Morning Headlines: Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Deputy AG Says Primary Delay Will Cause Problems
A North Carolina deputy attorney general says attempts to block the 2011 legislative districts from being used next year would cause problems.
Deputy Attorney General Alexander Peters told a three-judge federal panel on Monday that holding up the primaries for the state's legislative seats would lead to low voter turnout. Peters cited a case from another state in which a lower court refused to hold up an election because a request for an injunction came too late.
Peters also noted that the arguments made by the plaintiffs in federal court in Greensboro were the same arguments they made in 2011.
Lawyers for the state, legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections who are defendants in the case have filed their own motion asking the judges to delay any rulings until the original 2011 redistricting lawsuits filed in state court get resolved.
The lawyers on both sides attended a federal court hearing Monday in Greensboro involving one of three pending redistricting lawsuits. The plaintiffs want the districts blocked from use in 2016 and want candidate filing set Dec. 1 delayed until after updated boundaries are set.
State's Chief Information Officer Leaving For Private Sector
North Carolina's chief information officer is leaving Gov. Pat McCrory's administration next week to return to the private sector.
McCrory's office announced Monday the departure of Chris Estes effective Nov. 29.
Estes joined McCrory's administration in early 2013 and was charged with modernizing the state's information technology operations. The General Assembly followed McCrory's wishes and in September turned Estes' agency into a Cabinet-level department. Estes was sworn in as an official Cabinet member just last month.
McCrory praised Estes in a release for saving taxpayer money and helping citizens and businesses interact more easily with state government through technology.
Estes plans to return to a consulting firm where he used to work.
Deputy State CIO Keith Werner will fill Estes' duties as the acting state CIO.
Interfaith Service Welcomes Refugees
A couple hundred supporters showed up at an interfaith gathering in Greensboro Monday to show support for the local refugee community.
Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders – along with refugee supporters from around the state – spoke at a press event at First Presbyterian Church to welcome refugees to the region and support further resettlement.
Wasif Qureshi is past president of the Islamic Center of Greensboro.
He’s seen the refugee experience first-hand, and invokes Greensboro’s past as a civil rights flash point when referring to the debate on refugees.
Congress recently passed a bill that would stop and reassess the application process for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, although President Obama has threatened to veto that bill.
Feds Warn NC Lagging On Deal To Move Mentally Ill From Homes
Government lawyers are warning that North Carolina officials have failed to live up to a court agreement to move people with serious mental illness out of adult care homes and into their communities.
The U.S. Justice Department's disability rights section says the state failed to provide housing and employment help to more than 700 adults by July as required under the 2012 deal.
A Raleigh-based independent reviewer reported on the state's progress last month. Martha Knisley said Monday about two dozen states are facing similar pressure and most are having difficulty complying.
North Carolina's deal says 3,000 people who otherwise would be living in adult care homes or mental hospitals would get affordable housing in their communities by mid-2020. The state's total price tag was estimated at nearly $300 million.
Some NC Homes Get Small Savings As Duke Energy Changes Rates
A series of required price adjustments will see the average North Carolina residential customer of Duke Energy Progress saving a little less than $2 a month starting in January.
The Charlotte-based company said Monday the biggest change for its customers in eastern North Carolina and Asheville comes from passing along the reduced cost of fueling power plants.
Savings for a typical home will end up at $1.72 a month after the company adds back other costs. The company is passing along its costs associated with its $1.2 billion deal to buy out dozens of eastern North Carolina cities that made bad investments in power plants, increasing renewable energy production and electricity conservation.
The rate changes apply to customers in the territory formerly served by Progress Energy before a 2012 merger.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.