NC Politics in the News

June 8, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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THE BOSTON GLOBE: North Carolina 2019 farm bill finally OK’d, omits hemp controversy
North Carolina legislators have finally completed the General Assembly’s annual agriculture policy bill that was first debated in 2019. The Senate gave final approval on Thursday to a compromise measure that also got House support on Wednesday. An agreement between House and Senate negotiators last summer got waylaid over controversies on hemp production and farmers who want to offer shooting sports on their land. Language addressing both topics were omitted from the final bill now heading to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk for his requested signature.

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS: With more farmers and food handlers testing positive for the coronavirus, consumers wonder if food is safe to eat
News reports have been filled in recent weeks with accounts of workers at meat processing plants coming down with COVID-19 at their workplaces. Farmers and food manufacturers have tested positive for the virus, and some have expressed concern over whether the virus can be transmitted by touching or eating food from these farms and processing plants.

Economic Development

SHELBY STAR: Company plans multi-million dollar expansion in Shelby
A metals company announced Thursday that it will be launching a multi-million dollar expansion in Shelby that will translate into new jobs and investments. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that Ames Copper Group, a joint venture of Prime Materials Recovery, Inc. and the Cunext Group, will create 46 jobs in Cleveland County. The company plans to invest at least $26.3 million with the expansion of its copper manufacturing facility.

GLOBE ST: Healthcare Company to Bring Nearly 400 New Jobs to Durham, NC
Multi-cancer early detection company, Grail Inc. has selected Research Triangle Park for its new laboratory location, and will invest $100 million in coming years to support the facility.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: How will NC schools reopen? Leaders promise pandemic guidance will come next week
State health and education leaders will release guidance next week on how North Carolina public schools can reopen next school year from the coronavirus pandemic. State health guidance on reopening schools was scheduled to be released at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting, as school districts clamor for more information while they plan for the 2020-21 school year. But state officials said that questions were raised by districts about the proposal, so a revised plan will be presented at a special called board meeting on June 11.

ABC 11: NC students wouldn’t have to take road test under Driver Education COVID-19 bill passed by House
The North Carolina House approved a bill to accommodate students in driver education class or applying for a provisional license during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students would still be required to complete 15 hours of classroom instruction and at least six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction under House Bill 1189 Driver Education Covid-19 Response. 


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Coronavirus live updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on June 8
At least 35,624 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,032 have died, according to state and county health departments. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported an additional 921 cases of the virus. The state was averaging 994 daily cases over the last seven days as of Sunday.


WRAL: Bill to reopen North Carolina gyms moves to Senate
On Monday, state lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill that would allow indoor gyms to reopen before North Carolina enters its final phase. The Senate Commerce committee Thursday unanimously approved House Bill 594, a proposal to set aside Gov Roy Cooper’s executive order and allow gyms, health clubs, fitness centers, yoga and dance and other studios to get back in business.

THE COASTLAND TIMES: Bill earmarks $300M more COVID-19 funds for N.C. government
North Carolina legislators want to make available another $300 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration to cover additional government expenses incurred due to the virus.


WXII 12: North Carolina Gov. Cooper vetoes bill that would have allowed bars to reopen in outdoor areas
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill Friday that would allow bars to reopen outdoors in North Carolina while also limiting the powers of the government to close them down again if a coronavirus spike happened. 


WRAL TECH WIRE: In Chapel Hill, new normal means more emphasis on virtual world, coworking
UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke University, Shaw University and other institutions have adapted to the needs of students and their startups as the economic and health impact of COVID-19 shut down on-campus classes and led to an increased need to help entrepreneurs adapt to a “new normal” both academically and economically. At UNC, virtual and coworking have taken on new prominence.


CHARLOTTE AGENDA: Coronavirus dealt an $8 million blow to mass transit in Charlotte. Can it bounce back?
A few months ago, city council members voted to begin planning the next phase of the light rail, the Silver Line, the east-west train that’ll run from Gaston County all the way down to Matthews. Then, the coronavirus outbreak began. It triggered a 67 percent plunge in public transit ridership in Charlotte in April. The Blue Line, the light rail that had been growing in ridership and spurring development in areas like South End and NoDa, saw ridership fall 73.3 percent.

WRAL: ‘No other roads like it’: NC Highway 12 is in a class by itself
As hurricane season begins, N.C. 12 might be the most vulnerable road in the state. And one of the most crucial to a local economy. And one of the most expensive to maintain.