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VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina to test all prison inmates, staff members
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has announced plans to test all state prison inmates for COVID-19 over the next two months. The move to do so comes after a court ordered the state to come up with a plan to offer a coronavirus test to its entire prison population. Officials say the testing will cost an estimated $3.3 million and take at least 60 days. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said all staff members also be tested. Statewide, numbers released Thursday from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services showed 1,333 new cases of coronavirus and a third straight day of record-high hospitalizations at 857.
Bill to reopen N.C. bowling alleys, rinks head to Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have sent another bill to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper designed to overturn parts of his executive order for COVID-19 that’s kept several types of retail businesses shuttered for months. The General Assembly finalized a measure to let bowling alleys and ice and roller rinks to reopen at a reduced capacity. Cooper has already vetoed one measure that sought to reopen bars by letting them serve patrons outdoors. Another bill already on his desk would benefit gyms in addition to bars. Cooper has said he’ll announce next week whether he’ll ease further commerce limits when his current order expires June 26.
Board member: Hans to become next UNC system president
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s community college system president will become the next head of the University of North Carolina’s 17-campus system. A UNC Board of Governors member said on Thursday that Peter Hans will be introduced on Friday as the UNC system president. A search committee was formed last year to determine a permanent successor to Margaret Spellings, who left in early 2019. Interim president Bill Roper is set to leave the temporary job at the end of this month. Hans is no stranger to UNC system administration, previously serving on the Board of Governors and as its chairman from 2012 to 2014.
N.C. House revises, OKs education, road bond referendum
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina House has given tentative approval to let voters decide whether the state should borrow $3.1 billion for public school, higher education and road construction. The legislation getting overwhelming House support on Thursday would put the debt package question on the November statewide ballot. The bill likely will go to the Senate next week, where Republicans remain skeptical about incurring more debt. GOP leaders at the General Assembly hope to adjourn its annual session by next weekend. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has supported the idea of a statewide bond package. Voters approved a statewide bond package in 2016.
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.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MASK REQUIREMENT
Raleigh issues emergency order requiring face coverings
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s capital city is set to require people wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin’s emergency proclamation takes effect Friday. It mandates face coverings over the mouth and nose when people come in contact with those who are not members of their household in both public and private spaces where it is not possible to stay at least six feet apart. All restaurant, personal care and retail employees must wear the coverings while on duty. Violators won’t be penalized, but law enforcement officers are being asked to encourage voluntary compliance.
AP-NC-PROTEST FIRES-CHARGES FILED
Feds charge man with setting fires during Raleigh protests
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal authorities say that a North Carolina man is facing charges related to setting fires in two businesses in downtown Raleigh during protests against racism and police brutality. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrested Richard Rubalcava on Thursday. The 26-year-old is charged with two counts of malicious damage by means of fire. The city’s downtown was severely damaged during protests in late May. Many businesses were spray painted and had broken windows. The damage was estimated in the millions. Local police had already charged Rubalcava with first-degree arson and related counts. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney.
Salisbury approves measure to move Confederate monument
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina city of Salisbury has approved a measure that would remove an 111-year-old Confederate monument there. The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday that statue depicts a Greek goddess holding a dying Confederate soldier. Demonstrations have sprung up across the country against such monuments following the death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis. Salisbury’s police chief has deemed the monument to be a public safety threat following heated protests. The city approved an agreement Tuesday that would move the statue to a cemetery. The United Daughters of the Confederacy owns the monument. It has 10 days to sign the agreement with the city.