Latest North Carolina News:
N Carolina GOP advances bill to ban Down syndrome abortions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican lawmakers have advanced a bill to make it illegal for physicians to perform abortions because of the fetus’ race or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Bill sponsors say procedures performed based on race or Down syndrome amount to “discriminatory eugenic abortion.” Abortion rights group oppose the measure and say it will interfere with a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. Under the bill, a physician would be subject to monetary damages if he or she still knowingly performed the procedure. A handful of states have passed similar laws regarding Down syndrome diagnoses and have been caught up in legal battles after their passage.
STORE EVACUATED-ARMED WOMAN
Police seek armed woman accused of threatening store workers
MATTHEWS, N.C.. (AP) – Police are looking for a woman accused of threatening a North Carolina department store’s employees with gun, a dispute that led to the store’s evacuation. The Charlotte Observer reports that no shots were fired and nobody was injured during Monday afternoon’s incident at a Kohl’s store in Matthews. The Matthews Police Department said investigators identified the suspect as a 39-year-old Charlotte woman and described her as a disgruntled customer. However, police didn’t immediately explain how the altercation started. Police obtained warrants for the woman’s arrest on charges including shoplifting and communicating threats.
America’s new normal: A degree hotter than two decades ago
America’s normal temperature is now a degree hotter than just 20 years ago. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tuesday released climate figures showing the nation’s new normal temperature keeps getting hotter. They also show normal is wetter in the eastern and central U.S. while drier in the West. Meteorologists every decade update normal climate numbers for the United States based on 30 years of data. The figures show climate change at work. The U.S. normal annual temperature is now 53.3 degrees Fahrenheit based on data from 1991 to 2020. Normal was 52.3 degrees just 20 years earlier.
Streamlined NC biomass operation permits advance in Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has started moving its annual farm bill. A Senate agriculture committee voted Tuesday for legislation that in part would create a more streamlined permit for turning hog waste into energy. The bill would create five-year “general permits” for animal farm operations that allow the owner to operate a farm digester system that collects natural gas. The pork industry backs the idea, saying it makes sense because these operations are similar wherever the farm is located. Environmental groups and residents from the bill sponsor’s home county spoke against the provisions. General permits wouldn’t require public hearings.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GUN VIOLENCE-AMERICA’S FUTURE
As pandemic ebbs, an old fear is new again: mass shootings
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – After a year of pandemic lockdowns, mass shootings are back – but the guns never went away. As the U.S. inches toward a post-pandemic future, guns are arguably more present in the American psyche and more deeply embedded in discourse than ever before. The past year’s anxiety and loss fueled a rise in gun ownership across political and socioeconomic lines. Dozens of big and midsized cities documented steep increases in gun-related homicides as COVID-19 took its toll. For years, the debate about guns – and the violence they can cause – will hold echoes of our shared pandemic trauma.
North Carolina House ending COVID-19 proxy voting practice
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina House members no longer have the option to cast floor votes remotely. It’s the result of improving conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House returned this week to operating rules in which members must be present in the chamber to cast “ayes” and “noes.” House leaders offered proxy voting last spring and it continued into the first months of this year’s session. The number of members using proxy voting has dwindled as more legislators receive vaccinations. The Senate has never offered proxy voting. Both the House and Senate continue to let members participate in committee meetings through online technology.
MARTIN LUTHER KING MEMORIAL-DEFACED
Man accused of defacing MLK image gets intimidation charge
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina authorities say a white man accused of defacing a memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. has been charged with ethnic intimidation. The Hendersonville police chief says Heath Justus was arrested April 28 after witnesses spotted him drawing on the image at a park. The chief says Justus used a permanent marker to scrawl “anti-Semitic depictions” and other symbols and phrases on the memorial. The president of the Henderson County NAACP branch said she was “alarmed” by the act. If convicted, the misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 120 days in jail. It’s unclear whether Justus has an attorney who can comment for him.