Associated Press

Mural in North Carolina Capital Defaced with Words, Drawings

A mural in North Carolina’s capital city which depicts historical images has been defaced with references to slavery, World War II and the Civil War. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union commissioned N.C. State University graduate Dare Coulter to paint the 30-by-20-foot mural last summer. Coulter spent about 10 days painting the mural last summer. Messages were written in several colors and were first spotted on Wednesday. One of them read, “The north convinced the blacks to be lured by factories, where they could be legally regulated into poverty....

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Cooper Unhappy Constitution Amendments on Ballot, Not Bonds

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says he would have rather the Republican-controlled legislature put a statewide school bond package on ballots this fall, instead of several constitutional amendments that he considers “bad government.” Cooper told reporters Tuesday he was disappointed that lawmakers decided against putting a nearly $2 billion school borrowing measure up for a referendum, saying construction needs for local districts are great. A 2016 state study put school building and infrastructure needs at $8 billion over five years. The General Assembly instead asked voters to consider six constitutional amendments. Cooper is not likely to work to...

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GOP Backtrack on Early-Voting Change Signed by Cooper

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed the only piece of legislation the North Carolina General Assembly had on his desk when it adjourned — one that restored early in-person voting on the Saturday before Election Day this year only. Cooper said Monday he has signed the bill, which changed a previous measure the legislature passed despite the governor’s veto. The previous measure shifted starting and ending dates for the early-voting period so it would end the Friday before the election. Cooper and his allies said eliminating Saturday and making other changes would make it harder for people to vote. Republicans...

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N Carolina Train Station to Open This Month

A North Carolina train station originally expected to open in June is now set to open this month. The News & Observer reported Monday that the Raleigh Union Station is expected to open July 10. The opening comes more than two months after officials dedicated the station. The opening was pushed back so contractors could correct an issue with the slope of the station’s passenger platform. The deputy director of the state Department of Transportation Rail Division, Allan Paul, says several areas of the platform were too steep for Amtrak and federal specifications. The last scheduled train of July...

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North Carolina Lawmakers Agree to Pitch ID Mandate to Voters

North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers are asking the public for a fresh mandate to block voting by people without certain kinds of photo identification. With a Senate vote on Friday, the GOP-controlled legislature finalized a proposed constitutional amendment that would require photo IDs. Two years have passed since federal judges struck down state voting requirements as targeting “African Americans with almost surgical precision,” enacted with “racially discriminatory intent.” The language of the referendum question voters will face in November doesn’t provide many details. The amendment says lawmakers could pass exceptions for people who lack IDs. Lawmakers would have to pass...

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In Turnaround, Republicans Revive Saturday for Early Voting

North Carolina General Assembly Republicans have changed their minds and restored temporarily a popular day for early in-person voting eliminated in another measure that became law this week. The Senate and House late Thursday passed legislation to allow the early voting period to continue until the Saturday before Election Day for this year only. GOP leaders recently passed a law that shifted the starting and ending dates for the period so that it would end the Friday before the election. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the measure, saying it would make it harder to vote. Republican overrode that veto....

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Income Tax Cap Question Added to Fall Ballot

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has agreed voters should decide whether North Carolina’s cap on the income tax in the state constitution should be lowered. The House and Senate voted Thursday to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would lower the maximum individual or corporate rate that can be levied from 10 percent to 7 percent. The Senate had wanted to lower the cap to 5.5 percent, but House Republicans wouldn’t go along. The current individual income tax rate is a hair under 5.5 percent and the corporate rate is at 3 percent. Republicans contend lowering...

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Remap Ruling Keeps North Carolina’s Current Lines Intact

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on North Carolina redistricting leaves intact General Assembly boundaries for this fall’s elections. The justices ruled 8-1 on Thursday it was proper for a lower-court panel of federal judges to determine that four state House and Senate districts drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2017 still were illegal racial gerrymanders. The panel ultimately redrew the boundaries in and around those districts. But the Supreme Court decided the panel went too far ruling changes in and around Raleigh and Charlotte violated the state constitution’s prohibition on mid-decade redistricting. The justices already had temporarily blocked the...

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