Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Constitutional alterations on hunting, taxes go to panels
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators are ready to advance proposed constitutional amendments, some which could make it more attractive for conservatives to go vote in November.
The House and Senate scheduled committee meetings Wednesday to discuss legislation to alter the state constitution this fall.
A Senate panel plans to take up a statewide referendum whether to put the right to hunt and fish in the constitution. And a House committee wants to consider an amendment to lower the state’s income tax rate cap from 10 percent to 5.5 percent.
House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis also says he expects a constitutional proposal requiring photo identification to vote to be submitted sometime in the next week. Lewis also wants an amendment clarifying the governance of the state elections board.
ELECTION CHANGES-COOPER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Senate votes to override 2 Cooper vetoes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican overrides of two vetoes of election-related bills by North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper are partially complete.
The state Senate voted late Tuesday to enact the two laws despite Cooper’s objections. Each vote of 31-14 was well above the required threshold. Now the bills head to the House, where a leader there says override votes will occur Wednesday or Thursday.
One measure changes many judicial election districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties. The other requires criminal background checks of many state and county election officials and would prevent new political parties from nominating for the fall any losing candidate in primaries for the same office.
Cooper says he vetoed the bills because Republicans are meddling in elections and trying to “rig the courts” to favor them. GOP lawmakers say some current judicial districts are unconstitutional and need to be altered, and that background checks will boost election security.
Cooper sending guard members home; Stein wants policy ended
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper says he’s bringing home the three North Carolina National Guard members currently working at the U.S.-Mexico border because of the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families.
Cooper said Tuesday he made the decision because “the cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response.”
Cooper’s office says the state’s current deployment included a helicopter. The North Carolina National Guard has sent service members to the southern border during previous presidential administrations.
Separately, Attorney General Josh Stein is one of 20 attorneys general who signed a letter Tuesday asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the current policy, calling it “inhumane” and raising serious concerns about children’s rights.
NORTH CAROLINA PRISON ATTACK
North Carolina prisons: Employee badly hurt in inmate attack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina authorities say a prison employee was attacked and seriously injured by two inmates wielding a homemade weapon.
The Department of Public Safety says the attack occurred Tuesday afternoon at Central Prison in Raleigh, and the housing unit where it happened was locked down.
The employee, identified as Unit Manager Brent Soucier, was hospitalized with serious injuries, according to a department statement.
The news release says the two inmates involved in the attack were Jaquan Lane and Andrew Ellis.
Prison records say Lane, 23, was serving a nearly 7-year sentence for a robbery conviction and Ellis, 32, was serving a six-year term as a habitual felon with firearms charges on his record.
Both were also being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Authorities say they will pursue criminal charges in the attack.
SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT BRAWL
Parents, fans brawl during youth softball tournament
(Information from: Kingsport Times-News, http://www.timesnews.net)
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) – Video shows a brawl that broke out between parents and fans of two North Carolina girls softball teams at a Tennessee park.
The Kingsport Times-News reports the fight happened Saturday in Kingsport during a 12-and-under tournament sponsored by USA Softball.
Todd McLemore with Kingsport’s Parks and Recreation Department says a verbal confrontation between two sets of spectators escalated into a chaotic brawl after someone got pushed.
A video shows more than a half-dozen fans tackling each other to the ground amid a flurry of punches and kicks.
No injuries were reported, and no one was arrested, but both teams – the East Wilkes Cardinals and the Blue Ridge Explosion – were disqualified from the tournament.
NINA SIMONE’S BIRTHPLACE
Birthplace of singer, activist Nina Simone to be preserved
TRYON, N.C. (AP) – The dilapidated wooden cottage in North Carolina that was the birthplace of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The trust said in a news release Tuesday that it will develop and find a new use for the house in Tryon where Simone was born in 1933. Last year, four African-American artists purchased the home.
National Trust President and Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Meeks says the trust will work with the home’s new owners and the community to honor Simone’s contributions to society and to “inspire new generations of artists and activists.”
The three-room, 660-square-foot (60-square-meter) home went on the market in 2016.
Simone’s original name was Eunice Waymon. She died in 2003 at the age of 70.
Appeals court: Lt gov’s campaign can sue over challenged ad
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An appeals court says North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest can seek monetary damages for a campaign ad run by a group backing his opponent, even though he won the race.
Forest’s campaign committee sought action against the political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina because Forest’s camp says the group’s 2012 commercial failed to include required identifying information.
A divided Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday reversed a trial judge who ruled Forest’s campaign lacked legal standing to sue because there was no evidence of actual damages. Forest narrowly won the 2012 election over Democrat Linda Coleman.
The law – now repealed – allowed a candidate to seek damages equal to the dollar amount spent by the sponsor of the nonconforming ad.
DROWNING-REAL ESTATE BROKER
Man drowns trying to save daughters off North Carolina beach
(Information from: Carteret County News-Times, http://www.carteretnewstimes.com/)
ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (AP) – Officials say a Virginia real estate broker has drowned off the North Carolina coast, with bystanders saying he was trying to save his daughters from a rip current.
The Carteret County News-Times reports Atlantic Beach Fire/EMS Chief Adam Snyder said 48-year-old Charles Austin Joy was in cardiac arrest when emergency personnel responded to a call at Atlantic Beach on Friday. Snyder says responders attempted to revive Joy, but the Beaverdam, Virginia, man died at a local hospital.
Bystanders told the newspaper Joy swam out to get his two daughters, who had been caught in a rip current. The two girls were brought safely back to shore.
Snyder said his department had posted warnings of moderate surf and currents, meaning swimmers should use caution. The incident occurred after lifeguards went off duty.