GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEWS
Campaign finance practices questioned
Cherokee One Feather // Joseph Martin // November 26, 2018
Summary: While tribal officials of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have argued for years that donations to political candidates have been necessary to get favorable representation, some have questioned the practice. Critics say that donations to candidates are made on behalf of all tribal members, and voting results in the last several elections demonstrate that tribal members don’t agree about who are the best candidates. Top donation getters at $5,200 each were: Friends of Tim Moore (N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain); Philip E. Berger Committee (N.C. President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Eden).
Lawmakers: Storm relief, voter ID top priorities
Daily Advance // Jon Hawley // November 25, 2018
Summary: Area lawmakers will return to Raleigh next week, where they're expecting to take up photo identification for voting, more hurricane relief, and some possibly some surprises. The General Assembly will convene a special session on Tuesday. The post-election, lame-duck session will allow lawmakers to pass implementing legislation for the four amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that voters approved on Nov. 6. The session will also give Republican lawmakers a final chance to enact legislation with their current supermajorities in the House and Senate. The Nov. 6 election gave Democrats enough seats to end Republicans’ veto-proof majorities in both chambers. State Sen. Erica Smith, D-Northampton, who represents Chowan County until redistricting takes effect next year, said the session's biggest items will be more disaster relief in response to Hurricane Florence, and implementing legislation for the voter ID amendment.
NC lawmaker: GOP may seek to standardize private, community college IDs
N&O // Andy Specht // November 26, 2018
Summary: Rep. David Lewis, a Republican from Harnett County, speaks about a draft voter ID bill on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 after a Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee meeting.
Some NC lawmakers meeting this week to talk about marijuana legalization
CBS-17 // Zak Dahlheimer // November 25, 2018
Summary: North Carolina state representative Kelly Alexander is in Raleigh this week. He said he's planning to meet with other lawmakers to talk marijuana. "It's time now for the legislators in North Carolina to catch up with the people," Alexander said. He hopes to work with others to work toward potential bills in 2019 focusing on cannabis reform. One of his ideas that came out of a public summer town hall is having a local option approach with cannabis. "North Carolina has an ABC system that pretty much is the model," Alexander said. "We have dry counties. We have wet counties. We have portions of counties that may be wet, and the rest of them are dry. All of those are driven by local option decisions. Either by the decisions of local-elected boards, or by votes of the people."
A North Carolina politician is ill. What should voters know?
N&O // Ned Barnett // November 23, 2018
Summary: State Sen. Louis Pate has lived a public life. The 82-year-old Republican is a former mayor of Mt. Olive, served several terms in the state House and has been in the Senate since 2011. But about a month before the Nov. 6 election, Pate dropped off the political radar. He didn’t participate in campaign and other public events. He was absent from October’s special legislative sessions after Hurricane Florence. Now political observers will be watching to see if he appears when the legislature meets Monday. The Goldsboro News-Argus covered Pate’s race, but couldn’t get responses from him. It ran an Oct. 31 story containing only the views of his Democratic opponent, David Brantley, a former Wayne County clerk of court and chief district judge. The report was headlined: “Brantley talks issues; Pate silent.” The newspaper reported that Pate had said earlier in October that “an unspecified health issue has forced him to curtail his campaigning.”
Flood insurance rebuilds homes with public money repeatedly
WITF // Emery P. Dalesio // November 26, 2018
Summary: Floodwaters rose about 15 inches into Danielle Rees' home in September when Hurricane Florence drenched this tidewater city on the Pamlico River and overwhelmed a local creek and marshland. The first floor was a sopping mess of gritty, swampy water in three bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry. "It's part of living close to the river, and Washington is really low land," said Rees, a graphic designer who grew up in the city. But she anticipates her $2,000-a-year policy through the taxpayer-subsidized National Flood Insurance Program will help her rebuild the home about a quarter-mile from the river, just as it did in 2011 after Hurricane Irene -- and as it did, under previous ownership, after floods in 1996, 1998 and 1999, according to her property history provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program has done something similar, over and over, for others. Records at FEMA, which operates the program, show that nearly 37,000 properties from the Carolinas to California have repeatedly flooded and been rebuilt -- some dozens of times -- with help from a federal insurance program that is, itself, financially underwater. About 18,000 of those are currently covered by policies, and 15,000 of those haven't taken voluntary steps to reduce the risk of future damage to their property, FEMA said this week.
Furniture donations arrive in New Bern to aid in hurricane relief
WCTI // Nate Belt, Katie Caviness // November 26, 2018
Summary: After Hurricane Florence, many people in Eastern North Carolina need to rebuild from the ground up. One local store now has the means to help people do just that. A huge donation arrived from Pinehurst on Monday. The Manor Inn donated 42 rooms worth of furniture to aid in Hurricane Florence recovery. Several regional Habitat ReStores were there to receive the furniture. Cinda Hill, with Craven County Habitat for Humanity, said it's donations like this one that keep the ReStore's mission alive.
New Hanover County burn ban lifted for first time since Florence, permits still required for open burning
Port City Daily // Staff // November 26, 2018
Summary: In the wake of Hurricane Florence, counties around the Cape Fear region issued burn bans to prevent residents from burning storm debris and causing more issues on the already burdened region — now, more than two months after the storm New Hanover County has lifted its burn ban. But residents are urged to not start burning without knowing the rules. Those who live in the City of Wilmington city limits are not permitted to open burn at any time, regardless of a temporary burn ban. The lifted ban is only for residents of unincorporated New Hanover County.
Local business gives free goods to hurricane victims
WCTI // Christina Thompson // November 25, 2018
Summary: One local business in our area is getting into the Christmas giving spirit, and showering hurricane Florence victims with gifts. Sportsman’s Wholesale is hosting another clothing giveaway on Tuesday at their location in Morehead City. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this since Florence. The store recently gave away over $40,000 worth of clothing — including T-shirts, dress shirts, jackets and children’s clothes — to people who lost everything in the storm. Store owner, Todd Locker, knows first hand what it means to lose your home. He’s living in a camper for 8 months while he rebuilds from Florence, so he reached out to his vendors for help.
ELIZABETHTOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE BRINGS FAMILIES TOGETHER AFTER FLORENCE
WWAY // Kylie Jones // November 25, 2018
Summary: Families and friends got together Sunday to kick off the holiday season. The annual Elizabethtown Christmas parade came through town Sunday afternoon. Families lined the streets in Elizabethtown to join in the holiday celebration. Students, businesses and even county commissioners came out to for the parade. One resident says it has been a tough couple of months because of Hurricane Florence, but the parade brought people together.
NC exchange students raise money for Hurricane Florence victims
WSOC // AP // November 22, 2018
Summary: A group of French exchange students is helping their counterparts in North Carolina in their recovery from Hurricane Florence. The StarNews of Wilmington reports students from Strasbourg Amities USA have come to Wilmington since 2009 for language exchange programs at Ashley High School and Murray Middle School. Ashley High French teacher Soumia Paull said when the Strasbourg students heard about the hurricane, they really wanted to help out a family severely affected by the storm.
Youngest voters influencing North Carolina elections
Carolina Public Press // Kirk Ross // November 26, 2018
Summary: Participation by two generations of younger voters, millennials and Generation Z, grew strongly in the 2018 elections, both nationally and in North Carolina. Generation Z voters, those born around 2000, are the latest generational cohort to begin reaching voting age. Their numbers will only grow in future elections as more age into the voting pool. Millennials are the preceding generation, which came of age around 2000. Combined, these two groups make now makeup almost a third of North Carolina registered voters. By the time the polls open for the 2020 presidential election, these groups will make up an even greater percentage of the state’s electorate. While both groups increased their percentage of the state’s registered voters this year, how many of them participated in November’s general election won’t be known until after the final results are broken down later this month. However, unofficial returns from absentee mail ballots and the 17-day early voting period point to a higher turnout among both groups.
Recount on Monday should decide Moody-Burton race
Robesonian // Staff // November 25, 2018
Summary: A recount that is scheduled at the Board of Elections office on Monday should decide if Vanessa Burton or Jack Moody will take the District Court judge’s seat that will be made vacant when Judge Herbert Richardson sheds his robe. Of it could be early Tuesday when the winner is declared. Steve Stone, the chairman of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said the recount will begin about 8 a.m. on Monday and that is could take as many as 12 to 16 hours for it to be completed. Sixteen hours could mean it would be decided after midnight. Moody, a Republican, asked for the recount after his 77-vote lead over Burton became a 71-vote deficit after provisional ballots were counted on Nov. 15. Moody is eligible because the certified election results show him trailing by a number of ballots that is less than 1 percent of all votes cast.
Warning: Real Estate Development in Flood Zones Is Surging in Some States
MentalFloss // Michele Debczak // November 26, 2018
Summary: Home buyers in search of a forever house should reconsider looking on the coast. According to a study from Climate Central and Zillow, new houses are continuing to pop up in places that are most vulnerable to rising sea levels, with construction in risk zones outpacing that in safer areas in some states. New Jersey, a state that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is the worst offender when it comes to building homes in low-lying flood zones. Between 2010 and 2016, 2982 new houses totaling $2.6 billion in real estate prices were built in risk zones in the state. Behind New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas are the states with the most new houses vulnerable to rising ocean levels driven by climate change.
White House: 1,500% jump in coastal flooding, unprecedented heat waves for Carolinas
N&O // Charles Duncan // November 26, 2018
Summary: Climate change will cause more heat waves, flooding and worse storm impacts, and change life for people in the Carolinas, according to a report released by the White House the day after Thanksgiving. Higher sea levels will bring more coastal flooding, a warming ocean will bring stronger storms, and extreme heat waves will become longer and more frequent in the Southeast, the Fourth National Climate Assessment predicts. The report lays out dire warnings for the Carolinas and the nation on the coming impacts from climate change. “Throughout the southeastern United States, the impacts of sea level rise, increasing temperatures, extreme heat events, heavy precipitation, and decreased water availability continue to have numerous consequences for human health, the built environment, and the natural world,” the report states. Some areas could see a lot more rain, others could see drought, the report notes.
3 ways climate change is already shaping the U.S.
E&E News // Chelsea Harvey // November 26, 2018
Summary: The much-anticipated second volume of the National Climate Assessment presents a stark warning about the country's future if climate change progresses unchecked: dwindling water supplies, agricultural declines, infectious disease outbreaks, destructive sea-level rise, an increase in certain natural disasters and billions of dollars in economic losses, to name just a few consequences. But just as striking is the federal report's description of the climate impacts that have already occurred in the United States.
New climate change report brings grim news for North Carolina and the world
NC Policy Watch // Lisa Sorg // November 26, 2018
Summary: Scientists have described the crisis – no longer a far-fetched figment of the future, but one that is happening now — in the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report. While a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official emphasized the content had “no external interference,” the timing was suspect. Some suggested the Trump administration tried to bury the news by releasing it at 2 p.m. last Friday, on a holiday weekend when few people were paying attention. Media received the embargoed document an hour prior, hardly enough time to digest even the executive summary. On a media conference call, NOAA spokespersons refused to answer questions about the timing of the report’s release. “We encourage you to focus on the content,” NOAA spokesperson Monica Allen said. “What keeps you up at night?” That is one of the questions posed to hundreds of scientists who contributed to the reports. Well, it turns out, there’s a lot. At 1,700 pages, the document depicts the cataclysmic effects of a changing climate on coasts, forests, infrastructure, water, energy supplies, agriculture, economy and public health. It calls for us to mitigate as much damage as possible, as well as adapt.
Our Opinion: Expand Medicaid
Greensboro N&R // Editorial Board // November 25, 2018
Summary: As many as 670,000 North Carolinians could gain sorely needed Medicaid coverage if Gov. Roy Cooper and members of both parties in the legislature will work together to help them. Now that voters have restored some balance to the state’s power structure, that idea isn’t so far-fetched anymore. Voters elected enough Democrats on Nov. 6 to break the Republican supermajorities in the legislature, meaning that Cooper now has a credible threat of veto and Republicans won’t necessarily get their way on every issue. Helping people in the state who lack adequate medical insurance ought to be something that everyone can agree on. That’s especially true since funding to expand Medicaid coverage is available. North Carolina is one of only 14 states that still have not accepted the federal dollars made available through the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid is the federally mandated program that provides health care to poor children and their families, seniors and disabled people. A key provision of the ACA aimed to expand that mandate to more uninsured adults who can’t pay for health care. Many of these people work low-wage jobs; some are veterans.
Teacher Pay: Here's How North Carolina Ranks
Patch // Kimberly Johnson // November 26, 2018
Summary: High-profile teacher strikes in a handful of states earlier this year could be a foreshadowing of issues in newly configured state legislatures in 2019. School funding and teacher pay drove at least 177 teachers to run for election in recent midterm elections, and at least 42 of them won, mostly in statehouse races. Nationally, teachers were paid an average annual salary $60,483 in the 2017- 2018 school year, according to the most recent data available from the National Education Association. In North Carolina, the average salary was $50,861, ranking 37th among U.S. states.
Do more cops in schools make them safer? New study looking at NC schools says no.
N&O // T. Keung Hui // November 23, 2018
Summary: A new report looking at security in North Carolina schools is challenging the belief that putting more police officers in schools will make them safer. The study of North Carolina middle schools found no relationship between increased funding for school resource officers and reduction in cases of reported school crimes. Kenneth Alonzo Anderson, the report’s author and an associate professor at Howard University, said legislators across the country should consider the findings before rushing to put more police officers in schools following mass acts of violence such as the school shooting incident in Parkland. Fla. “I’m not recommending that we remove police officers from schools,” Anderson said in an interview. “However we need to evaluate what we do and change our philosophy on policing in schools.”
Man who left sanctuary is now in Georgia detention center. His supporters rally in Raleigh.
N&O // Camila Molina, Joe Johnson // November 26, 2018
Summary: The man who was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday as he attempted to keep an immigration appointment in Morrisville has been transported to an immigration detention center in Georgia. Meanwhile, supporters held a rally on his behalf in Raleigh on Monday. Samuel Oliver-Bruno is being held at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, according to ICE’s detainee locator. ICE agents dressed in civilian clothes arrested Oliver-Bruno on Friday, minutes after he entered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Morrisville and began to fill out paperwork.
Former Fayetteville Mayor Bill Hurley dies
ABC 11 // Staff // November 26, 2018
Summary: Former Fayetteville Mayor Bill Hurley has died at the age of 85., city officials announced Monday.
Hurley served as mayor from 1981 to 1987. He then served as a Democrat in the N.C. House of Representatives before retiring in 2002. He co-founded the Dogwood Festival and helped raise funds for the Lafayette statue in Cross Creek Park on Green Street.
Former Gov. Pat McCrory falsely says many college students are committing voter fraud
N&O // Will Doran // November 21, 2018
Summary: McCrory said that “if (college students) voted in North Carolina and yet their car is registered elsewhere, they have a driver’s license from elsewhere, they’re breaking the law.” That is wrong. North Carolina college students from any state can vote in their local college community, with the limited exception of students who plan to move back in with their parents after graduating. We rate this claim False.