Under the Dome: Final votes coming up on ICE cooperation mandate?

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Good morning! ☀️ Here’s what you need to know in North Carolina politics today.

A few weeks after the Senate sent back to the House the ICE cooperation bill we’ve written about extensively, it looks like GOP lawmakers are ready to move forward with the bill.

To recap: this is legislation that Republicans have been trying to pass since 2019. It’s aimed at compelling sheriffs in largely Democratic counties who vowed to limit or end their cooperation with the federal immigration enforcement agency, to comply with requests by ICE to temporarily detain people who had been arrested and were suspected of being in the country illegally.

The Senate passed House Bill 10 earlier this month after not taking it up at all last year. Before sending it back to the other chamber, senators amended it to include an enforcement provision that would allow anyone to file a complaint with the attorney general, if they believed a sheriff wasn’t complying with the proposed law’s provisions.

Instead of concurring with the Senate’s amended bill, the House voted on Wednesday to create a conference committee to hash out some final changes.

Rep. Destin Hall, the chair of the House Rules Committee and the bill’s main proponent, told The News & Observer that the conference report could be ready for final votes to send it to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk next week. — Avi Bajpai

Keep reading for more from our politics team and Stephanie Loder, correspondent.


A group of lawmakers from both parties is getting together to plan a “bipartisan parachute jump” sometime later this month or in June.

Reps. Caleb Rudow, Laura Budd, and Jarrod Lowery sent lawmakers an email on Tuesday that Rudow assured his colleagues on the House floor Wednesday wasn’t fake, or “an Onion article,” encouraging them to sign up for the chance to go skydiving to raise money for food banks in their districts.

Also, Rudow said, to “show the people of North Carolina something that I think is really important, which is us getting along, working together, and in this instance, taking a leap of faith together.”

Rudow said the choice of parachute jumping as a means for lawmakers to bond was inspired by GOP Rep. Diane Wheatley, who told him when he first arrived at the General Assembly that skydiving was on her bucket list. Rudow said he’s never gone skydiving, but has always wanted to.

The goal is for each lawmaker who participates to raise at least $500 for a local food bank.

— Avi Bajpai

Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupt UNC board meeting

Protesters disrupted a meeting of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees on Wednesday, urging the board to cut financial ties with Israel amid its war in Gaza.

“Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” the protesters chanted before being escorted out of the building by police.

Samuel Scarborough, a rising sophomore at UNC, compared the situation to historical calls for universities to desegregate or oppose apartheid in South Africa.

“We know that it took fighting tooth and nail to get this institution on its knees and negotiating with students and community members directly,” he told The N&O. “This institution will not negotiate with us on fair play. We have to bring them to the table.”

Trustee David Boliek asked that the protesters be arrested. The demonstrators returned to their cars shortly after being escorted outside and police did not appear to make any arrests.

Later on in the meeting, Trustee Perrin Jones said the university’s endowment “would not be politicized.”

Kyle Ingram

Juvenile justice bill passes the Senate

A bill that critics say would reverse criminal justice reforms — including provisions known as Raise the Age — but that supporters say will streamline processes, passed the Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday. It now goes back to the House.

This bill would require 16- or 17-year-old juveniles who commit Class A-E felonies to be tried in superior court initially as adults. Currently, these cases go first to juvenile court and then must be transferred to superior court after probable cause is found or the teen is indicted.

Robeson County Republican Sen. Danny Britt said on the Senate floor that the bill is “trying to deal with these violent A-E felonies, trying to deal with these individuals that are mostly prosecuted in superior court but through a lengthy transfer process, a very convoluted transfer process. What we’re not doing is rolling back Raise the Age.”

Before the bill’s passage in the Senate, where it faced no debate, it was heard in committees. On Wednesday, during the Senate rules committee, Liz Barber with the ACLU of North Carolina said the bill was not “just a clarification on procedure.”

Starting in adult court, she said, will make it harder to get youths to testify against “more culpable people,” will lead them to “forever have an adult record,” and will be a “harder lift” for juvenile defense attorneys to convince prosecutors to remand cases back down, she said.

Barber said Wednesday “It’s simply not true” that A-E felony cases always end up in adult court. She said she talked with a juvenile prosecutor Wednesday morning who said that they did keep some youths charged with D and E felonies in juvenile court.

— Luciana Perez Uribe Guinassi


The state Senate voted Wednesday to repeal a health and safety exception to North Carolina’s ban on mask wearing in public and also boost penalties for mask wearing during the commission of a crime.

The bill, introduced last week, was approved in a 30-15 vote on Wednesday afternoon. The bill will head to the House.

The bill additionally imposes new penalties for anyone taking part in a demonstration that blocks traffic.

Pushback regarding the bill has come from critics who contend the bill is an anti-protest measure in response to pro-Palestinian protests on state campuses where protesters have worn masks.

Democratic Sen. Sydney Batch spoke Wednesday afternoon against the bill, arguing it would leave immunocompromised people at risk.

Get the full story from Avi Bajpai here.


A state auditor’s report that reviewed expenses from 2014 to 2021 in the Town of Fremont, in Wayne County, says hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds were misused or misreported – and a former mayor let two people live in Town Hall.

The report by Auditor Jessica Holmes also found:

  • An unnamed former town administrator and ex-mayor let two people with pets live in Town Hall for half a year.

  • The people living in Town Hall had access to documents with personal information.

  • The former administrator authorized $3,450 in town money to add a shower and hot water heater to Town Hall.

  • The town paid its administrator $32,424 for unearned vacation hours.

  • A former payroll clerk falsified town records to pay herself, the public works director, and the former town administrator more than $14,000.

Holmes, who is running against Republican candidate Dave Boliek in November, was appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to finish the term of state Auditor Beth Wood, who resigned.

Current Fremont Mayor Eddie Yelverton, in a call with The News & Observer, identified W. Darron Flowers as the former mayor mentioned in the report.

Yelverton didn’t share the names of anyone else, but assured the employees in the report are no longer with the town.

Get the full story from Luciana Perez Uribe Guinassi here.


North Carolina lawmakers areplanning to introduce legislation to allow parents the chance to have public schools penalized over books that they consider obscene.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition, said Wednesday the legislation would remove public schools from being exempt from the state’s obscenity laws and set a statewide criteria for selection of books for classrooms and libraries.

The bill sets up penalties and would help control “inappropriate material” from being in the hands of children, said state Rep. Jeff Zenger, a Forsyth County Republican speaking at a news conference at Freedom Park in Raleigh.

A copy of the bill wasn’t available Wednesday.

However, Mary Summa, general counsel for the N.C. Values Coalition, said elements of legislation that would have made it easier to prosecute librarians would be included. The bill was removed last year from the state House Education Committee.

Get the full story from T. Keung Hui here.


Wednesday’s Under the Dome newsletter should have said that House Bill 834 would modify the state’s definition of a delinquent juvenile to exclude those 16 and older who commit Class A-E felonies. The classes of felonies included were incorrectly reported in the newsletter.

That’s all for today. Check your inbox tomorrow for more #ncpol news.

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