State Government
Film Grants Fuel Strong Film Production Start In 2021th Carolina PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:51
After pressing pause in 2020, film production has resumed in North Carolina with six recent grant recipients. With production levels at a six-year high so far this year, the latest productions to be announced as North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant recipients will have a combined spend of more than $134.8 million in the state while creating in excess of 5,700 job opportunities, including 1,681 well-paying crew positions for the state’s highly skilled film professionals. 
 
“The film industry has been able to safely resume production and we are pleased to see more productions coming to our state,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Film activity provides good jobs and opportunities for local businesses, while also providing a compelling global showcase for North Carolina and its abundant natural beauty.”
 
LD Entertainment, whose N.C.-filmed production “Words on Bathroom Walls” was recently released, returns to the Tar Heel State with a new feature-length film “I.S.S.” The thriller features six astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and follows their actions after receiving distressing information from Earth that threatens their missions and their lives. Filmed in Wilmington at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, this project has been approved for a rebate up to $3.6 million.
 
The second grantee, which has been approved for a rebate of up to $8 million, is the Lionsgate Television series “This Country.” The series is set to air on FOX, and recently wrapped filming with location shoots taking place throughout New Hanover and Pender counties.
Blumhouse Entertainment also returns to the state with the feature “Static”, a story about a young boy who fights to escape the clutches of a serial killer with the help of past victims through a magic phone. The production is approved for a rebate up to $4.7 million after filming in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Columbus counties.
 
Also returning to the state for filming is Lionsgate’s project “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” a film based on Judy Blume’s best-selling novel. Production begins this Spring in the greater Charlotte area and has been approved for a grant rebate up to $7 million.
 
Finally, the Charlotte area is the backdrop for the independent feature “Evolution”. Approved for a film rebate of up to $3 million, the feature tells the story of a mom determined to find a way forward for her family when her daredevil teenage son suffers a freak accident, finding hope from the most unexpected source.
In addition to the five projects currently in production or that recently completed production, a grant award has also been extended to another Blumhouse feature-film production. This yet-to-be-named project has been approved for a grant of up to $7 million and will begin production in the second half of 2021 after being pushed from 2020 due to COVID-19.
 
“Despite some setbacks last year, it’s great to see filming in the state finish strong in 2020 with projects to help kickstart what is expected to be a very successful 2021,” added North Carolina Film Office director Guy Gaster. “As our film professionals follow proper safety protocols and guidance, the industry is able to help create substantial economic opportunities in the communities in which they film.”
 
In addition to the announced grant recipients, production continues with two other grantees, “Virginia Cold Case” and the second season of the television series “Hightown”, and recently wrapped on grant-receiving series “Delilah”. Several non-grant recipient productions for national commercials and reality series as well as work done by local filmmakers have also been taking place since the industry’s restart. 
 
The North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant provides financial assistance to attract feature film and television productions that will stimulate economic activity and create jobs in the state. Production companies receive no money up front and must meet direct in-state spending requirements to qualify for grant funds. The program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and promoted by the North Carolina Film Office, part of VisitNC and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
 
Cashwell Appointed As Department of Administration Secretary PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:48
Governor Roy Cooper appointed N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Chief Deputy Secretary and Senior Policy Advisor Pamela Brewington Cashwell to lead the Department of Administration as Secretary. She will serve in the post formerly held by Machelle Sanders, who now leads the N.C. Department of Commerce as Secretary.
 
“Pam Cashwell’s wealth of experience has prepared her to lead the agency that state government relies on for many critical support functions,” said Governor Cooper. “Her goal-oriented approach will help ensure efficient state government operations as well as advocacy and equity programs that benefit all North Carolinians.”
 
“I am humbled and honored to continue my service to the people of North Carolina in this new role as Secretary of the Department of Administration. I look forward to working with the Department’s excellent team of employees, passionate groups of advocates across the state and the many state agencies the Department serves every day,” said Brewington Cashwell.
 
Pamela Brewington Cashwell will be the first American Indian woman to head a state cabinet department in the state’s history.
In her current role, Brewington Cashwell serves as Senior Policy Advisor and Chief Deputy Secretary for Professional Standards, Policy and Planning at the Department of Public Safety, overseeing the Office of Special Investigations, Internal Audit, Communications, Private Protective Services, and Policy and Strategic Planning.
 
She formerly served as assistant director at the State Ethics Commission, as a trial attorney and attorney advisor in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
 
The North Carolina native graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor in Economics and a Juris Doctorate. Brewington Cashwell, who is Lumbee and Coharie, has long been an advocate for American Indian and women's issues and currently serves on the University’s Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the Women’s Leadership Council.
 
She serves on the State Reentry Council Collaborative, the N.C. Joint Cyber Security Task Force and was appointed by Governor Cooper to serve on the Human Trafficking Commission. In her new role, she will serve on numerous advocacy commissions.
 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:49
 
GOP Senators Introduce Voter Integrity Act PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 25 March 2021 11:55
The NC Senate released Senate Bill 326 the first election integrity reform of the 2021 session that includes enough significant improvements that we’re likely to see a Cooper veto and a protracted override fight.
 
The primary sponsors Senators Warren Daniel, Paul Newton, and Ralph Hise, called their bill, “the Election Integrity Act,” but at only five pages, we can be sure to see more provisions added through committee mark-ups and amendments.
 
Here are the key features of the bill:
 
    Prohibits county election boards from receiving private funding from groups like Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Technology and Civic Life, which targeted money to increase voter turnout only in heavily Democrat cities and nearly doubled the entire election budget for Philadelphia in 2020’s election;

 

    Establishes a $5 million fund to ensure the availability of voter ID cards that “shall include a mobile component to visit voters identified as needing photo identification to ensure photo identification is created for those voters.;
 
    Rolls back the absentee ballot request deadline by one week, from the Tuesday before Election Day to the second Tuesday before Election Day;

 

    Moved the ballot receipt deadline from three days after Election Day to on Election Day, which is more in line with many other states.
 
In a measure that will be sure to draw fire from the other side, the deadline changes (numbers 3 & 4 above) were not mentioned in the bill’s long title, but those deadline changes are critical, given the increased pressure for election officials to include prepaid postage on the ballot-return envelops.
 
Voter Integrity Project earlier reported on how prepaid postage envelopes are seldom (if ever) postmarked by the US Postal Service and rolling back the deadlines will ensure that non-postmarked envelopes are not flooding into election offices (and being counted) days after the election results are announced.
 
Bottom line: Senate Bill 326 is a reasonable bill that would garner widespread bipartisan support in a sane world . . . and there’s the catch.
 
 
House Passes Protections Against Eminent Domain PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 25 March 2021 11:35
A supermajority of the North Carolina House of Representatives approved a proposed constitutional amendment on Thursday that would strengthen private property rights against eminent domain land takings if approved by voters in 2022. 
 
House Bill 271 Eminent Domain is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union), Rep. Steve Tyson (R-Craven), and Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union). 
 
The bill proposes the North Carolina Constitution be amended to prohibit condemnation of private property except for a "public use" and to require the payment of just compensation for the property taken in an amount to be determined by jury trial, if requested, by any party. Current law allows condemnation for "public use or benefit." 
 
The bill also makes statutory changes to detail the purpose for which property may be taken by eminent domain as "public use," and clarifies the types of construction projects for which private property may be acquired by eminent domain by public and private condemnors. It would permit condemnors to acquire property by eminent domain for the connection of utility customers. 
 
Bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance) noted the state House repeatedly approved similar legislation last decade because it represents vital rights for the people of North Carolina. 
 
“This legislation is necessary to prevent overreach of state government into property takings that are not for a public use, but rather benefit private development," Rep. Riddell said Thursday. 
 
"We are currently the only state in the nation that does not have just compensation guarantees in our state constitution for government takings. That is a big concern for the people." 
 
"Life, liberty, and property rights are fundamental values for North Carolinians and all Americans. Property rights and assets are the product of our labor and investments as Americans, and this proposal would elevate protection for every North Carolinian to higher levels where we believe they should be." 
 
Bill sponsor Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) also spoke in favor of the legislation in House debate Thursday. 
 
"There is no liberty when the government can take your property, or your freedom, without just cause and due process of the highest standards," Rep. Arp said. 
 
"We all understand there are some instances where the government may properly, with just compensation, declare eminent domain and take private property. But we do not want that great power of the government to be used to take your property and give it to someone else. That's why this constitutional amendment is needed for North Carolina." 
 
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