Hundreds attend hearings on election maps

February 16, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Hundreds of people turned out at six hearings across the state on Monday to weigh in on how to redraw congressional district lines. State legislators on Friday must submit a new election map after a three-judge panel ruled that two districts are racially gerrymandered.
Also: Voices fall along partisan lines at statewide redistricting meetings

Teacher tenure debate heads to NC Supreme Court

February 15, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday over a 2013 decision that phases out teacher tenure. In June, the N.C. Court of Appeals determined that the plan equated to an illegal taking of contract and property rights. Supporters of keeping teacher tenure say it provides job security for individuals who could have chosen higher-paying professions.

Lawmakers study environmental harm of solar panels

February 12, 2016


North Carolina's thriving solar-power industry means the state has massive numbers of solar panels. Lawmakers questioned state environmental officials and company representatives about their impact at a Raleigh hearing.

DMV denies photo ID for 86-year-old Asheville woman

February 12, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The tale of an 86-year-old Asheville woman who applied for a photo ID so she could vote in next month's election — and was turned away — has sparked more debate over the state's voter ID law. "We messed that one up," state DMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas said.

NC Insurance Department examines Blue Cross Blue Shield

February 12, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The state agency has launched a probe into Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and its technology problems, which have led to more than 1,000 formal complaints from customers who were unable to buy or verify health insurance.

Blog: Can Bernie Sanders sell his politics in the South? Don't bet on it.

February 11, 2016

New Hampshire's liberals gave Bernie Sanders a resounding victory. It won't be repeated in the South, a much more diverse, polarized and economically vital region less likely to "Feel the Bern."

No quick decision on NC voting maps

February 11, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts gave plaintiffs who sued to change congressional maps in the 1st and 12th Districts until next Tuesday to respond to the state's emergency request to keep existing maps intact through next month's primary.

NC reports results of welfare drug-testing program

February 10, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Between August and December of 2015, 89 welfare applicants were ordered to take drug tests, and 21 tested positive. A new state law requires that people seeking government assistance are to be screened and could be subject to drug testing; if results are positive, the applicant loses their welfare benefits.

NC leaders appeal ruling on voting maps

February 9, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State leaders have filed an appeal to a federal court ruling that found two congressional district maps are racially gerrymandered. In Friday's ruling, a panel of three federal judges said the 1st and 12th District voting maps were drawn so the majority of voters were black, and gave the state two weeks to redraw the maps.

State lawmakers could slash tuition at some UNC campuses

February 8, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A new proposal would reduce tuition at some UNC system campuses to $500 a year for in-state students and $2,500 a year for out-of-state students. Campuses being considered for the tuition break include Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Winston-Salem State and UNC Pembroke. The plan would cost the state about $65 million a year, which could be recouped through higher out-of-state tuition at other system schools.