State briefs: Civil rights leader can reenter North Carolina legislature
Thursday, April 18, 2019
RALEIGH — A North Carolina civil rights leader can again go inside the Legislative Building, two years after he was banned.
The Rev. William Barber, who organized “Moral Monday” protests and led the state NAACP, had been ordered by a magistrate in 2017 to stay out of the Legislature, after he was charged with second-degree trespassing during a sit-in over health care.
His lawyers said he had a First Amendment right to speak with lawmakers in the people’s house. Prosecutors warned that his ban should remain in place during a teachers’ rally planned for May 1.
Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ruled on Monday that the state couldn’t continue to keep him out.
Barber tweeted afterward, saying “We won & God prevailed.”
'Read to Achieve' retooling approved
RALEIGH — A North Carolina public school literacy program championed by Republican Senate leader Phil Berger that hasn’t met expectations so far would get retooled in legislation advancing in the chamber.
The Senate education committee agreed on Wednesday to Berger’s legislation, which is designed to improve outcomes in the “Read to Achieve” program. Third-grade students can be held back if they don’t meet reading proficiency levels. The program began in 2013, but a university study last year found little benefit from the program.
The measure receiving bipartisan support directs teachers to create tailored individual reading plans for at-risk children, modeling success in Mississippi. The bill also seeks more literacy training for teachers, giving them incentives to work in summer reading camps.
The bill next goes to another Senate committee.
Energy worker faces uncertain future
DURHAM — An energy company employee who suffered critical injuries from last week’s fatal gas explosion in North Carolina faces an uncertain future.
The family of PSNC employee Jay Rambeaut told WRAL on Tuesday that he has 150 holes in his chest from debris. He also has a skull fracture and debris in his brain.
Rambeaut’s sister-in-law, Donna Jackson, said had had gone into cardiac arrest but doctors were able to revive him. She said it’s likely Rambeaut’s wife and son will both have to leave work in order to care for him.
Rambeaut was among the first on the scene in Durham when there was a report of gas leak. The ensuing explosion killed one man and injured 25 others.
Lawmakers intensify work before recess
RALEIGH — North Carolina state legislators intensified their work as they prepared for time off around Easter.
The House started their spring break following Tuesday’s committees and floor session and won’t take votes again until April 25. The Senate leaves Thursday and won’t be in Raleigh next week.
Before leaving the House sent to Gov. Roy Cooper a measure that addresses care for an infant born after an unsuccessful abortion.
The House also approved measures heading to the Senate to allow University of North Carolina athletic venues to sell alcohol to fans. An agreement so craft brewers can distribute more of their beer and a proposal to use daylight saving time permanently if Congress allows it also cleared the House.
House members will focus on finalizing their budget proposal when they return.