Associated Press

North Carolina churches with schools on their property may not be able to allow attendees with concealed carry permits to be armed outside of school hours. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Thursday to prevent the increased access to handguns. The proposal can still become law if it receives the supported needed from moderate Democrats to override the governor's veto. The National Rifle Association accused Cooper of not reading the bill and not allowing residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

NCDPS

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has rejected five proposals from the Republican-controlled legislature that would reopen businesses and prevent cancellations of July 4 celebrations. The string of vetoes on Thursday comes one day after the state hit a high of new single-day coronavirus cases. Cooper has already extended Phase 2 of North Carolina's reopening plans through July 17. Republican lawmakers want Cooper to ease restrictions on businesses to help reignite the state's economy.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has filed his lawsuit challenging Gov. Roy Cooper’s decisions to shutter businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic without getting the backing of other elected officials. The Republican officially sued the Democratic governor in Wake Superior Court on Wednesday, nearly a week after Forest signaled he’d do so. Cooper and Forest are running for governor in November. Forest wants voided six of Cooper’s executive orders issued since March because Cooper didn’t obtain “concurrence” from the Council of State for his actions.

NC DPS

North Carolina delayed announcing statewide plans for reopening K-12 public schools. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he expects to release updated guidance “in the coming weeks." Schools were instructed in June to draft three plans for resuming fall classes, which include in-person and remote learning. Cooper on Wednesday said his top priority is to get kids back into classrooms. The decision to postpone a decision on how best to reopen classrooms comes as new coronavirus cases hit a single-day high at 1,843.

A number of fees levied by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is going up. As mandated by state law, the DMV is required to adjust fees and rates every four years, based on the percentage change in the annual Consumer Price Index during the past four years. The increase will be 7.86% for about 90 license and registration-related fees and takes effect on Wednesday. More than 30 new laws also are taking effect as state government’s fiscal year begins. They include 2.5% salary increases for most state employees and state law enforcement officers.

A top North Carolina legislator says lawmakers will soon will take another look at a bill that keeps certain police investigative records secret when forwarded to the state medical examiner. House Majority Leader John Bell cited on Tuesday a health measure currently on Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. The measure sought by Cooper's administration contains a provision that says certain death investigation records deemed confidential remain that way when handed to the medical examiner.

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North Carolina has announced plans to test all nursing home workers and residents for the coronavirus over the next two months. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says the partnership with CVS Omnicare will provide one-time COVID-19 tests to about 36,000 residents and 25,000 staff in more than 400 nursing homes across the state. A cost estimate was not immediately provided on Tuesday. Nearly half of all COVID-related deaths in North Carolina to date have come from nursing homes.

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North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says his impeding lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper for unilaterally closing businesses and mandating face masks due to COVID-19 isn’t politically motivated. Forest said Monday the Democratic incumbent has failed to seek or receive support for six executive orders from other elected officials that make up the Council of State. Forest is trying to unseat Cooper in November. Cooper's administration has said the governor has other authority to act on his own to protect health and safety.

NC Ferry Division

North Carolina’s General Assembly has passed a bill that would restart an Outer Banks passenger ferry that had been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to The News & Observer, the N.C. Department of Transportation said two months ago that it wouldn't run the ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands this summer. It said hauling people between the islands could spread the virus. But lawmakers recently passed a measure directing the agency to run it.

North Carolina lawmakers have concluded most of their work for the year. House and Senate members wrapped up around 3 a.m. Friday following an 18-hour marathon of negotiating and voting on bills. Before leaving they passed legislation setting another Medicaid overhaul date, funding a monument to honor African Americans and trying again to reopen businesses shuttered by Gov. Roy Cooper due to COVID-19. They'll likely return briefly in early July to address any Cooper vetoes and outstanding issues before leaving for the summer.

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North Carolina’s Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest informed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper Thursday he intends to sue over the way Cooper has imposed business restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forest wrote a letter arguing the governor has violated state law by issuing executive orders curtailing business without seeking concurrence from a group of elected officials known as the Council of State.

North Carolina legislators are working toward completing their annual session, one dominated by COVID-19 and efforts to overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders keeping businesses closed during the pandemic. The state House and Senate negotiated and voted on bills throughout Thursday, with a goal of finishing later in the day. It wasn’t settled whether Republicans leading the General Assembly want to return later in the year. Most of the session’s headlines centered around partisan fights over the Democratic governor’s directives keeping gyms, bars and entertainment venues closed.

A North Carolina city along the coast has removed two Confederate statues located in public spaces near downtown. Wilmington officials said on Twitter early Thursday that they removed a statue of former Confederate politician George Davis and a statue at another Confederate memorial that didn’t depict a particular historical figure. News outlets reported that the bases of the monuments remained in place. City officials characterized the moves as temporary moves to protect public safety in accordance with a state law that generally prohibits permanent removals of Confederate monuments.

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North Carolina’s governor has ordered people across the state to wear masks or other face coverings in public to fight the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Wednesday that people must wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance. The order also mandates masks or other face coverings for employees of businesses including retailers and restaurants, as well as state employees in the executive branch. Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are punishable by misdemeanor.

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The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized yet another Republican attempt to let more businesses reopen despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions on commerce. Lawmakers also sent the Democratic governor a measure approved Tuesday that would prevent his executive order limiting outdoor gatherings from blocking July 4 parades or fireworks. Cooper already has vetoed two bills pushed by the GOP-controlled legislature designed to overturn his executive orders that have kept bars and gyms shuttered since March.

The former chancellor of East Carolina University has sued the University of North Carolina system over his departure. The News & Observer reports a lawsuit filed by former Chancellor Cecil Staton says his exit from his job last year was the result of a vendetta by a school official. Staton says the issue between him and Harry Smith, university system’s former board of governors chairman, resulted from his refusal to accept Smith's business proposal about off-campus student housing.

Pitt County Public Information Office

The anonymous Confederate statue topping a 27-foot monument outside a courthouse in eastern North Carolina was removed Monday after local officials gave their approval last week. Crews removed the bronze statue that tops the monument outside the Pitt County Courthouse in Greenville, according to a news release from Pitt County. Crews began shortly after midnight and worked more than five hours early Monday morning to lift the statue off its pedestal with a crane. The county release said the pedestal and base will be taken down later because a contracted crane had a mechanical issue.

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Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed another attempt by Republican legislators to accelerate the speed in which North Carolina commerce is being restored through his COVID-19 executive order. The vetoed measure would have allowed gyms and bars shuttered since March to receive patrons again. Cooper said Friday the bill could restrict a quick response to virus outbreaks. He vetoed a similar bill earlier this month emphasizing bars.

A state agency says North Carolina’s unemployment rate neared 13% in May. The actual rate of 12.9% announced Friday by the Division of Employment Security matches the revised rate for April. The identical figures still reflect the massive layoffs and furloughs that have occurred due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The state rate was just slightly over 4% in March. The division said May’s total employed workforce actually increased by 118,000 since April. But that total is 663,000 below where the employed workforce stood 12 months earlier.

The North Carolina House has given tentative approval to let voters decide whether the state should borrow $3.1 billion for public school, higher education and road construction. The legislation getting overwhelming House support on Thursday would put the debt package question on the November statewide ballot. The bill likely will go to the Senate next week, where Republicans remain skeptical about incurring more debt. GOP leaders at the General Assembly hope to adjourn its annual session by next weekend. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has supported the idea of a statewide bond package.

"Bars" by foreverdigital is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

North Carolina has announced plans to test all state prison inmates for COVID-19 over the next two months. The move to do so comes after a court ordered the state to come up with a plan to offer a coronavirus test to its entire prison population. Officials say the testing will cost an estimated $3.3 million and take at least 60 days. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said all staff members also be tested.

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Heavy rains caused flash flooding in parts of North Carolina, leading to washed-out roads and bridges and prompting multiple water rescues. Reports indicated that 5 inches of rainfall fell in some parts of the state east of Raleigh. The Nash County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that deputies rescued an elderly couple Wednesday morning after water swept their car off the road. At one point, water filled all but the top six inches of the car. Rescues also occurred in the Rocky Mount area. Flood warnings were scheduled in some areas to last through early Thursday morning.

North Carolina’s Medicaid program wouldn’t shift most of its patients to managed care for another year under a funding measure given tentative approval by the state Senate. The July 2021 start date is contained in a bill that also locates additional expenses during the next fiscal year for Medicaid. The shift from a traditional fee-for-service program to managed care was supposed to begin late last year and early this year, but it got derailed during a legislative showdown between Republican legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized bipartisan legislation that will allow more people to get their criminal records cleared of lower-level criminal convictions and dismissed charges. The Senate gave unanimous approval  Tuesday to the “Second Chance Act,” which had the backing of groups across the political spectrum. The measure cleared the House last week and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper. It builds upon recent laws that allow people who committed crimes due to youthful indiscretions to remove obstacles in background checks for employment, housing and other needs.

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North Carolina Republican legislators have advanced bills to allow more types of businesses shuttered under Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 executive order to reopen and to limit lawsuits by some who’ve contracted the virus. The full House voted Tuesday to overturn Cooper’s orders that have kept bowling alleys and skating rinks closed. The Democratic governor already has vetoed a bill allowing bars to reopen, saying such legislation is not the way to address COVID-19 business activity.

The statue of a former newspaper publisher, U.S. Navy secretary and lifelong white supremacist has been taken down in North Carolina. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Tuesday that the statue of Josephus Daniels was removed from Raleigh’s Nash Square. The monument will be put into storage. The statue came down in the wake of protests that have followed the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Demonstrators have been rallying against police brutality and systemic racism.

North Carolina legislators again have located money to help build a long-planned park for the contributions of African Americans in the state and to provide “contextual signage” for existing monuments on the old Capitol grounds. The state Senate voted on Monday to earmark $4 million toward the projects. The identical projects and the money were included in last year’s final budget bill but got derailed in a budget stalemate.

North Carolina public school teachers would get $350 bonuses and potentially more one-time income in a Republican measure approved by the state Senate. The proposal goes beyond the usual experience-based raises these categories of educators also would receive. The measure approved Monday also encourages Gov. Roy Cooper to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to give out additional $600 bonuses. Cooper's office said he doesn't have the power to do that. Democrats tried to offer an amendment to guarantee even larger raises. The bill passed on a mostly party-line vote and heads to the House.

NCDPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he’ll announce early next week a decision on whether businesses still shuttered because of COVID-19 will be allowed to reopen. Cooper’s current executive order expires June 26. It allows restaurants to have dine-in seating again and for barber shops and hair and nail salons to reopen. But bars, movie theaters and gyms remain closed. The governor said Monday his decision will be based on science and data. He's worried about the recent upticks in cases and hospitalizations.

NCDPS

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed intio law legislation providing money to help run North Carolina elections safely and securely during the COVID-19 pandemic and making it easier to cast mail-in absentee ballots this fall. The governor signed the bill on Friday, the day after the House and Senate gave final legislative approval to the bipartisan measure. The law is designed to prepare for a spike in demand for absentee ballots from people at higher risk of developing complications from the new coronavirus.

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