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Feb 1, 2016

NC Politics in the News

2016 Elections

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Roy Cooper keeps fundraising lead over Pat McCrory
In another sign that North Carolina could have one of the nation’s most competitive gubernatorial races, Democrat Roy Cooper will report having more campaign money than Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

NEWS AND OBSERVER: Civitas poll offers first glimpse at NC’s downballot statewide primaries
We’ve seen plenty of polling for the two top statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate, but there’s been little data on other Council of State contests on the March 15 ballot.

WRAL-NEWS: FCC orders radio, cable, satellite TV providers to put political ad info online
Radio, cable television and satellite television operators will have to begin submitting information about what political candidates and causes spend on advertising to an online database, under an order issued by the Federal Communications Commission this week.

WRAL-NEWS: Senate Republicans set up ‘affiliated’ party committee
North Carolina Senate Republicans have set up their own "affiliated party committee" separate from the state GOP's long-established state fundraising apparatus, according to records maintained by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Education

NEWS AND OBSERVER: Special district for struggling NC public schools gets a hearing
A proposal that would have charter companies take over a few of the state’s lowest-performing schools got its first public airing in a legislative committee Wednesday, where some lawmakers said they were frustrated with the pace of improvement at struggling schools.

NEWS AND OBSERVER: No 10 percent raise for teachers, NC House speaker says
House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday that he’d like to give teachers raises this year, but he rejected a proposal for a 10 percent increase, calling it unrealistic.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Admission to UNC schools may require community college for some
Some students applying to UNC system schools next year may not get an outright acceptance or rejection letter. Instead, the university may say, “We’ll take you, but go to community college first.”

TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL: Former UNC System president joins Duke University
Tom Ross, the former president of the UNC System, will join Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy as a Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow, Duke announced Friday.

Energy & the Environment

CITIZEN TIMES: With new Duke natural gas plant, new concerns
A reworked Duke Energy natural gas plant proposal isn't drawing protests as an earlier version did, but some area residents and groups are raising concerns ahead of a North Carolina Utilities Commission meeting on the utility's plans.

WRAL: NC environmental chief backs restriction on solar farms, incentives for nuclear plants
The solar industry has blossomed in North Carolina since lawmakers granted solar farms tax breaks nine years ago as part of renewable energy standards that require utilities to get a portion of their power from renewable sources.

Economy & Economic Development

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: NC adds 3,100 green energy jobs, group reports
North Carolina's green energy companies added 3,159 jobs last year and took in $7 billion in revenue, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association reported Monday.

NEWS AND OBSERVER: NC in good shape to issue debt for capital projects, treasurer says
State Treasurer Janet Cowell on Wednesday released North Carolina's 2016 Debt Affordability Study, which assesses the government's ability to issue debt for capital projects over the next decade.

WRAL: Wayne chasing CSX terminal after Johnston site rejected
Wayne County officials have quickly jumped on the prospect of landing a major CSX cargo hub after the company's preferred site in Johnston County was taken off the table on Tuesday.

Health Care

NEWS AND OBSERVER: Feds want $50,000 in public health grants repaid
A federal audit of the state's use of public health grants, citing state hiring of vendors without contracts, concluded that about $50,000 was misspent and should be repaid.

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Wake Forest health law researchers argue
The debate about whether to expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 500,000 North Carolinians has reached a political crossroads, according to two Wake Forest University researchers.

NEWS AND OBSERVER: Blue Cross projects $400M loss in NC on ACA in just 2 years
Blue Cross and Blue Shield is projecting a loss of more than $400 million on its Affordable Care Act business in North Carolina, prompting the insurer to eliminate sales commissions for agents and impose other emergency measures to stem financial losses it attributes to the federal health care law.

In the Courts

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: NAACP lawyer grill elections director in trial over photo IDs
After four days of testimony, the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice rested their case Thursday in a federal trial challenging North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voting

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: NC joins appeal of federal climate rules
North Carolina is among 28 states asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt federal rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants while the rules are challenged in lower courts.

ABC-11: NC Supreme Court favors McCrory in appointments case
The North Carolina Supreme Court handed Gov. Pat McCrory and his predecessors a legal victory Friday, ruling that the General Assembly usurped executive powers by permitting its leaders to appoint most of the members on three environmental regulatory commissions.

BURLINGTON TIMES NEWS: Court upholds Mecklenburg sheriff firing deputies who didn’t donate to election campaign
The state Supreme Court on Friday upheld the firings of sheriff's deputies who declined to donate to their boss's political campaign, ruling that they aren't covered by a state law protecting county workers from political coercion.

CITIZEN-TIMES: NC Supreme Court to hear Asheville water case
The state Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear Asheville's challenge to a state law directing it to turn over the city water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Personnel Changes

NEWS AND OBSERVER: Industrial Commission member Allen elevated to chairman
An Iredell County attorney whom Gov. Pat McCrory appointed to the North Carolina Industrial Commission two years ago will now be the panel's leader.

NEWS AND OBSERVER: New NC budget director Andrew Heath rises quickly to key post
For Andrew Heath, it has been a rapid rise. A private attorney just out of law school in 2006 and chairman of the N.C. Industrial Commission by mid-2013, he’s now Gov. Pat McCrory’s state budget director, starting Monday.

Transportation

WILMINGTON-STAR: Up to $21 million OK’d for Port of Wilmington turning basin project
The N.C. State Ports Authority board agreed to spend up to $21.6 million on a project to widen the Port of Wilmington's turning basin to accommodate larger ships.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Regional planning group approves toll lanes
The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization voted Wednesday to continue supporting toll lanes, including a controversial project on Interstate 77 that has divided the region.


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