Associated Press

Gov. Cooper: Republican $35M School Safety Plan Not Enough

Republicans at the General Assembly said Thursday that a $35 million school safety package next year in the upcoming North Carolina state budget is a good start that will address critical needs, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper thinks it comes up short. The budget adjustment bill, negotiated privately by House and Senate GOP leaders, contains safety and violence prevention improvements debated publicly by a House study committee following the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. More than half of the GOP package goes to grants for local school districts and law enforcement to hire...

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GOP Budget Includes ‘Living Wage’ Minimum for State Workers

Thousands of the lowest-paid state employees would receive substantial salary increases in the North Carolina budget bill moving quickly through the General Assembly. Republican budget-writers announced Thursday that rank-and-file workers in state agencies would receive 2 percent raises, with all full-time worker salaries reaching at least $31,200. Currently the salary floor is just over $24,300, so raises could approach 30 percent for those near the current minimum. The State Employees Association of North Carolina described the proposal as creating a “living wage” equating to $15 per hour. SEANC (see-NICK) Executive Director Robert Broome says it would help those workers...

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Democrat: School Safety Campaign Issue If Gun Ideas Ignored

Democratic legislative candidates plan to make school safety a fall campaign issue if Republicans won’t consider legislation that includes gun-control provisions backed by the Democratic governor. Rep. Graig Meyer of Orange County, a candidate recruiter for House Democrats, sounded that warning at a news conference Wednesday in which several House and Senate Democrats promoted legislation nearly mirroring Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposals. Cooper and other Democrats want to raise the age to purchase assault-style rifles from 18 to 21 and ban “bump stocks,” which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire. They also want judges to be able to order...

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North Carolina Budget Fast-Track Squeezes Out Amendments

Republicans in the North Carolina legislature are fast-tracking this year’s budget adjustments so quickly they’re preventing rank-and-file members — particularly Democrats — from formally offering their own changes. House and Senate GOP leaders have been negotiating privately for weeks on how to alter the second year of the two-year government spending plan approved last summer. They expect to unveil the final product early next week, Republicans said Wednesday, with votes following soon after. What’s different this year is leaders plan to use a procedural method preventing amendments in committee or during floor debate on their package. Instead, the two...

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GOP Heading to Finalize Budget Likely Without Amendments

There’s more evidence North Carolina Republicans plan to skip some of the usual legislative process this year when making adjustments to the state budget. House Speaker Tim Moore announced Tuesday a formal list of Republican negotiators for a bill he said would become this year’s budget legislation. Traditionally one chamber unveils a proposal that can be amended in public before it heads to the other chamber, which makes its own changes before the two sides work out differences. Moore’s announcement points to House and Senate GOP legislators being close to fashioning a final agreement behind closed doors that’s subject...

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Democrats, Gun-Control Advocates Back New Protection Orders

North Carolina Democratic legislators say creating a legal method by which someone found to be an imminent threat to hurt themselves or others would have to surrender their guns temporarily is a common-sense way to prevent mass shootings and suicides. Several lawmakers and gun-control advocates visiting the Legislative Building promoted legislation Tuesday that would allow a District Court judge to issue “extreme risk protection orders.” A family member or law enforcement agency could seek the order against someone. A judge could initially issue an order for 10 days, then expand it up to one year after hearing additional evidence....

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13 Protesters Arrested at N Carolina Legislative Building

More than a dozen people were arrested Monday inside North Carolina’s Legislative Building while demonstrating against Republican policies in the state and the nation and supporting a long list of liberal-leaning demands. Authorities led away seven protesters in front of Senate leader Phil Berger’s office door Monday afternoon and six at House Speaker Tim Moore’s door, General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said. The arrests occurred during the second of six weeks of non-violent actions at state capitals and in Washington, D.C., by the national Poor People’s Campaign. Nearly 50 protesters were cited by Raleigh police last Monday for...

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Autopsies Describe Fatal Prison Attack NC Hasn’t Detailed

Inmates used hammers to crush skulls and scissors to spear flesh when they killed four employees last fall in the bloodiest prison escape attempt in North Carolina history, medical examiners determined. Their newly released autopsy and other reports offer details prison officials have been unwilling to share. Prison officials were unable to say Monday when they will release results of an internal investigation into last October’s failed uprising at Pasquotank Correctional Institution. Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks has said he expects to withhold details about how the attacks unfolded and why. Four inmates now charged with first-degree...

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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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