Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Voter ID measure would delay requirement until 2020
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Surfacing legislation would essentially delay requiring photo identification to vote in North Carolina until the 2020 elections, because of concerns about the deadlines to finalize ID rules and as previously unscheduled congressional elections approach.
Senate Republicans filed a measure to slow the required use of voter ID to vote in person that a legislative committee planned to debate on Tuesday.
A December law implementing voter ID suggested voters could have to show qualifying cards for elections held as early as this spring.
Congressional elections for the 3rd and 9th districts also are creating unplanned work for election officials. While 9th District elections were already exempt from voter ID, 3rd District primary voting begins later this week with mail-in absentee requests that also must soon meet new standards.
North Carolina agencies pay millions with scant transparency
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Government officials in North Carolina are shelling out millions of insurance and taxpayer dollars to quell risks of lawsuits, whether by an employee alleging discrimination or a driver hit by a local school bus.
A collaborative investigation released Monday by nine newsrooms across the state has found little uniformity in how these settlement agreements are tracked and shared with the public. The project was timed to coincide with Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of open government and the public’s right to know.
Despite sometimes large price tags, these agreements aim to save money by protecting public agencies from prolonged court battles or expensive judgments.
The media coalition’s review found some agreements contain confidentiality provisions that may run contrary to state law. Some agreements also impose gag orders on plaintiffs.
Cooper elevates Court of Appeals judge to Supreme Court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has added a sixth Democrat to the seven-member state Supreme Court.
Cooper announced Monday that Court of Appeals Judge Mark Davis is his choice as a new associate justice, filling a vacancy created when Cooper appointed Cheri Beasley as chief justice.
Davis fills Beasley’s old seat, which she held until succeeding Chief Justice Mark Martin on March 1. Martin’s resignation to become a law school dean set in motion chair shuffling within North Carolina’s two appeals courts.
Davis served as then-Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue general counsel until she appointed him to the Court of Appeals days before she left office.
Davis’ elevation emphasizes recent dramatic change in the Supreme Court’s partisan composition. Republicans held a majority until the November 2016 elections.
SEX OFFENSES-MAN CHARGED
Sheriff: Man molesting child caught in act by her mother
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have arrested a North Carolina man who investigators say molested a 7-year-old girl and was caught in the act by her mother.
News outlets report the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office filed multiple charges against 47-year-old Homer David Compton Jr. of Kannapolis, including indecent liberties with a child.
The sheriff’s office says the mother told investigators she walked in on Compton sexually molesting her daughter, adding that she and her daughter left the house after the man became upset, grabbed a rifle in the house and began making suicidal threats.
According to the sheriff’s office, Compton initially refused commands to leave the home and kept deputies at bay for 20 minutes before surrendering.
Compton is jailed on a $1.25 million bond. Online records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney.
Man killed by a police car: North Carolina city pays $950K
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city has paid $950,000 to the family of a man who was hit and killed by a speeding police car in July 2017.
The Charlotte Observer reports the city of Charlotte made that payment in December to the family of James Michael Short, who was trying to cross a street when he was struck and killed by the vehicle driven by officer Phillip Barker.
At the time, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said, Barker was traveling at speeds up to nearly 100 mph (160 kph). Police have said Barker was responding to an emergency and had his lights and siren on.
Barker was charged with involuntary manslaughter and is awaiting trial.
His attorney, Michael Greene, says Barker is on unpaid administrative leave from the police force.
NORTH CAROLINA-DISPUTED ELECTION-CANDIDATES
North Carolina hopefuls sign up for open congressional seat
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Candidates are signing up to run for a North Carolina congressional seat after November’s election was deemed tainted and needed a do-over.
Candidate filing for the 9th Congressional District runs Monday through Friday.
First into the race was Republican Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, the candidate backed by 2018 GOP candidate Mark Harris.
Harris opted not to run after witnesses testified at a hearing that a political operative working for him in rural Bladen County collected mail-in ballots, making votes vulnerable to tampering.
Democrat Dan McCready ran last year and says he’ll run again.
Political parties hold their primary elections May 14. The general election is scheduled for Sept. 10. That date could be used for a primary runoff if candidates don’t receive more than 30 percent of the votes.
LGBT RIGHTS-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina sued again over transgender rights
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina is being sued again over its treatment of transgender people.
State employees argue in a lawsuit filed Monday that their health plan violated federal law and their constitutional rights by dropping coverage of medically necessary procedures that had been covered in 2017.
The new lawsuit comes amid unresolved litigation over North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill and the law that replaced it.
The lawsuit was brought by five current or former state employees, along with two of their dependents. The employees say the treatments prescribed by doctors to treat gender dysphoria are life-saving.
State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s office oversees the health plan. No one from the office responded to an email seeking comment Monday.
WALTER JONES JR-PRIMARIES
Voting begins soon in district attracting over 25 candidates
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Voters can soon begin to pick from among over two dozen candidates who have filed to run for an eastern North Carolina congressional seat empty since last month’s death of GOP Rep. Walter Jones Jr.
Traditional mail-in absentee balloting begins Friday in the 3rd Congressional District for April 30 primaries for Republican, Democratic and Libertarian hopefuls.
Twenty-six people turned in paperwork during last week’s candidate filing period to seek the seat. There are 17 Republicans, six Democrats and two Libertarians. One Constitution Party candidate already advances to the general election, which will be held in July or September, depending on whether any primary runoff is required.
GOP candidates running in the Republican-leaning district include three current state legislators. A current mayor and ex-mayor are in the Democratic primary.