AP-NC Newswatch

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July 9, 2019
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July 9, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



Runoff voters to decide GOP nominee in race to succeed Jones
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A primary runoff for the special election in an eastern North Carolina congressional district will decide the Republican nominee in the race to succeed the late GOP Rep. Walter Jones Jr.
Voting precincts are opening Tuesday in 17 counties that compose the 3rd District. Voters are deciding between Joan Perry of Kinston and Greg Murphy of Greenville. Both are physicians. They were the top two vote-getters in the 17-candidate GOP primary in April.
The winner advances to face Democrat Allen Thomas and two other candidates in the September general election. Jones died in February after 24 years in Congress.
The GOP runoff has attracted well over $1 million in spending by Washington-based independent groups for or against the candidates. About 3.5% of eligible voters in the runoff cast ballots early.



Bill to expand Medicaid in NC surfacing in House committee
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – House Republican leaders say it’s time to debate Medicaid legislation originally designed to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income adults in North Carolina, even as Senate counterparts remain against expansion.
The House Health Committee scheduled a meeting Tuesday to discuss an expansion measure, which as initially written would place premium and work requirements upon recipients. Hospitals – not state taxes – would cover North Carolina’s financial share.
Speaker Tim Moore says expansion debate is happening now because many people have been asking about the idea. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wants expansion and vetoed the budget bill because Republicans didn’t include it.
Senate leader Phil Berger said Monday he won’t negotiate a compromise budget with Cooper if a veto override fails unless Cooper stops demanding Medicaid expansion be included in talks.



Delta jet makes unscheduled landing in North Carolina
MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials of Delta Air Lines say a jet bound for Baltimore from Atlanta made an unscheduled stop in North Carolina due to an apparent mechanical problem.
A statement from the carrier on Monday said the flight crew on Delta Flight 1425 elected to divert to Raleigh-Durham International Airport “out of an abundance of caution” after getting an indication of a potential issue with one of the aircraft’s engines. The MD-88 with 148 passengers on board landed safely at around 1 p.m.
No injuries were reported, and Delta says arrangements were made to get the passengers onto another aircraft.



House delays override vote on Cooper’s NC budget veto
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republicans leading the North Carolina House have delayed a vote to attempt to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the GOP’s state budget bill.
The override vote scheduled for Monday evening was put off until at least Tuesday.
House Republicans had been counting heads leading to Monday’s session for enough Democratic support or absences. Minority Leader Darren Jackson said earlier Monday he was confident enough Democrats would uphold Cooper’s veto.
House Republicans likely need seven Democrats to vote for an override to be successful. The Senate also would have to agree to override.
Republican Speaker Tim Moore says the budget is a great plan that Cooper should have signed.
Jackson confirmed the governor has asked House and Senate leaders to meet with him Tuesday to discuss a Democratic counteroffer.



North Carolina absentee ballot changes get initial Senate OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – New procedures for requesting and returning mail-in absentee ballots in North Carolina would change in legislation that’s received initial state Senate approval. But some lawmakers want more alterations.
The Senate voted unanimously Monday for a measure generated in response to an investigation into last fall’s 9th Congressional District race. It led state election officials to order a new election this year.
The bill would eliminate a statewide absentee ballot request form and create new crimes or increase penalties for illegal ballot collection activities. Separately, the measure would restore early in-person voting on the final Saturday before the primary or election day.
Several floor amendments are scheduled to be considered on Tuesday before a final vote. One would restore a statewide request form, with new features designed to ensure ballot security.



Cooper signs bills addressing drug dealers, financial skills
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislation designed to give North Carolina prosecutors a new tool to convict drug dealers and to require public schools to teach more finance education is now law.
The bills are among a dozen that Gov. Roy Cooper said on Monday he’s signed into law.
One bill makes it a felony to illegally sell drugs that result in an overdose death, punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Supporters say the “death by distribution” law will help fight the opioid epidemic, but critics say it will deter people from calling 911 during an overdose.
Another new law requires high school students to pass a personal finance and economics class to graduate. Some teachers worry this will detract from other instruction, but supporters believe financial literacy is critical to real-world success.



Lawsuit: NC prison leaders ignored problems before slaying
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina lawyers have two weeks to argue that the state’s prison system and a half-dozen managers aren’t responsible for a prison guard’s fatal beating her father blamed on unaddressed problems including chronic understaffing and insufficient training.
Slain Bertie Correctional Institution Sgt. Meggan Callahan’s father accuses the state Department of Public Safety and its administrators in a federal lawsuit of inattention to troubles that meant none of the four other guards who should have responded to a fire helped her.
State prisons spokesmen didn’t comment Monday ahead of the expected filings by state attorneys about the lawsuit filed earlier this year.
The lawsuit contends prison officials didn’t respond after convicted killer Craig Wissink said he needed psychological help to combat homicidal thoughts before he allegedly killed Callahan in 2017.



Ride-sharing bill a little lighter while advancing in Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – House legislation creating new rules for North Carolina drivers of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft has been trimmed a little as it goes through the Senate.
The bill approved Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee still would require drivers to display license tag numbers at the front of their vehicles. Starting next year, a driver’s company logo also would have to be seen clearly day and night. There are new crimes for impersonating a driver.
The measure now heading to another Senate committee responds to the death of a university student in South Carolina who police say got into the car of an Uber driver impersonator.
An amendment approved Monday deleted a special commission to study other ride-sharing issues and $500,000 to help universities with ride-sharing education campaigns.



AP-WF-07-09-19 1020GMT