Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Senate heads toward rejection of Trump border emergency
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican-led Senate is set to deal President Donald Trump a rebuke on his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border. The only remaining question is how many GOP senators will join Democrats in defying him.
Republicans say Thursday’s showdown vote will result in Congress sending Trump a resolution blocking the border emergency he proclaimed last month to steer an extra $3.6 billion to building barriers. The Democratic-controlled House approved the measure last month.
Senate approval would force Trump to use a veto to protect his “Build the Wall” mantra over objections from his own party.
The vote also forces many GOP senators into a difficult box: defy Trump or assent to an emergency declaration that many lawmakers think goes too far.
Elections chief seeks law changes on absentee ballot forms
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections chief wants lawmakers to put additional restrictions on handling absentee ballot forms after her agency’s investigation into actual absentee ballots that affected a congressional district race last year.
State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach made several legislative recommendations to a House committee on Wednesday. Strach led the board’s probe into absentee ballot irregularities that led last month to the board calling a new election in the 9th District.
A political operative in southeastern North Carolina and several workers were charged two weeks ago with illegal ballot handling and other charges.
Strach says she’d like to see increased penalties for election-related crimes. She also focused on the third parties that collect forms from people who want to receive a ballot by mail.
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY-WAKE FOREST
Wake Forest president says wrongdoing limited to 1 coach
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The president of Wake Forest University says the school was itself a victim of an admissions scheme involving a volleyball coach.
University President Nathan Hatch issued a statement Wednesday saying coach William Ferguson, who’s on leave, is the only school employee accused of wrongdoing. Prosecutors say the scheme also targeted a number of other universities.
Hatch says outside lawyers reviewing the university’s admissions process have determined Ferguson acted “independently” and no one else at Wake Forest assisted him.
Prosecutors allege a college counseling business directed money to the women’s volleyball program and a camp controlled by Ferguson in exchange for help getting a student admitted. Ferguson’s lawyer didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Hatch says that student remains enrolled and appears to not to have known about the transaction.
Bill heading to Cooper delays voter ID until 2020 elections
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina lawmakers have quickly sent to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk legislation that delays a photo voter identification requirement until 2020.
The House voted unanimously on Wednesday to push back implementation, originally expected to begin with municipal elections later this year.
But rules carrying out the requirement haven’t been finalized, and an unexpected election to succeed late U.S. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. suggested implementation would have to begin within days.
The Senate approved the delay Tuesday.
Republicans say they’ll decide later whether to extend Friday’s deadline for the state election board to approve ID cards from colleges and government agencies as complying with the law.
The University of North Carolina system said each of its campuses likely would ask Wednesday that the board approve their cards as meeting the standards.
Suit challenging voter ID law continues under judicial panel
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Litigation in state court challenging North Carolina’s new photo voter identification law will now continue before multiple judges tasked with weighing whether the requirement violates the state constitution.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier ruled the case must be transferred to a three-judge panel because the litigation filed by several voters challenges the law’s constitutionality for all voters lacking a qualifying ID.
While Rozier did dismiss one specific claim in the lawsuit, he let stand two others that Republican legislative leaders argued were speculative or failed because the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue over them.
The ruling filed Wednesday is the latest action within three lawsuits challenging either a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November mandating photo ID or the law passed later to implement the amendment.
House bond referendum for public education gets initial OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A plan for state government to borrow money so school districts and the University of North Carolina and community college systems can replace aging buildings and expand has received preliminary approval in the state House.
The proposal championed by GOP House Speaker Tim Moore for a $1.9 billion bond referendum on the March 2020 ballot passed Wednesday by an overwhelming margin.
One final House vote is needed Thursday before it goes to the Senate, where Republicans are cool to issuing new debt. That chamber approved an alternative that earmarks additional tax revenues for public education construction.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper favors a bond package like Moore but last week pitched a $3.9 billion referendum, with $800 million for water infrastructure projects. Moore says the governor’s borrowing amount is too much.
2 more suspects arrested in North Carolina triple slaying
LA GRANGE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have arrested two more suspects in a North Carolina triple slaying.
News outlets report the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office says Jaleik Pridgen of Greenville and Brianna M. Wooten of Kinston are charged with accessory after the fact to a homicide. The arrests stemmed from an investigation into a suspected botched robbery at a card game.
Both are jailed on $50,000 and it’s not known if they have attorneys.
Detectives say Pridgen and Wooten helped to hide the firearms used and took one of the suspects out of town knowing they had been involved in the incident.
Deputies responding in November 2017 to a report of shots fired in La Grange found two people shot to death. A suspect in the case was killed during the robbery.
FOOTBALL PLAYER-FATAL SHOOTING
North Carolina high school football player shot to death
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina high school football player has died after he was shot.
Greensboro police tell the News & Record of Greensboro that 18-year-old Sincere Darnell Davis, a senior at Page High School, died at a local hospital following a shooting at an apartment complex on March 2.
Glenn died on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Ron Glenn said investigators are releasing limited information about Davis’ death to protect the integrity of the investigation. Gleen declined to answer questions about a suspect, where Davis was shot and how many times, or what led to the shooting. There have been no arrests in the case.
According to Glenn, police don’t know a motive, but also say the shooting isn’t tied to any gang activity.