Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by Lindsay Marchello.
Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses several interesting, relevant stories you may have missed. Here's this week's review:
A number of N.C. counties want the budget stalemate to end. The commissioners of Avery, Sampson, Union, and Gaston counties have all passed resolutions calling for the vetoed budget to become law. The votes were unanimous. Each resolution highlights the funding needs left unfulfilled by the budget stalemate. Senate Republicans have touted the resolutions in news releases slamming Gov. Roy Cooper for vetoing the budget.
Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley, D-Wake, may have secured the most votes in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, but she's not the official winner yet. Holley won 26% of the vote, while Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, won 20% of the vote. Since Holley didn't get more than 30% of the vote, Van Duyn could call for a run-off. The Wake county lawmaker sent out a news release
urging her Democratic opponents to fall in line. "I call on all of my recent Democratic opponents to join me in unity so that we can win back the General Assembly this fall,"
Guilty as charged. A federal jury found Greg Lindberg, an insurance tycoon and major political donor, guilty of attempting to bribe the state's insurance commissioner. John Gray, a consultant of Lindberg, was also found guilty of helping to set up the deal. Lindberg tried to bribe Mike Causey, the insurance commissioner, with upwards of $2 million to ease regulations on his insurance companies. Causey recorded the conversations for the FBI. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is not for sale, Causey said per a WRAL report
. Lindberg has donated to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, and previous Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin - now head of the N.C. Democratic Party.
University budget blues:
The ongoing budget impasse is putting the future of Western Carolina University at risk, said Bill Roper, University of North Carolina System Interim President. Roper shared his concerns during a visit to the university's campus. "Continuing support of our universities requires fiscal backing from our state's leaders,"
Roper said in a news release. "My concern for the UNC System is, pure and simple, nonpartisan and apolitical, which is why I will continue to request that our state's leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to find a resolution."
Enrollment growth isn't the only thing at risk. WCU's steam plant is in critical need of funding to pay for repairs and upgrades, Roper said. The vetoed budget included money to help the struggling steam plant. Without the money the steam plant could close down. Roper also visited the Morganton campus of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics to shed light on how the budget stalemate has impacted the school. The first class of residential students at NCSSM-Morganton won't be able to attend until August 2022 because of a lack of funding.
A Wake County resident has tested positive for novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. The man, whose identity has not been released, traveled to Washington where numerous people are sick with the respiratory disease. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the diagnosis during a news conference
on March 3 where he assured the public that North Carolina is prepared to deal with the disease. "Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur,"
Cooper said. The Wake county resident is quarantined at home and is doing well, Cooper said. A second North Carolina resident was identified with coronavirus on March 6. The Chatham county man traveled to Italy where he picked up the disease. He is also at home and is doing well, WRAL reported