DEMOCRATS LEAVE COMMITTEE MEETING AFTER REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO ALLOW JUDGE TO SPEAK: Bishop said that since Stephens isn’t employed by Cooper’s office, he wouldn’t let him speak. Democratic Sen. Jay Chaudhuri of Raleigh told Bishop that was “a missed opportunity.” A fellow Democrat, Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham, then asked permission to speak. Bishop denied him several times but eventually let McKissick ask a question. McKissick asked for Stephens to be able to give his presentation. Bishop disagreed, saying he’s the committee chairman and gets to make that decision. Then McKissick, Chaudhuri and the third Democrat on the committee, Joel Ford of Charlotte, stood up and walked out without another word. The meeting proceeded without them. At the end of the meeting the remaining Republicans introduced a new set of proposed election maps for judges and district attorneys – an issue that was not on the public agenda for the meeting.
DURHAM CHURCH PROVIDES SANCTUARY FOR HUSBAND AND FATHER TARGETED BY ICE: The congregation at City Well United Methodist Church in Durham says it is trying to live out God's word. The church is serving as the sanctuary to an immigrant facing deportation after living in the United States for 22 years. Speaking through a translator, Oliver-Bruno thanked the congregation for offering him sanctuary. "I cannot give up. I have to fight for my family. I have to stay because they need me," he said. Oliver-Bruno is the sole breadwinner for his son, who's in high school and his wife, who has lupus. The translator explained the serious medical condition makes her extremely weak. His son calls his dad his hero. "My dad is a wonderful man, a wonderful father, a wonderful husband," Daniel Oliver-Perez said. "He doesn't smoke. He doesn't drink. He doesn't have a criminal record. He's a hard worker."
NC DEMOCRATS FILE LAWSUIT OVER GOP'S CANCELLATION OF JUDICIAL PRIMARIES: The lawsuit filed by Democrats lists Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, state House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, and the state Board of Elections as defendants. “Speaker Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Berger’s cynical move to eliminate judicial primaries deprives the people of North Carolina of their most fundamental right — the right to vote,” Goodwin, the N.C. Democrats’ chairman, said in a statement. “Legislative Republicans are rigging the system, not creating a better system of selecting judges. North Carolinians have a right to make an informed decision about who they want as their judicial nominee. This move unjustly eliminates that right and should be immediately struck down.”
GOVERNOR COOPER ASKS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOR EXTENSION ON ACA SIGNUP PERIOD: Gov. Roy Cooper is asking the federal government to extend the enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance. North Carolina is among 39 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov website, and the deadline for signups on the site is Friday. Most states that run their own health insurance websites have later deadlines. In a letter this week to Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cooper said a one-week extension, until Dec. 22, would benefit people around the country. North Carolina has the third-highest enrollment on the federal marketplace, he said, but he fears enrollment could be hurt by a shorter signup period this year. Since 2018 enrollments started on Nov. 1, 271,301 people in North Carolina have selected a plan on HealthCare.gov. Last year, 549,148 people signed up statewide, but that enrollment period lasted until late January.
WAKE JUDGE RULES AGAINST WATAUGA GOP, BOONE ELECTED OFFICIALS TO BE CERTIFIED: According to a Wake County judge, the town of Boone can now swear in its new town council members on Dec. 21. The writ of mandamus was filed by the unofficial Boone Town Council election winners, Sam Furgiuele, Marshall Ashcraft and Connie Ulmer, against the election protest by Anne-Marie Yates, the former chair of the Watauga County Republican Party, on Friday, Dec. 8. The case was heard at the Wake County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. “The judge ruled that mandamus was appropriate,” State Board of Elections’ legal counsel Josh Lawson said. “The certificates (of election) can be issued.” “We’re pleased that the successful candidates can take office as scheduled. This removes a cloud that doesn’t need to be there.”