Associated Press

Cooper, GOP Battle Over Federal Grants, VW Settlement Money

The unrelenting power struggle between North Carolina Republicans and the Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is back in court. Lawyers for the two sides were in a Wake County courtroom Wednesday in a dispute over who controls money from federal block grants and money settling a high-profile lawsuit. An attorney for Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore says about $180 million is at stake in Cooper’s lawsuit. Republican legislative majorities last summer buried deep in the state budget plans to decide how to spend federal grants for health and community development programs and from compensation for Volkswagen...

Read More

Lawsuit Blames Pork Giant for Noxious Farm Smells

A low-cost, high-volume livestock-rearing method pioneered in North Carolina came under fire Tuesday as jurors began hearing a lawsuit from neighbors who say the world’s largest pork corporation is endangering their health and making their lives miserable. The legal action is the first in a string of federal lawsuits against the hog-production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods. Its outcome could alter production methods and profits for the company, which controls everything from the feed the animals eat to when they are trucked to slaughter and how the meat lands on consumers’ plates. Smithfield was bought in 2013 by a...

Read More

Blue Cross NC Caps Opioid Prescriptions at 7 Days for Some

North Carolina’s largest health insurer is clamping down on coverage of opioid prescriptions. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina says starting Sunday it’s no longer covering first-time prescription of short-acting opioids for more than a seven-day supply. Initial prescriptions for more than seven days of immediate-release opioids will be automatically rejected at the pharmacy. Limiting initial opioid prescription lowers the risk of addiction and chances of unused drugs hitting the street. Blue Cross says up to 4,000 opioid prescriptions filled each month were exceeding seven days. That’s about one out of seven prescriptions of this kind, down...

Read More

North Carolina ‘Bathroom Bill’ Saga Lingers in Election Year

North Carolina is again an attractive location for big out-of-state corporations. The state no longer sits squarely in the crosshairs of culture wars over transgender rights. College basketball tournament games are back, after a one-year hiatus. But the saga of the state’s so-called bathroom bill hasn’t been forgotten, and many Republican incumbents who passed House Bill 2 in 2016 are being targeted this election year, with the flap over the law still an issue. In a compromise reached a year ago this week, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a partial repeal of HB 2,...

Read More

Death Toll from Flu in North Carolina Reaches Record of 342

Health officials in North Carolina say the death toll from the flu for the 2017-18 season has increased its record-setting total to 342. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 11 flu-related deaths were reported last week, and there were three deaths in previous weeks found to have resulted from the virus. Of the 14 deaths, 13 were age 65 and older, while the other death involved someone between the age of 5 and 17. Dr. Christopher Ohl, professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told the Winston-Salem Journal that there was a late, second...

Read More

Cooper Wants to Remain Governor, Not Run for President

North Carolina’s Democratic governor says don’t expect “Roy Cooper for President” bumper stickers in 2020. During an appearance Thursday at Duke University, Cooper was asked who might be the Democrats’ nominee in two years. He didn’t give a name but says being a swing state governor, “I’ll certainly get some calls.” The governor nipped any speculation by saying he “plans to be doing this job the next seven years” because “this is a seven-year turnaround.” To do that, he’d have to win gubernatorial re-election in 2020. At the event organized by Politico, Cooper also repeated support for assault-style gun...

Read More

Family Dollar to Pay $45M in Gender Bias Lawsuit Settlement

Family Dollar has agreed to pay $45 million to settle a gender bias lawsuit that dates 16 years ago. The Charlotte Observer cites the settlement in a Wednesday report as saying 37,000 female managers of Family Dollar stores allege they were paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same job, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The discount retailer’s headquarters are in Matthews, North Carolina, with over 8,000 stores throughout the country. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn signed off on the settlement March 14. It pertains...

Read More

John Ehle, Writer, Founder of UNC School of the Arts Dies

John Ehle, an award-winning writer who helped develop what is now the UNC School of the Arts, has died. He was 92. A statement from school Chancellor Lindsay Bierman said Ehle died Saturday at his Winston-Salem home with his wife, actress Rosemary Harris, and daughter Jennifer Ehle at his side. Bierman said while John Ehle may be best known as a prolific author, the school will remember him as one of its founding fathers. Ehle wrote 17 fiction and nonfiction books. He is a member of the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and also received the North Carolina Award,...

Read More

Green Party Now Official Party in North Carolina

The Green Party has become North Carolina’s fourth official political party thanks to a new law offering more options to qualify, giving more candidate choices to some voters this fall. The state elections board unanimously accepted the application of the Green Party of North Carolina on Tuesday. Its candidates can now automatically be put on state ballots through at least 2020. They join the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarian as official state parties for federal, state and local offices in North Carolina. The decision also means registered voters can now officially affiliate with the Green Party. It’s been difficult for...

Read More

North Carolina Will Stop Shackling Pregnant Inmates in Labor

North Carolina’s prison system will no longer shackle pregnant inmates to their hospital beds while they are giving birth. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the change comes in response to a complaint about two women whose names were not released. Prisons director Kenneth Lassiter signed the new policy Monday, preventing the use of leg or waist restraints on pregnant inmates and removing wrist restraints once the inmate is in labor, unless she’s clearly a threat to herself or others or poses an immediate risk of escape. The policy does allow handcuffs while a pregnant inmate is being transported, however....

Read More