NC Politics in the News

December 6, 2021

Pardon Our Dust

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WBTW: Fire on North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain 100% contained; more than 1,000 acres burned
The Grindstone Fire that began at Pilot Mountain one week ago is now 100% contained, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Saturday morning.

Economic Development

FOX 8: Toyota is coming to the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, NC Department of Commerce confirms
Toyota is coming to the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. The NC Department of Commerce’s Economic Investment Committee met by teleconference at 11 a.m. Monday and revealed that Toyota’s battery plant will be coming to the Triad.

Toyota is expected to bring 1,750 jobs with a median salary of $62,234. The company is expected to invest $1.272 billion by Dec. 31, 2026. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: These 5 counties are considered more economically ‘distressed’ than they were a year ago
At the start of the new year, five North Carolina counties will be considered more economically “distressed” than they were a year ago in the eyes of the state. The North Carolina Department of Commerce released its new tier rankings for the state’s 100 counties this week, an annual ranking that influences which counties are eligible for the most aid. 

WRAL TECH WIRE: Unemployment rate shrinks to 3% across Triangle – here’s who is hiring
The U.S. economy received a jolt last Friday when the Department of Labor reported that employers only added 210,000 jobs in November—down from 546,000 jobs added in October and short of the 550,000 forecasted by economists


WUNC: North Carolina court stops order to spend $1.7B on education
A North Carolina appeals court on Tuesday blocked enforcement of parts of a trial judge’s recent order that demanded $1.75 billion in state taxpayer funds be spent — without express legislative approval — to address public education inequities.

WRAL: NC schools forming student mental health plans
Most North Carolina public charters and school districts now have plans to address mental health issues on campuses, the state Department of Public Instruction reported Wednesday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Bonuses for state employees, teachers in NC will arrive in time for the holidays
State employees and teachers will get a holiday gift from the government this month: $1,000 bonuses in their December paychecks. The bonuses will arrive in the paychecks of tens of thousands of state workers on the first day of winter: Dec. 21.


WRAL: NC court puts candidate filing for congressional, legislative races on hold
Shortly before candidates could start filing their paperwork and officially call themselves candidates for next year’s elections, the state Court of Appeals on Monday halted filing for U.S. House and legislative races as it weighs a legal challenge to new district maps adopted last month.

CAROLINA JOURNAL: Senate Majority Leader Harrington to retire, endorses Overcash
The state Senate’s majority leader has announced she will not run for re-election next year. Sen. Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston, is endorsing Brad Overcash as a potential successor. Harrington is serving her sixth term in the Senate. She is in the middle of her first term as majority leader, a top post within the 50-member Senate. 

WNCT: NC Rep. Kandie Smith throws hat in ring for position held by NC Sen. Don Davis
A familiar face in Eastern North Carolina politics made an announcement Friday about her upcoming plans. House Rep. Kandie Smith announced she’s running for NC State Senate District 5. She currently represents the State’s 8th House District. She announced her plans at a farmer’s conference in Rocky Mount.


WFAE: Parts of both Carolinas now in ‘severe drought’, bringing fire danger
Parts of the Piedmont and eastern North and South Carolina are now in a “severe drought,” raising concerns about water levels and the risk of fires like one that has burned more than a thousand acres at Pilot Mountain State Park.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Cooper vetoes election bill that would end grace period for NC’s mail-in ballots
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a Republican-backed bill Thursday that would force elections officials not to count any mail-in ballots that arrive after polls close. “The legislature ironically named this bill ‘The Election Day Integrity Act’ when it actually does the opposite,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. 

WRAL: NC legislature: No private money to run elections
The General Assembly voted Monday to keep private donors from covering election costs, cutting out a revenue stream that generated millions of dollars last year for election boards across the state. Senate Bill 725 passed the House earlier this month on a party-line vote, with Republicans voting for it and Democrats against.


NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS: Health secretary Mandy Cohen resigns, governor taps a successor
Mandy Cohen, the physician who has led North Carolina through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a massive transformation of how Medicaid is administered, told her staff at the state Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday that she would try not to cry while letting them know she was stepping down as the state’s top public health official.

WSOC: StarMed Healthcare to provide first antiviral pill to treat NC COVID-19 patients
StarMed Healthcare will be offering the first antiviral pill available for North Carolina COVID-19 patients within the next few weeks.

The pill, which is manufactured by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is named molnupiravir. It will be available to treat those with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Local health officials have confidence in vaccines handling omicron variant
Forsyth County reached r a six-week high — at 152 — on its daily COVID-19 case count Thursday. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services listed Forsyth with no additional deaths. It’s an unnerving count with the delta variant on the rise again and the ominous omicron variant on the way, if not already here. Yet, local infectious diseases experts expressed confidence Thursday in the viability and protections offered in the three COVID-19 vaccines.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: A timeline of North Carolina’s 2021 budget battle
The timeline of the latest North Carolina state budget starts two and a half years ago. The last state to pass a budget in 2021, North Carolina did not pass a new comprehensive budget at all in 2019.


SPECTRUM NEWS: ‘Historic Investment’: VP Harris, Buttigieg visit N.C. to talk infrastructure
Vice President Kamala Harris visited North Carolina Thursday to talk about the Biden administration’s plans to make a big investment in the country’s infrastructure. Harris was in Charlotte to talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a $1 trillion spending plan designed to upgrade the nation’s highways, bridges and public transit, and help expand broadband access that the president signed into law last month.