NC WILL PASS 100,000 INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS TODAY: At least 99,778 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,634 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported an additional 1,820 cases of the virus, down from a record 2,481 on Saturday. That total surpassed the previous record of 2,462 set July 11. Five additional deaths were reported Sunday. The health department on Sunday reported completing an additional 15,721 COVID-19 tests for a total of more than 1.3 million. About 9% of tests were positive Friday and Saturday, up from 7% on Thursday. At least 1,115 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 1,154 on Saturday, according to state data.
CATAWBA AND CHEROKEE AT ODDS OVER NEW CASINO NEAR CHARLOTTE: A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for a new Vegas-style casino near Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer reports that Catawba Indians plan to break ground next week on a $300 million casino about 35 miles from the city. The Catawbas plan to open the casino next year. The South Carolina-based tribe has been trying for several years to build a casino in North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokees, who operate casinos in western North Carolina, are opposing the Catawba Indians' effort to build a casino and have filed a lawsuit.
GOVERNOR COOPER PUSHES FOR MORE FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR NC: Gov. Roy Cooper is asking the federal government to help North Carolina deal with a projected $5 billion decline in local and state revenue due to the coronavirus and resulting economic shutdown. With federal lawmakers expected to begin negotiations over another coronavirus aid package this month, Cooper laid out his priorities in a letter to members of the state’s delegation to Congress. The Democratic governor wants “robust and flexible” money for state and local governments, more protections for students and teachers returning to school, continued funding of expanded federal unemployment benefits and more. “The actions you take in the next few weeks are vital to our ability to emerge from this crisis and restore the economic prosperity we know we are capable of.”
HOMELAND SECURITY THUGS WILL CONTINUE TO HAUNT PORTLAND, MAYBE OTHER CITIES: A top Homeland Security official on Sunday said the agency will maintain a heavy presence in Portland — and send reinforcements to other U.S. cities if violence surged — as the mayor of Oregon's largest city implored federal agents to stand down amid escalating clashes with protesters. Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency had deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help defend federal buildings and officers in the Pacific Northwest city. He said DHS had expanded its numbers in other cities as well, including Washington, D.C., as demonstrations escalated in recent months. “You can expect that if violence continues in other parts of the country, the president has made no secret of the fact that he expects us where we can cooperate or have jurisdiction to step forward and expand our policing efforts there to bring down the level of violence,” Cuccinelli said in an interview Sunday. DHS and Justice Department personnel have made about two dozen arrests since July 4 in the vicinity of the federal courthouse in Portland, not including short-term detentions of suspects whom agents want to question, according to a DHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss federal law enforcement operations in Portland.
LOBBYISTS ARE WORKING OVERTIME TO GET THEIR PIECE OF THE NEXT STIMULUS PIE: Airlines, hotels and restaurants. Military contractors and banks. Even Broadway actors. These are just a few of the special interests already maneuvering to get a piece of the next coronavirus relief package about to be taken up by Congress, which is back in session this week. The House has signaled that it wants $3 trillion in aid, the Senate appears to want something in the range of $1 trillion, and the White House is now involved in negotiations. The main components on the table are additional payments to individuals, money for state and local governments, extended unemployment insurance and liability protections for companies and other institutions that are trying to reopen. But the package is also likely to be the last opportunity before the election in November for a wide range of industries and interests to push for narrower provisions that would benefit them, setting off intensive lobbying. The $3 trillion stimulus package passed by the Democratic-controlled House in May would send aid to state and local governments and provide another round of direct $1,200 payments to taxpayers. But it lacks many of the special provisions that various interest groups are pushing for, leaving them to focus now on the Senate and any bipartisan negotiations between the two chambers and the White House.