Associated Press

Sen. Tillis Testifies in N Carolina Legislative Bias Case

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis left his seat on Capitol Hill briefly for one on a witness stand in an employee discrimination case from his time as a top state legislative leader. Tillis testified under oath Friday in a federal courtroom about why as state House speaker in 2011 he decided to force out the director of the General Assembly’s nonpartisan fiscal analysis office. Marilyn Chism is a black woman who accused legislative leaders of illegally sacking her because of her race and gender. An administrative law judge could direct the legislative branch to pay her monetary damages. Tillis...

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Republicans Agree on How to Address Little-Known Chemicals

North Carolina legislative Republicans have agreed on how to expand work and funding to clean up, contain and evaluate unregulated industrial chemicals like the one officials say a plant dumped into the Cape Fear River. GOP lawmakers filed identical bills in the House and Senate on Thursday, representing a negotiated compromise after they failed to work out their differences last winter. The provisions, which still must be voted on and sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, locate roughly $12 million in state funds, with $8 million to support the sampling and analysis of emerging contaminants like GenX. There’s $1.8 million set aside for...

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ACC Seeks to Expand NCAA Tourney by 4 Teams, Change Rules

The Atlantic Coast Conference wants to expand the NCAA Tournament and change several college basketball rules. Commissioner John Swofford said Thursday the league will propose legislation to expand the NCAA Tournament from 68 to 72 teams. That would create a second set of First Four games in the western half of the country to go with the tournament-opening ones in Dayton, Ohio. The league also supports moving back the 3-point line, widening the lane and having the shot clock reset to 20 seconds after offensive rebounds. Swofford spoke to reporters at the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings. He...

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School Psychologist Licensure Addressed in OK’d House Bill

Vacancies for North Carolina public school psychologists could be more easily filled under legislation addressing state licenses that has cleared one chamber of the General Assembly. The House voted unanimously Thursday for a bill that directs the State Board of Education to issue a state school psychologist’s license to someone who already is certified for the field by the National Association of School Psychologists. Currently an out-of-state school psychologist also must meet extensive North Carolina standards to practice in the public schools. The bill now heading to the Senate is based on a recommendation by a House school safety...

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North Carolina Beefs Up Tax Breaks as Apple Scouts New Sites

North Carolina legislative leaders say they’re committing to an expansion of tax breaks for companies promising thousands of jobs, a move that comes as people familiar with recruitment efforts tell The Associated Press tech giant Apple is strongly considering the state for a new corporate campus. The state legislature’s top two leaders said Thursday that officials will lower the threshold for so-called “transformative” companies to get massive state subsidies. A North Carolina government official and an economic development official told The Associated Press that Apple will decide soon whether to build a planned hub near Raleigh. They spoke on...

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As Thousands of Teachers March, N Carolina Legislature Opens

The opening day of North Carolina’s General Assembly session will be marked by thousands of teachers descending on the Legislative Building to lobby for more school funding and higher salaries. The gavels go down on the House and Senate floor meetings at midday Wednesday. The legislature’s chief chore for the next several weeks is to adjust the state government budget. Lawmakers will be met by public school teachers marching from the headquarters of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which organized the “March for Students and Rally for Respect.” Their late-afternoon rally is scheduled in front of the Legislative...

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6 US States Accuse Opioid Maker Purdue of Fueling Overdoses

Six U.S. states on Tuesday sued the maker of the opioid OxyContin of using deceptive marketing to boost drug sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths. Drugmaker Purdue Pharma minimized risks and overstated benefits of long-term use of narcotic opioids, according to a civil complaint filed in Nevada state court in Las Vegas. “Purdue’s deception lined the pockets of its owners and led to the deaths and hospitalization of thousands of Nevadans,” Nevada state Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a statement. Similar unfair and deceptive trade practices lawsuits were filed in Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas....

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North Carolina Democrats Unveil Platform for Fall Campaigns

North Carolina Democratic lawmakers on Monday unveiled their to-do list if they got back some or all power at the Legislative Building after November, promising to raise teacher pay to the national average, expand Medicaid and retool how redistricting is done. Holding several news conferences from Asheville to Wilmington, House and Senate Democrats described their four-part “Our Carolina Promise ” agenda as forward-thinking and unifying. “People want to know what you’re for, not just what you’re against,” House Minority Leader Darren Jackson of Wake County said at state Democratic Party headquarters. “But it’s our job to tell people what we...

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After Teachers Leave, N Carolina Session Likely to be Quick

The annual session of the North Carolina General Assembly begins as thousands of teachers descend on the Legislative Building for a school funding rally. That should slow down formal lawmaking activity on the first day Wednesday, but all signs point to the session ending before July 4, with approving adjustments to the second year of the two-year budget the primary task of the Republican majority. There could be another showdown between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and GOP leaders on the budget. Cooper vetoed the budget last year because he said it needlessly cut taxes for the rich and corporations...

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Raleigh 1 of 30 Sites for Launch of Poor People’s Campaign

North Carolina is one of 30 locations nationwide where the Poor People’s Campaign is launching its six weeks of nonviolent direct action. Campaign officials say activists will protest Monday at the Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh, near the General Assembly building. Protesters support an overhaul of voting rights laws; new programs to help the millions of Americans who live in poverty; environmental protections; and other issues. The rally in North Carolina is one of more than 30 actions that the Poor People’s Campaign has planned for Monday nationwide. This event will focus on the needs of women, young people, the...

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