NC Politics in the News

March 14, 2022

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FOX 8: NC farmers feeling impact of rising fuel costs
NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says farmers all over are struggling right now. “I would say right now that agriculture faces the most difficult year beginning that I’ve ever seen in the 50 years that I’ve been involved in agriculture. If you look at the rising fuel prices…all of the input costs have skyrocketed,” Troxler said.

CITIZEN TIMES: Growing forests in a growing state: NC’S Forest Action Plan finalized
North Carolina’s state forests now have the needed federal stamp of approval for their Forest Action Plan, a detailed look at the state’s forest lands and a peek at their future. 

Economic Development

TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL: NC poised to keep hot streak alive for economic development
Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, said the state had 250 active projects in February – meaning companies eyeing the state for potential expansion and relocations.

WRAL: Durham sees boom in economic development projects, thousands of new jobs
With 14 huge economic projects underway in Durham – and more jobs increasing by the day – the economic forecast for the Bull City’s future is looking bright. Opportunity and growth in Durham was highlighted by the Durham Chamber of Commerce. The county has 14 economic development projects since April 2020, expected to bring 6,900 new jobs.

WRAL TECH WIRE: Economic development grant enabling ‘critical support’ at Carteret County Airport
The Massachusetts-based Avwatch will open a “base of operations and commercial aircraft maintenance facility” in Carteret County, the Carteret County-Beaufort Airport Authority announced this week. The facility, at Michael J. Smith Field, will provide “critical support,” the statement reads. The first phase began in November 2021, the company noted, and the second phase began in February 2022 and included opening the commercial aircraft maintenance facility.


WUNC: High gas prices mean schools are paying more to refuel buses
The recent surge in gas prices is hitting school transportation budgets hard, raising concerns that if fuel prices keep up, some school districts could burn through their funding for buses. DPI distributes funds to schools for fuel based on a rate of $2.30 per gallon, and schools’ overall transportation budgets are based on expenditures from the prior year.

WRAL: Virtual academies could disappear across NC schools next year
Public school district virtual academies will disappear across North Carolina next year, unless the districts spin up new schools that are exclusively virtual. That’s because the North Carolina General Assembly authorized public school districts to have virtual academies under more flexible circumstances through only the current school year, during the COVID-19 pandemic.


CNN: Supreme Court denies GOP challenges to congressional maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania
The Supreme Courton Monday night denied requests from Republicans challenging congressional maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania that had been approved by state courts, in two rulings that could benefit Democrats in the midterm elections. The North Carolina congressional map drawn by state judges would likely give Democrats at least another seat in Congress next year. The court — over the noted dissents of Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — turned away an emergency request from Republican legislators to use a different map that would be more favorable to their party.

WRAL: Unaffiliated voters overtake Democrats, now largest voting bloc in North Carolina
The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Saturday said unaffiliated voters now represent the largest share of the state’s electorate. Of the more than 7.2 million registered voters today, nearly 2.5 million are unaffiliated. That’s 34.5% of all voters. There are almost 2.5 million Democrats and 2.2 million Republicans, according to state elections data.


WFAE: NC Gov. Cooper’s veto of a school mask mandate opt-out is upheld
The North Carolina legislature failed on Wednesday to override another of Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes, this one on a bill that would have allowed K-12 students to opt out of COVID-19 mask-wearing mandates, even as those schools with such directives have become few.

THE CENTER SQUARE: North Carolina’s General Assembly concludes 14-month session
Lawmakers concluded their work Thursday with approval of an omnibus bill to address a variety of unresolved issues from the 14-month session, as well as a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: End ‘discriminatory’ blood donation policy for gay men, new NC DHHS leader urges FDA
North Carolina’s top health official, joined by public health leaders from eight other states and the District of Columbia, is asking the Food and Drug Administration to lift a three-month waiting period for gay men who are sexually active to donate blood.


POLITICO: Trump’s man in North Carolina struggles in Senate primary
Rep. Ted Budd, the congressman Trump unexpectedly endorsed last summer, has fallen in recent polling and lagged in fundraising, leaving him chasing the front-runner, former Gov. Pat McCrory. The presence of former Rep. Mark Walker in the primary — who is competing with Budd for the most conservative, pro-Trump voters — is further complicating Budd’s efforts with just over two months to go until the state’s May primary.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Democratic Gov. Cooper endorses a Senate Democrat’s primary opponent
In an unusual move, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, endorsed the primary opponent of a sitting Senate Democrat. The Democratic state senator, Kirk deViere, said the decision surprised him and criticized Cooper for trying to influence a primary election.


WCTI: NC leaders considering eliminating gas tax like other states have done
This week, leaders in California, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania are all proposing gas tax holidays, according to the Associated Press. According to Jordan Monaghan, the Press Secretary for Governor Roy Cooper’s office, eliminating or reducing the gas tax is an issue the administration is reviewing carefully.

CBS17: Durham becomes first NC school district to hire transportation planner
Durham Public Schools have made a couple of new hires to their team, including an entirely new position for a transportation planner. This particular appointment is the first of its kind among North Carolina school districts. The creation of this job was to address the “critically important tasks of transportation equity and safety,” a DPS release said Tuesday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Durham, Orange chart new transportation path away from more and bigger highways
The organization that does transportation planning for Durham and much of Orange County wants the state to spend less on building new freeways and widening existing ones. The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO recently approved a 30-year plan that eliminates some long-anticipated projects, such as widening the Durham Freeway near Research Triangle Park and converting sections of U.S. 70 and U.S. 15-501 into expressways.