Associated Press

N Carolina General Assembly Quietly Reconvenes

The North Carolina General Assembly has quietly reconvened its work session before what’s expected to be busy days drawing new legislative districts, considering possible veto overrides and hearing about discharges of a little-studied chemical into a river. The House and Senate opened sparsely-attended floor meetings at midday Friday and adjourned minutes later until Tuesday. No votes were taken. The chambers have returned chiefly to redraw district boundaries before a court-mandated Sept. 1 deadline. House Redistricting Committee Chairman David Lewis says proposed maps will be released by Sunday, with floor votes late next week. The Republican-controlled legislature still must decide...

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Top Senator Skeptical About Ending Monument Law

The North Carolina Senate’s top leader is skeptical about scrapping a 2015 law that prohibits permanently removing Confederate monuments from public property, as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper called for earlier this week. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger wrote in a column released Thursday that “an impulsive decision” to pull down monuments wouldn’t be wise. Berger says the legislation sought to reduce politics in decisions about monuments on government property. The law was passed after the Confederate flag over the South Carolina statehouse was removed following the race-based slayings of nine people at a Charleston church. Cooper said the Civil...

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After Hearing, UNC Now Awaits NCAA Ruling in Academic Case

North Carolina has wrapped up a two-day hearing with an NCAA infractions committee panel that will decide whether the school faces penalties tied to its multi-year academic scandal. Now the case goes into yet another holding pattern. School officials spent much of Wednesday in a closed-door meeting with committee members in Nashville, Tennessee. They returned Thursday morning for a second session lasting about 4½ hours with the panel that will determine whether UNC faces penalties such as fines, probation or vacated wins and championships. NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn confirmed the hearing was complete but both sides were mum afterward....

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Protesters Topple Confederate Statue in North Carolina

Protesters in North Carolina toppled a nearly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier on Monday at a rally against racism. Activists in Durham brought a ladder up to the statue and used a rope to pull down the Confederate Soldiers Monument that was dedicated in 1924. A diverse crowd of dozens cheered as the statue of a soldier holding a rifle fell to the ground in front of an old courthouse building that now houses local government offices. Seconds after the monument fell, protesters began kicking the crumpled bronze monument. The Durham protest was in response to a white...

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Judge: Wrongly Imprisoned Man Must Have Competency Exam

A man freed after 30 years on death row will undergo a competency evaluation as a judge considers whether his lawyers in a lawsuit are properly representing him. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle ruled Friday that Henry McCollum must be evaluated before his lawsuit can proceed against investigators who put him behind bars. A court-appointed advocate argues McCollum was steered into dubious financial arrangements by his lawyers and he lacked the mental capacity to understand his representation agreement with them. McCollum and his half brother were released from prison in 2014 because of DNA evidence and later pardoned of...

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Former N Carolina Senator Rand Named to Lottery Commission

A once-powerful Democratic leader in the North Carolina General Assembly is returning to state government, this time as a lottery commission member. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed former Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand of Fayetteville to the commission, replacing Kim Griffin. He’ll fill a term that ends next August. Rand served in the Senate for all or parts of 12 terms before his 2009 resignation. As majority leader and Senate Rules Committee chairman, Rand was the top lieutenant to longtime Senate leader Marc Basnight and played a big role getting laws passed in 2005 to begin the lottery. Rand left...

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Moore Blames Overzealous Lawyers for Legal Aid Money Cuts

North Carolina’s legal aid groups were puzzled when lawmakers this summer cut state funding to help poor clients with legal troubles. Now a top legislator has disclosed some reasons why it happened. The House removed a provision from the state budget that had set aside money from part of court fees. The money went to three groups that help low-income people with civil matters. House Speaker Tim Moore recently said that reports of overzealous legal aid attorneys are one of the reasons for the cut. He mentioned a case where he says small-time landlords faced extensive demands and frivolous...

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Trubisky Shines for Bears in Preseason Loss to Broncos

Mitch Trubisky threw for 166 yards and led three scoring drives after Mike Glennon struggled for Chicago, before the Denver Broncos scored two long touchdowns in the closing minutes to beat the Bears 24-17 in the preseason opener on Thursday night. Though the Bears have insisted Glennon is their starter, Trubisky just might have created a quarterback controversy. Denver’s Trevor Siemian did nothing to hurt his standing as the leader for the starting quarterback job, while Paxton Lynch did little to close any ground. Third-stringer Kyle Sloter threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with about six minutes...

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Criteria for New Maps Include Politics, Not Race

North Carolina Republican legislators have decided election results can play a role in how dozens of General Assembly districts will be drawn, but the racial makeup of people living within those boundaries won’t. GOP members of the House and Senate redistricting committee voted Thursday for the criteria that will be used to redraw boundaries later this month. Federal courts have thrown out nearly 30 districts drawn in 2011 as illegal racial gerrymanders, and judges have told the legislature to approve new maps by Sept. 1. The committees decided the mapmakers can look at past election results when drawing districts....

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Award-Winning Drama Teacher Sues District for Discrimination

A drama teacher has sued his North Carolina public school district for racial discrimination in staffing and unfair compensation. The Herald Sun of Durham reports 30-year Hillside High School drama teacher Wendell Tabb filed the lawsuit against Durham Public Schools on Wednesday. The lawsuit says DPS refuses to staff the predominantly black Hillside’s award-winning drama program as it does with other schools’ programs, forcing Tabb to perform the work of multiple teachers. The lawsuit also says Tabb hasn’t been compensated for performing non-program-related duties, despite asking for district assistance since 2004. The lawsuit alleges the district’s non-compliance stems from...

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