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AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina News:



Pipeline hack sends people scrambling for fuel in the South
CLEMMONS, N.C. (AP) – The cybersecurity attack on the Colonial Pipeline has stricken fear and stress into the lives of people in the Southeastern U.S. who have been waiting in long lines amid distribution problems and panic-buying. The company said it initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday. But it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal. The situation forced some people to face the prospect of lost wages and missed doctors appointments. Restaurants and bars may be particularly squeezed since some workers may not be able to come to work and some customers may abandon plans to eat out.



North Carolina lawmakers dash toward key bill deadline
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature has plowed through dozens of bills on the way toward meeting its traditional parliamentary deadline that attempts to whittle down the proposals that could become law during the next two years. House and Senate members held floor sessions on Wednesday to vote on more than 45 bills on the eve of the “crossover deadline.” Bills unrelated to state spending or taxes, elections or amending the state constitution that don’t pass at least one chamber by Thursday are considered dead through 2022. The chambers debated and passed bills addressing child marriage, criminal justice reform and race-based curriculum in K-12 schools.



NC criminal justice reform bill gets unanimous OK in Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A broad criminal justice measure that addresses officers who participate in misconduct, provides mental health aid to law enforcement and raises some criminal penalties has received unanimous approval by the North Carolina Senate. The measure approved on Wednesday is largely written by Republicans but reflects input from Democrats and an array of outside groups and law enforcement organizations. The bill now goes to the House, where legislators have approved their own police reforms, The bill also makes changes to the police body camera laws in light of the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City last month.



North Carolina House approves bill to limit teaching of race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina House members voted on Wednesday to curb the teaching of “critical race theory.” The framework examines how race and racism influence American politics, culture and law. Republicans in North Carolina quickly approved the bill ahead of a looming deadline. Their action follows a trend of other GOP-led states across the country seeking to limit how students are taught to think about race and racism. Democrats accuse GOP leaders of trying to rewrite history. Republicans say the measure is intended to ensure people are treated equitably and has nothing to do with banning history from being taught.



NC’s minimum marriage age rises to 16 in bill OK’d by Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The state Senate has given unanimous approval to legislation raising the minimum age to get married in North Carolina from 14 to 16. Sponsors of the measure approved Wednesday say it reflects a compromise from the original bill, which would have raised the minimum age to 18. Some senators were unhappy with that measure or a later version that would have still allowed 14-year-olds to marry. The bill now headed to the House would still require 16- and 17-year-olds to get either written parental consent or a judge’s order to marry. The young person’s spouse could be no more than four years older.



Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack
CLEMMONS, N.C. (AP) – The nation’s largest fuel pipeline restarted operations, days after it was forced to shut down by a gang of hackers. The disruption caused long lines at gas stations in the Southeast due to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations. Colonial Pipeline said all lines, including those lateral lines that have been running manually, will return to normal operations. But it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal. In the meantime, drivers have been finding gas stations with little or no gas in some Southeast states.



US Interior secretary approves Cherokee Nation Constitution
The U.S. secretary of the interior has approved a new constitution for the Cherokee Nation that ensures citizenship for descendants of its Freedmen, the Black people once enslaved by tribal citizens. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the approval in a Wednesday statement. The issue of tribal citizenship for Freedmen has long been the subject of litigation for the Five Tribes: the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations. The Cherokee Nation is the only one of the five that has granted its Freedmen full citizenship. In her statement, Haaland encouraged the other tribes to do likewise.



2 charged after gas station line fight amid panic-buying
KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say two people are charged with assault after a fight in a line at a North Carolina gas station as a fuel pipeline shutdown sparks panic-buying.Knightdale officials said in a statement that town police officers were called to a Marathon gas station Tuesday for a report of a crash and a disturbance related to two people fighting over spots in the line.Police say the man and woman argued over spots in the line and each spat in the other’s face before the fight turned physical and a cellphone was damaged.The woman was charged with simple assault and the man was charged with assault on a female and damage to personal property.