Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina absentee ballot rule changes get final OKs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have finalized changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in response to a state investigation of a congressional race last year that led to a new election.
A compromise bill given unanimous approval on Tuesday by the state Senate also would restore permanently early in-person voting on the last Saturday before state elections. The House followed later with near unanimous backing of the bill, which now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
Much of the legislation attempts to combat illegal ballot “harvesting.” Evidence of the practice surfaced in the 2018 campaign for the 9th Congressional District seat. A political operative and others working with the Republican candidate already face criminal charges.
The measure increases criminal penalties for people who attempt to sell or destroy others’ completed absentee ballots.
DUKE ENERGY-GRID COSTS
Multiyear rate option sought by Duke Energy in NC scuttled
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislative allies of the nation’s largest electricity company have given up this year on a proposal to let Duke Energy and other utilities seek multiyear rates from North Carolina state regulators.
House and Senate members who fashioned the negotiated bill weeks ago withdrew it on Tuesday, replacing it with a measure omitting the option for utilities to seek a key component of electricity rates for up to three years. What’s left is a provision to let utilities use bonds to pay for storm recovery costs.
A bipartisan Senate coalition had voted for the previous negotiated bill, but the House was divided on the multiyear rate option. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had signaled he would veto that bill.
The House unanimously approved the scaled-back measure on Tuesday. The Senate votes Wednesday.
2 dead, 7 injured in string of shootings over 1 day in NC
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police in Durham, North Carolina, say a spate of gun violence has left two people dead and seven others injured in less than 24 hours.
The News & Observer reports the string of shootings began Monday when 24-year-old Kerry Graham Jr. was shot in the chest and killed at a bus stop in a drive-by. Four others were wounded between that and another drive-by shooting just minutes later.
Police said they responded to another shooting Tuesday afternoon and pronounced an unidentified man dead.
That evening, police responded to the fourth shooting near a shopping mall, where witnesses say shots were fired from a car. Three people were hospitalized, including two men with gunshot wounds and one woman injured by debris.
No arrests have been made in any of the shootings.
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.
ELECTION 2020-NORTH CAROLINA-WARREN
Warren to hold first North Carolina campaign event next week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is holding her first campaign event in North Carolina next week.
The campaign announced on Tuesday that the Massachusetts senator will hold a town hall-style meeting the evening of Nov. 7 at Raleigh’s Broughton High School.
A campaign spokesman also said more events would be announced soon for Warren in North Carolina, where Republican Donald Trump won the state’s electoral votes by 4 percentage points in 2016.
North Carolina’s primary is one of many scheduled for March 3 and is just three days after the key Democratic primary in South Carolina.
Warren primary rival Joe Biden held a campaign event last weekend in Durham.
Funeral set for former US Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A service to remember former North Carolina U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan will be held this weekend in the city where she lived for decades.
Hagan family spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said Tuesday that Hagan’s funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Greensboro. The church service is open to the public and will be followed by a visitation with the family.
Hagan died Monday at age 66, about three years after she contracted a rare virus spread from ticks to humans, leading to brain inflammation that made it difficult for her to speak and walk.
The Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate in a 2008 after a 10-year state legislative career. Hagan served one term before losing to Republican Thom Tillis in 2014.
OFFICER’S CHILD IN CAR
Officer accused of leaving child locked in car outside bar
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina authorities are conducting an internal investigation into a police lieutenant accused of leaving his 8-year-old daughter in a car while he was inside a bar.
News outlets report Wilmington Police Lt. Matthew Malone is under investigation after a 911 caller told authorities a child was locked inside a car asking for help.
New Hanover County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer says the child was naked and wrapped in a blanket, while Malone and his wife were inside the bar. The parents told deputies the child’s clothes got wet, so they took her to the car, removed her clothes, wrapped her in a blanket and returned to the bar.
Brewer says officials determined the incident didn’t violate any laws.
Police spokeswoman Linda Thompson declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.
HURRICANE DISASTER CENTERS
N Carolina Dorian disaster recovery centers close Thursday
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.
North Carolina emergency management spokesman Keith Acree said centers are open through Thursday 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.
This story has been corrected to reflect that recovery centers are open through Thursday.