Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT:
N Carolina photo ID mandate headed to House panel debate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A bill asking voters to decide in November whether presenting photo identification to vote should be enshrined in the North Carolina Constitution is getting its first formal debate.
A House panel scheduled discussion Thursday on the proposed constitutional amendment. Speaker Tim Moore says he expects the measure to come to the House floor for votes early next week. These and other proposed constitutional referenda are moving through the General Assembly in the final days of this year’s work session.
Republican legislators approved a wide-ranging election law in 2013 that mandated photo ID, but federal judges struck that and other voting provisions down as racially discriminatory. GOP lawmakers say that’s not true and argue such a requirement is about restoring confidence in elections and preventing voter fraud.
N Carolina governor signs debt bill for road-building boost
MCLEANSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says a method for borrowing up to $3 billion to keep North Carolina road building robust for the next several years is a good example of both major parties working together to help the state’s economy.
Cooper signed into law Wednesday the “Build NC Bond Act” at a Department of Transportation maintenance yard in Guilford County.
The law authorizes the issuance of up to $300 million annually through 2028. The debt isn’t subject to statewide voter approval in a referendum, but the bill passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate by wide margins earlier this month.
The debt would be repaid through dedicated transportation revenues and is similar to borrowing North Carolina already does based on anticipated funds from the state’s share of the federal gasoline tax.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Hunting, fishing amendment clears Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposed question for North Carolina voters to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in the state constitution has been recommended by the full Senate.
Senators voted 44-4 on Wednesday to put the question on statewide ballots in November. The House still must vote yes before a referendum would be held. The hunting and fishing amendment is one of several being considered by General Assembly members in the final days of this year’s work session.
Backers of the amendment say it would preserve traditions and block attempts pushed in other states to erode the ability to go hunting or fishing. But some senators questioned the necessity for constitutional language, saying there’s nothing going on that would jeopardize the right.
CAR CRASH-MISSING MAN
Officials search for missing man after wrecked car found
MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) – Authorities are searching for a man reported missing after his abandoned car was found following an apparent accident on a North Carolina road.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office tells local news outlets a missing person report was filed Sunday for 38-year-old Allen Leon Binns Sr.
Investigators say Binns stopped at two convenience stores Saturday night, and that his 2012 Honda Accord was involved in an accident on N.C. Highway 89 in Lowgap later that evening. The car sustained minor damage.
The sheriff’s office said there has been no contact with Binns since the accident.
Republicans finish override on 2 Cooper election-bill vetoes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two election-related bills have become North Carolina law despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s formal objections to each.
The House voted Wednesday to override Cooper’s vetoes on both measures, copying what the Senate did Tuesday.
One measure alters Superior Court election district boundaries in Mecklenburg County and directs that District Court judges no longer be elected countywide in both Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Now voters in those two counties will elect only a few based on where they live.
The other vetoed bill will require criminal background checks for key state and county election officials and put new restrictions on candidates from the new Green and Constitution parties this fall.
With Wednesday’s votes the Republican-controlled legislature has overridden 13 of the 16 vetoes Cooper has issued since taking office in early 2017.
BOY’S DEATH-FATHER SENTENCED
North Carolina father sentenced to prison in son’s death
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina father has been sentenced to four months in prison in his son’s death after high levels of carbon monoxide were found inside their home.
News sources report McDowell County authorities say 34-year-old Timothy Carl Bartlett Jr. was found guilty of negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and involuntary manslaughter.
Bartlett also received a 24-to-41-month suspended sentence and credit for 48 days served. He was sentenced last week.
On Feb. 7, 2014, Bartlett and his two sons were found unresponsive at their home. His 12-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. Bartlett and his 9-year-old son were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries but were released.
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office determined electricity had been turned off in the home and a generator was running in the basement.
Police release names of 3 drowned in North Carolina pool
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police have released the names of three people who drowned in a swimming pool at a North Carolina apartment complex.
Durham police on Wednesday said the victims were 21-year-old Luis Enrique Delgado-Romero, 16-year-old Brian Manuel Benites and 15-year-old Abril Yulianan Flores-Ojeda.
Police say none of them lived at the apartment complex. The pool was closed at 3 a.m. Tuesday when they were found.
Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said all three people drowned. She said there was no sign of foul play.
The three were pronounced dead at Duke University Hospital.
A city inspector said the pool was fine when it was checked earlier this month.