Morning Headlines: Friday, December 18, 2015

Morning Headlines: Friday, December 18, 2015

5:46am Dec 18, 2015

State Panel Unveiling Revamp Of Common Core School Standards

A commission that reviewed the Common Core standards for North Carolina's public school students is ready to recommend scrapping the way math is taught.

The Academic Standards Review Commission votes Friday on recommendations to state legislators. The panel spent more than a year reviewing what students should learn between kindergarten and high school graduation after complaints surfaced about the Common Core standards, which started to show up in classrooms three years ago.

The group would scrap the math standards in elementary schools in favor of the guidelines now used in Minnesota. That could mean retraining teachers. The commission says high school math should return to the old sequence of algebra, followed by geometry and more algebra.

The panel also says state schools should revise how reading and writing are taught.

Senate Leader's Son Seeking State Court Of Appeals Seat

A former congressional candidate and son of North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger is seeking elected office again, this time for the Court of Appeals.

Phil Berger Jr. filed Thursday at the State Board of Elections to run for the 15-member court next year. He's challenging incumbent Judge Linda Stephens.

Berger ran unsuccessfully in 2014 for the congressional seat being vacated by the late Howard Coble, losing in a Republican primary runoff to eventual general election winner Mark Walker. Berger was the Rockingham County district attorney and is currently an appointed administrative law judge.

Members of the North Carolina Libertarian Party filled up spots on the ballot Wednesday. Sean Haugh is making a repeat bid for U.S. Senate. Lon Cecil is running for governor and J.J. Summerell for lieutenant governor.

Lesbian Parents Sue N. Carolina To Update Birth Certificates

A same-sex couple is suing North Carolina to force officials to put both women's names on their children's birth certificates.

Melissa and Meredith Weiss filed a federal lawsuit Thursday saying their constitutional rights are being violated.

The lawsuit says Melissa Weiss gave birth to both children after they wed in Canada in 2003. They say North Carolina only put her name on the certificates and hasn't added Meredith Weiss. The lawsuit says same-sex spouses who had children after gay marriage became legal in North Carolina received two-parent certificates.

The Weisses say they need accurate birth certificates for school, health care and financial reasons.

Two state Department of Health and Human Services officials are named as defendants. The department issued a statement saying it hadn't reviewed the lawsuit and couldn't comment.

North Carolina Abortion Rules Now In Effect

New regulations governing how North Carolina's abortion clinics operate are being quietly implemented two years after abortion-rights supporters complained loudly about a state law demanding clinic rule changes.

The final clinic rules developed by regulators took effect Oct. 1 after a state panel signed off on them. Draft rules had been created in December 2014.

The rules tell the state's 16 licensed clinics they must have a more structured nursing staff and a quality assurance program. Clinics must give patients a phone number that will be answered by a person 24 hours a day. Abortion-rights advocates originally said rules changes were unnecessary and worried they could shut down clinics.

Anti-abortion activists argued the draft rules could have been stronger.

Another law passed last summer made clear inspections will occur annually.

Site Offers New Way To Analyze North Carolina Traffic Stops

A recently launched website offers state residents a new tool for analyzing the role of race in about 15 years' worth of North Carolina traffic stop data.

The Open Data Policing NC site offers information on nearly 20 million traffic stops. It allows a user to quickly call up data on law enforcement agencies, with the information presented in graphs, charts and tables.

The launch comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of police tactics around the country after fatal shootings by officers and other deaths in police custody.

The effort was led by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which has been analyzing patterns in law enforcement data for several years and sought an online tool to respond to numerous requests from community groups for help.

North Carolina DMV reminding motorists of higher fees

 The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is reminding motorists that fees for many driver and vehicle services are going up in 2016.

The higher fees were approved by the General Assembly, marking the first fee increases in 11 years. The legislation applies to vehicle titles and registrations as well as driver licenses on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

For example, Standard Class C driver licenses and ID cards will increase by $1 for each year issued, making an 8-year license or ID $40 and a five-year license or ID card $25.

The division says customers should plan to complete online DMV business prior to closure at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31. The DMV's website returns to service at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1 with the new fees in effect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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