Associated Press

Wikipedia

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says it would be “appropriate” if Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson resigned for comments he made about sex education in public schools that critics say plainly disparaged LGBTQ people. Cooper spoke on Wednesday at a bill-signing ceremony. Robinson has taken heat since last week when a video from a church appearance in June surfaced. Many Democrats called on Robinson to resign. Robinson hasn't apologized and says his comments were critical of books found in some public schools.

"Wind turbine blades" by vaxomatic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the Biden administration will hold lease sales for up to seven offshore wind farms on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico in the next four years. The projects are part of the administration's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030,  generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes. Haaland says her department hopes to hold lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico.

Gov. Roy Cooper - Twitter

A milestone energy bill that targets sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions from North Carolina power plants has become law. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed the legislation on Wednesday. The directive aims to reduce carbon dioxide output of North Carolina energy producers 70 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. North Carolina and Virginia are now the only Southeastern states that have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements.

Wikipedia

North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has again declined to apologize for remarks he made in June criticizing sexual education in public schools and likening gay and transgender people to “filth.” The Republican Party’s highest executive officeholder in the state was responding Tuesday to criticism from three LGBTQ lawmakers. Some Democrats and LGBT advocacy groups have called for Robinson's resignation but no major Republican officials have condemned him. The lieutenant governor insists that he can separate his personal views about homosexuality from his day-to-day job.

A state agency has cited a North Carolina company after a worker was electrocuted and two others injured back in April. WITN reports the N.C. Department of Labor says it found two serious violations against Caldwell & Jones near Mount Olive and fined the company $9,000. Cashwell & Jones and its parent company, Harvey Fertilizer and Gas, have 15 days to pay the fine, request an informal conference with the labor department, or appeal the fine. The worker was killed as they were installing a flagpole in front of the business in April.

NCDOT

The N.C. Department of Transportation has signed a $432 million contract this month to rebuild eight miles of Interstate 95 through one county with an eye on eliminating a recurring flooding problem. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports flooding resulting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 closed the highway in Robeson County for several days. Starting next year, contractors will begin work on widening I-95 from four lanes to eight and replace bridges at three interchanges.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is facing calls to resign after a June video surfaced showing him likening some sexual orientations to “filth.” The state's highest Republican executive officeholder has a long history of espousing views many consider discriminatory. His latest remarks are being condemned by the White House, Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina and Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Jackson. Top GOP officials aren't commenting. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hasn't weighed in on whether the independently elected Robinson should resign.

The Coast Guard searched in the vicinity of Portsmouth Island in Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina on Sunday for a 27-year-old woman who is missing after a canoe capsized. The search began after a 911 call was received about 4:15 p.m. on Saturday of a capsized canoe with two people aboard. Watchstanders subsequently lost communication with the reporting source, who was a member of the same group. An aircrew located a conscious male survivor alongside a green canoe at about 9:54 a.m. on Sunday. He was transported to Carteret Hospital in Morehead City.

Far fewer North Carolina third-graders in public schools have demonstrated reading proficiency, compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. State educators say the finding is troubling and needs to be urgently addressed. A report presented this week to the State Board of Education showed 31% of third-graders had not met promotion standards. That means these students are either repeating third grade this fall or receiving specific kinds of fourth-grade class instruction. The past school year was marked by limited in-person instruction due to the pandemic.

 A new organized effort to boost North Carolina minority voter turnout during the 2022 elections and beyond is underway. The New North Carolina Project is modeled after a similar initiative in Georgia founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The North Carolina organization aims to register over 100,000 voting-age adults and increase early-voting turnout dramatically next year. The group's leader is former Democratic state House candidate Aimy Steele.

Child care providers in North Carolina can begin applying next week for grants coming from an $805 million pool for the state through a COVID-19 relief law approved by Congress. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the start of North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants while visiting a Carrboro school on Thursday. All private, licensed early care and learning programs can apply starting Monday. Grants will range from $3,000 to $60,000. The grants can be used for things like payroll, capital improvements and training. Grants will be awarded starting in November for 18 months.

"greenhouse gas" by Gerald Simmons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A landmark energy measure for North Carolina that aims to dramatically reduce power plant greenhouse gas emissions has received final legislative approval and now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk for his expected signature. The House voted on Thursday for the consensus legislation, which passed the Senate on Wednesday. The negotiated agreement instructs the North Carolina Utilities Commission to draw up a plan by the end of next year to meet carbon dioxide reduction goals that Cooper has championed.

Republican legislative leaders will soon draw up another budget offer for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper after he presented a counterproposal this week. House Speaker Tim Moore confirmed on Thursday that Cooper sent a counteroffer to him and Senate leader Phil Berger earlier this week. The two GOP leaders last week finalized internal negotiations on a state government budget and presented that plan for Cooper to consider. Differences are likely around tax cuts, teacher pay raises and education spending.

House Republicans have resurrected a proposal to keep more non-U.S. citizens off North Carolina’s voter rolls through juror information.  The House Elections and Campaign Finance Committee voted along party lines Wednesday for the bill. It tells North Carolina courts to send information about potential jurors being disqualified because they aren’t citizens to election officials. Election workers would then figure out whether they are registered voters and prepare to remove them from the rolls. The voter could formally challenge such action. Democratic Gov.

A teacher has resigned from a North Carolina charter school after telling Black students in her class that they would be her “field slaves” if not for the Constitution. One parent says that comment was one of many such incidents at the school. Winterville Charter Academy sent a memo which also referred to “racially insensitive words” being used by children in the class without any action from the teacher. WITN reports that school officials said the teacher “will not be returning.” A statement from the school says it is working to address the ongoing concerns of parents.

"greenhouse gas" by Gerald Simmons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

An energy bill negotiated by legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper that aims to meet his greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for North Carolina is now one vote away from reaching Cooper's desk. The Senate voted Wednesday for the measure, and it could be acted on Thursday by the House. The bills tells state regulators to develop a plan to reduce energy producers’ carbon dioxide output 70% by 2030, and achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The bill also gives Duke Energy the ability to seek multiyear rate increases.

NCDHHS

Hospitals, nursing homes and adult care and hospice care facilities in North Carolina would be required to allow patient visits in a measure given final legislative approval. The bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk following a Senate vote on Wednesday is another piece of legislation responding to constituent complaints last year about family members being unable to visit loved ones in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill says visitations must be allowed to the extent that federal law permits, and that hospitals can be fined for violations.

NCDPS

A bipartisan energy bill backed by Gov. Roy Cooper that targets scaling back greenhouse gas emissions is advancing in the North Carolina legislature. The bill also gives Duke Energy the option to seek rate increases. The measure cleared two Senate committees on Tuesday and is likely to be on the Senate floor Wednesday. The legislation should be on the Democratic governor’s desk soon, given its backing from members of both parties, Duke Energy and several key business groups.

Rep. Walter Jones

A post office in a North Carolina city has been named for a native son and a longtime congressman with endorsements from Republicans and Democrats. The Daily Reflector of Greenville reports the post office in Farmville has been named for Rep. Walter B. Jones, who served in Congress from 1994 until he died at age of 76 in February 2019. Ceremonies marking the renaming were held on Tuesday. Legislation proposing the naming of the post office was introduced by US Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Greenville in 2019.

The General Assembly is ready to begin drawing new boundaries for the North Carolina legislature and the state’s U.S. House delegation for the next decade. The House and Senate remapping committee leaders said Tuesday that members could begin drawing boundaries Wednesday in committee rooms open to the public, with map work streamed on the internet. It’ll likely be at least two weeks before plans are debated and voted upon. North Carolina is redrawing House and Senate boundaries and those for Congress based on 2020 census figures released earlier this year.

Facebook

Marjorie K. Eastman, a combat veteran, former intelligence officer and mother of one, has made her entry into North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate primary battle. She seeks to distinguish herself from the three leading candidates by branding herself as a political outsider with a fresh perspective. Eastman said she decided to enter the race after the Biden administration's hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and ex-Rep. Mark Walker are the top candidates vying for the GOP nomination.

Wikipedia

A North Carolina appeals court says some supporters of former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s efforts to contest the 2016 gubernatorial election results can be sued for allegedly defaming voters. The decision announced on Tuesday paves the way for a trial court to hear arguments against a Virginia-based law firm and the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund.

Facebook

Rep. Ted Budd has been playing defense since getting former President Donald Trump's endorsement in North Carolina's GOP Senate primary. Budd is one of three leading candidates looking to keep an open U.S. Senate seat in Republican hands. Former Gov. Pat McCrory accused Budd's family of “fraud” over a loan it gave to a company run by Budd's father. The family got the loan repaid even as farmers lost millions in the seed company's bankruptcy.

Officials at Fort Bragg say a soldier was killed and four others were injured in an accident involving a military vehicle. News outlets report that a news release from the Army post says the accident occurred Monday around 12:50 p.m. The names of those involved in the accident were being withheld pending notification of relatives. The accident was the second wreck on the post in four months. In June, an Army corporal was killed and two other soldiers injured in a wreck as they were en route to training.

North Carolina’s highest court is now considering whether the legislature’s decision 10 years ago to begin charging some retired state government workers and teachers a premium for health insurance violated an agreement the state made with those workers. The justices heard arguments Monday but didn't immediately rule. Their decision could affect hundreds of thousands of retirees and the state with premium refunds and future expenses. Retirees argue the state was contractually obligated to offer premium-free benefits under a plan in which they paid 20 percent of their co-insurance.

NCDHHS

North Carolina's COVID-19 metrics are improving even as fewer and fewer people are receiving a vaccine. State health department data released Monday showed unvaccinated residents are far likelier to contract the virus, become hospitalized and die. State health officials warn of a decreased effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing infection from the more contagious delta variant. But the approved COVID-19 shots remains the best prevention measure. In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have dropped by 25%. Cases have declined by more than 30%.

A North Carolina sheriff's office has charged a man after one of its deputies was wounded as they went to serve him an involuntary commitment order. News outlets report Robert Joseph Westrup appeared in court on Monday on charges of assault on law enforcement with a deadly weapon and attempted first-degree murder. Three Craven County sheriff's deputies went to serve Westrup on Friday after his family expressed concern. According to the sheriff's office, Westrup fired on the deputies and hit deputy Zachary Bellingham, who is recovering in the hospital.

Litigation challenging the North Carolina General Assembly’s decision a decade ago to charge some retired state government workers and teachers a premium for health insurance is now before the state Supreme Court. Oral arguments are set for Monday. The court’s ultimate decision could affect hundreds of thousands of retirees and cost the state premium refunds and future health care expenses. The plaintiffs argue the state was contractually obligated to offer premium-free benefits under a plan in which they paid 20 percent of their co-insurance.

Wikipedia

North Carolina state Rep. Dana Bumgardner has died from cancer. North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore confirmed Bumgardner’s death on Saturday. The Gaston County Republican died at his home in Gastonia. He was in his fifth two-year term. He is survived by his wife Cindy, his children, Lauren and Austin, and his grandchildren Payton, Maggie, and Kate.

Hundreds of people in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, have rallied against restrictive anti-abortion laws in Texas. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday that the protest was organized by a coalition of local advocacy groups. The Texas law, which was passed in May and went into effect in September, prohibits abortions after a fetal “heartbeat” is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law. The court will hear oral arguments for another major abortion case in December.

Pages