Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Remap ruling keeps North Carolina’s current lines intact
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on North Carolina redistricting leaves intact General Assembly boundaries for this fall’s elections.
The justices ruled 8-1 on Thursday it was proper for a lower-court panel of federal judges to determine that four state House and Senate districts drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2017 still were illegal racial gerrymanders. The panel ultimately redrew the boundaries in and around those districts.
But the Supreme Court decided the panel went too far ruling changes in and around Raleigh and Charlotte violated the state constitution’s prohibition on mid-decade redistricting. The justices already had temporarily blocked the altered districts from use while it considered the case.
Thursday’s order means districts used in the May primaries do not have to be changed, and no special elections are required.
SUPREME COURT-LEGISLATIVE PRAYER
Supreme Court won’t take North Carolina county prayer case
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision that barred a North Carolina county from opening its meetings with Christian prayers.
The Supreme Court declined Thursday to take a case involving the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
The board was sued in 2013 over its practice of opening meetings with a prayer led by a commissioner.
The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond ruled against the county in 2017. It said the commissioners’ practice of leading the prayers themselves and inviting the audience to join, always in the Christian faith, violated the First Amendment by establishing Christianity as a preferred religion. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take the case leaves that decision in place.
Justice Clarence Thomas said he’d have taken the case.
North Carolina man gets up to 5 years in speeding death
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been sentenced to up to five years in prison after pleading guilty in the death of a woman who let him drive her car and speed through a neighborhood at 72 mph (115 kph) before crashing.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports 22-year-old Taylor Daryl Roberts pleaded guilty in Forsyth County Court on Wednesday to felony death by motor vehicle.
Prosecutors say on July 9 Roberts begged 19-year-old Kayla Michelle King to let him drive her sports car. She consented and police say he drove through a neighborhood with a 25 mph (40 kph) speed limit and hit a utility pole and several trees.
King died from her injuries several days later.
Roberts was sentenced to between three years and five years in prison.
Voter ID referendum debate resumes in General Assembly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature is resuming efforts to give voters the chance to decide this fall whether in the future they should be required to show photo identification before casting a ballot.
A Senate committee scheduled a debate Thursday on a proposed change to the North Carolina Constitution requiring photo ID. The House already decided earlier this week it wants to put the referendum on statewide ballots in November.
Republicans in charge of the General Assembly already have agreed to three other constitutional amendments addressing hunting and fishing, crime victims’ rights and the composition of the state elections board. The House also could wrap up debate Thursday on a question about a new method for filling judicial vacancies.
Lawmakers want to adjourn their annual work session by Friday.
The Latest: N Carolina lawmakers overrides another veto
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has completed the override of another veto issued earlier this week by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The Senate voted late Wednesday to make the legislature’s annual “regulatory reform” measure state law despite Cooper’s formal objections. The House voted the same way several hours before. That’s the third override on seven bills vetoed Monday by Cooper.
Earlier Wednesday, overrides were completed on bills altering early in-person voting and making it harder for neighbors of big livestock operations to file complaints about smells and other nuisances. Cooper vetoed the regulatory measure because he says it could end pollution protections at the coast.
CANDIDATE WEBSITE-RACIST GOD
North Carolina GOP ends nominee’s support over racist posts
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Republican Party has withdrawn support from a legislative nominee after a website connected to him said God is a racist white supremacist and Jews are descended from Satan.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the party announced Tuesday it will not support Russell Walker, GOP nominee for state House District 48. State chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement the party would support local candidates who better reflect party values.
The website, for which Walker writes, says, “What is wrong with being a white supremacist? God is a racist and a white supremacist.” It also says, “The Jews are not Semitic they are Satanic as they all descend from Satan.”
Walker won with 65 percent in the May primary. He faces incumbent Democrat Garland Pierce.
Man gets $9m bond for trafficking nearly 22 pounds of heroin
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a man arrested on drug charges hid nearly 22 pounds of heroin inside two car batteries.
Greenville police told news outlets that officers arrested 41-year-old Ury Espinoza Bucio during a traffic stop west of the city just before midnight Tuesday.
Police spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said officers who made the traffic stop found 11 pounds of heroin inside the car battery. An investigation which included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led to a search of Bucio’s home in Raleigh, where they found an additional 11 pounds of heroin inside another car battery.
According to arrest warrants, Bucio conspired with someone in Mexico to traffic the drugs. He was assigned an attorney by the court during a hearing Wednesday and is scheduled for another court date in July.
Judges seek briefs after N Carolina remapping case returned
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A federal judicial panel is seeking input from lawyers in a North Carolina redistricting case that the U.S. Supreme Court decided needs more work.
The judges ruled in January the state’s congressional boundaries were illegal partisan gerrymanders. The ruling was appealed. The Supreme Court on Monday vacated that ruling and told the judges to examine the matter in light of another recent decision. The justices found Wisconsin voters who sued over legislative boundaries had not proven they have the right to bring their case in court.
On Wednesday, the three judges asked attorneys for advocacy groups, Democratic voters and Republican legislative leaders to file any legal briefs by July 11. They want thoughts on whether the North Carolina plaintiffs had legal standing to sue, or if more fact-finding is needed.