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News In Brief

Samsung Opening SC Plant, Watchdog Says Former SC Gov. Haley's Tweet Broke Law

A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to a North Carolina law that allows magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Wednesday that three couples who sued to overturn the law lack standing to challenge the law's use of taxpayer funds.

The 2015 law allows magistrates to recuse themselves from performing marriages because of religious beliefs. Those who do so are prevented from officiating at all marriages for at least six months.

The couples — two gay and one interracial — had argued that the state was improperly using their tax dollars to accommodate magistrates' religious views.

However, the 4th Circuit found that the couples didn't meet narrow criteria for challenging the law as taxpayers.

General Assembly Overrides Governor's Budget Veto

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has made good on its promise to override Governor Roy Cooper's veto of the two-year state budget. The Senate did its part Tuesday. The House completed the override with a vote of 76-43 Wednesday. Now the spending plan becomes state law and largely takes effect when the new fiscal year begins this weekend.

Cooper announced his veto earlier this week, saying Republicans drew up a short-sighted plan with excessive tax cuts that will make it harder in future years to pay for things like teacher pay. But GOP leaders say it contained many initiatives that Cooper had previously sought and had promised the override.

The override means all five of Cooper's vetoes since taking office in January have been overturned. Cooper's veto marked the second time a state budget had been vetoed — the other one occurred in 2011.

Charlotte Citizen Review Board To Hold Evidentiary Hearing In Scott Case

The Scott’s family lawyer says that he’s pleased the Charlotte's Citizen Review Board is holding an evidentiary hearing. The board says CMPD may have been wrong in deciding that last year's fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by an officer was justified. The board plans to hold a hearing on August 8 to get more information.

Attorney Charles Monet represents the Scott family said, "We have been seeking is a decision or a declaration that the killing of Keith Scott was not justified and that departmental rules regulations and guidelines do not allow deadly force in a situation such as the one that Keith was in.”

If the majority of the review board decides that CMPD was wrong in exonerating Officer Brentley Vinson, they would recommend that the chief reverse that decision. If the chief ignores the recommendation it then goes to the city manager. While the board has held fact-finding hearings like this a majority of board members has never determined that CMPD was wrong in deciding a shooting was justified.

Samsung Opening Plant In South Carolina

Samsung is investing $380 million in South Carolina to manufacture home appliances, creating an estimated 950 jobs over the next three years.

State and company officials said Samsung is moving into the former Caterpillar plant in Newberry, a rural part of the state northwest of Columbia. Production is expected to start early next year.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce has not yet announced what incentives were given to the company.

Charter School Management Company Lobbies For Law To Reserve Seats In Charter Schools

Charter Schools USA – one of the largest charter school management companies is lobbying North Carolina lawmakers to create a new market for a specific type of school.

The North Carolina legislation, modeled on a six-year-old Louisiana law, would allow corporations that help build or equip taxpayer-funded charter schools to reserve half the seats in those schools as an employee perk.

No companies have yet expressed interest in spending the minimum of $50,000 to get a North Carolina charter school off the ground for their workers, said state Rep. John Bradford, a suburban Charlotte Republican who sponsored legislation that passed the House earlier this year.

With existing rules already allowing a charter school's employees and board members to claim places for their own children, the change could leave only a third of the seats in such schools for the general public.

Watchdog Says Former Governor's Tweet Broke Federal Law 

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has been accused of violating a law limiting government employees' political activity by voicing support for a South Carolina congressional candidate.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Tuesday, accusing the former South Carolina governor of violating the Hatch Act. The group says Haley shouldn't have retweeted one of the president’s Twitter messages supporting Republican Ralph Norman. Norman won a special election for the seat formerly occupied by Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney.

The group said in the letter that Haley deleted the tweet but should still be investigated and disciplined. A Haley spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message.