Elections chairman tweeted Trump needed a ‘diaper change’ – now his posts are under fire
N&O // Lauren Horsch // November 28, 2018
Summary: The Wake County Republican Party chairman filed a complaint against the chairman of the state elections board Wednesday alleging his social media habits show favoritism toward candidates on the ballot and show “contempt for the principle of public neutrality.” The complaint, sent to Gov. Roy Cooper and State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement Executive Director Kim Strach, asks for the state board to remove Penry and replace him with “a fair-minded individual who will act in the public interest and not show favoritism towards any party or clique.” Penry, a Democrat, was appointed to the board by Cooper earlier this year.
State seizes Bladen County evidence in9th District investigation
WRAL // Travis Fain // November 28, 2018
Summary: A State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement investigator seized absentee ballot envelopes and request forms from the Nov. 6 election in Bladen County, the board confirmed Wednesday. Spokesman Patrick Gannon also confirmed that the board is investigating “potential irregularities involving absentee ballots in the 9th Congressional District.” The board refused Tuesday to certify results in that race. Board members were tight-lipped after their unanimous decision, but problems were suggested in the district’s southeastern corner, and the board’s closed-session discussions pointed toward an open investigation.
NC Elections Investigator Seized Bladen County Absentee Ballot Forms
WFAE // Steve Harrison // November 28, 2018
Summary: The chief investigator for the North Carolina Board of Elections took absentee by mail ballot request forms and their return envelopes from Bladen County immediately after the Nov. 6 election, according to the chair of the county’s board of elections. Bobby Ludlum, chair of the Bladen County Board of Elections, told WFAE Wednesday that the board’s chief investigator, Joan Fleming, came to Elizabethtown to get the records during the week of the election. “She was here the day after, or around that time,” said Ludlum, a Republican who chairs the county’s board. “I’ve heard rumors and allegations (about what they are looking for) but they haven’t said anything.”
Cal Cunningham preparing for 2020 lieutenant governor bid
Charlotte Observer // AP // November 28, 2018
Summary: A former North Carolina state legislator and U.S. Senate candidate is preparing for a Democratic run for lieutenant governor in 2020. Attorney Cal Cunningham said Wednesday he’s taking steps to put together a bid, with a formal announcement coming after the holiday season. The Insider news service first reported that Cunningham’s web site was seeking campaign donations. The 45-year-old Lexington native now lives in Raleigh. He served in the state Senate in the early 2000s and made an unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in 2010, losing to Elaine Marshall in the Democratic primary.
More frequent NC hurricanes are on the way. Here’s how we can get ready.
Commentary: North Carolinians deserve Medicaid expansion
Winston Salem Chronicle // Carolina Commentary // November 29, 2018
Summary: An important component of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medicaid eligibility so low-income people living in households at 138 percent of the federal poverty level could get health care coverage. However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states could not be forced to expand Medicaid programs. Eighteen states decided not to expand, citing difficulty predicting and affording the costs. Federal funding covered 100 percent of the costs until 2016, with a reduction to 90 percent by 2020. North Carolina’s Republican legislature passed a bill in 2013 that outright banned the expansion. The state has a history of moving slowly on Medicaid, being one of the last states to adopt it, in 1970, four years after the funding became available. Most North Carolinians who have health insurance are covered by a private plan, either under an employer or marketplace exchange. Other coverage comes from Medicaid, Medicare, and military and veteran benefits. Yet 11 percent of the population remains uninsured.
Affordable Health Insurance Now an Option for Many NC Hospitality Businesses
Spectrum News // Mary Helen Jones // November 28, 2018
Summary: The North Carolina Lodging and Restaurant Association started a plan this year that allows smaller businesses to buy group insurance at an affordable rate. It was worked out with the National Restaurant Association and approved by the Labor Department. Similar groups in other states started similar programs this year. “There are a lot of folks out there that own small businesses and want to be able to offer health insurance to their employees, but it’s just been out of reach due to escalating cost,” Margo Metzger said. She’s the communications director for the NCLRA.
Multiple Johnston County schools closed due to lack of power, heat
WRAL // Staff // November 29, 2018
Summary: Four schools in Johnston County are closed Thursday due to a lack of heat or power for the buildings. North Johnston High, North Johnston Middle, Glendale-Kenly Elementary and Micro Elementary schools are all affected.
NC State Government
Some automatic payments accidentally drafted twice from NC taxpayers’ bank accounts
WRAL // Jessica Patrick // November 29, 2018
Summary: Some people who owe taxes and pay monthly through an automatic bank draft may have been charged twice, according to the N.C. Department of Revenue. The NCDOR became aware Thursday of a technical processing issue that caused some taxpayers’ payments to be drafted twice from their bank accounts.
The Long, Bitter Fight Over Thomas Farr
The Atlantic // Andrew Kragie // November 29, 2018
Summary: Thomas Farr’s long wait for a federal judgeship in the Eastern District of North Carolina may finally end on Thursday with a Senate confirmation vote, a reward for Farr’s many years of loyal service to the Republican Party. Democrats say it’s his reward for many years of “hostility and disregard” for the voting rights of African Americans. They first opposed his nomination the nomination because of his legal work for Jesse Helms, a senator best known for his vehement opposition to integration and his racially tinged campaign tactics. That was way back in 2006, when President George W. Bush first nominated Farr. Senate Democrats refused to confirm him, but then Senate Republicans in turn refused to confirm President Obama’s nominees for the spot. When President Trump took office in 2017, he renominated Farr for the same Eastern District of North Carolina seat that has gone unfilled for more than 12 years.
Raleigh’s Farr moves closer to confirmation and filling long-open federal judge post
N&O // Brian Murphy // November 28, 2018
Summary: Raleigh attorney Thomas Farr moved one step closer to final confirmation to become a district judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. With Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote, the Senate agreed to limit debate on Farr’s nomination, setting up a final vote Thursday. President Donald Trump nominated the 64-year-old Farr to be a U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2017 and again earlier this year. Though Farr cleared a Senate committee in January, his nomination has languished in the Senate — as Democrats and civil rights groups hammered him as hostile to voting rights for blacks.
Senate narrowly votes to advance controversial judicial nominee Thomas Farr