he reiterated the importance of early childhood education and having the best teachers. Hunt launched Smart Start in 1993 to help families with preschoolers secure resources for early childhood education programs. Hunt says now that the economy is improving, it's time to raise teacher pay. "Raise it strongly," he says.

More HB2 fallout; Pearl Jam cancels show, calls law 'despicable'

April 19, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Top administrators at Duke University, including President Richard Brodhead, and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce issued statements Monday opposing House Bill 2; Boston and Pearl Jam are the latest performers to cancel concerts in North Carolina over HB2. Pearl Jam said it plans to donate to local groups fighting the new law. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau said event cancellations have quadrupled since HB2 was passed.

McCrory: More dialogue needed on HB2; NBA keeps All-Star game in CLT — for now

April 18, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. Pat McCrory discussed House Bill 2 on Sunday's episode of NBC's Meet the Press, where he said Charlotte's ordinance to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice amounted to "government overreach." Host Chuck Todd said NBC estimates the law has already cost North Carolina between $39.7 million and $186 million. The NBA said on Friday the league has no immediate plans to move the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, though Commissioner Adam Silver called the law "problematic."

NC universities look at 100-year debt option

April 15, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill want to borrow up to $500 million each using a century bond to pay for a backlog of repair and maintenance projects. The current debt limit is 30 years.

CLT hotel adds 'any gender' bathroom, NBA talks HB2

April 15, 2016

The Westin, downtown Charlotte's largest hotel is adding an "any gender" bathroom and on Thursday hung an "Always Welcome" banner to let patrons know it is LGBT-friendly. The NBA is expected to address the topic of HB2 at a briefing during its board of governors meeting on Friday. The league, which plans to hold its 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte, has said it is "deeply concerned" over the new law. Rockers Mumford & Sons, which played in Charlotte on Thursday, didn't boycott the state but will donate profits from their concert to a local LGBT group. And 170 North Carolina-based startups signed a petition calling for the bill's repeal. The companies say out-of-state investors are delaying and canceling investments in N.C. companies over the controversial law.

Charlotte kicks off 'Always Welcome' marketing campaign

April 14, 2016

The slogan, intended to promote diversity and inclusion, will be displayed on billboards, news racks and at venues such as BB&T Ballpark and the Westin hotel in downtown Charlotte. Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory's executive order dialing back some of the controversial provisions of HB2 seems to have done little to appease the business community, with many companies saying more needs to be done. Ringo Starr canceled an upcoming concert in Cary over the new law, and six senators are calling for the NBA to move its 2017 All-Star game out of North Carolina. Speaking in New Bern yesterday, N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said the law won't have a long-term affect. "The dust is going to settle," he said.

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.