Wed August 6, 2014
Lawmakers Could Return To Raleigh Next Week
A key General Assembly leader says North Carolina lawmakers are looking to return to Raleigh next week to take up some pending legislation. But House and Senate Republicans have agreed to nothing so far.
Republican Paul Stam is the House's second highest-ranking member. He presided today over a skeleton meeting of the chamber to keep this year's work session going in keeping with the state constitution.
The House and Senate left town last week without agreeing on a work schedule for the rest of the year. Stam says all House members should be prepared to return August 14. Senate Republicans want to wait until mid-November.
The legislature passed a budget bill last week but couldn't agree on bills dealing with coal ash cleanup and changes to Medicaid.
Fed Approves Bank Of America's Dividend Increase
Bank of America says it's increasing its quarterly dividend from one cent to five cents a share following approval from the Federal Reserve. The bank scrapped a similar plan in the spring after it was revealed it had miscalculated capital ratios related to debt from its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2009. That plan also called for the buying back of $4 billion in common stock. The resubmitted plan does not include the stock buy back. The dividend is payable September 26, and is the first increase in the bank's quarterly dividend in seven years.
CMPD Officer Arrested On Sex Abuse Charges
The CMPD says it's arrested one of its own officers for sex assault charges. Reginald Harris is being charged with three counts of first degree sex offense, three counts of indecent liberties with a minor, and three counts of crimes against nature.
The CMPD says the charges come after a criminal investigation that began early last month and revealed that Harris sexually assaulted a family member on several occasions in the 90s and early 2000s. CMPD says the victim was eight at the time . Police also arrested Harris's wife.
Reginald Harris has been with the CMPD since 1988, and was last assigned to the North Tryon Division. He's been put on unpaid administrative leave.
Blue-Green Algae Found In NC's Cape Fear River
Authorities say potentially toxic blue-green algae that forced officials in Toledo, Ohio, to shut down that city's water system have been found in North Carolina's Cape Fear River. Wilmington media outlets report algae was spotted near the intakes for the water utilities in Brunswick and New Hanover counties. But officials with area water utilities say there is no immediate cause for concern.
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority says that the utility has an advanced filter system that destroys and removes the algae and that it has not had any problems with algae blooms. The water resources superintendent for Brunswick County Utilities says recent heavy rains have increased water flows in the river, decreasing the likelihood for an algae bloom.
Columbia City Leaders Vote To Welcome Immigrant Children
City leaders in Columbia have voted to welcome unaccompanied children who have crossed the U.S. - Mexico border and ended up in the area.
There's been an influx of children coming to the border since last year to flee violence in Central America. The Columbia City Council has approved a resolution put forth by Mayor Steve Benjamin to welcome the children. Benjamin says at least 350 of these children were sent to South Carolina to stay with sponsors or relatives. He says the city council is expected to put together a workgroup tasked with finding additional ways the city can help meet the children's needs.
In North Carolina, Governor McCrory Tuesday held a press conference in which he said the federal government has not done a good enough job providing information about immigrant children who end up in the state. He says having the children come to North Carolina could affect services for residents.