A federal appeals court is taking another look at a lawsuit challenging a North Carolina county commission's practice of opening meetings with Christian prayer led by commissioners.
The full 15-judge bench of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Rowan County prayer case on Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the commission on behalf of three people who said the commission's practice of starting meetings with prayers that almost always referred to Christianity was coercive and discriminatory.
A divided three-judge panel of the Richmond, Virginia-based court ruled last year that the practice was constitutional as long as commissioners didn't pressure others to participate. The ruling reversed a lower court decision siding with the ACLU. That ruling is on hold until the full court weighs in.
Sen. Joel Ford Introduces HB2 Repeal Bill After Meeting With LGBT Activist
Democratic State Senator Joel Ford has introduced legislation that would repeal House Bill 2, and include a "cooling off" period during with local governments cannot pass ordinances involving access to bathrooms, shower rooms, or locker rooms for 30 days after the legislative session ends. Ford is a candidate for Charlotte mayor.
Last week, Ford got into a Twitter spat with two activists who were criticizing his record on LGBT issues. One of the activists, Matt Comer, met Ford for coffee on Monday where the two reportedly discussed, among a number of things, repealing HB2. In a blog post, Comer writes that while the two had productive conversation, they remain divided on how forceful Ford should be in pursuing LGBT rights.
Firefighters Make Progress On North Carolina Wildfire
Firefighters are making progress containing a large wildfire in the North Carolina mountains. Forestry officials say the fire is about 30 percent contained. So far it's burned nearly three square miles at the south end of the Lineville Gorge in the Pisgah National Forest.
No injuries have been reported, and officials say no buildings are currently threatened. Investigators say it appears the blaze was started by a lightening strike last Thursday.
Residents in Burke and Catawba Counties have been experiencing smoke from the fire.
Salisbury Woman Charged With Killing Teen Through Botched Silicone Injections
A Salisbury woman accused of killing a teenager after injecting him with non-medical silicone appears before a judge Wednesday. Salisbury police tell local media outlets 42-year-old Kavonceya Cornelius turned herself in after warrants were issued for her arrest.
According to police, an investigation shows 19-year-old Eugene Jones II went to Cornelius' home for the silicone injections. He then returned to Fayetteville, where he died from the procedure in mid-January.
Cornelius is charged with second-degree murder.