Associated Press

More Arrested in N Carolina’s Final Week of Demonstrations

More than 130 people have been arrested or cited by police at North Carolina’s Legislative Building during six weeks of non-violent action as part of a national civil rights movement seeking largely liberal-leaning demands. The last batch of arrests for the Poor People’s Campaign in North Carolina occurred Monday, when General Assembly police took away 13 demonstrators chanting in front of the Senate chamber’s doors. Legislative Police Chief Martin Brock said they would be charged with second-degree trespassing. The campaign began in Raleigh and other state capitals May 14. About 150 people who attended Monday’s rally across from the...

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Forecasters Warn of Dangerous Heat in North Carolina

Forecasters are warning of dangerous heat in North Carolina this week. The National Weather Service said the heat is expected to run at least through Thursday. Forecasters said high temperatures from Charlotte to Raleigh to Wilmington are expected to be in the upper 90s. But forecasters say including the effect of humidity, the heat index will range from 103 to 109 degrees every day. The weather service said once the heat index tops 90, people are at much higher risk for sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion if they have prolonged exposure to the heat. Heatstroke is a medical...

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Latest N Carolina Opioid Abuse Legislation Going to Cooper

The North Carolina General Assembly has sent to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk the latest legislation addressing opioid abuse by creating new crimes against medical workers and granting certain police investigators easier access to prescription records. The Senate quickly voted 41-3 on Thursday for the measure authored by the House, which held extensive debate on the measure Wednesday. House members were divided on a provision that would allow an investigator to get records from the state’s controlled substance database without a warrant or court order. The measure also makes it a felony for medical professionals to embezzle or divert pain...

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Early Voting Bill Would Change North Carolina Schedule, Time

Republican lawmakers are looking again at changing the rules on early voting, a popular idea which has prompted legal action. A House committee voted Thursday to change the 17-day early-voting schedule and require more consistent voting times during that period. The proposal would end the early-voting period statewide on the Friday evening before a primary or election day. Currently counties must offer voting until the Saturday afternoon before the election. Counties also would have to open all of their early voting sites from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and be required to keep uniform hours if sites...

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N Carolina Lawmakers Advance Bills as Session’s Days Dwindle

North Carolina Republicans pressed legislation through the General Assembly on Wednesday, seeking to complete work on measures subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto before a self-imposed deadline this week as the two-year session dwindles. House and Senate GOP leaders want to give final approval to as many statewide measures as possible by Friday, giving them the time to vote on overriding any bills Cooper vetoes before adjournment, likely by the end of the month. In between, legislators say they want to consider local bills as well as proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, such as one requiring...

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Legislators OK Moving N Carolina Presidential-Year Primaries

Primary elections in 2020 and future even-numbered years — including presidential primaries — would be permanently moved from May to March in legislation heading to Gov. Roy Cooper for his consideration. The General Assembly gave final legislative approval to the shift in an overwhelming Senate vote Tuesday. The House and Senate passed slightly different versions in 2017, but no action had occurred for a year. The legislature moved the 2016 primary to March to attract presidential candidates to visit North Carolina and to be a more significant player in the nomination process. This year’s primary reverted to May. The...

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House Completes Veto Override on North Carolina Budget Bill

North Carolina General Assembly Republicans completed the override Tuesday of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of their state budget legislation for the second year in a row. The House secured the override with a nearly party-line 73-44 vote after floor debate. The Senate voted to override last week, the day after Cooper issued his veto. Republican margins in both chambers are wide enough for any override if they remain united. This is the 11th override of Cooper’s 14 vetoes since he took office in early 2017. The bill, which adjusts the second year of the two-year budget, largely takes...

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NAACP Threatens Lawsuits Over Charter School and Voter ID

North Carolina civil rights leaders are threatening to sue the state over a recently passed law that allows mostly white communities near Charlotte to create their own charter schools and a potential new voter ID law. “Legislating state sponsored discrimination cannot continue without consequences,” North Carolina NAACP President T. Anthony Spearman said at a Monday news conference. Spearman called this year’s General Assembly the “suppression session.” He said his organization will join with fellow civil rights group Color of Change to urge Apple and Amazon not to put new campuses near Raleigh because of the proposals. The charter school...

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NC Police Could Get Access to Painkiller Prescription Data

A proposal in North Carolina’s legislature would let law officers access a statewide database recording who is prescribing controlled drugs from morphine to codeine. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the move is part of the General Assembly’s efforts to grapple with the opioid epidemic. State officials say more than 13,000 North Carolinians have died from opioid-related overdoses since 1999. The database exists to see if a patient is getting controlled substances from multiple doctors. The information is purged every six years, limiting how far back law enforcement would be able to look. The North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union...

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Rape Kit Tracking System Advances at N Carolina Legislature

Lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly have advanced legislation creating a statewide tracking system for sexual assault evidence kits. Identical bills receiving Senate approval and tentative House approval Thursday stem from a February audit that counted about 15,000 untested rape kits were held by law enforcement agencies across the state. Attorney General Josh Stein has said it would cost about $10 million to test the entire backlog. The bills don’t contain money, but instead first create a working group to decide testing priority for the backlog. Republican lawmakers said they wanted to get the testing process in place...

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