Morning News Briefs: Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
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State NAACP Argues Against Voter ID Law In Federal Court
North Carolina’s voter ID law is in court again. A preliminary injunction hearing took place Tuesday in Winston-Salem. Plaintiffs are asking a federal judge for a hold on the law that goes into effect in 2020.
Lawyers for the North Carolina NAACP argued that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and goes against the 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
They say black and Latino voters disproportionately lack the IDs that would be necessary to cast their ballot, and this could impact voter turnout.
The NC NAACP also argues there’s not enough time to successfully implement the law before the March primary election.
But representatives for the state say they’ve been taking steps to educate voters with informational seminars and mailings, and have been offering free voter ID cards.
North Carolina Residents Spending More For Health Insurance
A new study shows that North Carolinians are paying more for health care than the national average.
Across the country, health insurance premiums and deductibles are growing faster than income. And in North Carolina, people are paying nearly 14 percent of the state's median income. Nationally, the average family is spending around 11 percent.
These numbers don’t take into account copays, which means it’s safe to say that families are spending even more money on health-associated costs than the study shows.
North Carolina Health News reports that many are falling into a "family coverage glitch" where they don’t qualify for health subsidies.
North Carolina is one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to those who don't qualify but earn 138 percent less than the poverty level.
Court: North Carolina Lawmakers Can Decide Block-Grant Spending
A North Carolina appeals court has agreed the General Assembly can decide how federal block grant money is spent, even when the governor wants to use it differently.
A three-judge Court of Appeals panel upheld unanimously on Tuesday a trial-court decision favoring Republican legislative leaders whom Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper sued over line-items in the 2017 state budget law. At issue is how $17 million was spent.
North Carolina Lottery Takes Step Toward More Online Sales
North Carolina lottery leaders have taken a key step toward expanding online sales while leaving themselves a way out if they aren't satisfied with the details or face opposition from retailers or politicians.
The state lottery commission voted on Tuesday for the idea of marketing "digital instants" without officially directing that these online games begin.
Commission members asked lottery staff to present soon a business plan that includes staffing needs, sales projections and a timeline for starting the games. They also want to hear from retail groups in the handful of states that already have such online games about whether they hurt in-person sales at grocery and convenience stores.
Carolina Panthers Fire Head Coach Ron Rivera
The Carolina Panthers have fired coach Ron Rivera with four games left in the NFL season.
Secondary coach Perry Fewell was named interim head coach Tuesday.
Panthers owner David Tepper will begin a search for a new coach immediately.
Rivera was hired in 2011 and is the team's winningest coach, but since losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 four seasons ago, the Panthers are 29-31 and have not won a playoff game. The team is 5-7 this season.