Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

June 21, 2018 - 12:00 am

VOTER ID

N Carolina photo ID mandate headed to House panel debate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bill asking voters to decide in November whether presenting photo identification to vote should be enshrined in the North Carolina Constitution is getting its first formal debate.

A House panel scheduled discussion Thursday on the proposed constitutional amendment. Speaker Tim Moore says he expects the measure to come to the House floor for votes early next week. These and other proposed constitutional referenda are moving through the General Assembly in the final days of this year's work session.

Republican legislators approved a wide-ranging election law in 2013 that mandated photo ID, but federal judges struck that and other voting provisions down as racially discriminatory. GOP lawmakers say that's not true and argue such a requirement is about restoring confidence in elections and preventing voter fraud.

ASHEVILLE DISTRICTS

Bill follows through redrawing N Carolina city's districts

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Election districts in western North Carolina's largest municipality would be redrawn because city leaders failed to do so under legislation moving through a General Assembly chamber.

The Senate elections committee voted Thursday to end Asheville's current practice of all voters choosing all six city council members. Instead, one member would be elected at-large, with the other five members elected in geographic districts by voters in those particular regions.

The General Assembly approved a law last year directing Asheville leaders to create the single-member districts by last November, but they didn't. Instead, city voters rejected the redistricting idea in a referendum. The 2017 law said the General Assembly would draw new maps this year if Asheville didn't.

The bill could go to the Senate floor early next week.

JOGGER FINDS BODY

Jogger finds body on street in North Carolina's largest city

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A jogger has found a man's body on a street in North Carolina's largest city.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lt. Brad Koch said in a news release that a jogger found a body on a street around 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

Emergency medical personnel declared the man dead at the scene. His name has not been released while relatives are notified.

The cause of death has not been determined.

Koch said the death is being investigated as a homicide. He said detectives are looking for possible witnesses.

PRISON EMPLOYEES ATTACKED

2 more employees attacked at North Carolina Central Prison

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two more employees have been attacked by an inmate at North Carolina's Central Prison.

The Department of Public Safety said in a news release that the latest attack happened Wednesday morning in a dining area at the prison in Raleigh.

The attack came a day after a unit manager was attacked in a dorm area of the prison and remained hospitalized in stable condition Wednesday.

Officials said several inmates refused to follow orders in the dining area Wednesday morning, and two responding officers were attacked.

The injured correctional officers were taken to a hospital and were later released.

The names of the officers and inmate have not been released.

Public Safety Department spokesman Jerry Higgins said the two attacks involved inmates in the same part of the prison.

DRONE MAKER-NORTH CAROLINA

Swiss drone maker moves away from DC flight restrictions

(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A Swiss drone maker has moved its North American headquarters out of Washington, D.C., where security restrictions on flying drones have cramped the company's growth.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported senseFly has moved to Fuquay-Varina, near Raleigh.

The company has 15 employees and is looking for more. Company officials said they chose the area because of access to students from North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Company spokeswoman Jessica Sader said Washington was a place to launch the company as the Federal Aviation Administration worked on drone rules, but now it's time to be in a location where they can launch their products for their customers.

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TRANSPORTATION DEBT

N Carolina governor signs debt bill for road-building boost

MCLEANSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says a method for borrowing up to $3 billion to keep North Carolina road building robust for the next several years is a good example of both major parties working together to help the state's economy.

Cooper signed into law Wednesday the "Build NC Bond Act" at a Department of Transportation maintenance yard in Guilford County.

The law authorizes the issuance of up to $300 million annually through 2028. The debt isn't subject to statewide voter approval in a referendum, but the bill passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate by wide margins earlier this month.

The debt would be repaid through dedicated transportation revenues and is similar to borrowing North Carolina already does based on anticipated funds from the state's share of the federal gasoline tax.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS-THE LATEST

The Latest: Hunting, fishing amendment clears Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A proposed question for North Carolina voters to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in the state constitution has been recommended by the full Senate.

Senators voted 44-4 on Wednesday to put the question on statewide ballots in November. The House still must vote yes before a referendum would be held. The hunting and fishing amendment is one of several being considered by General Assembly members in the final days of this year's work session.

Backers of the amendment say it would preserve traditions and block attempts pushed in other states to erode the ability to go hunting or fishing. But some senators questioned the necessity for constitutional language, saying there's nothing going on that would jeopardize the right.

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CAR CRASH-MISSING MAN

Officials search for missing man after wrecked car found

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a man reported missing after his abandoned car was found following an apparent accident on a North Carolina road.

The Surry County Sheriff's Office tells local news outlets a missing person report was filed Sunday for 38-year-old Allen Leon Binns Sr.

Investigators say Binns stopped at two convenience stores Saturday night, and that his 2012 Honda Accord was involved in an accident on N.C. Highway 89 in Lowgap later that evening. The car sustained minor damage.

The sheriff's office said there has been no contact with Binns since the accident.

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