Morning News Briefs: Thursday, December 5th, 2019
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NC Lawmaker May Challenge Sen. Tillis After District Redrawn
North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Walker may challenge GOP Sen. Thom Tillis for their party's nomination next year, or he may run against either of two other House Republicans in primaries, according to Walker spokesman Jack Minor.
The North Carolina legislature has redrawn congressional district lines after a state court declared the previous boundaries were unconstitutionally skewed toward the GOP. Walker is a three-term House veteran whose new district would lean decisively Democratic next year.
Tillis is seeking a second term. North Carolina's candidate filing deadline is Dec. 20, so Walker has just over two weeks to decide.
North Carolina Parties Offer 30-Plus Presidential Candidates
North Carolina's official political parties want more than 30 presidential candidates on the March primary ballots. The five qualifying parties had until Wednesday to submit to the State Board of Elections lists of candidates for the presidential preference primary.
The Republican Party is offering only President Donald Trump, while the Democrats are offering 15 candidates and the Libertarians 16. The presidential preference primary is March 3.
State law says party lists must have candidates whose candidacies are generally advocated and recognized in news media throughout the country or in North Carolina.
Uber And Lyft Drivers Get Lighted Signs Ahead Of Law Change
Hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers in North Carolina have been picking up lighted signs to display in their vehicles.
The News & Observer reports that the rideshare companies will need to post the signs by next summer because of a new state law.
The law is meant to ensure that riders get into the right car when hailing a ride. The lighted signs must include the rideshare company name and logo.
The Passenger Protection Act follows in the wake of the killing of a University of South Carolina student who got into an unmarked vehicle that she thought had belonged to her Uber driver. The driver was later charged with murder and kidnapping.
Guilford County School Bus Drivers May Get A Boost From Surplus
Guilford County’s new voting machines came in $5.8 million under budget. And now, Guilford County Schools may benefit from that unexpected surplus. One proposal would earmark the funds for maintenance needs and raising compensation for the county's roughly 500 school bus drivers.
They’re among the lowest-paid Guilford County Schools employees and just last month considered walking off the job in protest. Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston says he wants to allocate $1.5 million to raise bus drivers’ and other school system workers’ pay to at least $15 an hour, to retain existing employees, and hire new ones.
Also pressing, Alston says, are much-needed repairs for the county’s roughly 130 aging school buildings and offices.
Alston’s proposal is on the agenda for this week’s board meeting.
Trial Set For Man Charged With Threatening Muslim Candidate
A federal trial is scheduled to begin Thursday for a North Carolina man charged with anonymously threatening to lynch a Muslim-American man campaigning for a state Senate seat in Virginia.
Court records say jury selection for Joseph Cecil Vandevere's trial is set to get underway Thursday morning in Asheville, North Carolina.
Vandevere was charged in June with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person in connection with a tweet directed at Qasim Rashid. The tweet included a picture of a lynching and read, "VIEW YOUR DESTINY."
In September, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. rejected Vandevere's argument that his indictment must be dismissed on grounds of First Amendment free speech.