Wednesday News: Love wins, eventually


CHARLOTTE PASSES NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE PROTECTING LGBTQ CITIZENS: The city’s new NDO is applicable to all employers, large and small — a point of uncertainty for city attorney Patrick Baker, who has expressed concern about Charlotte’s ability to handle a flood of discrimination complaints from large Charlotte-based employers. Baker had recommended the Council pursue an NDO for businesses with 14 or fewer workers, in order to close a gap in federal and state law. Customers and visitors cannot be discriminated against in places of public accommodation either, under Charlotte’s NDO. Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance now includes protections for gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and natural hairstyles.

MARK ROBINSON'S DRUNK-ASS ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR INTERFERING IN ALE INSPECTION: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s in-house attorney was arrested over the weekend at a restaurant in Fuquay-Varina and charged with resisting state Alcohol Law Enforcement officers. Brian LiVecchi, 40, “interjected himself” into an ALE inspection at The BrickHouse Bar & Grill, agency spokeswoman Erin Bean said Monday. When he wouldn’t stop interfering, she said, he was arrested and booked on a pair of obstruction charges. Restaurant owner Mary Ciliberto said Monday that LiVecchi is her attorney and that he interrupted the agent “to advise me not to answer questions.” Bean declined to say whether LiVecchi identified himself as the restaurant owner’s attorney. She also wouldn’t say whether he appeared to have been drinking. She said she could release only limited information about the case and described it as an “ongoing investigation.”

GOP LEADERS PUSH FORWARD ON SHERIFF GUN-PERMITTING BILL: North Carolina Republicans pressed ahead Tuesday with legislation that would repeal the state's century-old practice of requiring residents to obtain a permit from the local sheriff before buying a handgun. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend the measure, which passed the House three months ago. The bill must clear one more committee before reaching the Senate floor. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has supported gun restrictions in response to the mass shootings of recent years, is likely to consider vetoing the bill if it gets to his desk. The bill is opposed by the gun-control group North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, but has the backing of the gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina and the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association. For years, the association had opposed eliminating the permit requirement. I know many reading this are not happy with some of our sheriffs (Terry Johnson, etc.), but sheriff's departments are closely involved with domestic violence situations, and that connection is critical and must not be broken.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO FINALLY DOES THE RIGHT THING: By turns defiant and chastened, the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied intentionally mistreating women and called the pressure for his ouster politically motivated. But he said that fighting back in this “too hot” political climate would subject the state to months of turmoil. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Cuomo said in a televised address. The third-term governor's resignation, which will take effect in two weeks, was announced as momentum built in the Legislature to remove him by impeachment and after nearly the entire Democratic establishment had turned against him, with President Joe Biden joining those calling on him to resign. The decision came a week after New York’s attorney general released the results of an investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. Investigators said he subjected women to unwanted kisses; groped their breasts or buttocks or otherwise touched them inappropriately; made insinuating remarks about their looks and their sex lives; and created a work environment “rife with fear and intimidation.”

TRILLION-DOLLAR INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE PASSES OUT OF THE SENATE: The 69-to-30 vote follows weeks of turbulent private talks and fierce public debates that sometimes teetered on collapse, as the White House labored alongside Democrats and Republicans to achieve the sort of deal that had eluded them for years. Even though the proposal must still clear the House, where some Democrats recently have raised concerns the measure falls short of what they seek, the Senate outcome moves the bill one step closer to delivering President Biden his first major bipartisan win. The package, nearly half of which constitutes new spending, would mark the most significant investment in the country’s inner workings since Congress marshaled a massive yet smaller rescue bill in the shadow of the Great Recession. It would combine lawmakers’ desire for immediate, urgently needed fixes to the country’s crumbling infrastructure with longer-term goals to combat challenges including climate change. The bill proposes more than $110 billion to replace and repair roads, bridges and highways, and $66 billion to boost passenger and freight rail. That transit investment marks the most significant infusion of cash in the country’s railways since the creation of Amtrak about half a century ago, the White House said. The infrastructure plan includes an additional $55 billion to address lingering issues in the U.S. water supply, such as an effort to replace every lead pipe in the nation. It allocates $65 billion to modernize the country’s power grid. And it devotes additional sums to rehabilitating waterways, improving airports and expanding broadband Internet service, particularly after a pandemic that forced Americans to conduct much of their lives online.