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Cooper Proposes Spending Increase Of $1.1B; Rep. Rouzer (R-NC) To Hold Town Hall Monday

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants to increase state government spending next year by more than 5 percent, or $1.1 billion, and to issue about $350 million in new debt to renovate state buildings.

Cooper says it's time to "catch up" on spending investments in education from a child's early years through college, including teacher raises. The new Democratic governor has framed his two-year spending plan as one that would ultimately make the state a national leader in graduation rates and pre-kindergarten. He's criticized the GOP for failing to make education a funding priority.

The governor's proposal would also give raises to state employees and reduce waiting lists for pre-kindergarten programs, and expand Medicaid.

The governor also wants to re-instate a tax credit for child and dependent care expenses that GOP legislators eliminated, and revive a tax credit for film and TV productions.

Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) To Hold Town Hall Monday

North Carolina Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican, will hold a town hall next Monday, March 6, following weeks of protests outside his office in Wilmington.

Protesters have staked out his office and have staged near-daily demonstrations demanding he hold a town hall. The Star News of Wilmington reports the protests are part of a national, coordinated campaign by the Indivisible group protesting President Donald Trump.

Rouzer's office says his town hall will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday at Brunswick Community College.

Rally Supports New Method For Redistricting In Raleigh

Hundreds of people backing a new way to draw North Carolina's congressional and General Assembly districts every 10 years are coming to Raleigh to try to drum up more support for their idea.

The North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying & Government Reform scheduled a rally day Wednesday at the Legislative Building as part of its goal to end gerrymandering.

Coalition members and their allies support a bipartisan bill filed in the House this week that would move the job of drawing the boundaries following each census from the hands of legislators to the General Assembly's nonpartisan staff.

Backers say it would increase the number of competitive seats and reduce redistricting litigation.

Novant Health To Increase Minimum Wage For NC Employees

Sizable raises are on the way for some Novant Health Employees. The Winston-Salem based hospital system says it will start paying its North Carolina employees at least $11 an hour, up from the state minimum of $7.25.

In a news release, a Novant Health executive said the move represents about a $1.2 million investment in its staff members.

The change will affect 2,000 employees in the state.

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