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May 5, 2021
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May 5, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina News:



NC police reform package approved by Senate committee
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A state Senate committee has advanced a criminal justice reform package focused on targeting insubordinate and overly aggressive officers while giving more mental health assistance to police and deputies. The measure approved Tuesday attempts to pinpoint misbehaving officers and prevent misconduct from others that could result in injury or death. The bill contains a few proposals from a task force created by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to address racial inequities in the state’s justice system. But most will be left out. Legislative Democrats held a news conference earlier Tuesday promoting their criminal justice bills and urged Republicans to embrace them.



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.



Flood threats persist as storms continue to drench South
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Relentless wind and rain have pummeled large swaths of the South, spawning tornadoes, sparking a flash flood emergency in Alabama and damaging homes from Texas to Virginia. Crews are preparing to continue cleaning up debris and assessing destruction across the region as some schools canceled classes or moved them online due to damage at buildings and surrounding areas. The National Weather Service’s prediction center warned Wednesday morning that flash flooding could also now affect the Central Gulf Coast as storms move southeast. Rain continues to soak much of the region. So far, three deaths have been reported.



NC Senate eases caps on income, grants for K-12 scholarships
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Qualifying income levels and maximum grants would rise for North Carolina’s publicly funded scholarship program for K-12 students to attend private schools under a measure approved áby the state Senate. The legislation was approved Tuesday on a nearly party-line vote. It favors Republicans attempts to build on the Opportunity Scholarship Program started several years ago by the GOP. The measure also would combine the state’s two scholarship programs for children with disabilities. The House already approved a somewhat similar measure. Any final measure approved would go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is a longtime opponent of education vouchers.



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.



Deputy shooting becomes part of city’s long history on race
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – The fatal shooting of a Black man by sheriff’s deputies has sent shock waves through North Carolina’s Elizabeth City. The majority Black city in the state’s rural northeastern corner holds an important place in African American history in the 19th and 20th centuries. But some residents say it seemed too close-knit and too out-of-the-way to become a flashpoint in the 21st. Andrew Brown Jr., was shot by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies serving warrants at his house on April 21. An independent autopsy commissioned by his family said Brown was behind the wheel of his car when he was shot in the back of the head. The killing has sparked protests and calls for police body camera footage to be released.



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.