State Government
N.C. Lawmakers Intervene In Lawsuit To Protect Opportunity Scholarships PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 28 October 2020 09:00
Leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly intervened in ongoing litigation on Monday to protect education access for working-class families during the pandemic. 
 
The lawsuit legislative leaders are intervening in seeks to eliminate the state’s Opportunity Scholarships for students, which provides income-based scholarships of up to $4,200 for low- and middle-income families to send their child to a school that best fits his or her needs. 
 
The move to online-only school during the pandemic has highlighted the immense need for the Opportunity Scholarship program. Well-off families are able to afford additional resources like at-home tutors and top-of-the-line technology, while low-income families are struggling to keep up. 
 
Those that oppose the Opportunity Scholarship want to reserve school choice for only the privileged few who can afford it. 
 
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) asked a court to dismiss the constitutional challenge to the program that was previously upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2015. 
 
The state General Assembly recently expanded Opportunity Scholarships to thousands of additional North Carolina families through bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation. 
 
The expansion eliminated the cap on the amount of new awards that may be distributed to students entering kindergarten and the 1st grade and set new income eligibility guidelines that allow thousands more families to qualify for the scholarships' education access. 
 
Under the new guidelines, a family of four earning up to $72,000 would qualify for the scholarships beginning in 2021. 
 
Speaker Moore and Senator Berger released a joint statement: 
 
“Lawmakers are taking action to protect education access for all North Carolina families during this pandemic," they said. 
 
"It is becoming harder and harder for families to find schools they can enroll in to meet the needs of their children and eliminating Opportunity Scholarships would remove yet another option for families.
 
“School choice shouldn’t be just an option for rich families who can supplement online learning. Low- and moderate-income children deserve the same access to educational opportunities as their well-off peers. 
 
“The legislature just took bipartisan action to expand the program for families who are in crisis, and we will defend this vital program for young North Carolina students." 
 
 
NC Legislative Leaders Ask US Supreme Court To Toss Out Absentee Ballot Counting Extension PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 28 October 2020 08:52

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay approval of a secretive settlement deal that changed state election laws after voting already began.

The secretive settlement deal eliminated the witness requirement for absentee ballots and extended the deadline by which absentee ballots must be received to nine days after Election Day.

The deal was worked out in secret between the Democratic Party-controlled N.C. State Board of Elections, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, and Democratic Party super-lawyer Marc Elias.

It's clear that the allied Democrats struck the deal in secret because Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore, who are co-defendants in the case, did not know about the existence of negotiations, much less a settlement, until the deal until was publicly announced.

Attorney General Stein is on the ballot this year. He negotiated changes to the rules of his own election after ballots had already been cast. He has refused to turn over public records surrounding the negotiations with Marc Elias.

Last week, legislative leaders concluded a parallel track in federal court by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an injunction of the mid-election rules changes agreed to in the secret settlement.

 

 

 
NC Trooper Named National Trooper Of The Year PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 11:48

Tthe International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Motorola Solutions named Trooper Daniel Harrell from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol as the IACP/Motorola Solutions 2019 Trooper of the Year. He was chosen from among four very worthy finalists serving state and provisional agencies in the United States and Canada. 

In the announcement, the IACP and Motorola described Trooper Harrell’s bravery and dedication to serving the people of North Carolina:

“On Monday January 14, 2019, at approximately 5:21 p.m., Trooper Daniel Harrell, a five-year veteran of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, was patrolling his assigned area of Wilson County. As Trooper Harrell was finishing a traffic stop, he observed a vehicle traveling north bound on US301 improperly towing another vehicle. Trooper Harrell conducted a traffic stop, made contact with the driver and passenger, and informed the driver of the infraction. Both the driver and passenger were unable to produce their licenses or identification and drove off in an attempt to escape Trooper Harrell. A short chase ensued, then the driver pulled over. As Trooper Harrell was preparing to exit his patrol car, the driver leaned out of his vehicle and opened fire. The suspect fired approximately four shots, striking Trooper Harrell twice in the face. Trooper Harrell was able to immediately return fire and continued to stay engaged while providing vital information to the communications center. The suspect then drove away and Trooper Harrell continued to pursue the suspect. After a short chase, the suspect stopped to disconnect the towed vehicle. Trooper Harrell engaged the suspect with gunfire, however the suspect drove off again. The suspect then realized that they could not outrun Trooper Harrell. At this time, the suspect made a U-turn with the vehicle and collided head on with Trooper Harrell’s vehicle. The collision disabled Trooper Harrell’s patrol car. Despite this, Trooper Harrell continued to engage the suspect with gunfire again before the suspect was able to flee on foot. Thanks to the description Trooper Harrell provided, the involved suspects were located and arrested the night of the incident and no further persons were injured.”

United States Attorney Higdon commented: “Trooper Daniel Harrell is truly a hero; a dedicated public servant who laid his life on the line to enforce the Rule of Law and to protect the citizens of North Carolina.  He represents the selfless men and women of the North Carolina Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies all across North Carolina who give their all to keep our communities safe every day.  The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office congratulate Trooper Harrell as he receives this great honor and we thank him for his service every day.”

The individual who attempted to kill Trooper Harrell was prosecuted for firearms violations here in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  He received a sentence of ten years.  Charges related to the attempted murder of Trooper Harrell are pending the North Carolina state court system. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2020 11:49
 
Thirteen State Employees Honored With Governor’s Awards For Excellence PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 11:37

Thirteen state employees from nine state agencies and universities were honored with Governor’s Awards for Excellence today during a virtual online ceremony. The highest honor a state employee may receive for dedicated service to the state and the people of North Carolina, the awards recognize accomplishments and actions that are outside of the usual scope of their job duties.

Presented virtually at 10 a.m. due to pandemic restrictions on large gatherings, Governor Roy Cooper announced that two honorees were selected to receive the prestigious Spirit of North Carolina Award. Given only twice since the Governor’s Awards for Excellence program was created in 1982, the category recognizes exceptional contributions over the course of a distinguished career.

“The Spirit of North Carolina Award is given to those who exemplify the state motto: esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem,” Governor Cooper said in congratulating Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, retired Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard who now serves as Senior Advisor at the Department of Public Safety, and Ronnie Condrey, Special Advisor at the Office of State Human Resources.

State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson commended all 2020 honorees during the event, which may be viewed any time via YouTube.


“Public service is the perfect fit for our honorees. They thrive in settings where they get to be innovative: to fix things others said couldn’t be fixed, to lend a hand when a solution seems out of reach, or to rush in where others fear to tread,” Gibson said. “I think of Governor’s Award for Excellence recipients as superheroes for the public good.”

Coworkers and leadership across state government and the University System submitted 422 nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Excellence, with a statewide committee narrowing the highly competitive field to the 13 employees recognized today. The annual event is made possible by funding from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation.

A description of each recipient's winning qualities and videos that share their story are posted to the Office of State Human Resources website: s://os.nc.gov/2020-governors-award-excellence-recipients

The 2020 Governor’s Awards for Excellence honorees are based at the following agencies and universities:

Spirit of North Carolina

Ronnie Condrey, Office of State Human Resources (Raleigh)

Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, North Carolina National Guard, Department of Public Safety (Raleigh) Customer Service

Michelle Gordon, North Carolina Central University School of Law (Durham)


Efficiency and Innovation

Ozie Stallworth, Department of Secretary of State (Raleigh)

 

Human Relations

Toy Lambeth, North Carolina Zoo, Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (Asheboro)

 

Outstanding State Government Service

Ted Campbell, Department of Environmental Quality (Asheville)

Simone Chessa, Broughton Hospital, Department of Health and Human Services (Morganton)

Rodney Parker, Alcohol Law Enforcement, Department of Public Safety (Elizabeth City)

 

Public Service

Angela Clark, Juvenile Justice Division, Department of Public Safety (Morganton)

Dr. Anne Dickerson, East Carolina University (Greenville)

 

Safety and Heroism

Trooper Alex Chehaitli, State Highway Patrol, Department of Public Safety (Reidsville)

Assistant Special Agent in Charge/Bomb Squad Commander Timothy Luper, State Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety (Raleigh)

Capt. Steve Bullins, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Enforcement Division (Elkin

 
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