Government

State commission updates fracking standards

February 3, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Mining and Energy Commission determined that natural gas wells must be drilled a minimum distance of 650 feet from buildings, homes and water wells, extending the minimum safe distance from 500 feet as dictated by the previous rules. Commissioner Charles Holbrook was the only opponent to the change, claiming the new standards are too strict.

State leaders to begin formal government reform study

February 3, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. McCrory's administration will hire a consultant to review the state government's organizational structure and the functions of state agencies. The objective of the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiative is to look for ways to save money and improve services. A consutant for NC GEAR will be hired by the end of the month, and its report is due Feb. 2015.   

Cost of winter storm not yet known; state to focus on replenishing resources

January 31, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The cleanup cost of this week's winter storm is still unknown, and Gov. McCrory says the storm exceeded the state's expectations in some areas. Tony Tata, secretary of the state Department of Transportation, said his agency's priority now is replenishing sand, salt and brine in order to be prepared for future storms. 

NC Education Lottery earns 10% more in second half of 2013

January 30, 2014

(The Winston-Salem Journal)

The North Carolina Education Lottery earned $251 million during the second half of 2013, $23 million more than during the same period in 2012. Executive director Alice Garland says the lottery's goal is to post annual earnings of more than $500 million when the state's fiscal year ends June 30.

State may bring in up to $30 million from Amazon sales tax collections

January 29, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

An economist from the state Fiscal Research Division predicts Amazon's decision to collect sales tax in North Carolina could bring in $20 million to $30 million in state tax revenue, and $10 million to $13 million for city and county governments. The online retailer begins collecting N.C. sales tax Feb. 1. 

Former Charlotte news anchor Vince Coakley to run for Congress

January 29, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Former news anchor at Charlotte's WSOC-TV Vince Coakley will run for the 12th Congressional District seat vacated by Mel Watt. Coakley is the first Republican to enter the race in the heavily Democratic district; six Democrats are also running for the seat. 

Sen. Richard Burr proposes health-care plan to replace Obamacare

January 28, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Sen. Richard Burr, with the support of two fellow Republican senators, introduced a new health-care plan proposed as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Burr's plan would not require Americans to purchase health insurance, but would maintain a ban on limits on lifetime insurance benefits and an option for parents to keep children on their policies until they are 26.

 

McCrory turns to smaller towns, rural areas to gain approval

January 27, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. McCrory is spending much of his time promoting his plans to boost the state's economy in small towns such as Wilson, where his remarks were well-received in meetings with community leaders and farmers earlier this month. 

State names new public health director

January 24, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Penelope Slade-Sawyer will be the new director of the state Division of Public Health, replacing Dr. Laura Gerald who resigned last July. Slade-Sawyer is currently an assistant surgeon general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; she will assume her new role on March 3.

State awards pay increases to in-demand workers

January 23, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A relatively small number of state employees will receive salary increases of up to 10% in an attempt to reduce employee turnover in high-demand jobs. Among the 3,221 employees who will receive pay raises are nurses, law enforcement officers, accountants and computer specialists. Overall, the state employs about 90,000 people.