Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MILITARY DEPLOYMENT
As soldiers deploy amid pandemic, they fight 2 battles
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – For Fort Bragg soldiers deploying to the Middle East, the usual predeparture fanfare has been replaced with a mandatory two-week quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. Married paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team are hunkering down at home before boarding a military transport to fly across the globe. Single soldiers, meanwhile, are quarantined in a secluded compound on base. The Department of Defense has been forced to adapt quickly to comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, while still maintaining a constant state of readiness.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
N.C. lawmakers push reopen bills, virus liability protection
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators have advanced bills to allow more types of businesses shuttered under Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 executive order to reopen and to limit lawsuits by some who’ve contracted the virus. The full House voted Tuesday to overturn Cooper’s orders that have kept bowling alleys and skating rinks closed. The Democratic governor already has vetoed a bill allowing bars to reopen, saying such legislation is not the way to address COVID-19 business activity. Another measure clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee would provide limited immunity to any business, government agency or nonprofit that takes reasonable steps to reduce transmission risks.
Bill helping more clear crime records heads to N.C. governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized bipartisan legislation that will allow more people to get their criminal records cleared of lower-level criminal convictions and dismissed charges. The Senate gave unanimous approval áTuesday to the “Second Chance Act,” which had the backing of groups across the political spectrum. The measure cleared the House last week and now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper. It builds upon recent laws that allow people who committed crimes due to youthful indiscretions to remove obstacles in background checks for employment, housing and other needs. Another drug sentencing reform measure could soon be heading to the governor.
N. Carolina Medicaid bill delays managed care until mid-2021
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Medicaid program wouldn’t shift most of its patients to managed care for another year under a funding measure given tentative approval by the state Senate. The July 2021 start date is contained in a bill that also locates additional expenses during the next fiscal year for Medicaid. The shift from a traditional fee-for-service program to managed care was supposed to begin late last year and early this year, but it got derailed during a legislative showdown between Republican legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The measure given tentative Senate approval on Tuesday also provides a financial disincentive for further managed-care delays.
BC-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOTEL JOBS CUT
700-plus hotel jobs in Charlotte impacted by virus pandemic
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The jobs of more than 700 people who work at hotels in Charlotte, North Carolina, have been impacted because of the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus. The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that the jobs are at several major hotels that include the Westin, Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance Hotel. Marriott International owns those brands. Spokeswoman Casey Kennett said in a statement that the company has seen a significant drop in consumer demand because of travel and social distancing restrictions. She said that the firm has adjusted operations with measures that include staff reductions, implementing temporary leave and terminating some employees.
NC newspaper publisher resigns after apologizing for cartoon
ROXBORO, N.C. (AP) – The editor and publisher of a North Carolina newspaper has resigned after running a syndicated cartoon that has been criticized as racist. The Courier-Times in Roxboro said Tuesday that editor Johnny Whitefield’s resignation is effective immediately and that the cartoon which ran June 11 “does not reflect the views of the Courier-Times.” The cartoon depicts a masked black man grabbing a white woman’s purse. She asks for someone to call 911 but the man says, “Good luck with that lady … we defunded the police.” The same cartoon also prompted resignations at the Washington Missourian, a family-owned newspaper in Missouri.
Statue of newspaper publisher, white supremacist, comes down
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The statue of a former newspaper publisher, U.S. Navy secretary and lifelong white supremacist has been taken down in North Carolina. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Tuesday that the statue of Josephus Daniels was removed from Raleigh’s Nash Square. The monument will be put into storage. The statue came down in the wake of protests that have followed the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Demonstrators have been rallying against police brutality and systemic racism.
Teacher bonus bill penned by Republicans clears N.C. Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina public school teachers would get $350 bonuses and potentially more one-time income in a Republican measure approved by the state Senate. The proposal goes beyond the usual experience-based raises these categories of educators also would receive. The measure approved Monday also encourages Gov. Roy Cooper to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to give out additional $600 bonuses. Cooper’s office said he doesn’t have the power to do that. Democrats tried to offer an amendment to guarantee even larger raises. The bill passed on a mostly party-line vote and heads to the House.