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State Government
Bill Would Provide $1 Million In Scholarships For Children Of Fallen Military Members PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:27

Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) and Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) filed a bill today that would provide $1 million in grant money to fund college scholarships for children of military service members who are killed or gravely injured while on active duty.

Under House Bill 475 and its companion, Senate Bill 376, the North Carolina Patriot Star Family Scholarship Program would be administered over a period of two years by the Patriot Foundation, a N.C.-based non-profit group that has already provided more than 1,800 scholarships to the children of fallen and disabled soldiers since it was founded in 2003.

With the fourth largest active duty military population of any state, North Carolina is home to a disproportionate number of families who have had loved ones killed or wounded in the Global War on Terror. The Foundation estimates that, when PTSD and traumatic brain injury cases are taken into account, the number of casualties since 2001 from Ft. Bragg alone could be 50,000.

“The families of these fallen and disabled soldiers are living in our midst right now and we must help them,” said Arp.“What better way to honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice than to support the families they’ve left behind? It’s really a moral imperative.”

Brown agreed that we have a duty to support the families of those who defend our nation.

“For the parents who have to fac the possibility of being deployed to dangerous war zones, let’s at least let them know that we stand ready to support them and their families,” Brown said.

The Patriot Foundation is an all-volunteer organization that is GuideStar Gold-level certified for transparency, with well over 90 percent of the funds they raise going directly to help soldiers’ families. It is managed and advised by some of our most decorated retired military leaders, and it is supported by more than two dozen major corporate sponsors.

“This is truly important work. We’ve found the right partner to do it with,”said Arp.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:28
 
Bill Would Create New Charge For Opioid Dealers: Death By Distribution PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:21

epresentative Dean Arp (R-Union) and Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) filed a bill today that would create a new charge known as death by distribution for drug dealers who supply lethal drugs that result in overdose deaths.

Current state laws limit prosecutors’ ability to charge drug dealers in overdose cases with first- or second-degree murder. Typically, such cases result in involuntary manslaughter charges, which can carry a sentence of just 10 to 20 months.

Under Arp and Brown’s bill, House Bill 474 and Senate Bill 375, a death by distribution charge could be brought against a drug dealer where death results from their distribution of an opioid, methamphetamine or cocaine.

Simple death by distribution would come with a sentence roughly the same as the sentence for voluntary manslaughter – 3 ½ to 7 ½ years. For aggravated death by distribution, for drug dealers with prior convictions, the sentence would be 8 to 17 years – the same sentence as second-degree murder.

Unlike first- or second-degree murder charges, death by distribution would not require prosecutors to prove malice, or intent to kill.

“With the recent surge in drug deaths due to opioids such fentanyl, prosecutors have told us that they need another weapon in their arsenal to deter drug dealing,” Arp said. “This won’t take away from our efforts to provide drug treatment and education, but it will ensure that anyone who is working against us by supplying lethal drugs to vulnerable people will be treated like the murderers they are.”

Brown emphasized the need for this bill in North Carolina to fight the growing opioid epidemic.

“Law enforcement has told us that they need another tool in their toolbox to combat this scourge,” Brown said.“We must do everything we can to stop the people who prey on that human weakness for profit.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:25
 
AAA Supports Bill That Would Ban Using A Phone While Driving PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 13:32
AAA Carolinas supports proposed legislation in North Carolina that would make it illegal to use hand-held communication devices, such as cell phones, behind the wheel while driving. 
 
Rep.Kevin Corbin (R- Macon) filed HB 144, titled “Hands Free NC,” in the House today, in response to mounting traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving. Reps. John Torbett (R-Gaston), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Garland Pierce (D-Scotland) are also sponsoring the bill.
 
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted research that revealed distracted driving, especially cell phone use, can be just as dangerous, or even worse than drunk driving.
 
“If participating in dangerous behaviors such as texting on a hand-held device while driving is equivalent to drunk driving, why would those actions remain legal behind the wheel?” said Dave Parsons, AAA Carolinas President and CEO. “We support this proposed legislation and urge lawmakers to pass this bill to combat the distracted driving epidemic in an effort to save lives and make our roads safer for everyone.”
 
According to NCDOT, in 2018 there were 123 fatalities coded as a result of distracted driving. However, AAA Carolinas believes the numbers are higher because the behavior is difficult to prove and motorists won’t readily admit to doing it. Last year, there were also 102 rear end fatal crashes and 733 lane departure fatalities. Rear end and lane departure collisions are a common result from distracted driving.  
 
Since texting while driving is difficult to prove, the Hands Free NC bill will give law enforcement the ability to stop drivers simply for holding their phone, whereas in the past they would have to have a secondary reason like speeding or not wearing a seat belt. 
The bill carries a $100 fine for the first offense, $150 fine and insurance points for the second and $200 and insurance points for the third. 
 
“We’d love to see all of the Carolinas become hands-free and are pleased that lawmakers in both states are considering this type of life-saving legislation,” added Parsons. 
 
 
Cities And Towns Get Hurricane Florence Recovery Funds PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 11:03
Eleven towns, cities and counties working to recover from Hurricane Florence have been awarded more than $16.5 million in grants and no-interest loans, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. This brings to $24.5 million the total provided through state-funded grant and loan programs launched to assist local governments that are struggling financially due to storm impacts.  
 
“Communities are working hard to rebuild and many need financial help to get through this difficult time,” Gov. Cooper said. “These funds are available to towns, cities and counties so they can continue to meet the needs of their residents as they recover from Hurricane Florence.”
 
The grants and loans are available to local governments through the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR).
 
Grants of up to $1 million are available to eligible local governments to provide short-term assistance with everyday operating expenses, such as general payroll, certain non-disaster-related vendor payments, and debt service. Grant funds can also be used to provide additional capacity for disaster recovery by funding up to two time-limited positions, contracting for disaster recovery services, and purchasing a vehicle.
 
Eligible local governments can also apply for no-interest loans of up to $2 million to assist with covering disaster-related expenses while waiting for reimbursement from various federal disaster response, recovery, and resiliency programs. Approved local governments would repay the loan principal amount upon receipt of federal reimbursement.
 
Both programs are ongoing and use funds from the State Disaster Recovery Act. There is no deadline for applications, but NCORR will stop taking applications once all funds are awarded.
 
Today’s announcement includes grants and loans to the following towns, cities and counties to help with operating costs and recovery expenses:
 
Grants
Atlantic Beach: $500,000
Boardman: $200,000
Jones County: $1 million
Maysville: $450,000
Lumberton: $500,000
Bladenboro: $500,000
Emerald Isle: $370,000
Trenton: $405,000
Elizabethtown: $500,000
 
Loans
Boardman: $130,000
Boiling Spring Lakes: $2 million
Jones County: $2 million
Pamlico County: $2 million
Lumberton: $2 million
Emerald Isle: $2 million
Elizabethtown: $2 million
 
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