Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Budget changes heading to N Carolina Senate for floor vote
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina budget changes for the coming year are coming up for their first floor vote.
The full Senate scheduled debate and the first of two required votes Wednesday on the nearly $24 billion spending plan. House debate and floor votes won’t begin until Thursday.
The measure adjusts the second year of the two-year budget approved last June. Higher-than-expected tax collections contributed to large average raises for teachers, troopers and correctional officers, as well as a one-time bonus to state retirees.
Democratic legislators are unhappy with the measure and several policy provisions, like those related to municipal funding of public schools and studying chemicals in rivers and streams. But they’re prohibited from offering amendments. The final measure will end up on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
N Carolina legislative session challenge rejected by judges
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A panel of North Carolina trial court judges has rejected arguments by a government reform group and local residents that a special session of the General Assembly two years ago violated the state constitution.
The case centers on the December 2016 session in which Republicans passed laws tilting the balance of power toward the legislative branch and away from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper just two weeks before he was sworn in.
Common Cause and other individuals said that the session was illegal because legislators called it so quickly that the public didn’t have the time to “instruct their representatives.”
In a ruling released Tuesday but dated last week, the judges wrote that the plaintiffs failed to show their constitutional rights were violated.
The ruling could be appealed.
Panel backs judicial district changes in N Carolina county
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have taken another step toward redrawing judicial election districts, although the changes would only apply in the state’s most-populated county.
A Senate elections committee voted Tuesday to remap boundaries for Superior Court districts in Mecklenburg County and to create identical boundaries for District Court boundaries in the county.
Republicans have been looking since last June at whether statewide judicial redistricting is warranted, but House and Senate leaders can’t find consensus. Some members argued population imbalances within Mecklenburg’s current three Superior Court election districts was likely unconstitutional.
Tuesday’s proposal would create eight identical election districts for Mecklenburg Superior and District Court seats. Voters in each district ultimately would elect one Superior Court judge and two or three District Court judges. The changes would be phased in through 2022.
POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: 12 protesters arrested at N. Carolina statehouse
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Twelve protesters have been arrested at North Carolina’s Legislative Office Building as part of a demonstration calling for gun control, poverty relief and other social justice measures.
General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock confirmed the number arrested Tuesday and said each was being charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
The protesters were part of a group of about 100 who gathered to hear speeches as part of the Poor People’s Campaign led by the Rev. William Barber.
Dozens marched into the office building near the Capitol where a joint House-Senate committee was holding a hearing on tax-related portions of the state budget. A few protesters made it into the hearing room and caused lawmakers to delay what they were doing for 20 minutes.
Protesters who couldn’t make it inside chanted loudly in the hallway surrounding the hearing room.
Those arrested were led out one-by-one in plastic zip-ties.
Barber wasn’t among those who went inside.
HOUSE FIRE DEATH
1 person dead in house fire in North Carolina
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – One person has died in a house fire in North Carolina.
News outlets reported the fire was reported around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday in Gaston County.
Gaston County Emergency Medical Services confirmed one person had died in the fire. That person’s name has not been released.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Gaston County police are investigating.
CAB DRIVER KILLED
Taxi driver in North Carolina found shot to death near cab
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A taxi driver has been found shot to death in North Carolina near his cab.
News outlets reported that Winston-Salem police were called around 10 p.m. Monday and found 48-year-old Curtis Lee McCollum on the ground near the vehicle.
McCollum was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say he had been shot more than once.
No arrests have been reported.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
State investigates teen’s shooting by North Carolina officer
LAUREINBURG, N.C. (AP) – State police are investigating after a teen was shot and wounded by a police officer in North Carolina.
Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin Williams told news outlets he cannot talk about the Saturday morning shooting because it’s under investigation.
Police were called to a shooting around 2 a.m. Saturday.
Williams wouldn’t release the name of the teen or the officer, whom he says has been placed on leave during the investigation. Williams did not say whether there was body camera video of the shooting.
He did not immediately respond to a message left Tuesday morning.
Scotland County NAACP president Herman Tyson told The Laurinburg Exchange he’s pleased state police are investigating.