North Carolina News – March 30

North Carolina News – March 30


North Carolina lawmakers hope to repeal voter literacy test

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s constitution still includes an unenforceable relic of the Jim Crow era — a voter literacy test. Some state lawmakers are trying again to do away with it. A House judiciary committee scheduled debate for Tuesday on a bipartisan measure that would allow voters to decide next year whether to eliminate that section of the constitution. The voter literacy requirement was added to the constitution in 1900 and used to keep many Black citizens from casting ballots. The 1965 Voting Rights Act made such tests unlawful, but in 1970, North Carolina voters defeated an amendment to remove the section.


Judge denies motion to block removal of Asheville monument

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A judge in North Carolina has denied a group’s request to block the planned demolition of a monument to Confederate governor Zebulon Vance in the city of Asheville. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the temporary restraining order was sought by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the North Carolina 26th Troops, Inc. Buncombe County Superior Court Judge Steven Warren denied the group’s motion on Monday. The city plans to demolish the 75-foot granite obelisk in Pack Square Plaza. City spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said the judge’s decision means the city will not be stopped in taking steps toward removal as it waits for a final court decision on the planned demolition.


Sen. Thom Tillis says he’ll have surgery for prostate cancer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Sen. Thom Tillis says he’s got prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next week in North Carolina to treat it. The Republican said he expects to make a full recovery, in part because the cancer was detected relatively early. His statement says he “can’t emphasize enough how important routine screenings are, regardless of how healthy you think you are.” Tillis said he had no symptoms and that the cancer was discovered by a PSA test as part of his annual physical. He says the test led to a biopsy that found the cancer.


NC Senate leader again seeks retooling of reading program

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s most powerful state senator is pitching again improvements to his 2013 signature public school legislation. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said on Monday the latest “Excellent Public Schools Act” bill is more comprehensive than a similarly titled measure from 2019 that had strong bipartisan support but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. These bills are supposed to build upon Berger’s 2013 “Read to Achieve” law, which is designed to get third-graders reading at grade level. The new measure is also different by moving the curriculum for student teachers and instruction by early-career literacy specialists toward a more phonics-based approach.


Mayor of coastal NC town says he’ll run for U.S. Senate

BEAUFORT, N.C. (AP) — The mayor of a small North Carolina coastal town is getting into next year’s race for U.S. Senate. Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton told the Carteret County News-Times of his plans to announce his bid for the Democratic nomination in early April. Republican Sen. Richard Burr has said he won’t seek reelection in 2022. Newton is a retired Air Force colonel and current doctoral student at Duke University studying marine science and conservation. He says the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol motivated him to get in the race because he wants to defend democracy against violent actors.


North Carolina boy, 4, drowns in swimming pool in S Carolina

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in South Carolina say a 4-year-old North Carolina boy drowned after his body was found in a pool at a rental home. The Beaufort Gazette reports Beaufort County Coroner David Ott says Aanay Sojitra of Cary, North Carolina died at Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, around 10 a.m. on Sunday. Ott says the child was on vacation with his family on Hilton Head when he fell into the pool and was found after 10 to 15 minutes. The child was taken to Hilton Head Hospital before being rushed to the Savannah hospital.


Boy of N Carolina boy found in river; search on for father

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say searchers have found the body of a 5-year-old boy who fell into a river while on a fishing trip with his father, who is missing after he jumped into the water to attempt to save him. News outlets report the body of 5-year-old Braylin Holman was recovered Monday afternoon in the Neuse River. A spokesman for Wayne County says authorities received a call on Wednesday from someone who said they saw a father and son fishing from a dock, and who saw the child fall in and the father jump in after him. The search continues for 38-year-old Sterling Holman.


Census data delay scrambles plans for state redistricting

A delay in census data is scrambling plans in some states to redraw districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures. The Census Bureau has said redistricting data that was supposed to be provided to states by the end of March won’t be ready until August or September. That’s after the deadline to finish redistricting in some states. As a result, states such as Oklahoma and Oregon are considering ways to use other population estimates to begin redistricting state House and Senate seats. Officials in other states, including North Carolina and Texas, have proposed delaying their 2022 primary elections.

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