Morning Headlines: Wednesday, November 18, 2015
McCrory Backed By North Carolina GOP Leaders On Refugees
Gov. Pat McCrory's request that President Barack Obama's administration stop sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina for now has support from fellow state Republicans in Congress and in the legislature.
North Carolina's 10 U.S. House Republicans released a statement Tuesday applauding McCrory and joining him in asking the administration to stop sending the refugees until security risks are addressed in light of the Paris attacks.
State House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger put out their own statement praising McCrory's request. They said the refugee topic would be addressed Wednesday by a General Assembly government oversight committee.
McCrory said Monday that North Carolina has received 59 refugees from Syria from early 2014 through last month but the state had almost no security information about them.
North Carolina Lawmakers Return For Oversight Meeting
North Carolina legislators are back in Raleigh to question Gov. Pat McCrory's administration about prison maintenance contracts and to talk to UNC Board of Governors leaders.
The General Assembly's primary government oversight panel when lawmakers aren't in session planned to meet Wednesday.
The commission's agenda includes presentations by State Budget Director Lee Roberts and public safety Secretary Frank Perry. They were involved in decision-making that ultimately allowed a Charlotte company to keep its prison contracts for another year.
A company executive is a political donor to Gov. Pat McCrory and other elected officials in the past. McCrory set up a meeting last year between the donor and state prison officials.
Commission members also are interested in recent decisions the UNC board made privately, including pay raises for 12 university chancellors.
Winston-Salem Police Officers Make Appeal For Higher Pay
Officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department have appealed to the City Council for a pay raise, citing the departures of experienced officers and higher salaries for neighboring departments.
Lt. Danny Watts told the council that the department is losing officers at an alarming rate. Watts said that since January 2012, Winston-Salem has lost 75 experienced officers to other departments.
Starting salaries for police officers in Winston-Salem range from $32,580 to $35,919, depending on the officer's education, but city officials say the starting pay is 7 to 10 percent behind the Triad market rate.
City Manager Lee Garrity said he and police Chief Barry Rountree are working on a plan to improve pay. Garrity said solutions with go to the finance committee early next year.
Rockingham County Commissioner Sentenced On DWI Charges
A Rockingham County commissioner has been sentenced in two driving while impaired cases over the past year.
Prosecutors tell media outlets 61-year-old Keith Mabe was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in jail.
Mabe also received 24 months of probation, fines and community service hours.
A Forsyth Superior Court judge sentenced Mabe on two misdemeanor counts of DWI and one count of possession of an open container. A plea deal accepted by Mabe dismissed charges of reckless driving, possession of prescription medications and driving left of center.
In a statement, Mabe's attorney Wayne Hollowell says Mabe "accepts responsibility for his actions."
Mabe's convictions stem from two incidents in December and July. He pleaded guilty in September to drunken driving in both incidents and having an open container in the second instance.
Art Museum Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony For Park Expansion
The North Carolina Museum of Art is holding a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of its park, which is expected to be completed by next summer.
The ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the museum in Raleigh. A news release from the museum says speakers will include museum director Larry Wheeler, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, and Susan Kluttz, secretary of the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The expansion will add tree-lined parking lots, bike and walking paths, and a central elliptic lawn for museum and community programming.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.