NC Politics in the News

March 22, 2022

Pardon Our Dust

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THE NEWS & RECORD: NC reports first avian flu deaths in wild birds, including hawk found in Wake County
A red-shouldered hawk found this month in Wake County is one of the first four confirmed wild birds to die from a highly infectious avian flu in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

SPECTRUM NEWS: Trade uncertainty and inflation impacting Johnston County farmers
The agriculture industry is the largest part of North Carolina’s economy, valued at $93 billion annually, according to N.C. State. However, farmers are facing an uphill battle as inflation continues to rise and trade remains uncertain.

Economic Development

SANDHILLS SENTINEL: N.C. jobs, GDP economy fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2021
North Carolina’s economy fully returned to the employment level it enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the world into an economic recession, state economists said Monday. The state’s economy recovered to pre-pandemic employment levels in July of 2021 and the GDP even earlier, and the state’s economy continues to grow despite concerns of inflation and high gas prices

SPECTRUM NEWS: War, pandemic create uncertainty for N.C. economy
North Carolina has seen strong recovery in its gross domestic product since the pandemic recession, with growth of 6.7% in 2021, according to John Connaughton, director of the North Carolina Economic Forecast. But he expects annual GDP growth to slow to 3.1% in 2022.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Is ‘class rank’ harmful? Why some NC families want it taken off school transcripts.
A group of parents and students say that using class rank puts students at a disadvantage in highly competitive high schools, a problem they argue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This group wants to at least allow students to not include class ranks in transcripts submitted on applications for scholarships and for admission to private colleges and out-of-state universities.


NBC: Supreme Court to decide if North Carolina legislators can defend voter ID law
The Supreme Court on Monday will consider whether North Carolina Republicans can step in to advocate in court for a voter ID law that they believe the state’s Democratic attorney general isn’t fighting hard enough to defend. Lower federal courts have said the attorney general is doing an adequate job of defending the law, so now Moore and Philip Berger, the president pro tempore of the state Senate, are asking the Supreme Court to let them intervene in the case.


SPECTRUM NEWS: Preparation and ‘personal responsibility’: N.C. shifts to next phase in pandemic
The state is entering a new phase in the pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday. That means focusing on vaccinations and being prepared in case the state gets another spike in cases. “We made the right choices. We got our children back in school. We kept our economy going. We saved lives,” the Governor said. “Now, we enter the next phase. One of individual responsibility, preparedness and prosperity. This virus will still be with us, but it won’t disrupt us.”

CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS: Change in NC rent aid programs could force counties to pull from their own budgets
Some North Carolina counties taking state-allocated rental aid may have to use local funds to disburse it, as fees used to fund that process are lower than what was allowed with previous allocations due to a different set of rules.

The state’s relief comes from the $46 billion Congress approved through federal stimulus. The assistance was created to curb evictions due to widespread income loss at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WRAL: Linda Garrou, former NC Senate budget leader, dies at 79
Former North Carolina state Sen. Linda Garrou, a top state government budget-writer when Democrats controlled the chamber in the 2000s, has died at age 79.


WUNC: Former Ohio governor, others tell NC lawmakers about Medicaid expansion experiences
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other speakers on Tuesday shared the experiences of states expanding Medicaid to more working adults, as North Carolina legislators carefully weigh whether they should now accept the coverage. Kasich, a former Republican presidential candidate, and presenters on programs in Montana, Indiana and Michigan told a General Assembly study committee about successes and challenges after the states accepted expansion through the 2010 federal health care law.

WNCT: Vaccine reluctance, healthcare inequities continue to affect eastern NC minority communities
Both the Pitt County Health Department and Citizens Advocating for Racial Equity and Equality said we still have a ways to go in providing healthcare access to underserved communities. They also said many of the ongoing issues they face continue to disproportionately impact minority and marginalized communities.


POLITICO: N.C. investigators are probing Mark Meadows’ voter registration
North Carolina state investigators have launched an investigation into Mark Meadows’ voter registration after reports raised questions about the former White House chief of staff’s status. Anjanette Grube, the public information director for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, told POLITICO that Meadows was under investigation, which was first reported by Raleigh TV station WRAL.

WRAL: Why a group from outside NC is spending millions to influence the state’s US Senate race
Club for Growth Action, a prominent political action committee that works to elect hard-line conservatives, said it plans to spend at least $10 million between now and the May 17 election to boost U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in the race to fill the seat retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr is vacating. Club for Growth’s future spending comes in addition to the $4 million it has already poured into the race.


WECT: What a ‘gas tax holiday’ would mean for you, North Carolina’s infrastructure
Right now, there is some relief at the pump as falling oil prices halt the daily surge in gas prices, according to a AAA report. Lawmakers across the country have discussed a different kind of relief at the pump: suspending or reducing gas taxes at the state and federal level. This would alleviate some of the sticker shock at the pump.

WITN: DOT says contractor defaults on three Eastern Carolina bridge projects
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says National Bridge Builders LLC, of Kernersville, has been found in breach of contract for two bridges in Edgecombe County and a third in Halifax County. The company last week was found in default on two other bridge projects in McDowell and Stanly counties, and the DOT says it anticipates taking the same action soon on another contract with National to replace three bridges on Seven Bridges Road in Edgecombe County.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: ‘What happened to the $167M?’ Durham wants Light Rail transparency before Commuter Rail.
City, county and regional transportation leaders gave the Durham City Council an update on the planned Triangle Commuter Rail project Thursday. But as planning moves forward to connect the region’s largest cities with Research Triangle Park, the mayor and council members first want to know what happened to the millions of dollars invested in the failed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project.