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Jul 29, 2019

NC Politics in the News

Your weekly North Carolina political news report.


Agriculture  

HEMP INDUSTRY DAILY: North Carolina lawmakers vote to delay smokable hemp ban
Another set of policymakers in North Carolina has signed off on banning smokable hemp until December 2020 in hopes that tests will be developed by then to distinguish the plant from marijuana.


Economic Development

THE WILSON TIMES: Merck plans Wilson, Durham expansions
One of Wilson’s biopharma companies announced Thursday a plan to create another 34 local jobs as part of a larger expansion. Merck plans to invest $650 million and create more than 400 jobs over the next five years through a new production facility in Durham and expanded packaging operations in Wilson.

FIVE THIRTY EIGHT: From Microbreweries To Biotech: In North Carolina, Business Calls
From biotech and finance to craft brewing, tourism and manufacturing, North Carolina arguably has one of the most diverse business environments in the country. That may be one of the reasons it often tops the list of the most business-friendly states. But there are several other factors, too.


Education

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC will change how elementary and middle schools test students. See what's coming.
North Carolina has won federal approval to change the way it tests the reading and math skills of elementary and middle school students. North Carolina's plan is to replace the single high-stakes test given at the end of the school year with shorter and more personalized but more frequent tests throughout the year. 


Environment 

ENERGY NEWS NETWORK: North Carolina environment board will set rules for retiring solar farms
A bill signed into law Friday by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper requires decommissioning rules for utility-scale solar and wind farms by the start of 2022.


Healthcare

NORTH STATE JOURNAL: NC State Health Plan network reopens sign-up period
The State Treasurer’s Office and State Health Plan have reopened enrollment for hospitals to sign up for the State Health Plan Network and the Clear Pricing Project (CPP) rates are being adjusted upward. In addition, the State Health Plan’s payments to some rural and urban hospitals on average will be increased to almost double the amount paid by Medicare.


Government

WFMY NEWS: 'Our Laws in North Carolina are Outdated': Bill Proposed to Scrap ABC Stores, Sell Liquor on Sundays
This week, lawmakers unveiled the latest version of a bill that would overhaul North Carolina's liquor sales. Big changes include replacing government-run ABC stores with privatized stores, permitting liquor sales at retail stores, and allowing liquor to be sold on Sundays if cities or counties vote to allow it.


Transportation

WECT NEWS: North Carolina seeks public comment on use of drones
The state Transportation Department wants to hear from North Carolina residents about what they think of drones.The department’s Division of Aviation has begun an online survey to gather comment about drones.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: As gas tax withers, how will NC pay for roads, sidewalks and bike paths in the future?
Most of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s annual $5 billion budget comes from people who use the state’s roads, through taxes on gasoline and the sale and registration of cars and trucks.