Morning Headlines: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Morning Headlines: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

8:25am Jul 29, 2015

Reynolds Trust Launches $30 Million Initiative

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust launched a multi-million dollar education initiative Tuesday to improve early childhood education in Forsyth County.  It will be used to help economically disadvantaged students and parents overcome poverty challenges.

The goal of the program called Great Expectations, is to reduce education achievement gaps in Forsyth County.

Analyst Says Black Voter Turnout Increased Regardless Of Law

An elections analyst testifying at a hearing on North Carolina's elections law says black voter turnout increased on a national level, regardless of whether a state had such provisions as early voting or same-day voter registration.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics said Tuesday that he studied all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to see whether there was any correlation between election laws and black voter turnout. He said he concluded there was not a statistically significant correlation.

The state argues that high black voter turnout in the 2014 election undercuts allegations that the law is discriminatory.

Rowan County Appeals Prayer Ruling

Rowan County commissioners are appealing a recent federal court ruling that said their practice of opening meetings with Christian prayers violated the First Amendment.

Local media outlets report the Texas nonprofit Liberty Institute filed the 44-page brief on behalf of the commissioners Monday. The Commission voted last month to file an appeal to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeal cites a New York state case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that town boards can start meetings with sectarian prayer delivered by clergy and others of various faiths.

Gov. McCrory Says Cities Shouldn't Ignore Immigration Laws

Gov. Pat McCrory says cities in North Carolina should not harbor illegal immigrants, but there are no plans currently in place to address so-called sanctuary cities.

McCrory addressed the issue during a meeting of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association in Brunswick County. The governor said "major cartels" and other violent offenders get protection when cities choose to ignore federal immigration laws.

It is unclear how many sanctuary cities there are in North Carolina because not all cities enact public policies in opposition to immigration laws.

Resigned Elections Official Held 2012 Fundraiser For McCrory

When Paul Foley resigned from North Carolina's Board of Elections amid questions about his involvement in a campaign finance investigation, Gov. Pat McCrory tried to distance himself from his appointee.

The governor has said he had no idea Foley's firm represented the company of Chase Burns — the owner of an Internet sweepstakes software company who donated more than $270,000 in checks to North Carolina politicians, including McCrory.

But a month before he won election as North Carolina's governor in 2012, McCrory attended a fundraiser at a Winston-Salem restaurant hosted by Foley.

Records show the date of the fundraiser hosted by Foley corresponds closely with nearly $40,000 in political donations to McCrory's campaign received from lawyers at Foley's firm and donors connected to the internet sweepstakes industry.

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