NC General Assembly

Michael Tomsic / WFAE-FM

Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly are not ready to throw in the towel yet on efforts to overhaul state voting laws.

Democrats and liberal advocacy groups cheered the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week not to review a lower court's ruling that struck down the 2013 election overhaul, but the victory may be short-lived. Republicans are considering whether to pass revised legislation that's scaled down and passes court scrutiny.

The state House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would end the state's practice of automatically charging 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.  The 104-8 vote Wednesday sends the so-called "raise the age" bill on to the Senate.  

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say they've charged 51-year-old Antonio Gaines for his involvement in a sexual assault that occurred 24 years ago near uptown Charlotte.

Police say the assault took place on April 23, 1993. A woman was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by several men in the 400 block of Caldwell Street. The police department collected and analyzed evidence of the crime, but were unable to identify any suspects.

The CMPD Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit reopened the investigation and re-examined DNA evidence, leading to confirmation of Gaines as a suspect in Jan. 2017.

John Arrowood
James, McElroy & Diehl

Updated 1:06 p.m.
A battle between Gov. Roy Cooper and state lawmakers over the state Court of Appeals has escalated, with the governor's appointment of a new judge Monday. Cooper got the chance to pick a Democrat after a Republican judge on the court retired early to protest his party’s efforts to shrink the court. 

Several progressive and Democratic groups have organized the first candidate forum of Charlotte's upcoming mayoral race. The forum will feature all three of the Democratic candidates who've announced plans to run.

Republicans have eliminated or updated a variety of state regulations since taking control of the legislature in 2010. But in the past couple of years, they've found it harder to agree on reforms.

On Wednesday, the state Senate rejected the expanded House version of the GOP-backed 2016-2017 regulatory reform bill. It's got both years in the title because the two chambers also failed to agree last year before the legislature adjourned.

A wind farm near Elizabeth City, NC.
Sarah McCammon / NPR

Several Republican state senators are trying again this session to limit the expansion of wind power, saying new turbines could interfere with military flights. The bill filed Wednesday, the Military Operations Protection Act of 2017, would halt permits for new wind farms until studies show they are safe.

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon becomes a free man Wednesday. The 50-year-old Democrat pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in 2014 and was sentenced to serve 44 months in prison and to pay $60,500 in fines and restitution. His conviction stemmed from accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents while serving on Charlotte City Council and later as mayor.

The North Carolina Board of Education and the new state schools superintendent sat down this week for their first meeting. Republican Board Chairman Bill Cobey introduced his new GOP colleague. There was no hint that Johnson and the board are locked in a power struggle.

The disagreement is over which one of them is in charge of the Department of Public Instruction. Republican lawmakers say it's Johnson. The board says it's them. That struggle will begin playing out in court soon. WFAE's Lisa Worf joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry now. 

Mayor Jennifer Roberts
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte city officials say they're disappointed that lawmakers failed to repeal the state's controversial House Bill 2 during Wednesday's special session of the legislature. The repeal could come up again during the General Assembly's regular session next month, but some city council members aren't holding out much hope.

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