VP Harris making Southern stops to promote vaccination
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris and the Biden administration’s top environmental official are making stops in several Southern states to promote an intensive White House coronavirus vaccination effort. The White House announced Friday that Harris would visit Greenville, South Carolina, on Monday, to be followed by a June 18 visit to Atlanta. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan plans to make Tuesday stops in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. The visits mark the launch of a national tour that’s part of the White House’s “month of action.” President Joe Biden announced the effort last week to urge more Americans to get vaccinated before the July 4 holiday. The South has some of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the country.
NC judge orders education improvements to get carried out
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A trial judge has backed a plan from Gov. Roy Cooper and the State Board of Education on how to comply with North Carolina constitutional requirements in public education. Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order this week approving the proposal that calls on at least $5.6 billion in new education funding through 2028. But it can’t be carried out without funding from the legislature, and some Republicans aren’t interesting in deferring to a judge on spending matters. The Democratic governor’s proposed budget and legislation filed by House Democrats would seek to fund the first two years of the plan.
Police: Girl, 7, killed in rollover crash
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A 7-year-old girl was killed in a rollover crash in Fayetteville, police said.News outlets report that officers responded to a crash involving a Ford Explorer just before 2 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of state Route 87 and Eastern Boulevard. Police believe the SUV went off the highways onramp and rolled over numerous times, throwing the girl from the vehicle. The girl, identified as Perfection Simek of Fayetteville, taken to a hospital, where police say she was pronounced dead.There were two adults and four children in the SUV when it crashed.The cause of the crash is under investigation.
N. Carolina ban on Down syndrome abortions goes to governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s Senate has approved a measure to prohibit doctors from performing abortions if a woman is seeking it because of race, sex or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is not expected to approve the bill. Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion advocates say the proposal approved Thursday ensures equality by protecting fetuses that could have disabilities when they are born. Abortion rights groups say it would interfere with a woman’s privacy, preventing them from having open conversations with their doctors and violating their constitutional rights.
NORTH CAROLINA-DEPUTY SHOOTING
Autopsy: Andrew Brown Jr. died from gunshot wound to head
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — The official autopsy of the unarmed Black man who was fatally shot in April by sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina says he died from a penetrating gunshot wound to the head. Andrew Brown Jr. also was shot in the right arm and suffered lacerations. He had a low level of methamphetamine in his bloodstream. But the report says it likely did not play a role in Brown’s death. The examination offers few new details about the shooting in Elizabeth City that continues to reverberate through the community. Residents continue to march in protest of Brown’s death, while one of the deputies who fired his gun at Brown handed in his resignation last week.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
NC to give out $1 million each to 4 vaccinated residents
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Vaccinated North Carolinians are now eligible to win a $1 million prize. Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday that those who’ve gotten at least one COVID-19 shot are automatically entered in each of four upcoming contests. Residents between the ages of 12 and 17 can get a $125,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. There will be four drawings. A $1 million prize and $125,000 scholarship will given away at each of the contests scheduled to be held on June 23, July 7, July 21 and Aug. 4. The state also plans to expand a pilot program in four counties where newly vaccinated people and those who drove them to their appointment got $25 cash cards.
AP-NC-CHILD PORN-MAN SENTENCED
Serial child molester sentenced for making child pornography
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man accused of sexually molesting a minor has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for making child pornography. A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina says 72-year-old Raul Ayala Jr. of Angier pleaded guilty to the charges in late April and was sentenced on Thursday. Court documents and other information indicate Ayala admitted to molesting the child for a couple of years and that he had taken pictures of the child. A search warrant executed at Ayala’s home turned up multiple digital devices and a briefcase that contained adult pornography and child pornography.
North Carolina Senate gives final OK to $2B tax-cut plan
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A plan by North Carolina Senate Republicans to cut taxes more than $2 billion over two years and give $1 billion in federal COVID-19 aid to business and nonprofits has cleared the chamber. Seven Democrats joined all Republicans present in voting for the bill on Thursday. The bill received initial Senate approval on Wednesday. The bill now heads to the House. The two chambers are likely to work out a tax deal in budget negotiations this summer. The Senate plan would reduce the individual income tax rate and increase deductions. The corporate income tax would fall in 2024 and ultimately be eliminated in 2028.
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