BERGER'S "RELIEF" PACKAGE RAISES INCOME ELIGIBILITY FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said parents are at “their wit’s end.” The checks, which are being called “extra credit grants,” would be given to parents who filed taxes. For those who didn’t file, they would be able to apply for the grant, which is a flat amount regardless of how many children are in the household. $335 checks would be issued by Dec. 15. Part of the proposed bill also includes raising income-eligibility caps for opportunity scholarships, which are vouchers for private school. Republican leaders have said private schools opening for all-in-person learning this school year are an important school choice for parents. The state reopened in Plan B, which allows local school systems to decide how to operate with remote or a mix of remote and in-person learning with restrictions.
TIM MOORE IS TIRED OF HIDING IN HIS RALEIGH APARTMENT ALL SCARED AND SUCH: House Speaker Tim Moore floated a legislative crackdown on looting Wednesday as the General Assembly went back into session, though he acknowledged that the legislature's time may be too short to pass anything this year. Moore, R-Cleveland, who has a downtown apartment in Raleigh, has repeatedly expressed disappointment with the way the city and Gov. Roy Cooper's administration handled protests that turned destructive at times over the last few months downtown. He told reporters Wednesday that lawmakers are talking now about "some of the lawlessness that has gotten out of hand." Pressed for ideas being discussed, he said lawmakers may consider legislation allowing a 48-hour hold for anyone who commits a felony during a riot. The hold would be similar to something in place already for domestic violence cases. The speaker called it "a cooling-off period."
TRUMP ADMIN TO CHARGE 19 NON-CITIZENS FOR ILLEGALLY VOTING FOUR YEARS AGO: Federal prosecutors in North Carolina announced voter fraud charges Wednesday against 19 non-citizens accused of illegally casting a ballot in 2016. Each defendant voted in a federal election in 2016, and one defendant also voted in 2018, according to a news release from United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin’s office. In some instances, the defendants were also charged with related offenses such as making a false statement. The news release did not list the defendants' nationalities or say how their alleged crimes had been uncovered, although it said the matters had been investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, an investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Brief charging documents provided few details about any of the allegations. Many defendants did not have an attorney listed in court records. Helen Parsonage, who is representing three of the defendants, declined comment on the merits of the charges but said her clients would be "vigorously defended.” "These cases are clearly timed for partisan political purposes,” she wrote in an email.
TRUMP ALSO TELLS PEOPLE TO (ILLEGALLY) VOTE TWICE TO "TEST" THE SYSTEM: President Trump, on Wednesday during a trip in battleground North Carolina, urged voters to vote twice, once by mail and once in person, to test the protections intended to guard against double voting. Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election will be rife with fraud and rigged against him, was asked by a local television reporter whether he had confidence in the vote-by-mail system. “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said. Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony. The president also greeted supporters on the tarmac upon landing in Wilmington, N.C., and made nearly identical comments, encouraging them to send in their ballot “and then go in and vote.” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was asked broadly about voting issues on Wednesday during a local Atlanta television interview, accused Trump of “trying to delegitimize” the election results and urged people to “vote as early as you are permitted to be able to do.”
TRUMP MAY HAVE SUFFERED "MINI-STROKES" LAST YEAR LEADING TO HOSPITALIZATION: The president’s trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland last November remains the subject of questions. In a new book, “Donald Trump v. the United States,” Michael S. Schmidt, a Times reporter, writes that word went out that day for Vice President Mike Pence to be on standby in case the president underwent a procedure requiring anesthesia. Mr. Trump first saw the reports about Mr. Pence on “standby” leading newscasts in the morning, and at some point someone gave him an article or a series of tweets that included Mr. Lockhart’s. Angered, the president complained to aides that he really had been going for a physical and that the story about Mr. Pence was not true. He blasted out a tweet denying that he had “a series of mini-strokes” — oddly disputing something a little different from the stroke Mr. Lockhart asked about — and instructed the White House physician to follow with a statement confirming it. Asked on Fox News on Tuesday whether he had been standing by in case Mr. Trump was anesthetized, Mr. Pence initially ducked the question, saying that Mr. Trump “is in excellent health” and as vice president “I’m always informed of the president’s movements.” Pressed by the anchor Bret Baier, Mr. Pence did not deny the report but pleaded no memory of it. “I don’t recall being told to be on standby,” he said. “I was informed that the president had a doctor’s appointment.” He added, “Part of this job is you’re always on standby.” Mr. Trump, weighing in last spring at 244 pounds, is overweight and by his own account prefers cheeseburgers to healthier food. Other than golf, he scorns exercise on the theory that it depletes a person’s finite energy. A coronary calcium CT scan in 2018 recorded a score of 133, meaning that he has a form of heart disease common to men in their 70s that is normally treatable with cholesterol-reducing medication and better diet.