Latest North Carolina News:
NC House gives initial approval to budget bill
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina House has given initial approval to a two-year state government budget. The chamber voted 72-41 late Wednesday for the proposal, which contains several billion dollars in cash for infrastructure spending. Republicans who drew up the plan also praised teacher pay raises and tax cuts contained inside. Senate Republicans who passed a competing budget in June. The House must give one more affirmative vote on Thursday before the two chambers begin negotiating a final budget plan. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has said he wants to participate in the talks with hopes of signing a final agreement into law.
Coronavirus cases close North Carolina courthouse
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina courthouse will remain closed for the rest of the week after a group of people tested positive for the coronavirus and dozens of others quarantine. News outlets report that five employees working onsite at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend and a number of others who reported symptoms are awaiting test results. Dozens more were told to quarantine. The court previously announced a closure for Monday and Tuesday due to the outbreak, but announced an extended closure Tuesday evening. Almost all sessions of superior and district court through Friday have been rescheduled. New jurors summoned for later this week have been excused from jury duty.
SOUTHEASTERN SHARK ATTACKS
Sharks bite 3 on southeast beaches, but numbers aren’t up
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Two separate shark attacks in a one-week span on beaches near Savannah, Georgia are somewhat unusual since the area sees relatively few bites each year, experts. But overall, the number of shark attacks in the U.S. is not on the increase. A lifeguard on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island suffered deep cuts to the chest area but is expected to survive after being bitten Aug. 3. At nearby Tybee Island, Georgia, a well-known surfing instructor was bitten July 27. South Carolina recorded just one unprovoked shark bite last year, and Georgia had none, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.
Elevation Worship, Cece Winans land Dove Award nominations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Elevation Worship, a worship group from North Carolina, and singer-songwriter Brandon Lake are each nominated for seven awards at the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards. Elevation’s lead singer and songwriter Chris Brown also earned nine nominations individually. The annual awards show is scheduled for Oct. 19 in Nashville, Tennessee. Other artists with several nominations include for KING & COUNTRY, CeCe Winans, Ed Cash and Zach Williams.
NC legislators near final OK to raise minimum marriage age
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An effort to raise the minimum age to get married in North Carolina from 14 to 16 is nearing final legislative approval. The House voted unanimously on Wednesday for the measure, which also would require a 16- or 17-year-old to obtain formal legal permission to marry. The spouses of these youths could be no more than four years older than them. The Senate already passed a similar version of the bill in May but it needs to take one more vote before the legislation can go to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. Bill sponsors initially sought to raise the minimum age to 18.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FACE COVERINGS
2 more North Carolina counties initiate face mask mandates
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Two more county governments in North Carolina have announced face covering requirements in indoor spaces, citing the recent stark increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Guilford County and Orange County governments announced countywide indoor face mask mandates starting later this week for everyone, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Asheville also initiated a face mask requirement in its government buildings only starting Wednesday. The orders come as state health officials said North Carolina reported the largest single-day jump in intensive care unit admissions at hospitals since the pandemic began. And the number of people with COVID-19 who are hospitalized neared 2,200 on Monday.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina’s $100 reward offer ignites vaccine interest
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Interest in COVID-19 vaccines has surged in the week since North Carolina’s governor announced that his administration would boost the financial incentive from $25 to $100 for unvaccinated residents who come in for their first shot this month. State health officials are hopeful that more people will choose to get vaccinated now that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has decided to heed President Joe Biden’s advice to give out $100 rewards. Drivers who take people in for their first shot remain eligible for one $25 prepaid credit card. More North Carolinians got the vaccine last week than in any given week since the week of May 24.
Court order splits House over N. Carolina education spending
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – House Republicans are trumpeting their North Carolina budget proposal for an education construction spree and for teacher raises. But Democratic colleagues on Tuesday said the GOP spending for education is not enough to meet requirements of the state constitution. They’re using a judge’s order in the “Leandro” school funding litigation to press their case at a time of massive surpluses. Democrats want Republicans to fully fund the first two years of a remedial plan the judge signed. Republican legislators said the judge can’t force them to spend money, and that public education funding continues to grow. The full House will vote on the budget bill Wednesday.