North Carolina News – October 21

North Carolina News – October 21


NC speaker: Medicaid expansion not in latest budget offer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The leader of the North Carolina House says the latest budget offer that Republicans sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t expand Medicaid broadly as Cooper wants. But Speaker Tim Moore says it does sweeten a previous proposal on worker pay raises. The legislative and executive branches are trying to hammer out a budget that Cooper would be willing to sign. The alternative would be for lawmakers to approve their own plan and try to override what would likely be a Cooper veto. Cooper is a longtime advocate of expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of more people, but Republicans are divided on the idea.


GOP bill on NC governor’s emergency powers heads to his desk

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Another effort by North Carolina Republicans to check the governor’s broad powers during a pandemic or other emergency has cleared the General Assembly. The House voted Wednesday to accept the Senate’s version of legislation that would require governors to get specific support from other statewide elected leaders to secure a long-term emergency declaration. As with a similar measure last year, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto is likely. GOP lawmakers and many constituents have criticized Cooper’s extended coronavirus emergency declarations. Fellow Democrats have said Cooper has handled the pandemic well and that lawmakers can already override his executive orders with legislation.


NTSB: Small plane wrecked in North Carolina hit pine trees

ANDREWS, N.C. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says a private pilot and a passenger were killed earlier this month when the small plane they were in collided with pine trees in North Carolina. The preliminary report issued Wednesday says the single-engine Beech S35 was flying from Liberty, Texas, to Franklin, North Carolina, on Oct. 3 when the unidentified pilot diverted to Western Carolina Regional Airport in Andrews due to weather conditions. It later left for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and soon hit tall pine trees. The plane hit the terrain steeply with its nose low and came to a rest upside down. 


Redistricting options from NC senators released to public

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina senators have presented some proposals to the public on how they could redraw boundary lines for congressional and state Senate districts. The Senate Redistricting Committee posted several maps online this week that Republicans or Democrats have produced at computer terminals in the committee room in recent weeks. The House Redistricting Committee is expected to post maps drawn by House members later this week. The House and Senate committees will hold hearings next week to receive public comment before any votes are taken on specific plans. Legislators want to approve General Assembly and U.S. House district boundaries by early next month. 


Body found in North Carolina river for second time in month

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in a North Carolina city say a body has been found in a river, the second such instance in three weeks. The Asheville Police Department says in a news release that the body of 40-year-old Benjamin Lee Hoffman II of Asheville was found on Monday in the Swannanoa River. Police believe foul play was involved, but provided no additional details. On Oct. 2, the body of 19-year-old Jose Reynoso Ramirez of Woodfin was found near the same location where Hoffman’s body was found. Two people were charged in Ramirez’s death. 


Audit: NC town ex-finance officer had questionable expenses

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A new state audit has found that the former finance head of a southeastern North Carolina town spent more than $11,000 in town funds on her home utility bills and other questionable items. State Auditor Beth Wood’s office looked at the records in East Laurinburg, a town of 300 with a $75,000 annual budget. Auditors say most of the checks were co-signed by a town commissioner who was the finance director’s mother. The mayor told auditors that town commissioners are pursuing charges against the former finance officer. The former finance officer is not named in the report.


North Carolina man charged after woman found dead in home

MOCKSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police have filed charges against a North Carolina man after a woman was found dead inside a home. WGHP reports the Davie County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a location on Tuesday after being told someone had been shot. Inside the home, the deputies found the body of 29-year-old Tiffany Dawn Robertson of Mocksville. The sheriff’s office says the caller, 30-year-old Jonathan Edward Myers of Mocksville, was arrested  and charged with voluntary manslaughter. Myers is in the county jail on a $225,000, and it’s not known if he has an attorney. 


NC prisons move to digital mail for offenders

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Offenders at North Carolina’s 55 state prisons won’t get cards, photos or handwritten letters anymore. Instead, officials said they will receive a printed-out versions of digital scans. WNCN-TV reports that the Department of Public Safety piloted the program in four women’s prisons starting last year and says disciplinary infractions for drug possessions dropped 50 percent. The rule change went into effect at men’s prisons on Monday. They department says the program will make prisons safer, but advocates are concerned that it will hurt social connections for people behind bars. People can download an app called TextBehind and upload the scans. Each scan starts at 49 cents. Mail cannot be sent directly to prisons.

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