STATE BRIEFS, THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2015
UNC SYSTEM BOARD ELIMINATES THREE CAMPUS CENTERS
[CHARLOTTE] As expected, the UNC Board of Governors Feb. 27th voted to discontinue three campus centers it deemed to be unnecessary, amid criticism that the Republican-led board did so out of political retribution. Acting on a recommendation from its committee, the board eliminated the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at Chapel Hill, the NC Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University in Greenville, and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University in Durham. The centers, none of which receive any state funding, are slated to close by Sept. 1st. Prof. Gene Nichol, director of the UNC Poverty Center, is a known critic of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP-led NC General Assembly. NCCU Prof. Jarvis Hall is the director of the Institute. Both have strong ties to NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber, who is a devout critic of Republican leadership.
SENATORS TILLIS AND BURR OPPOSE LYNCH AG NOMINATION
[WASH., D.C.] Both of North Carolina’s Republican US senators have made it clear that despite the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 12-8 approval of US Attorney Loretta Lynch as the next US Attorney General, and the likelihood of the full US Senate’s confirmation, they will vote no against her because Lynch will maintain the US Justice Dept.’s lawsuit against North Carolina’s voter ID law when she takes office. Senators Tillis and Burr say the law “upholds the integrity of elections” and that Lynch “would continue to pursue the costly and frivolous lawsuit against North Carolina.” A Wake Superior Court Judge last week ruled that lawsuit may proceed to federal trial in July. Lynch would succeed outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder once she’s confirmed. US Rep. G. K. Butterfield [D-1-NC], chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has blasted Tillis and Burr for their opposition, and is urging the full US Senate to confirm Loretta Lynch without delay.
MCCRORY DEFENDS NCDOT SEC. TATA’S DAY OFF DURING SNOWSTORM
[RALEIGH] The last place most North Carolinians would expect the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation to be during a snowstorm crippling the state would be in Chicago promoting his new book. But that’s exactly where NCDOT Sec. Tony Tata was last Tuesday as snow six to ten inches in some places snarled traffic and cancelled several school systems. Tata’s boss, Gov. Pat McCrory, says he has no problem with Tata’s absence, adding that Tata “did an outstanding job” overseeing statewide road clearing operations throughout the day from Illinois. The governor said his employees are expected to handle their jobs on their days off when needed, and adapt to “changing conditions.”
DEATH PENALTY SOUGHT IN TRIPLE MURDER CASE
The suspect in the triple murder of a three Chapel Hill Muslim students will now face the death penalty, says Durham District Attorney Roger Echols. Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 10th execution-style slayings of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21; as her young sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Investigators say Hicks allegedly killed the three college students over parking spaces at their condominium complex. Federal authorities are still trying to determine if Hicks killed them because of their Islamic faith. Hicks’ wife, who says she is now divorcing him, insists that their faith had nothing to do with their murders.