Cawthorn candidacy challenge ends, but another may be ahead
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A review of whether North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn is disqualified to run for Congress based on the U.S. Constitution won’t happen because of redistricting changes finalized this week. The State Board of Elections on Thursday told lawyers for a dozen or so voters who asked that Cawthorn’s candidacy be scrutinized they no longer live in the 13th District that Cawthorn filed for in December. The 13th District has been moved. The voters say his involvement with a January 2021 rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot disqualifies him. Cawthorn rejects that argument. It’s possible another challenge surface in whatever district he competes in.
NC governor vetoes bill with student opt-out for masks
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed legislation that would allow K-12 students to opt out of indoor mask-wearing mandates set by local school boards, with their parents’ permission. The bill was approved last week by the Republican-controlled General Assembly with some Democratic support, but it’s unclear if an override attempt is ahead. The Democratic governor has encouraged boards of education to end broad mask requirements at school, as COVID-19 transmission rates fall. He said Thursday he prefers sticking to a 2021 law that left mask-mandate decisions with local school boards. The overwhelming majority of school districts have passed mask-optional policies now.
POLICE OFFICER-DRUG CHARGES
Feds: N. Carolina police officer sold cocaine while on duty
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice says a North Carolina police officer is accused by federal prosecutors of selling cocaine while he was in uniform. U.S. Attorney Michael Easley told a news conference this morning that Raleigh police officer Keven Rodriguez was taken into custody by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Easley says Rodriguez is charged with distribution of a quantity of cocaine and possession of a firearm in connection with that offense. His arrest came after Raleigh police received information from confidential sources in late 2021 that Rodriguez was distributing drugs in Raleigh.
Republicans eye state courts as next political battlegrounds
DENVER (AP) — In most midterm election years, races for state supreme court seats are overshadowed by campaigns for governor or the Senate. But some Republicans say the party’s priorities need to change. The GOP’s focus on the makeup of state supreme courts escalated this week after a series of legal setbacks frustrated the party’s effort to redraw congressional maps in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. That prompted some leading Republicans to press the party to pay more attention to November elections in which some supreme court justices will face voters. Ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie leads the National Republican Redistricting Trust and says voters “need to pay attention” to elected supreme courts.
With new redistricting maps, NC candidates file for races
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina candidates have been welcomed back into election offices to file for this year’s races following a delay that lasted over two months. The State Board of Elections and county election offices accepted candidate documents and fees again on Thursday morning. That came mere hours after the state Supreme Court refused appeals of those seeking to delay the use of some redistricting maps that a panel of trial judges had endorsed on Wednesday. The primary is still set to be held May 17. Candidate filing was suspended in December and the March primary was delayed so that redistricting litigation could go to trial.
Third person arrested in death of son of reality TV star
SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a third person has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a man whose father was featured in a reality television show about his towing and repossession business. News outlets report that Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said 21-year-old Cassidy Lorene Hunter of Smithfield was charged Thursday with accessory after the fact in the Feb. 17 death of Harley Alexander Shirley and the shooting of a woman who remains hospitalized. Hunter is jailed on a $1 million bond. The slain man’s father, Ronnie Shirley owns Lizard Lick Towing with wife Amy Shirley and starred in a truTV reality show based on their family business from 2011 to 2014.
Missing North Carolina woman found in Las Vegas
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Police say a North Carolina woman whose family said she hadn’t been heard from in nearly two weeks after flying to Las Vegas for a pageant has been located. A news release from the Greensboro Police Department on Thursday said 21-year-old Lejourney Farrow was confirmed to be in Las Vegas, but no other details were provided. Randy Farrow says his sister was supposed to be in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, and then travel to New York for Fashion Week on Feb. 15. He says his sister was to return to her home in Greensboro on Feb. 17.
States urged to address funding disparities for HBCUs
Congressional leaders are drawing attention to state funding disparities for historically Black colleges and universities in the country’s land grant university system, urging statehouses to close those gaps in their current and upcoming legislative sessions, according to a letter sent Wednesday to state leaders and lawmakers. The letter, first shared with The Associated Press and signed by six Democratic representatives, said the lawmakers hoped bringing attention to the funding differentials would encourage states to prioritize those schools in their upcoming budget negotiations.
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