Saturday News: This elevator (queen) is broken

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REDUCES FINES BY OVER HALF IN SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSE THAT TOOK 3 (LATINO) LIVES: Anderson Antones de Almeida and Jose Erasmo Hernandez of Durham, as well as Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez of Clinton, died on March 23, 2015, after scaffolding collapsed while they were working on the 11-story Charter Square building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The Department of Labor initially charged Associated Scaffolding $151,900 for its role in the accident after finding that company workers didn’t follow manufacturer recommendations when tying the scaffolding to the building and put too much weight on the scaffolding while dismantling it, The N&O reported in January 2016. The Durham-based company contested the allegations and on April 18 reached a settlement with the labor department to pay a $70,000 fine and make “a number of safety and health enhancements that will be implemented to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” said Mary Katherine Revels, a department spokeswoman.

IN WAKE OF 3RD HOG NUISANCE SETTLEMENT, TILLIS VOWS TO BRING ISSUE TO U.S. SENATE: "These nuisance lawsuits are just as harmful to agriculture as any disease we can have any of our industries nationwide," N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. Roundtable participants bashed trial lawyers repeatedly during Friday's event, accusing Kaeske and his team of recruiting hog farm neighbors for a money grab against Smithfield, a multibillion-dollar corporation purchased by Chinese investors in 2013 and by far the state's largest hog producer. Frequently during the most recent trial, Smithfield's attorney said none of the plaintiffs complained until filing this suit in 2014. Tillis, R-NC, said he plans to request hearings in congressional agriculture and judiciary committees. He said more states should consider laws similar to the Farm Act North Carolina passed earlier this year, and Congress may need to pass a similar law.

CARY MOVIE THEATER THAT ALLOWED TRUMP MERCHANDISE TABLE VIOLATED COMPANY POLICY: A theater faces pushback for allowing the local Republican Party to distribute Trump campaign merchandise in its lobby. The Wake County Republican Party on Wednesday set up a table full of merchandise at the Regal Crossroads Stadium 20 as they promoted a screening of the Dinesh D’Souza movie, “Death of a Nation.” On Reddit and Twitter, some questioned whether the theater should allow political groups to set up booths. “Regal prohibits soliciting on our premises including support for any political candidate. We have followed up with the respective parties involved regarding the recent tabling at Crossroads, reinforcing our policy,” the Tennessee-based company tweeted to a News & Observer reporter.

4 OF THE ALAMANCE 12 CHARGED WITH VOTER FRAUD TAKE PLEA BARGAINS: Two more of the so-called Alamance 12 pleaded guilty to misdemeanors this week. Ebonie Octavia Oliver, 24, of 185 Doll Branch Road, Milton, and Jason Charles McLamb, 42, both pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice, and were sentenced to a year of probation and 24 hours of community service. Two of the other 12 people charged with voting by a felon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges last month. Alamance is not the only county to prosecute these violations, but it’s prosecuting more cases than other counties, though cases in other counties are still under consideration. The Alamance 12 have become a cause for Down Home NC, a liberal advocacy group working in the Piedmont and mountains with an active Alamance County chapter that calls these prosecutions voter suppression. A story about the prosecutions was featured Friday, Aug. 3, in The New York Times.

TRUMP'S "VOTER INTEGRITY" COMMISSION DOCUMENTS PROVE HE LIED ABOUT WIDESPREAD FRAUD: The now-disbanded voting integrity commission launched by the Trump administration uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud, according to an analysis of administration documents released Friday. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who are both Republicans and led the commission, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said the documents show there was a "pre-ordained outcome" and that drafts of a commission report included a section on evidence of voter fraud that was "glaringly empty." "It's calling into the darkness, looking for voter fraud," Dunlap, a Democrat, told The Associated Press. "There's no real evidence of it anywhere." Republican President Donald Trump convened the commission to investigate the 2016 presidential election after making unsubstantiated claims that between 3 million and 5 million ballots were illegally cast. Critics, including Dunlap, reject his claims of widespread voter fraud.