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Stories about North Carolina

Burr steps down as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) temporarily stepped down from the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, effective at the end of the day on May 15. Burr’s decision to resign was announced one day after the FBI served him a search warrant at his residence in Washington, D.C.

Burr is one of several U.S. senators under federal investigation for alleged insider trading leading up to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, 2020, ProPublica alleged that Burr, along with some other senators, traded stocks after receiving information in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing related to the effect the coronavirus outbreak will have on the American economy. The allegations stated that Burr sold between $600,000 and $1,800,000 in stocks before the stock market dipped more than 30% due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the stock market.

Burr sold 33 stocks on March 13, 2020, many of which were shares in companies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. He responded to allegations of wrongdoing saying he only relied on publicly available information to make the trades and requested they be reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee.

On May 13, federal agents searched Burr’s home and took possession of his cell phone. Spokespersons from the FBI, Department of Justice, and Burr’s office all declined to comment on the recent events in the investigation.

Three stay-at-home orders set to expire tomorrow

Stay-at-home orders in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are set to expire tomorrow. So far, 15 states that were previously under stay-at-home orders let those orders expire. Another seven states never implemented stay-at-home orders.

After these orders expire, the states with the next expiring orders are Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont on May 15.

Although the orders vary from state to state, they include at least two common elements: the closure or curtailment of nonessential businesses in the state and requiring all residents to stay home except for essential trips for supplies or outdoor exercise.

Illinois and North Carolina extend stay-at-home orders

On April 23, 2020, Illinois and North Carolina became the latest states to extend stay-at-home orders into May.

At a press conference, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order through May 30. The new order includes some modifications to the original stay-at-home order. Beginning May 1, anyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask in public spaces unless medically unable to do so. Some businesses previously designated as nonessential, like greenhouses and nurseries, will be allowed to reopen, so long as they follow social distancing requirements.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced at a press conference that he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8. He did not announce any restrictions that would be modified or lifted while the order remained in effect, but did say the first phase of a proposed three-part reopening plan could happen as early May 9. Cooper said the state will need to meet certain benchmarks before that happens, however.

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.

Alston appointed to Black’s seat in North Carolina House of Representatives

Attorney Vernetta Alston, a Democratic candidate running to represent District 29 in the North Carolina House of Representatives, has been appointed to the seat. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Alston on April 13 following the death of late representative MaryAnn Black in March.

Alston is an attorney who also served on the Durham City Council up until her appointment to the North Carolina House. She resigned from her municipal position to join the state legislature. The Democratic and Republican primaries for District 29 were canceled because fewer than two candidates filed to run in each race, meaning Alston is running unopposed for re-election to the seat in November.

As of April 2020, there have been 44 state legislative vacancies in 27 states. Twenty-one vacancies have been filled. Of those incumbents, all but five have filed to run for re-election in 2020. Two of the five have term end dates in 2023. Two more are in states whose filing deadlines for their seats have passed (North Carolina and Idaho), and one was just appointed this week in a state where the filing deadline has not yet passed (Vermont).

Additional reading:
MaryAnn Black
State legislative vacancies, 2020