NC Politics in the News

February 14, 2022

Pardon Our Dust

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SPECTRUM NEWS: $50M in aid available to Western N.C. farmers who lost crops, livestock to Tropical Storm Fred
Farmers in 11 western North Carolina counties can now apply for assistance to recoup damage to crops and livestock caused by Tropical Storm Fred in August, state agriculture officials announced Thursday in a news release.

WRAL: Rising price of fertilizer is forcing NC farmers out of the business
As one of the most essential tools in agriculture, fertilizer makes up 15% of all farming costs in the U.S., according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
But since September 2020, the cost of fertilizer nationwide has spiked up to 300% as demand for its primary ingredients like ammonia and liquid nitrogen has soared.

Economic Development

THE CENTER SQUARE: Eli Lilly to invest $1B to build North Carolina facility
Global health care and biopharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company will invest $1 billion in North Carolina to build a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Concord, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said.

THE BUSINESS JOURNAL: 2022 looks promising for NC Economy
The state of North Carolina is entering the year with a budget surplus, a low unemployment rate and a healthy economic development pipeline — but supply chain issues, a struggling labor market and high inflation will continue tormenting the economy in 2022. Still, economists say the state is likely to see an overall positive year.


WLOS: NC board of education member resigns, citing changes in social studies standards
Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint a new member of the State Board of Education. That person will then be approved by the General Assembly.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: More NC school districts are dropping mask mandates. Answers to common questions.
This week’s votes by the school boards in Cumberland and Johnston counties means that more than 90,000 students and teachers will soon have the option of not wearing a mask.

WUNC: NC superintendent calls for changes in state exams and school performance grades
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said Monday that neither the state’s standardized exams nor the school performance grades that are based on them do a good job of measuring school quality.


WECT: Candidate filing for North Carolina’s 2022 elections will resume February 24
Candidates planning to run for office in North Carolina’s 2022 primary and rescheduled municipal elections will be able to sign up when filing resumes at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 24. The filing period will run through noon on Friday, March 4.


SPECTRUM NEWS: The fire is out, but environmental concerns linger after fertilizer plant blaze
As the plant burned in northern Winston-Salem, the biggest concern was ammonium nitrate. There was an estimated 600 tons of the chemical at the site and that could have created a massive explosion. That ammonium nitrate and the other raw materials for fertilizer are now what is causing concern for the Yadkin River, downstream of the creeks near the fire.


WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Proposed NC bill would make masks optional in K-12 schools. House speaker calls mandates obsolete.
Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said his proposed bill is in response to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announcing Thursday plans to end contact tracing for K-12 public-school students on Feb. 21.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: ‘Time for us to step up and do it.’ Gov. Cooper backs legal online sports betting in NC
Cooper, a Democrat in his second term as governor, acknowledged some of the issues that critics say are caused by gambling and sports betting, in particular. “And it’s complicated, but I think there needs to be a free and open debate. We need to do what’s best for the people of North Carolina and I support the move toward it,” he said.


WRAL: Stakeholders agree: Hospital consolidation costs NC
Political and healthcare officials came together in Sanford Thursday to talk about healthcare consolidation. According to state Attorney General Josh Stein, who helped organize the event, it’s the first in a planned series of listening sessions around the state.

NC HEALTH NEWS: Native Americans look for ways to stop soaring overdose deaths
North Carolina’s opioid crisis has devastated the American Indian population more than any other. Combating it effectively requires a new approach, and a lot of money.


WRAL: Republicans to redraw voting maps following NC Supreme Court order
Republican lawmakers will redraw congressional and state legislative voting maps in response to an order the North Carolina Supreme Court issued on Friday striking down maps the GOP-controlled legislature passed in November.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Valentine-themed attack ad in US Senate race will interrupt NC’s ‘Bachelor’ night
Budd-backing conservative group Club for Growth plans to run an ad linking former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to President Joe Biden and other liberal leaders during “The Bachelor” on ABC on Monday evening.


STAR NEWS: Vehicles account for more greenhouse gas emissions than power plants
Emissions from the transportation sector decreased by a relatively paltry 3% from 2005 to 2018. According to the state report, pollution generated by the sector is recorded as higher than in previous estimates due to a more accurate modeling system adopted by the EPA.

FOX8: Traffic fatalities on North Carolina’s roads hit record highs in 2021
Preliminary data from the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program show that 1,755 people died in crashes in 2021, beating a record 1,705 set in 2007. That total represented 84 more than were killed in 2020 (about 5%) and nearly 18% more than the 5-year average provided by the NC Department of Transportation.