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State Government
DA Named New Chair of Crime Commission PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 15:00
District Attorney Robert A. Evans of the Seventh Judicial District has been named the new chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission.
“District Attorney Evans will bring deep knowledge of the justice system and law enforcement along with even-handed judgment to guide the 44 members of the Crime Commission,” Governor Roy Cooper  said. “I’m grateful that D.A. Evans is willing to take on this challenging and crucial role on behalf of our state.”
Evans has been the district attorney for Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties since 2009.  He served as a District Court judge from 1999 to 2008.  Prior to that time, he maintained a general law practice in Rocky Mount that focused on trial and appellate work.
Evans graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High School in 1970.  He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974, and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977.
Evans has served on numerous civic committees and he is the past president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, having served as president from 2014 to 2015.
The Governor's Crime Commission serves as the chief advisory body to the governor and the secretary of the Department of Public Safety on crime and justice issues.  The Commission sets program priorities and reviews and makes recommendations to the governor for grant awards. 
Commission members are comprised of leaders in statewide criminal justice and human service agencies, representatives from the courts, law enforcement, local government, the General Assembly, non-profit agencies, private citizens and youth representatives.  
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 15:12
Cooper's Budget Will Increase Spending PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 14:57
Governor Roy Cooper recommended budget for 2017-2019 will increase spending by 5 percent to invest in education, health care, economic development and public safety without raising taxes or fees.
Cooper's budget maintains North Carolina’s Triple A bond rating with responsible fiscal management including an investment of $300 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. It offers relief to middle class families by restoring the state’s Child and Dependent Care tax credit.
“These goals don’t come with party labels,” Governor Cooper said. “They’re universal and bipartisan, and I’m ready to work with legislative leaders to accomplish them.”
Raise Teacher Pay
Governor Cooper’s budget puts North Carolina on a path to lead all southeastern states in teacher pay in three years and reach the national average in five years. His budget calls for an additional $271 million each of the next two years to raise teacher salaries, the largest investment in teacher pay in a decade. That equates to a more than 5% average increase for teachers in 2017-18 and 2018-19. For more about teacher pay, click here.
Governor Cooper also wants to invest $20 million for 6.5% salary increases for principals and assistant principals, and provide all classroom teachers with an annual stipend of $150 for school supplies. The budget would draw talented North Carolina students into teaching by establishing the Best and Brightest Scholarship, providing $10,000 per year for four years to students who commit to teach in a North Carolina public school after graduation.
Make North Carolina a Top 10 Educated State
Becoming a more educated state is necessary for North Carolina to compete for good-paying jobs. Governor Cooper’s forward-thinking plan aims to have North Carolina rank in the top 10 in these categories by 2025:
Early Childhood: Increase pre-kindergarten enrollment from 22% to 55%.
K-12: Improve high school graduation rate from 85.6% to 91%.
Higher Education: Increase percentage of adults with higher education degrees from 38.7% to 55%.
For a fact sheet on Governor Cooper’s plan to make North Carolina a Top 10 Educated State, click here.
Governor Cooper proposes key budget investments in early childhood education including nearly 4,700 more slots for children to attend NC Pre-K to eliminate the current waitlist, $15 million more for Smart Start so students begin school ready to learn, and restoring the Child Care Tax Credit so working families can afford quality child care.
To improve K-12 schools, the budget invests $30 million of lottery funds in more classroom support staff, new textbooks and digital learning materials. It also includes $15 million to help transform low-performing schools.
To make higher education more attainable, Governor Cooper proposes free community college through NC GROW (Getting Ready for Opportunities in the Workforce) Scholarships. Starting in 2018, these scholarships would cover last-dollar tuition and fees for recent high school graduates to attend a North Carolina Community College. In addition, the budget invests $18 million in workforce training for the jobs of tomorrow, with up to $1,000 in financial assistance available per student to pursue non-credit, short-term workforce credentials.
“Reaching the Top 10 in these three categories is critical to our economic competitiveness and to the wellbeing of our citizens,” Governor Cooper said.
A Healthier, Safer North Carolina
Governor Cooper’s budget aims to help North Carolina and its people grow healthier by expanding Medicaid to cover an additional 624,000 individuals and inject more than $4 billion into our economy annually, without additional state costs. The budget also redirects $12 million to combat the opioid crisis with community services for approximately 2,500 individuals statewide, along with $2 million for local law enforcement efforts to fight opioid abuse.
To boost community safety, the budget includes $7 million in Justice Reinvestment activities such as hiring 56 new probation officers. It also provides $10 million to help people getting out of prison transition back to society through behavioral treatment, local re-entry councils and transitional housing support.
For a healthier environment, Governor Cooper’s budget invests $2 million for better sediment and erosion control, dam safety, mining and water resources and boosts recurring funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
“All of these investments in education, health, safety, and the environment contribute to a robust economy that’s better for working people,” Governor Cooper said.
More Money in People’s Pockets
Governor Cooper’s budget puts more money in people’s pockets with investments in economic development, innovation, infrastructure, and public employees.
Governor Cooper’s proposed budget includes the largest pay raise for state employees in nearly a decade. State employees not on the state teacher salary schedule would see recurring pay raises of 2% or $800, whichever is greater, along with a one-time bonus of $500. It provides $16 million to bring state salaries up to market rates, and improves pay for critical public safety positions like State Troopers, Magistrates, and SBI and ALE agents. It also includes a 1.5% one-time cost of living adjustment for state retirees and shores up the State Health Plan and Retirement System.
In addition, it invests $7 million to allow state law enforcement officers to retire with full benefits at 25 years of service, a long-time goal of Governor Cooper’s.
Programs to boost North Carolina’s economy include $30 million to develop sites for employers to locate in North Carolina counties where good jobs are needed the most and $20 million to acquire sites for major manufacturing centers. Another $20 million would increase broadband access in under-served communities, and $22 million is slated to develop safe, affordable housing for people with low and moderate incomes.
North Carolina’s creative economy would benefit from converting the current Film and Entertainment Grant Program to a Film Tax Incentive to encourage the production of motion pictures, television shows, and commercials that pump millions of dollars into local economies. To encourage research and innovation, Governor Cooper’s budget invests $10 million to help universities identify promising technologies and get them to market.
To modernize North Carolina’s infrastructure, Governor Cooper’s budget invests $150 million in additional funding for strategic transportation needs and $83 million for road maintenance. The budget also recommends a $351 million bond package for to renovate key buildings in state government and universities.  
“This budget is about coming together to find common ground to help all North Carolinians become better educated, healthier, and putting more money in their pockets,” Governor Cooper said.
Disaster Recovery
To help North Carolina rebuild from Hurricane Matthew, the western wildfires and other natural disasters, Governor Cooper’s budget includes investments so the state can be flexible and continue to assess unmet needs. North Carolina continues to work with its Congressional delegation to secure more assistance for rebuilding. Governor Cooper’s priorities include helping families transition from temporary housing to more stable homes and rebuilding roads, bridges and dams.
“This help can make sure that affected families get back into permanent housing, children are able to focus on school again, and repairs are made to damaged roads and bridges,” Governor Cooper said.
Cooper Wants Republicans To Negotiate HB2 Comprimise PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 27 February 2017 11:03
In a social media post, Governor Roy Cooper called on Republican legistlative leaders to come to the negotiating table to hammer out a solution to the repeal of House Bill 2. His statement follows. 
There is urgency in the air in Raleigh. If we don’t repeal HB2 soon, North Carolina will be shut out of hosting NCAA championships for the next several years.
I did not create this crisis. Republicans did, passing HB2 in just 12 hours. In December, Speaker Moore, Senator Berger and I made an agreement: I would persuade the Charlotte City Council to repeal their ordinance, and they would get the House and Senate to repeal HB2. I kept my promise; they did not.
After recently proposing my own solution to repeal HB2, Rep. Chuck McGrady has introduced a different proposal. People are urging me and the legislature to work this out. I think we can, but we have to make a commonsense adjustment first.
While there are several parts of this proposal that I don’t favor, one particular portion will likely have the effect of prolonging the stain on our great state’s reputation. Rep. McGrady’s proposal says that when cities pass their own non-discrimination ordinances, opponents can collect small number of signatures on petitions to put these LGBT protections up for a vote in a referendum election.
I have two concerns with this. First, it subjects the rights of the minority to a vote of the majority. It would be like putting the Civil Rights Act to a popular vote in cities in the South during the 1960s. Except today, it would come with the perils of modern campaigns. Which is my second concern. Imagine the endless campaigning — months of one side demonizing the other about whether LGBT citizens have rights. Toxic 30-second TV ads. Nasty mail filling up your mailbox. And North Carolina is still in the national news for all the wrong reasons.
Our reputation will continue to suffer. And our efforts to bring back jobs and sporting events will be impaired.
We can find another way to address Republican concerns about local governments. For example, the state could require cities that want to add LGBT protections to approve them by majority-plus-one votes. I’ve suggested this to Republican leaders and Speaker Moore, even though I don’t like it, but they are unwilling to negotiate on anything without these referendums. But just as I was in December, I’m ready to compromise to erase this damaging law. We just need Republicans to come to the table, too.
Unfortunately, rather than truly working together, Republican leaders introduced this “bipartisan compromise” by promising Democrats that the referendum provision could be removed and then going back on that promise.
Some groups have rallied around this “bipartisan compromise.” Some of them have spent a year on the sidelines, but now they have issued statements at the 11th hour demanding a last-minute agreement. Unfortunately, they too have been misled. This is not a Republican compromise with Democrats; it’s a Republican compromise with Republicans. Repealing HB2 will require bipartisanship, but Rep. McGrady’s proposal is not a true bipartisan compromise. I thank Rep. McGrady for continuing to meet and talk with my staff and me. But he should know that his proposal will not have enough votes to pass without changes.
Let’s be clear. Today Republican super-majorities control the legislature. They could repeal HB2 without a single Democratic vote. I have proposed multiple compromises. Speaker Moore has been publicly silent. But I’ll work to bring every single Democratic legislator to support an effective compromise that does not include a referendum.
Time is running short, but we can reach an agreement — if Speaker Moore provides leadership to his own caucus.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 February 2017 11:11
Governor Cooper And AG Stein Withdraw From Voting Reform Case Up For U.S Supreme Court Review PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 12:45
Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein have taken steps to withdraw the state’s petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court of State of North Carolina V. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP which challenge voting reforms law enacted in 2013. 
A Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel overturned that law last year, charging the members of the General Assembly purposely sought to limit ballot box access for African Americans. 
The State Board of Elections, its individual members, and its Executive Director will remain in the case. The U.S Supreme Court is scheduled to take its first review of the case at its March 3rd conference.

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