Dec 12th - 3:45 pm
U.S. District Judge Joi Peake said Thursday a lawsuit challenging the new law is too complicated to be resolved before the elections.
Peake said the two sides will need more time to prepare for a trial that she said might not be conducted before mid-2015.
Peake says she will consider a request from those challenging the law to block some of its provisions from taking effect until after the trial.
The U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP, and American Civil Liberties Union and others are challenging the changes, saying they appear to be designed to discourage voting by those most likely to vote for Democrats.
Dec 12th - 12:12 pm
“Government cannot solve all these problems alone, because frankly, there is no new money falling from the sky,” said McCrory.
In fact, taxes were a top issue for the new governor. With a new tax plan set to start taking effect in just a few weeks, he says he knows there will be some areas of increased charges for folks. But overall, he says, he believes it is a system that will work.
“I am going to have to pay a tax on my movie ticket now and so will you and I’m sorry,” McCrory said on Wednesday. “But in addition to the tax you already have to pay on popcorn, you are going to have pay a sales tax on your movie ticket. Which will cost you 50 cents or more for a movie. But you also will have more money in your paycheck. So it puts the decision on you on how you want to spend it…So you get to make that decision.”
McCrory says taxes were just part of what he is proud of during his first year in office. He also points to an overhaul of the transportation spending and unemployment insurance.
He says one disappointment is the failure to find money to give teachers pay raises when they have only seen a one percent raise in the past five years.
“The protests didn’t start until I got into office. Maybe that was just coincidental,” said McCrory. “But we are going to everything we can to not only get teacher pay raises, but have a long term plan on how we compensate teachers.”
He says he is not blind or deaf to the outcry from across the state to many of policies put in place in the last year, but says calling those protests “Moral Mondays” bothered him.
“That is what is wrong with politics today both in DC and Raleigh,” McCrory said. “You and I may disagree on something, but we are not going to say your position is immoral because we have a disagreement on tax reform or on education reform or on the important issues. No, we respectfully disagree on how to get to the ultimate outcome, and that is to the better of North Carolina and its people.”
McCrory says in 2014 he will push for energy reform and more fixes to the state’s Medicaid system.
Dec 12th - 12:11 pm
She was arrested Wednesday and charged with three counts of embezzlement of state property.
According to arrest warrants, she aided Carolina Family Practice in embezzling more than $47,000 in state income taxes from 2011 to 2013.
McManus resigned Wednesday. In a letter to House speaker Thom Tillis, she said she’s stepping down to focus on a personal matter, adding:
It has been one of the greatest honors and pleasures in my life to have served the people of the 54th district, and i am proud of what we have been able to accomplish. i will remain forever grateful for the opportunity to serve and for the support i have received throughout my service.
Dec 12th - 11:30 am
On Capital Tonight: Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti sits down with Gov. Pat McCrory to review his first year in office, a state lawmaker is arrested on tax charges, the state teacher union sues over school vouchers and a North Carolinian remembers Nelson Mandela. Watch the program here.
Dec 11th - 4:01 pm
Here’s a release from the Department of Revenue:
“RALEIGH – A Siler City resident was arrested Wednesday on felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
Deborah Hawkins McManus, 56, of 11 Pine Forest Drive, Siler City was charged on December 11, 2013 with three counts of embezzlement of state property.
Arrest warrants allege that McManus, as bookkeeper and responsible person of Carolina Family Practice, P.A., aided and abetted the corporation to embezzle, misapply and convert to its own use $47,369.00 in North Carolina Individual Income Tax withheld during the period January 2011 through July 2013.
McManus appeared before a Wake County magistrate and was placed under a $150,000 bond. A first appearance was scheduled for December 12, 2013 in Wake County District Court in Raleigh.
The charges against McManus resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Section in Raleigh.”
Dec 11th - 11:41 am
On Capital Tonight: Rep. Mel Watt was confirmed to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. We have the latest from Washington. The Bonner Bridge is still closed on the coast and political leaders are throwing around rhetoric at an environmental group that is challenging a bridge replacement in court. We talk with the SELC’s Derb Carter. Watch the program here.
Dec 11th - 11:40 am
The clean energy advocacy group NC WARN is asking the court to reopen an investigation into whether Duke Energy mislead state regulators.
A settlement last year closed the investigation by the NC Utilities Commission, which was prompted when the company rushed to complete the merger ahead of deadline.
The court hasn’t ruled yet on another challenge it heard in November.
That case was also brought by NC WARN which said state regulators didn’t consider the impact the merger would have on customers.
Dec 11th - 11:34 am
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Democratic Congressman Mel Watt to head the regulatory agency that controls the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It took two attempts, but the Senate on Tuesday confirmed North Carolina Democrat Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
After Senate Republicans initially blocked Watt’s confirmation this fall, Senate Democrats changed the rules, clearing the path by eliminating the use of the filibuster to block certain presidential nominees.
Watt will now serve as President Obama’s top housing regulator with oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Watt signaled his support for pushing the housing finance industry back toward the private sector and for better access to mortgages for low-income borrowers.
It’s something President Obama mentioned when nominating Watt.
“Mel has led efforts to rein in unscrupulous mortgage lenders. He’s helped protect consumers from the kind of reckless risk-taking that led to the financial crisis in the first place. And he’s fought to give more Americans in low-income neighborhoods access to affordable housing,” said President Obama.
The 68-year-old Watt wasn’t in Washington on Tuesday. He’s traveling with the U.S. delegation that attended Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa.
Watt’s confirmation sets up a scramble among Democrats to win his Congressional seat. Watt’s office was asked if the congressman had any thoughts about who should replace him in representing the state’s 12th District, but they said he had no comment at this time.
- Geoff Bennett
Dec 10th - 12:13 pm
CHARLOTTE—North Carolina congressmen Mel Watt could join President Barack Obama’s administration as the U.S. Senate is expected to confirm his nomination as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
After months of delays, U.S. Senate leaders believe they have the votes necessary to successfully confirm watt to lead the FHFA.
President Obama first nominated Watt in May 2013 to lead the agency that oversees mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Republicans in Congress questioned Watt’s qualifications to run the agency. They have also voiced opposition to Watt’s calls for more government involvement in the mortgage industry and have refused to vote to confirm him.
A recent change to Senate filibuster rules makes it harder for members of Congress to stall votes on executive and judicial nominees, which all but clears the way for a vote to confirm Watt.
The 68 year-old Watt has represented North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District since 1993.
If the Senate votes to confirm Congressman Watt, his nomination could be effective almost immediately.
However, Watt won’t be at the Capitol if the vote happens as he is a part of the congressional delegation in South Africa to attend memorial services for Nelson Mandela.
Dec 10th - 11:48 am
Since NC Tracks launched July 1, it’s been filled with problems from late payments and software glitches.
The system is supposed to process and pay more than $12 billion a year in healthcare claims for healthcare providers across the state.
In a statement, DHHS says more than 80 percent of the defects the audit uncovered have been resolved and that NC Tracks has paid almost $4.5 billion to healthcare providers in the state. It also said that the number of defects is significantly less for a software system similar to NC Tracks.
But State Auditor Beth Wood recommends the agency come up with a time frame to fix the issues.
“They have this tool out there but they’re not tracking. They’re not using it to make sure that CSC the vendor is fixing this in a timely fashion,” Wood said.
The audit also highlighted a perception of bias within NC Tracks.
It uncovered a situation in which a state employee who worked closely with CSC quit and then immediately began working with the vendor.
Wood called it a conflict of interest and says the cooling off period needs to be looked at.
Read the full audit report here.
- Diana Bosch