Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LEGISLATIVE COMPLEX
Temperature checks to return at N.C. legislature entrances
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – People trying to enter the two buildings operated by the North Carolina General Assembly will get their temperatures checked again after the COVID-19 protocol was discontinued this week. Senate Democrats complained after the checks by General Assembly police and nurses were discontinued. The legislative complex administrator said no one ever registered a temperature high enough to warrant a medical referral when the checks were performed for several weeks. But Paul Coble says the checks will return next week. Coble says cleaning and safety initiatives and other operating adjustments have resulted in over $1 million in added expenses.
ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISING
Progressive donor group announces $59M vote-by-mail campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) – A network of deep-pocketed progressive donors is launching a $59 million effort to increase the number of racial minorities who vote by mail in November. Many Democrats view the step as crucial to turning out the party’s base during the coronavirus pandemic. The nonprofit arm of the donor network Way to Win is working with philanthropic organizations including the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society to raise the money. The network has already donated $50 million this cycle. But the group says more is needed because the coronavirus has led to a shortage of poll workers, contributed to long lines and forced the closure of some polling sites.
Deviations below minimum sentences get OK by N.C. lawmakers
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized legislation allowing judges to sentence non-violent drug traffickers below mandatory minimum sentence lengths and fines in some situations. The House voted on Wednesday unanimously for the First Step Act. The Senate approved it Tuesday. The First Step Act would give discretion to judges in sentencing if the offender meets specific standards, including the need for drug addiction treatment. It’s one of two criminal justice reform measures that went to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk this week. The other bill would allow more people to get their criminal records cleared of lower-level criminal convictions and dismissed charges.
UNC lifts moratorium on changing building names on campus
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is lifting a moratorium that had been in place since 2015 preventing the school from removing names on campus buildings that may be associated with slaveholders or white supremacy. The university imposed the moratorium after changing the name of Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall to remove the name of William Saunders, a 19th-century board member at the school and also a purported Ku Klux Klan leader. The moratorium was supposed to last until 2031, but the board of trustees voted Wednesday to lift it. The university said Wednesday that trustees will begin reviewing potential guidelines for deciding what names should be removed.
POLICE KILLING-WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Family of man killed by Washington officer files $25M claim
SEATTLE (AP) – The family of a North Carolina man killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Washington state has filed a $28 million wrongful-death claim. The Seattle Times reported the family of 26-year-old Said Joquin filed the claim against the city of Lakewood, its police chief and the officer. The claim alleges Joquin had his hands up May 1 when Officer Mike Wiley approached the vehicle with his gun drawn and shot Joquin three times. Wiley told investigators he believed Joquin was reaching for a handgun on the floor of the vehicle. The city has 60 days to respond.
Bill erodes Cooper’s power to name N.C. transportation board
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly could be heading toward another power struggle with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. A bill approved by two Senate committees on Wednesday would take away Cooper’s ability to appoint the at-large members on the state Board of Transportation, giving it instead to legislative leaders. Cooper currently appoints all voting members. The first two years of Cooper’s gubernatorial term were marked by litigation with the GOP-dominated legislature, which passed several laws eroding his powers. The measure is part of DOT financial oversight measure following an audit that found the agency overspent by hundreds of millions of dollars last year.
One-time bonuses for N.C. teachers head to Cooper’s desk
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature has agreed to offer $350 bonuses to public school teachers this fall and asks Gov. Roy Cooper to spend federal COVID-19 funds to provide even more one-time compensation. The House voted for the measure on Wednesday, and with Senate approval this week the bill now goes to Cooper’s desk. The bill urges Cooper to use federal money to give $600 more to each of these educators. The bonuses are a far cry from sizeable permanent salary increases that Cooper and lawmakers prposed last year but fizzled during a budget stalemate. Cooper could veto the measure.
Flash flooding hits parts of North Carolina, prompts rescues
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Heavy rains caused flash flooding in parts of North Carolina, leading to washed-out roads and bridges and prompting multiple water rescues. Reports indicated that 5 inches of rainfall fell in some parts of the state east of Raleigh. The Nash County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that deputies rescued an elderly couple Wednesday morning after water swept their car off the road. At one point, water filled all but the top six inches of the car. Rescues also occurred in the Rocky Mount area. Flood warnings were scheduled in some areas to last through early Thursday morning.