Morning News Briefs: Thursday, August 9th, 2018
US Judge Voids Part Of North Carolina Election Law
A federal judge is invalidating part of North Carolina elections law that allows one voter to challenge another's residency, a provision that activist groups used to scrub thousands of names from rolls ahead of the 2016 elections.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs signed an order Wednesday saying the residency challenges are pre-empted by the 1993 federal "motor voter" law aimed at expanding voting opportunities.
Biggs said challenges to county elections boards must follow the federal law's requirements for advance notice of voter disqualification and individual investigations before most people can be dropped close to a federal election.
Plaintiffs In North Carolina Map Case Say They Can Still Sue
Democrats and advocacy groups say they have the individuals and data necessary to satisfy a U.S. Supreme Court directive and show nearly all of North Carolina's congressional districts are illegal partisan gerrymanders.
A panel of judges asked lawyers in two redistricting lawsuits to write briefs by this week on whether the plaintiffs had legal standing to sue on claims that skewed district boundaries favoring Republicans diminished voting power.
The League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Common Cause and other plaintiffs told the judges they have citizens who can make claims in 12 of 13 House districts.
North Carolina Tells Big Online Retailers To Charge, Turn Over Sales Tax
North Carolina will be one of the first states to start collecting sales taxes on online purchases.
State tax-collectors issued a directive Tuesday requiring online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases by North Carolina consumers. The move comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that states can collect sales tax even if the seller lacks a physical presence in that state.
North Carolina's Revenue Department says it will start enforcing an existing state law on Nov. 1. That means companies selling more than $100,000 or having at least 200 transactions into North Carolina last year or this year would have to collect sales taxes and turn it over to the state.
Advocates File Suit Against Greensboro's New Panhandling Law
Advocates for the homeless are taking the City of Greensboro to court over a recently-passed ordinance that limits panhandling.
The plaintiffs in the suit, who are represented by the ACLU of North Carolina and others, say the measure is unconstitutional, violating the first amendment and the equal protection clause.
According to court documents, those plaintiffs are three Greensboro residents who have experienced homelessness and panhandled themselves.
The measure in question has been hotly debated in Greensboro, and the ordinance against “aggressive solicitation” was passed in late July by a 5-4 vote.
Marcus Hyde with the Homeless Union of Greensboro says laws like this come about because downtown business districts want to push the problem out of sight.
For its part, the City of Greensboro has cited safety concerns due to aggressive panhandlers in green lighting the measure.
Police Make Arrest In North Carolina Lemonade Vendor Robbery
Deputies in North Carolina have arrested a suspect who they say robbed a 9-year-old lemonade vendor of $17 at gunpoint, an incident which led to more than $200 in donations and a riding lawn mower.
Tony Underwood of the Union County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday detectives obtained security camera footage which showed a person who matched the suspect's description and was in proximity to the robbery scene.
Underwood said the juvenile's identity cannot be released under North Carolina law.
Detectives working with the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice obtained petitions charging the juvenile with robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.