Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina lawmakers agree to pitch ID mandate to voters
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers are asking the public for a fresh mandate to block voting by people without certain kinds of photo identification.
With a Senate vote on Friday, the GOP-controlled legislature finalized a proposed constitutional amendment that would require photo IDs.
Two years have passed since federal judges struck down state voting requirements as targeting “African Americans with almost surgical precision,” enacted with “racially discriminatory intent.”
The language of the referendum question voters will face in November doesn’t provide many details. The amendment says lawmakers could pass exceptions for people who lack IDs. Lawmakers would have to pass a separate law carrying out the amendment if it’s approved.
Voter ID referendum last piece of work for General Assembly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators will end their chief work session this year while likely finalizing a proposal for citizens to decide whether the state constitution should require photo identification to vote.
The General Assembly scheduled one last work day Friday for a session that began six weeks ago. Republican lawmakers have passed budget adjustments, overrode several of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes and put five constitutional amendments on the ballot.
A sixth amendment is expected with one more Senate vote Friday morning backing the photo ID referendum. Senators gave their initial OK on Thursday.
Lawmakers next plan to reconvene in late November, three weeks after big elections to decide whether Democrats end the GOP’s veto-proof majorities. Republicans could use that session to implement any amendments that voters approve.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING CHARGES
2 in North Carolina charged with human trafficking, assault
DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) – Two people in North Carolina arrested on an assault charge have now been charged with human trafficking.
News outlets reported that Davidson police and the Homeland Security Department started an investigation this week at a nail salon.
Thirty-four-year-old Tein Luong and 36-year-old Nip Mihn Tsi have been charged with felony assault after a 49-year-old woman said she was attacked.
Luong and Mihn were charged Thursday with human trafficking, involuntary servitude, and conspiracy. They are being held in the Mecklenburg County jail in Charlotte. There was no attorney listed for them.
Davidson police say the investigation is still “highly sensitive” and have released no other information.
COASTAL FISHING-NORTH CAROLINA
Coastal fishing down in North Carolina last year
WASHINGTON, N.C. (AP) – There were fewer fishing trips and fewer fish caught along the North Carolina coast last year.
Information from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries shows those engaged in recreational fishing made about 4.5 million trips last year. That included shoreline or pier fishing, charter boats, private boats or in man-made ponds near the coast.
The agency says that’s down from 5.4 million fishing trips in 2016. Officials say Hurricanes Jose and Maria were part of the reason for last year’s decline.
The number of fish caught was also down in 2017. The number of fish caught dropped from 8.6 million in 2016 to 5.5 million last year.
Carolina Beach charter captain Charlie Schoonmaker said he thinks much of the decline was because of a lack of fish.
In turnaround, Republicans revive Saturday for early voting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina General Assembly Republicans have changed their minds and restored temporarily a popular day for early in-person voting eliminated in another measure that became law this week.
The Senate and House late Thursday passed legislation to allow the early voting period to continue until the Saturday before Election Day for this year only.
GOP leaders recently passed a law that shifted the starting and ending dates for the period so that it would end the Friday before the election. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the measure, saying it would make it harder to vote. Republican overrode that veto.
Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County said leaders responded to concerns about the importance of that Saturday’s voting. The turnaround measure was approved overwhelmingly and goes to Cooper’s desk.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Voter ID referendum close to final passage
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposed photo identification mandate to vote at the polls has received initial approval in the state Senate and is now just one vote away from being submitted to North Carolina voters in November.
The Senate voted 33-14 on Thursday for a referendum to amend the state constitution. A final vote is expected Friday, which is supposed to be the last day of this year’s work session. The House already approved the proposal earlier this week.
More than 30 states require some form of identification to vote, but only Mississippi and Missouri have constitutional provisions addressing photo ID. Arkansas will have a similar amendment on ballots this fall.
North Carolina legislators passed a photo ID requirement in a conventional law in 2013, but a federal appeals court struck down it and other elections provisions contained within.
More Cooper nominees for judgeship, education board rejected
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Four of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominees to state positions now have been rejected by the North Carolina legislature, including two choices to the State Board of Education he announced over a year ago.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly voted Thursday in a joint session against the confirmation of Sandra Byrd of Asheville and J.B. Buxton of Raleigh for the education board. A third choice was reappointed to an eight-year term.
Earlier Thursday, the state House voted against the confirmation of Bryan Beatty as a special Superior Court judge and Robert Harris to the state Industrial Commission.
Beatty is a former State Bureau of Investigation director and public safety secretary under Democratic governors. He recently wrapped up nearly a decade on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
2 more Cooper vetoes overridden by General Assembly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two more vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of bills addressing judicial election districts and insurance have been overridden by the North Carolina legislature.
The Senate completed the overrides Thursday with majorities above the required threshold. The House voted to enact those bills over Cooper’s objections Wednesday.
One new law changes election districts for trial court judges or district attorneys in over a dozen counties. The decision means at least two judicial candidates would have to refile before judicial candidate filing ends Friday. Cooper’s veto message on the insurance bill focused on a provision related to the forfeiture of bail bonds.
The Republican-controlled legislature has now overridden five of Cooper’s seven vetoes he issued Monday. One outstanding measure duplicates the bail bonds provision. The other involves public retirement systems.