State Government
AP - Judges Let North Carolina Redistricting Plans Stand PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 11 January 2022 17:36
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judicial panel refused Tuesday to throw out redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, rejecting arguments that the lines were illegally politically stacked for the GOP.
 
The unanimous decision by the three trial judges, which followed a quick trial last week, will be appealed by the advocacy groups and voters — some backed by a national Democratic group — who challenged the new congressional and legislative lines in court.
 
The state Supreme Court, which is expected to have the final say on the maps, had ordered the trial judges to rule by Tuesday, apparently to discourage further delays in the 2022 election schedule.
 
The justices had already postponed the scheduled March 8 primary to May 17 and suspended candidate filing while the trial judges heard testimony and received filings. Maps would need to be finalized — whether under the enacted plans or with court-ordered changes — by Feb. 18 to carry out a mid-May primary, according to the State Board of Elections.
 
“At the end of the day, after carefully and fully conducting our analysis, it is clear that plaintiffs’ claims must fail,” Superior Court Judges Graham Shirley, Nathaniel Poovey and Dawn Layton wrote in the 260-page ruling.
 
With the decision, the judges showed they weren’t persuaded by the plaintiffs’ evidence from mathematicians and other political researchers. The witnesses declared the boundaries were manipulated according to the political leanings and the racial composition of voters so that, even in good Democratic years, the GOP could hold 10 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats as well as state House and Senate majorities that are almost unbreakable. That contrasts with North Carolina’s statewide elections, which are usually closely divided.
 
One mathematician, Wesley Pegden of Carnegie Mellon University, declared his algorithmic analysis found mapmakers intentionally chose maps crafted more carefully for GOP advantage than at least 99.9% — and in some cases 99.999% — of all possible alternatives. The math experts painted a picture of their algorithms showing there was little chance that the Republican advantages were anything other than intentional violations of the state constitution.
 
Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 13 congressional seats, so the state’s GOP remap could help the party take back the U.S. House. North Carolina gained a House seat for the next decade based on population growth in the 2020 census.
 
“This court neither condones the enacted maps nor their anticipated potential results,” the judges wrote. “Despite our disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our state to ridicule, this court must remind itself that these maps are the result of a democratic process.”
 
Republicans spent the trial maintaining that the redistricting process was fair and transparent and prohibited the use of racial and political data. Redistricting is in the purview of the legislature, GOP lawyers said, which is allowed under the rules to take some partisan advantage into consideration. Instead, they added, the plaintiffs want to replace the will of lawmakers with the will of computers and the discretion of its algorithm developers with maps that favor Democrats.
 
“To accept the plaintiffs’ arguments that the maps are unconstitutional on the theories advanced would necessarily mean that no partisan gerrymandering is allowed as no voter should suffer from the effects of the same,” the panel continued, stating that is contrary to state and U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
 
A similar panel of trial judges reached a different outcome in 2019, declaring there was evidence that GOP legislators created extreme partisan gerrymanders when drawing U.S. House districts in 2016 and legislative districts in 2017. The legislature redrew the maps in time for the 2020 elections. The U.S. Supreme Court had decided earlier in 2019 that it wouldn’t get involved in partisan redistricting claims, but the justices left the door open for state courts to intervene.
 
“We are confident that the people of North Carolina will ultimately prevail in our fight for fair maps,” Bob Phillips with Common Cause North Carolina — one of the lawsuits’ plaintiffs — said after the ruling’s release. The group’s attorneys vowed to appeal.
 
Poovey and Shirley are registered Republicans, while Layton is a Democrat. Four of the seven state Supreme Court justices are registered Democrats, but there are already efforts to have one of the four recuse himself from the redistricting case.
 
Republicans have asked Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV, a registered Democrat, to stay out of the deliberations as the only sitting member running for reelection this year. They say his decisions could affect the general election and “his own electability and creates a situation where his own impartiality may reasonably be questioned.”
 
Senator Berger Announces Interim Committee Assignments PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 January 2022 17:43
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) announced the interim committee assignments. 
 
"As we prepare for the short session, senators are turning their attention to interim committee work and studying issues that are facing our state," Sen. Berger said. "I appreciate their commitment to the people of North Carolina and ensuring our state continues to prosper." 
 
The interim committee appointments include:
 
Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee: Sen. Harrington (co-chair), Sen. Britt, Sen. Daniel, Sen. Galey, Sen. Steinburg, Sen. J. Jackson, Sen. Mayfield, and Sen. Waddell 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources: Sen. B. Jackson (co-chair), Sen. Sanderson (vice-chair), Sen. Edwards, Sen. Barnes, Sen. Newton, and Sen. Marcus 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements: Sen. B. Jackson (co-chair), Sen. Ballard, Sen. Harrington, Sen. Jarvis, Sen. Krawiec, Sen. Corbin, Sen. Chaudhuri, and Sen. J. Jackson      
 
Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee: Sen. Edwards (co-chair), Sen. Alexander, Sen. Ballard, Sen. Craven, Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Sawyer, Sen. Rabon, Sen. Bazemore, Sen. Lowe, and Sen. Mayfield 
 
Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee: Sen. Ballard (co-chair), Sen. Lee (vice-chair), Sen. Ford, Sen. Jarvis, Sen. Galey, Sen. Harrington, Sen. Sawyer, Sen. McInnis, Sen. Davis, Sen. Robinson, and Sen. Waddell 
 
Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee: Sen. Daniel (co-chair), Sen. Hise, Sen. Harrington, Sen. Newton, Sen. Perry, Sen. Rabon, Sen. Blue, Sen. Garrett, and Sen. Nickel 
 
Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee: Sen. Britt (co-chair), Sen. Galey, Sen. Proctor, Sen. Sanderson, Sen. Steinburg, and Sen. Crawford    
Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy: Sen. Newton (co-chair), Sen. Burgin, Sen. Craven, Sen. Sanderson, and Sen. Waddell 
 
Environmental Review Commission: Sen. Sanderson (co-chair), Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Edwards, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Proctor, Sen. Steinburg, Sen. Lowe, and Sen. Marcus 
 
Legislative Ethics Committee: Sen. Sanderson (co-chair), Sen. Johnson, Sen. Sawyer, Sen. Batch, Sen. Fitch, and Sen. Salvador 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government: Sen. Ford (co-chair), Sen. Steinburg (vice-chair), Sen. Alexander, Sen. Corbin, Sen. Murdock, and Sen. Bazemore 
 
Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations: Sen. Berger (co-chair), Sen. Ballard, Sen. Britt, Sen. Burgin, Sen. Daniel, Sen. Edwards, Sen. Ford, Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Krawiec, Sen. Lee, Sen. McInnis, Sen. Newton, Sen. Perry, Sen. Rabon, Sen. Sanderson, Sen. Sawyer, Sen. Blue, Sen. Clark, Sen. Davis, Sen. Foushee, Sen. Robinson, Sen. Harrington (ex officio), and Sen. Hise (ex officio) *Reflects appointments as of April 4, 2021
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services: Sen. Burgin (co-chair), Sen. Perry, Sen. Krawiec, Sen. Barnes, Sen. Corbin, Sen. Hise, Sen. Jarvis, Sen. Lee, Sen. Foushee, Sen. Murdock, Sen. Woodard, and Sen. Robinson (advisory member) 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology: Sen. Hise (co-chair), Sen. Alexander, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Barnes, Sen. Craven, Sen. Chaudhuri, Sen. Crawford, and Sen. Salvador 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety: Sen. Britt (co-chair), Sen. Sanderson, Sen. Daniel, Sen. Galey, Sen. Lazzara, Sen. Lee, Sen. Krawiec, Sen. Steinburg, Sen. Fitch, Sen. J. Jackson, and Sen. Mohammed 
 
Legislative Research Commission: Sen. Rabon (co-chair), Sen. Daniel, Sen. Hise, Sen. Blue, Sen. Lowe, and Sen. Berger (ex officio) 
 
Legislative Services Commission: Sen. Berger (co-chair), Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Daniel, Sen. Rabon, and Sen. Clark 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Local Government: Sen. Alexander (co-chair), Sen. McInnis, Sen. Burgin, Sen. Proctor, Sen. Lazzara, Sen. Batch, and Sen. Mohammed 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery: Sen. Harrington (co-chair), Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Jarvis, Sen. Lazzara, Sen. McInnis, Sen. Craven, and Sen. Davis 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice: Sen. Perry (co-chair), Sen. Burgin, Sen. Krawiec, Sen. Ballard, Sen. Hise, Sen. Foushee, and Sen. Robinson 
 
Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion: Sen. Krawiec (co-chair), Sen. Hise, Sen. Britt, Sen. Barnes, Sen. Corbin, Sen. Lee, Sen. Blue, Sen. deViere, and Sen. Woodard       
 
Municipal Incorporations Subcommittee of the Joint Legislative Committee on Local Government: Sen. Ford, Sen. Alexander, and Sen. Chaudhuri 
Revenue Laws Study Committee: Sen. Newton (co-chair), Sen. Daniel (vice-chair), Sen. Rabon, Sen. Edwards, Sen. Harrington, Sen. Hise, Sen. B. Jackson, Sen. Clark, Sen. Fitch, and Sen. deViere 
 
Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee: Sen. McInnis (co-chair), Sen. Sawyer (vice-chair), Sen. Britt, Sen. Ford, Sen. Harrington, Sen. Rabon, Sen. Lazzara, Sen. Proctor, Sen. deViere, Sen. Garrett, and Sen. Woodard 
 
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance: Sen. Edwards (co-chair), Sen. Newton, Sen. Perry, and Sen. Nickel    
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 January 2022 17:44
 
Speaker Names Members To Joint Committee To Study Medicaid Expansion PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 January 2022 17:33
House Speaker Tim Moore announces the formation of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion. 
 
The purpose of the Committee as identified in the 2021 State Budget is to consider various ways in which access to health care and health insurance can be improved for North Carolinians. 
 
Members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion:
 
Rep. Donny Lambeth (Co-Chairman)
Rep. Larry Potts (Vice Chairman)
Rep. Kristin Baker
Rep. Wayne Sasser
Rep. Donna White
Rep. Keith Kidwell
Rep. William Richardson
Rep. Brian Farkas
Rep. Charles Graham
 
House Speaker Tim Moore said, "Members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion will thoroughly investigate the healthcare needs in our state and explore all options to improve upon the state of healthcare in North Carolina. I have every confidence that the result of this committee's work will benefit all North Carolinians." 
 
Chairman Lambeth said, “Our committee will explore and seek solutions to critical healthcare issues with the goals of broadening access to quality health care for working people, lowering health insurance premiums for everyone, addressing the cost of uncompensated care especially for rural hospitals, and providing more affordable healthcare options to help small businesses retain employees.” 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 January 2022 17:45
 
State Offers Reward In Columbus County Multiple Murder Case PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Thursday, 23 December 2021 17:33

North Carolina is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murders of De’onde Qwabe Xavier Sadler, age 27, Mack Darren Jenkins, Jr., age 26, Kameesha Dae’zuhnaka Powell, age 20, and the assault of Ordashia Zhane McFadden, age 22.

On Saturday, July 3, 2021, Chadbourn Police Department responded to a call at Bando nightclub located at 228 Broadway Road, Chadbourn, North Carolina. Upon arrival, De’onde Qwabe Xavier Sadler and Mack Darren Jenkins, Jr., were found lying on the ground, deceased from gunshot wounds. While on the scene, Chadbourn Police Officers were advised of additional gunshot victims arriving at Columbus Regional Medical Center. Kameesha Dae’zuhnaka Powell succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The fourth gunshot victim, Ordashia Zhane McFadden survived her injuries.

Anyone having information concerning this case should contact the Chadbourn Police Department at (910) 654-4146 or the State Bureau of Investigation at (919) 662-4500. 

 
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