North Carolina News – February 16

North Carolina News – February 16


NC tax filing pushed back to end of February

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina taxpayers will have to wait a little longer to file. The News & Observer reports that after the state pushed back the date when it’s able to process tax returns to mid-February, it has now delayed a bit further to the end of the month. Tax season is starting late because North Carolina’s budget was nearly five months late and included tax changes that impact this year’s filings. The N.C. Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to file electronically, noting that they can expect to begin receiving refunds in April. The state is still testing and approving system updates to tax preparation software for businesses and individuals.


Crashed plane carried 4 teens who’d been on hunting trip

Authorities say four teenagers and four adults returning from a hunting trip were on board a small plane that crashed off the coast of North Carolina over the weekend. The Carteret County sheriff issued a news release Tuesday naming the passengers and pilot, all North Carolina residents. The group had been on a hunting trip in Hyde County and was returning to Carteret County. The sheriff’s office said Tuesday afternoon that divers found the plane’s fuselage and cabin in more than 50 feet of water about 3 miles from shore. Crews have been removing human remains as well as aviation equipment that could help investigators determine the cause of the crash.


NC lawmakers scramble to pass new maps by Friday deadline

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators are rushing to assemble replacement redistricting maps to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling that found recently approved boundaries violated the constitution by giving Republicans outsized favoritism. The top Senate and House leaders say they expect committees to debate and vote on new district lines Wednesday. A divided Supreme Court ordered earlier this month that new maps must be turned in to a trial court by Friday afternoon. A full opinion laying out details wasn’t filed until Monday night. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday he’s confident that new lines will comply with metrics inside that opinion designed to measure partisan fairness.


NC GOP: Medicaid expansion vote possible later this year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Key Republican legislators in North Carolina say an up-or-down vote on broad Medicaid expansion could occur before the November elections. A joint House-Senate panel created in the current budget law and tasked with studying health care access and possible expansion holds its first meeting on Friday. Senate leader Phil Berger told WRAL-TV on Tuesday he believes there’s a pathway for expansion approval. North Carolina is one of a dozen states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid to working adults as provided under the 2010 federal health care law. Many House Republicans still oppose the idea. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is a big expansion proponent. 


NC justices examine legality of voter ID, tax amendments

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More litigation on voting, redistricting and race has reached North Carolina’s highest court. Justices held oral arguments Monday examining a lawsuit that alleges the legislature was barred from placing constitutional amendments on the ballot because lawmakers who agreed to do so were elected with the help of distorted district boundaries.  The amendments approved by voters in 2018 mandated photo voter identification and reduced the maximum income tax to 7%. A trial judge voided those amendments, but the Court of Appeals overturned that ruling. A divided Supreme Court struck down new redistricting maps earlier this month, with a majority declaring those lines were unlawful, too.


Federal complaint filed against man over flight diversion

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A federal criminal complaint has been filed against a disruptive passenger who prompted a flight from New York to Florida to divert to a North Carolina airport. The document filed by an FBI agent on Feb. 10 says Michael Aaron Ganter knowingly interfered with the jobs of flight attendants and crew members by assaulting and intimidating them. Frontier Airlines flight 1335 left LaGuardia Airport the evening of Feb. 9 and was headed to Orlando International when it was diverted to Raleigh-Durham International. Several people restrained Ganter after he made concerning comments to other passengers and stood up in what was seen as an aggressive manner.


Racial unity: Merged Southern congregation sets an example

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) — More than five years after a Black congregation merged with a mostly white North Carolina church, members of The Refuge Church continue striving to be an example of unity and racial reconciliation in the American South. Church member Troy Savage says Martin Luther King Jr.’s decades-old criticism of the racial divide in the U.S. church still rings true today. Be he does not think it has to stay that way. Across the U.S., research shows congregational diversity is growing, but a majority of Black adults who attend religious services continue to worship with congregations and clergy that are mostly or all Black. 


13-year-old dies in Chapel Hill hotel balcony fall

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — A teenager has died after falling from a hotel balcony in North Carolina. Chapel Hill Police say the 13-year-old fell from a fifth-floor balcony at the Graduate Hotel on West Franklin Street Saturday just before 11 p.m. The child landed on the third floor. The cause of the fall is under investigation. In a press release Sunday, police did not release the name of the teen or any other details about the incident. Once known as the Franklin Hotel, it reopened as the Graduate in 2020.

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