NC Politics in the News - August 2020 #3

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Agriculture

WITN: Agriculture workers get protective equipment to slow spread of COVID-19
Farmers in several counties across our state will receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and others from the continuing spread of the coronavirus. Pitt County is just one of 31 counties in North Carolina to get the Personal Protective Equipment that will be given to agriculture workers.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Cooper tells Latino community he'll issue executive order to protect essential workers
Social distancing, proper sanitation and other necessary measures to protect agricultural workers from contagion by COVID-19 in their homes and transportation, in addition to providing testing in migrant agricultural worker camps, as well as greater protection in meatpacking plants were some of the commitments that Cooper made Thursday evening to close to a thousand members of the North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations (NCCLO), an advocacy coalition.


Economic Development

SPECTRUM NEWS: Healthcare Systems in Virginia, North Carolina Plan to merge
Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare and North Carolina-based Cone Health have announced plans to merge, a move that would pair systems with a combined worth of $11.5 billion. After about 18 months of talks, the Norfolk-based company took the first step on Tuesday toward consolidating its finances with Cone, Sentara CEO Howard Kern told The Virginian-Pilot.

TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL: NC unemployed got $4.6 billion from feds
When it was all said and done, North Carolina doled out more than $4.63 billion in the form of $600 weekly payments via federal unemployment supplements. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which expired at the end of the July, helped hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who've found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.


Education

SPECTRUM NEWS: District-By-District: Explore Map of Public School Reopening Plans Across N.C.
Students across North Carolina head back to school Monday in the state’s 116 public school districts. The coronavirus shuttered schools in the spring, and many districts are reopening for online instruction at least for the first weeks of the school year. State education officials gave school districts options on how to reopen based on local coronavirus conditions. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC schools start Monday in 'uncharted territory.' What to expect and what's uncertain.
North Carolina’s public schools will reopen Monday, amid concerns about the quality of education that the state’s 1.5 million students will get during the coronavirus pandemic. More than two-thirds of the state’s K-12 students are beginning the school year with only online classes in a virtual environment that’s still unfamiliar to many of their teachers. 

WLOS: N.C. education board won't expand virtual charter enrollment
A closely divided North Carolina Board of Education has refused to let two statewide virtual charter schools expand their enrollment this year to meet higher demand for online instruction with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Environment

CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality denies key permit for MVP Southgate project
N.C. environmental regulators have rejected a water quality permit for the proposed 75-mile MVP Southgate project that would extend the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia into Piedmont North Carolina. Sec. Michael Regan of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality calls it “an unnecessary project that poses unnecessary risks to our environment.” 


Health

ABC 11: How North Carolina ended up with 283,500 vials of unusable COVID-19 testing material from the federal government
Thousands of vials containing material critical for COVID-19 testing arrived in North Carolina potentially contaminated and unusable. North Carolina Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported receiving 283,500 vials of unusable material from the federal government over the last few months.

THE OUTER BANKS VOICE: Tracking the recent decline in NC COVID cases
While emphasizing the need to remain vigilant against COVID-19, and warning of a possible spike in the fall, both North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen pointed to recently improving numbers at an Aug. 13 briefing. And in terms of new cases reported, there has been noticeable improvement.


Government

WXII 12: North Carolina judge denies Lt. Gov. Forest's injunction to reopen more of that state's economy
A judge has denied an injunction sought by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to reopen sectors of the North Carolina economy that have been shut down for months to limit the spread of the coronavirus, according to NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Confusion for unemployed NC workers, after Trump orders new benefits
Despite millions of people still being out of work because of coronavirus shutdowns, the additional federal unemployment benefits of $600 a week ended at the start of this month.


Politics

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC gets a 'D' rating for its low number of women in politics
The number of women serving in North Carolina elected offices hasn’t changed much over the past five years, earning the state a “D” rating on the latest report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Prosecutors want stiff sentence for NC billionaire Greg Lindberg's 'brazen' bribery scheme
Greg Lindberg should spend 14 years in prison for attempting to bribe Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in 2018, federal prosecutors said in a Wednesday court filing.

SPECTRUM NEWS: Pandemic Influencing Voter Opinions as N.C. Becomes Battleground State
With the election less than three months away, polling data show a toss-up in the race between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden in North Carolina. The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham is also very close.


Transportation

RHINO TIMES: Mike Fox To Continue To Chair NC Board of Transportation
Greensboro attorney Mike Fox has been reappointed as chair of the North Carolina Board of Transportation by Gov. Roy Cooper. Or it might be more accurate to say that Fox has been appointed chairman of the new North Carolina Board of Transportation (NCBOT), since this board has more power and a different composition than the previous board that Fox had chaired since 2017.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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