Wednesday News: Voter ID delayed


BUT DEADLINE FOR COLLEGE ID PAPERWORK STILL IN PLACE: The state Senate voted Tuesday to essentially delay all photo ID requirements for the 2019 elections. Democrats largely voted against the measure because the bill didn't also deal with the college ID issue, which Republicans were content to put off for now, and which won't be relevant until the 2020 elections. The State Board of Elections hasn't had time to implement all the rules controlling voter ID at the polls, which the General Assembly laid the groundwork for in December, and there are two special congressional elections scheduled this year. Senate Republicans were unwilling Tuesday to tack a change into their 2019 delay bill, saying they wanted to see first how many colleges act by the deadline. They tabled two Democratic amendments on the issue.

AG JOSH STEIN DIGGING INTO OXYCONTIN MAKER'S COMMUNICATIONS: The state wants communications about the “exchange of money or other items of value” and documents about Purdue bonuses and salaries to members of the family that owns the company and its shareholders. Members of the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma. Richard Sackler is the company’s former CEO. “Our office is looking for more information about Purdue’s finances,” Stein’s spokeswoman, Laura Brewer, said in an email. The documents on Sackler family payments that Stein wants are part of a broader request filed in Wake Superior Court seeking information Purdue Pharma provided in connection with a national lawsuit. That lawsuit claims that manufacturers and distributors of opioids contributed to the drug crisis.

SUPPORTERS OF DURHAM IMMIGRANT FACE CHARGES FOR TRYING TO PROTECT HIM: More than two dozen supporters of a recently deported man called on Wake County prosecutors Monday to dismiss charges against them. But their own lawyer simply asked for their cases to be continued until April. Samuel Oliver-Bruno had been taking sanctuary in a Durham church for nearly a year when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took him into custody in November during a visit to an immigration office in Morrisville. When supporters tried to stop the arrest, they were arrested as well. "The kind of policies that are tearing our families apart and taking us out of our schools and workplaces and terrorizing our neighbors are unacceptable," Manju Rajendran said at a rally outside the Wake County Courthouse on Monday. Oliver-Bruno's 19-year-old son, Daniel Oliver-Perez, was among the 28 people arrested in November, and he said he had to drop out of college and now works full time to support his family.

HANDS OFF YOUR IPHONE: LEGISLATION BANNING CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING EMERGES: The House Transportation Committee overwhelmingly backed legislation on Tuesday to bar all motorists from holding wireless devices with their hands or against their body while operating their cars. Drivers would also not be allowed to text or watch videos. First-time violators would face $100 fines, growing to $200 with additional penalties on insurance records for repeat offenses. There would be exceptions in emergencies, and adults could use hand-held phones sitting on stands or in drink holders for a call if pressing only one button to start or end it. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A new Georgia law began last summer.

BOEING CEO CALLS TRUMP, FAA LETS THEIR POSSIBLY DANGEROUS PLANES CONTINUE FLYING: Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, called from Chicago and expressed to Mr. Trump his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8 jets, according to two people briefed on the conversation. Two of the planes flown by overseas carriers have crashed in recent months in similar accidents. The brief call had been in the works since Monday, but it came shortly after Mr. Trump raised concerns that the increasing use of technology in airplanes was compromising passenger safety. “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.” Soon after the conversation ended, Mr. Muilenburg received more bad news. The European Union suspended “all flight operations” of the Boeing 737 Max 8 model, a striking move by one of the industry’s important regulators. At the end of the day, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it was continuing with its review and that the planes could keep flying.