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Jun 22, 2020

NC Politics in the News

Agriculture

THE MOUNTAINEER: USDA program has distributed nearly $25M to North Carolina farmers for COVID-19 relief
North Carolina farmers have received $24.9 million in federal relief as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture program was made possible by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $19 billion relief program includes $16 billion in direct assistance to farmers to absorb sales losses and increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE COASTLAND TIMES: North Carolina peaches kick off summer season
Summer is upon us and fresh North Carolina peaches are already available at farmers markets and roadside stands across the state. While not a bumper crop, local growers do expect to have plenty of peaches through Labor Day.

“North Carolina grows more than two dozen varieties of peaches,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. 


Economic Development

TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL: Two Triad communities win nearly $2.5 million in state infrastructure grants
Two Triad communities last week received North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority grants. The RIA grants are part of the state’s federally funded Community Block Grant Economic Development Program designed to support public infrastructure improvements that facilitate private investment in job creation.

CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL: Why Flywheel Coworking is betting big on Concord location
Flywheel Coworking is set to launch its newest location in Concord this December. The goal is to build a minimum of 10 innovation centers throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia by 2025.


Education

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC legislature approves teacher step raises and $350 bonuses
The North Carolina legislature has passed a bill that will give teachers a one-time, $350 bonus and step-increase raises. The House approved the bill Wednesday, following the Senate’s vote on Monday night. It also includes step-raises for teachers this coming school year, which are based on their pay and longevity. The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. If it becomes law, the bonuses will be paid by Oct. 31.

INSIDE HIGHER ED: UNC System Names New President
The University of North Carolina system’s next president will be the current president of the North Carolina Community College system.The UNC Board of Governors on Friday named Peter Hans the next leader of the 17-institution system. Hans will take over at the UNC system Aug. 1. He’s been president of the state’s community college system since May 2018.


Health

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS: Amidst COVID-19, some NC hospitals may soon run out of room
A COVID-19 fueled hospital surge may be in the cards for several of North Carolina’s most populated regions by late summer or early fall, according to a recent report. Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state have nearly doubled since April, reaching a seven-day average of roughly 800 over the recent week. At the same time, hospitals across the state have resumed elective procedures, filling some of the available beds. 


Government

ABC 11: North Carolina's current Safer at Home Order expires this week, Gov. Cooper expected to make announcement on next steps
The number of people in hospitals from COVID-19 in North Carolina dropped for the first time in six days on Sunday. The state now has 52,801 confirmed cases and 1,220 deaths. At least 11 states set highs in cases last weekend and hospitalizations are up in 17 states. North Carolina's Safer At Home Phase 2 order expires on Friday, June 26. Governor Roy Cooper said last week that he will have an announcement this week regarding the state's next steps.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Senate passes bills to limit liability for COVID-19 at businesses, pools
The North Carolina Senate passed two bills Thursday that would limit lawsuits that could be filed against places reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Both easily passed the Senate with little debate.


Politics

INSURANCE JOURNAL: North Carolina Lawmakers Send Bill to Allow More Business Re-Openings to Governor
North Carolina legislators sent another bill on Thursday to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper designed to overturn parts of his executive order for COVID-19 that’s kept several types of retail businesses shuttered for months. The General Assembly finalized a measure to let bowling alleys and ice and roller rinks to reopen at a reduced capacity, with employees wearing masks, sanitizing equipment and enforcing social distancing.


Technology

WRAL TECH WIRE: MCNC picks North Carolina's chief information officer as new CEO
Tracy Doaks, North Carolina’s chief information officer and secretary for the N.C. Department of Information Technology, is taking over as chief executive officer at MCNC as of Aug. 1. Doak’s selection was announced by MCNC, the RTP-based operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network, as of Aug. 1. She also has served on the MCNC advisory board.


Transportation

WNCT: U.S. Secretary of Transportation announces million infrastructure investment in N.C.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the Trump Administration intends to award $25 million in grant funding to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to complete a series of highway improvements on the U.S. 74 corridor in southern North Carolina between Asheville and I-40 near Wilmington.

WWAY: Money, Board Overhaul at N.C. Transportation Clears Senate
A proposed financial and governing overhaul for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation received unanimous state Senate approval this week. The measure locates over $600 million in spending cuts during the next fiscal year to deal with a cash shortage. Legislative leaders also would get to choose six members on the Board of Transportation. Currently Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper picks all voting members.