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Friday Forward News Roundup

Raleigh City Council Approves Transition to Four-Year, Staggered Terms Starting 2026

The Raleigh City Council has voted to shift from two-year to four-year terms and implement staggered elections beginning in 2026, aiming to enhance continuity in managing the city’s affairs. This decision was made without opting for a public referendum, despite some council members favoring it. The change could face a referendum if residents gather 5,000 signatures within 30 days, following a survey last year where 40% supported and 50% opposed the longer terms. (Axios Raleigh)

Raleigh City Council Allocates $5 Million for New Homelessness Response Program

The Raleigh City Council has approved $5 million for the "Unsheltered Homelessness Response Program," which aims to provide direct rent assistance and increase housing options for homeless individuals. The program designates $1.9 million for rent subsidies to assist around 40 households in transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, and $1.1 million for administrative and staffing costs. Additional funding will be used for repairs and upgrades to city-owned properties and to expand other affordable housing options. This initiative follows recent community criticism of the removal of a local tent encampment and emphasizes housing as the primary solution to homelessness. (NC Newsline)

Key Details of North Carolina's Upcoming Second Primary Elections

North Carolina's second primary elections are set to conclude, with in-person early voting ending on May 13 and Election Day scheduled for May 14, 2024. This runoff features three Republican races and one nonpartisan race. Significant contests include the Republican primary for lieutenant governor between Hal Weatherman and Jim O’Neill, and for state auditor between Jack Clark and Dave Boliek. In nonpartisan contests, the Orange County Schools Board of Education race is still undecided. Key rules for these elections include restrictions on new voter registrations and the requirement for unaffiliated voters to have either participated in the Republican primary or abstained from voting in March to vote in the Republican second primary. (FOX 8)

Low Turnout Expected in North Carolina GOP Runoffs for Key State and Congressional Positions

A small group of North Carolina voters is set to determine the Republican nominees for the congressional seat in the 13th District and statewide positions of lieutenant governor and auditor in the upcoming second primary election. The turnout is expected to be significantly lower than the initial primary, with only 26,000 votes cast so far compared to the 1.8 million in March. The 13th District race is notable because Kelly Daughtry, the top vote-getter in March, has suspended her campaign but remains on the ballot. She endorsed Brad Knott, who also received former President Trump's endorsement. The lieutenant governor runoff features Hal Weatherman and Jim O'Neill, both aiming to succeed Democratic nominee Rachel Hunt in the November election. The auditor's runoff pits Jack Clark against Dave Boliek, with the winner facing Democrat Jessica Holmes. These runoffs are considered crucial but low-key, with campaigns focusing on mobilizing core supporters rather than extensive public campaigning. (WRAL)

Delays at NCDMV May Affect Voter ID Availability in North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) is experiencing delays in issuing driver licenses and identification cards due to issues with a third-party contractor, leading to an extended wait time of about six weeks from the usual 15 days. Although the NCDMV provides a temporary paper ID valid for 60 days, the State Board of Elections does not recognize this as acceptable photo identification for voting. This situation could potentially impact voters' ability to provide valid ID in the upcoming elections. (WCNC)

North Carolina's SHALOM Act Moves Swiftly Through House Amid Controversy

The SHALOM Act, which aims to define antisemitism in North Carolina law, has quickly passed through the House and is now awaiting Senate approval. The act, spurred by recent campus protests and antisemitic incidents, adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism, which includes denying Jewish self-determination and applying double standards to Israel. While the bill received broad bipartisan support, some concerns were raised that it might suppress free speech, particularly criticisms of Israel's actions in the ongoing conflict. Critics argue that the bill could disproportionately affect Arab and Muslim communities. The measure is part of a broader national trend to legislate against antisemitism, with similar bills enacted in other states. (WRAL)

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson Criticizes State Probe into Wife's Nonprofit Amid Financial Scrutiny

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson recently voiced criticism regarding a state probe into his wife Yolanda Hill's nonprofit, Balanced Nutrition, which has been scrutinized for financial management issues. During an address at the Columbus County Strawberry Festival, Robinson highlighted the "challenges" Hill faces, including the shutdown of her nonprofit that assisted childcare centers in obtaining federal funding. He linked their personal ordeal to broader criticisms of unfair treatment in the system, invoking former President Donald Trump as experiencing similar adversities. The Department of Health and Human Services has requested numerous documents from Hill, citing concerns over financial discrepancies such as unbalanced budgets and non-compliance with funding rules regarding administrative costs. (WFAE)

Delay in Progress on Groundwater Standards for PFAS in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is facing a delay in progressing its proposal for groundwater standards for toxic PFAS chemicals. During a recent meeting, the state's Groundwater and Waste Management Committee did not vote on the proposal, following a request from the NC Chamber for a delay to better understand the potential impacts on the state and business community. DEQ has proposed standards for eight types of PFAS, including PFOS, PFOA, and GenX, which are linked to health issues like kidney cancer and high cholesterol. Despite the delay, DEQ Secretary Elizabeth Biser emphasized the importance of adopting these standards to reduce contamination and protect public health, expressing frustration over the committee's decision to postpone the vote until at least July. (WUNC)





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