Early voting is under way in NC

March 4, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Early voting began Thursday for all primary races except the U.S. House of Representatives, which was moved to June 7 after a judge ordered lawmakers to redraw district maps. For all other races, early voting will continue through March 12.

NC re-evaluates contract with toll-road builder

March 3, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

A subsidiary of Cintra, the Spanish company that is building controversial toll lanes on Interstate 77 north of downtown Charlotte, has filed for bankruptcy after a toll project in Texas generated less-than-expected traffic. Nick Tennyson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, will meet with Texas DOT representatives and plans to "review every option" to reassess the company's business model and contract.

New congressional maps challenged

March 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Challengers contend the new congressional district maps drawn last month are no better than the previous ones. In a 40-page filing, the same voters who convinced a three-judge panel that North Carolina's districts were racially gerrymandered are asking that the new maps be rejected as well.

No special session on transgender bathrooms

March 1, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate leader Phil Berger said they won't call a special session to discuss a Charlotte ordinance that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. House Speaker Tim Moore had suggested a special session, which would have cost the state $42,000 a day. The regular legislative session begins April 25.

Sales tax on services starts Tuesday

February 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Services including car repairs, clothing alterations and appliance installation will be taxed in North Carolina beginning March 1. About $84.8 million of the new revenue will be distributed among suburban and rural counties for schools, community colleges and economic-development projects. Republican legislators say the new sales taxes will be offset by income tax cuts, though Democrats say the change will hurt middle-class families.

Spellings starts work as UNC president Tuesday

February 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Margaret Spellings begins her new role as UNC System president on Tuesday, where she will face challenges including a sometimes dysfunctional Board of Governors, budget concerns, and skepticism from some faculty groups, students and gay-rights advocates.
Related: At UNC, a drift toward University of Inc.

House speaker mulls special session on Charlotte LGBT ordinance

February 26, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said he will consider holding a special legislative session to debate a provision in Charlotte's new nondiscrimination ordinance that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect April 1; the General Assembly's short session convenes April 25.

Western NC schools face declining enrollments

February 26, 2016

(Asheville Citizen-Times)

The Haywood County school board voted this week to close Central Elementary at the end of the school year, a casualty of declining enrollment that is becoming common in some rural western N.C. counties due to the loss of manufacturing jobs.

Carlee stepping down as Charlotte city manager

February 25, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Ron Carlee said he will not seek an extension of his three-year contract, which expires at the end of March. The city council had been unable to agree in recent months whether to renew Carlee's contract.

Hearing on US 64 Bypass draws a crowd in Asheboro

February 24, 2016

(Asheboro Courier-Tribune)

Asheboro residents attended a public hearing Tuesday to learn about the planned U.S. 64 Bypass, a $224 million project that would ease congestion and speed up traffic from Raleigh to Lexington. Also planned is a connector road for the N.C. Zoo. While some residents were concerned about how the bypass would affect their properties, others felt they had gotten a fair deal from the state.