Government

NC Commerce chief promotes crowdfunding, broadband access

February 5, 2016

(WRAL.com)

N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla told legislators Thursday the state needs to legalize crowdfunding as a way for small businesses to grow. He also emphasized the importance of high-speed Internet access in rural counties.

Insurance commissioner warns of effects of ACA

February 4, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin says the Affordable Care Act is driving up the cost of health insurance, and he is concerned that insurers will withdraw from the state, leaving residents with few options. Goodwin, a Democrat, supports expanding Medicaid and establishing a state insurance exchange.
Related: State workers' health insurance may be cut

Tax credit could save CSX millions

February 3, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

If CSX follows through with plans to build at $272 million cargo hub in Johnston County, the company could benefit from a 50% state tax credit for railroads that spend at least $30 million on terminals. The N.C. Department of Transportation also is considering whether to provide $100 million to help pay for the terminal.

NC voter ID trial comes to a close

February 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Attorneys on Monday presented closing arguments in a six-day federal trial over 2013 changes to North Carolina's election law that requires voters to present picture IDs at the polls. It is unclear when a ruling will come.

Former UNC president begins Duke fellowship

February 1, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Tom Ross was named the first Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, where he will work on changing the way political district boundaries are drawn. Ross, who stepped down as president of the UNC system in January, plans to return to UNC Chapel Hill as a member of the faculty after a one-year sabbatical.

House speaker rejects proposal for 10% teacher pay hike

January 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said a proposal to give teachers a 10% base pay raise is unrealistic. State Superintendent June Atkinson had suggested the pay increase, which would cost the state about $540 million. Veteran teachers this year received one-time $750 bonuses, but no pay raises.

Anti-drilling advocates lobby on Capitol Hill

January 28, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Actors including Ted Danson and Kate Walsh joined elected officials including Rep. Mark Sanford from South Carolina at an anti-drilling summit in Washington, D.C. The federal government is expected to release by March a five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leases that includes waters off the coast of the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. The event was organized by conservation group Oceana.

McCrory: Johnston County site not a viable option for rail hub

January 27, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Tuesday the proposed site for a CSX railroad hub in Johnston County may not be a viable option. A spokesman for McCrory said the state will continue to work with CSX to find an alternative site. CSX announced the $272 million project last week, though some landowners don't want to sell their properties to the Jacksonville, Fla., company, which could forcibly purchase the land through the power of eminent domain.

Meanwhile, officials in Wayne County say residents would support a CSX intermodal rail yard either within its borders or in nearby Johnston County.

Voter ID trial begins

January 26, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The trial over North Carolina's voter ID law began Monday in Winston-Salem. A 2013 law requires voters to show one of six specified IDs at the polls unless they can show a "reasonable impediment" for getting one.

Is McCrory in 'huge trouble' over I-77 toll project?

January 25, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Some Republicans say Gov. Pat McCrory's unwillingness to stop construction of controversial toll lanes in north Mecklenburg and Iredell counties will cost him important votes in this year's election. "He's in big trouble, he's in huge trouble," said Lake Norman Chamber President Bill Russell.