Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
REDISTRICTING-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Judges uphold changes to state legislative maps
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state judges who rejected state legislative district maps over what they called GOP-slanted bias have upheld all the remapping that they ordered Republicans to perform. They rejected an appeal from groups that weren’t satisfied with the changes.
A three-judge panel declined Monday to agree to the demands of Common Cause, the state Democratic Party and Democratic voters for a third-party expert to take over redrawing about 20 state House districts.
The decision means that barring an appeal the nearly 80 legislative districts the judges told lawmakers last month to redraw will be used in the 2020 elections.
The Democrats and Common Cause successfully sued Republicans in their partisan gerrymandering lawsuit, prompting the remapping. But the judges disagreed with the plaintiffs’ complaints that the judges’ redrawing recipe wasn’t followed.
NC House: In-state for athletic scholarship students OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Restoration of an old state law allowing University of North Carolina system campuses to treat out-of-state students with full athletic scholarships like in-state students has cleared one legislative chamber.
The House voted 88-19 on Monday night for the measure to repeal a 2010 state law that prevented the in-state tuition designation, which would generally benefit athletic booster clubs that cover the scholarships. In-state tuition is subsidized by the state.
But critics say somebody – namely taxpayers – would have to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, an amount that could reach millions of dollars a year annually.
Bill supporters say it’s a matter of fairness, since out-of-state students who receive full academic scholarships are already treated as in-state students.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
HURRICANE DISASTER CENTERS
N Carolina Dorian disaster recovery centers close Wednesday
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Time is running out for North Carolina victims of Hurricane Dorian to get help at one of the four disaster recovery centers.
Centers are open through Wednesday in Beaufort, Buxton, Wilmington and on Ocracoke Island. Residents can talk with state and federal officials about loans and grants to help repair and replace storm-damaged property.
The U.S. Small Business Administration declared a disaster in Carteret, Dare, Hyde and New Hanover counties. Residents of Beaufort, Brunswick, Craven, Currituck, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Tyrrell and Washington also may apply for money.
Residents can apply at the centers for low-interest SBA disaster loans or may apply online. Those who don’t qualify for an SBA loan may be eligible for a state-funded grant.
The centers are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
More than 200 arrested in North Carolina drug, gun crackdown
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Agents with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement say more than 200 people have been arrested for alcohol, drug and firearm charges in a statewide crackdown.
The Department of Public Safety says in a news release on Monday that of the 399 charges filed from last weekend’s operation, 31 were felony charges, 136 were alcoholic beverage-related and 109 were drug-related. Across the state, special agents removed three impaired drivers from roadways, seized various types of controlled substances and 11 firearms, one of which was stolen.
In Asheville, special agents stopped a vehicle leaving an Alcoholic Beverage Control-licensed outlet and seized a handgun, ammunition, marijuana, THC vape pen cartridges and oxycodone from the driver.
Special agents will submit violation reports to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for violations at 14 ABC-permitted businesses.
BIKE-DUMP TRUCK CRASH
North Carolina cyclist dies in crash with dump truck
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a bicyclist has died after being hit by a dump truck.
Winston-Salem police said in a statement obtained by news outlets that they discovered 42-year-old Jamey Thornton dead next to his bicycle early Monday morning.
Investigators said Thornton had been riding his bike when he was sideswiped by a 2001 Mack dump truck. The driver of the truck was identified as 57-year-old John Hardy.
Winston-Salem Police’s Traffic Enforcement Unit is investigating.
No additional details have been released.
Great Smoky Mountains park to allow electronic bikes
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park says it is allowing electronic bicycles everywhere regular bicycles are currently allowed.
According to the park, a new regulation allows cyclists to use low speed e-bikes in Class 1 or Class 2. Those provide electronic assistance until the rider reaches 20 miles per hour.
Thanks to the change, bicycles and e-bikes are now allowed on any park road where motor vehicles are allowed, including seasonally closed roads and several trails.
The park news release says e-bikes will enable more people to enjoy a cycling experience in the park.
North Carolina bill OK’d in Senate sets smokable hemp ban
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s annual agriculture measure is nearing final legislative approval after being delayed for months by a debate over the future of smokable hemp.
The Senate voted 40-10 on Monday for a compromise to the 2019 Farm Act. Much of it describes the regulatory framework to expand the industrial and medicinal hemp industry. The House delayed its scheduled Monday vote.
The measure declares possession of smokable hemp illegal starting next June 1. Smokable hemp lacks the concentration of the compound that gives marijuana its high. Licensed hemp farmers could continue producing it for out-of-state sales.
Law enforcement wants the ban because smokable hemp looks and smells like pot, making it difficult to differentiate. The bill says a ban could be repealed if tests to distinguish them get more reliable.
OBIT-KAY HAGAN-THE LATEST
The Latest: Obama says Hagan was ‘terrific public servant’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Former President Barack Obama says former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan was “a terrific public servant” who worked to find common ground.
Hagan died Monday morning at her home in Greensboro after a prolonged illness. She was 66.
Obama said in a statement that he appreciated Hagan’s “reasoned, pragmatic voice” on issues such the Affordable Care Act, reforming Wall Street and supporting working families.
Hagan was a North Carolina Democrat who was elected in elected in 2008 and served one term before being defeated by Republican Thom Tillis in 2014. In 2016, Hagan contracted a tickborne illness that caused brain inflammation which made it difficult for her to speak and walk.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is remembering Kay Hagan as a “champion for North Carolina.”
Biden says he saw Hagan on Sunday when he visited Durham during his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Hagan died Monday morning at her home in Greensboro.
Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered all U.S. and North Carolina flags at state buildings, facilities and grounds to be lowered to half-staff through sunset on Tuesday.
Cooper says he had known Hagan since both were state legislators. He described her as someone who wanted to inspire young people to enter public service.
The family of former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says in a statement that she fought passionately for the people of North Carolina. She was 66.
A family spokeswoman says Hagan died Monday died at her home in Greensboro. Spokeswoman Sadie Weiner says Hagan died of encephalitis, or brain inflammation, caused by Powassan virus. That’s a rare virus spread from ticks to humans.
Hagan was a North Carolina Democrat elected in 2008 who served one term before being defeated by Republican Thom Tillis in 2014.
During her time on Capitol Hill, she was a champion of the Affordable Care Act as well as efforts to release documents pertaining to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.