AP-NC Newswatch

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September 18, 2019
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September 18, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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

The Latest: Pelosi swears in 2 North Carolina congressmen
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sworn in two Republicans who won special elections in North Carolina last week.
One is conservative Dan Bishop. As a state legislator, he wrote North Carolina’s 2016 law restricting which public bathrooms transgender people may use. It was later repealed.
Bishop won a district that stretches eastward from Charlotte by 2 percentage points. Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points in the 2016 presidential election.
Bishop did poorly among suburban voters but well with rural residents. That continued a trend that could wound the GOP as it tries retaining the White House and strengthening their numbers in Congress in 2020.
Also sworn in was Republican Greg Murphy. The physician and state legislator was easily elected in a strongly GOP coastal district.


Medicaid expansion in NC getting revived in House committee
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina House Republicans are taking another crack at advancing a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults.
The House Health Committee scheduled Wednesday debate on legislation that it heard and approved in July, but has been idled during the state budget impasse.
House Speaker Tim Moore said last week that his chamber would consider it again now that the chamber overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto.
The proposal sets recipient work requirements and premiums. Bill sponsor Rep. Donny Lambeth said several amendments would be heard Wednesday.
Even if the full House approves an expansion proposal, Senate Republicans have expressed strong opposition to the idea. Cooper and other Democrats back expansion, and he vetoed the budget in part because it lacked expansion.


US Marine accused of distributing LSD to service members
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A U.S. Marine Corps member and a woman are accused of distributing LSD to active military members and civilians in North Carolina.
News outlets report 23-year-old Andrew Christian Gray was arrested Sunday at Camp Lejeune on charges including felony trafficking in LSD by manufacture. Nineteen-year-old Allison Alexia Seely was arrested on similar charges at her home in Jacksonville.
It’s unclear how or if Seely and Gray are connected. An Onslow County sheriff’s statement says they were arrested as part of a joint investigation with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Seely and Gray were being held at the Onslow County Detention Center and set to appear in court this week. It’s unclear if they have lawyers who can comment.


North Carolina legislative remap complete; court review next
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The General Assembly has completed redrawing dozens of North Carolina legislative districts that a court declared were drawn with extreme partisan bias favoring Republicans.
The House voted for the Senate remap on Tuesday, hours after the Senate approved the House proposal. The chambers already approved their own replacement maps.
A three-judge panel ruled two weeks ago the 2017 districts drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature violated the state constitution and ordered fixes by Wednesday.
Redistricting plans aren’t subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, but the judges will now review the plans with the help of an outside expert. The judges could sign off on the plans as they are or redraw some or all of the altered districts.
The final districts would be used in the 2020 elections.


Confidentiality on late NC mapmaker’s files extended further
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina judges are extending further an order keeping confidential a massive number of electronic documents from a late Republican mapmaker that were subpoenaed by plaintiffs in a redistricting lawsuit.
The three-judge panel had already delayed the expiration of its order directing parties in the litigation not to disclose files from Thomas Hofeller by one week until late Tuesday. But earlier Tuesday the judges extended that order until late Sept. 27.
Hofeller’s consulting firm had wanted time to review the files and designate those it wanted to stay private. But the plaintiffs wrote last week the firm’s demands were too extensive and should be rejected.
Democratic U.S. senators and media outlets such as The Associated Press and The New York Times also have asked the judges to release more documents.


NC Sen. Tillis highlights Trump in first re-election bid ad
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis’ first ad for his re-election campaign emphasizes an endorsement from President Donald Trump and immigration-related legislation that he has filed.
The Republican incumbent’s campaign unveiled on Tuesday the television commercial airing statewide that includes footage from a Trump rally in which he calls Tillis “a warrior.”
Trump also mentions legislation that Tillis introduced that in part would allow crime victims to sue localities whose law enforcement agency won’t accept federal immigration detainers. Several North Carolina sheriffs have stopped formally cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The first-term senator’s campaign announced last week it has already scheduled over $2 million in advertising through the March 3 primary. Retired investment company firm executive Garland Tucker is already mounting a challenge for the GOP nomination.


The Latest: Jerry, Lorena, Mario to become hurricanes
MIAMI (AP) – Tropical Storm Jerry has become the 10th named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It’s still far from land, but it’s gaining intensity and forward speed on a path to approach the Leeward Islands as a hurricane on Thursday night or Friday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Imelda is now a tropical depression, dumping 6 to 10 inches of rain on west Texas.
Other storms are roiling the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. Kiko has stopped weakening but is headed away from land. Lorena is a little stronger, and Mario is strengthening as well. Both Lorena and Mario are expected to become hurricanes by Friday as they approach the Mexican coast.


Former group-home worker charged with multiple sex offenses
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have filed multiple charges against a former group home worker accused in a series of sexual assaults.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports 51-year-old Richard Vernell Heath is already jailed on several charges, including statutory sex offense and two counts of indecent liberties with a minor. Those charges involve two boys from a group home in Greensboro.
Court records show Guilford County sheriff’s deputies added the charge of first-degree sexual offense with a child against Heath on Tuesday, stemming from alleged assaults in the 1980s.
Heath was arrested early Tuesday.
Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Thompson says deputies are also looking into allegations against Heath that involve a 37-year-old woman dating back to the late 1990s. The woman now lives out of state.


AP-WF-09-18-19 1021GMT