NC Lawmakers Schedule More Confirmation Hearings; Whitewater Center Reopens River

Mar 7, 2017

North Carolina Senate Republicans are moving ahead with the confirmation process of Governor Roy Cooper's Cabinet members, even as a three-judge panel weighs the legality of doing so.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday along party lines to issue a subpoena compelling Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks to appear before the committee on March 15.

GOP leaders subpoenaed Military and Veterans' Affairs Secretary Larry Hall before another committee last week after he didn't show up to three previous confirmation hearings. The full Senate unanimously confirmed Hall on Monday night.

Cooper has sued legislative leaders over the confirmation mandate law, which was passed in special session after voters elected Cooper in November. Attorneys for both sides were in court Tuesday arguing over the laws constitutionality.

U.S. National Whitewater Center Reopens River Rapids

The U.S. National Whitewater Center reopened its man-made river Tuesday, three days behind schedule. The center canceled its "water release" event planned for Saturday when it failed to receive a permit from the county in time.

Mecklenburg County officials said last week they had received the center's permit application, but were still reviewing it. In a press release sent out Tuesday morning, the county said it since completed its inspection of the center's water and issued the center its permit.

City Council Considering Reviving Red Light Cameras

Charlotte City Council is weighing whether to bring back red light traffic cameras. The city previously used cameras at a select number of intersections in the city but stopped in 2006 after a court ruled that 90 percent of the revenue had to go to the local board of education. That meant the city would have to cover the majority of the cost of operations the cameras.

At Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles, who is running for mayor, proposed bringing the cameras back, saying there have been too many recent wrecks involving pedestrians. She said she's in talks with the General Assembly to see if a state law can be changed to allow cities to keep enough revenue to pay the cameras' operating costs.

The city council voted to send the issue to its transportation and planning committee.

North Carolina Bill Would Make Drone Flight Near Prisons Illegal

Worries about drone operators transporting weapons and cigarettes to prisoners are leading state lawmakers to consider a bill that would make it illegal to fly drones near jails and prisons.

Under the bill, a person found guilty of delivering weapons or contraband to a prisoner via drone would receive a low-grade felony with a fine. Simply flying a drone within 500 feet of a jail or prison would be considered a misdemeanor. Law enforcement could also confiscate and sell the drone.

The house transportation committee approved the bill today, passing it on to another committee for review.