Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
CRAFT BEER LIMITS
Craft brewers sue over NC law requiring losing sales control
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two growing craft breweries are suing after failing to get North Carolina legislators to overturn a decades-old law on beer sales.
Lawyers for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Noda Brewing Co. were in court Tuesday to challenge the law, which forces them to hand over to private companies the distribution of their own beer once they sell 25,000 barrels or about the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a year.
The Charlotte breweries say the state’s beer distribution law is unconstitutional. They argue they’re forced to give up control to politically influential middlemen where their products are sold for virtually as long as they stay in business.
A state attorney says a three-judge panel should examine the beer distribution law overall, not just how it applies to those two breweries.
N Carolina House school safety committee holds first meeting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators are sitting down to get information about student safety in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting before recommending later this spring what changes their colleagues should support.
The House Select Committee on School Safety holds its first meeting Wednesday. There they are supposed to hear from the state Division of Emergency Management, State Bureau of Investigation and leaders of the state’s task force on safe schools.
Republican House Speaker Tim Moore organized the committee, which while bipartisan in membership has a GOP majority.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and some Democratic lawmakers already have offered ideas, which include raising the age to purchase assault-style weapons to 21 and require background checks for those guns. Republicans will be more skeptical about efforts to restrict lawful gun access.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA-NORTH CAROLINA
Data firm involved in Trump campaign had N Carolina clients
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A data mining firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was hired previously by North Carolina Republicans. That’s gotten the attention of Democrats questioning what state GOP clients knew about information the company collected.
Campaign finance data show Cambridge Analytica was paid by U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ 2014 campaign, as well as Rep. Patrick McHenry’s campaign and the state Republican Party that same year.
Published reports allege Cambridge improperly obtained information from 50 million Facebook users to try to influence elections. Cambridge and Trump’s campaign deny wrongdoing.
State Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin told reporters Tuesday that Tillis and others have a lot to answer for.
Tillis said in a statement that Cambridge provided “limited services” and it would be “deeply disturbing” if a vendor didn’t provide lawful services.
SUSPECTED MS-13-VIRGINIA KILLING
Men wanted for murder in Virginia arrested in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say two suspected MS-13 gang members wanted for murder in Virginia have been arrested in North Carolina.
News outlets report that police in Prince William County, Virginia accuse 19-year-old Denis Ludwin Espinal-Alvares and 23-year-old Erick Alexander Contreras-Gonzalez in the March 13 shooting death of an unknown male.
Investigators say they abducted him from his Woodbridge-area home, shot him several times and placed his body in his car’s trunk before setting it on fire.
Espinal-Alvares and Contreras-Gonzalez were held Tuesday in Wake County, North Carolina. It is unclear if they have lawyers.
The News & Observer cites warrants and records as saying they were arrested in Wilson and charged with being fugitives.
The National Crime Information Center described them as members of the violent street gang that originated in El Salvador.
SOUTHERN STORMS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Tampa airport: dozens of delays from storms
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) – The Federal Aviation Administration placed a ground stop at Tampa International Airport for a time Tuesday afternoon because of storms sweeping the Southeast.
The bad weather caused dozens of delays and cancellations. But by 3:45 p.m., flights again taking off. But the weather caused dozens of delays and cancellations. The Tampa airport authorities tweeted that 124 flights were delayed and four were cancelled due to weather.
Meanwhile, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which spans Tampa Bay, had to be closed because of high winds, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
COLLEGE SHOOTING THREAT-ARREST
North Carolina college student charged with shooting threat
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have arrested a North Carolina college student who they say wrote about committing a school shooting and told a doctor he couldn’t wait to buy a gun to do it.
The Charlotte Observer reports a search warrant from UNC Charlotte police said 20-year-old student Matthew Saavedra told a doctor in King, northwest of Winston-Salem, that “he could not wait to buy a gun and shoot the university (UNCC) up.” The doctor, who also said Saavedra discussed an “explicit detailed plan . . . about killing and harming our students and staff,” called police.
Saavedra, who was voluntarily committed to a Winston-Salem hospital, is charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. He’s out on bond and it’s not known if he has an attorney.
SUPREME COURT-CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Court skeptical of crisis pregnancy center law
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court seems likely to strike down a California law that mainly regulates anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.
Both conservative and liberal justices voiced skepticism Tuesday about the law that requires the centers to tell clients about the availability of contraception, abortion and pre-natal care, at little or no cost. Centers that are unlicensed also must post a sign that says so.
The centers say they are being singled out and forced to deliver a message with which they disagree. California says the law is needed to let poor women know all their options.
BENCH TRIAL OVERTURNED
Legal technicality is latest twist in infant killing case
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The case of a man accused of murdering his infant daughter took another unusual turn when North Carolina’s appeals court ruled a judge shouldn’t have bypassed a jury to convict him.
Todd Boderick of Charlotte represented himself in 2016 when he and prosecutors agreed to go to trial without a jury after problems selecting the panel.
The judge ruled the case fell under a new legal provision allowing bench trials for felonies. The judge then found Boderick guilty of first-degree murder.
But the state’s appeals court found Tuesday the 2014 state constitutional amendment allowing felony defendants to choose bench trials hadn’t taken effect in time for Boderick’s case. The appeals court ordered a new trial.
An autopsy after the 2012 death of Boderick’s daughter showed injuries from blows or shaking.