COOPER WARNS CONGRESS ABOUT INACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called on the United States to reassert itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, telling a divided congressional committee of the economic, commercial and personal toll of climate change to his state while touting his moves as chief executive. “We can’t afford not to take urgent action to fight climate change. It is not too late, but it soon may be,” Cooper told members of the U.S. House’s Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday in the first of a series of Democratic-led hearings on climate change. Cooper appeared alongside Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican. Cooper said there is “overwhelming scientific consensus” on climate change and the role humans are playing in it. And he outlined damage that storms and severe weather events have caused in North Carolina in recent years, including hurricanes Matthew and Florence, mudslides in the mountains, animal- and crop-killing heat in the summers and the loss of crops due to flooding and heavy rains.
LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICANS FILE SLEW OF ANTI-ABORTION BILLS: Some of the first bills filed in the House this session would put new restrictions on abortion in North Carolina. House Bill 28 would ban abortions after 13 weeks, down from the current 20 weeks. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Alison Kiser said Wednesday that 13 weeks would be the earliest ban in the U.S. outside of some that have been blocked by courts. "This is a medically unnecessary and arbitrary cutoff to a women's ability to access safe and legal abortion care," Kiser said. Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, who sponsors the bill, declined to comment on it. House Bill 22 would require doctors to tell women that morning-after pill abortions can be reversed halfway through. "To be clear, the proposed course of treatment in this bill has not been proven by any credible research or medical evidence to be effective or even safe," Kiser said.
STATE ELECTIONS BOARD WILL TURN OVER 789 VOTER RECORDS TO ICE: Elections officials will turn over to a U.S. attorney records on fewer than 800 voters rather than the millions of voter records and ballots that the federal prosecutor initially wanted. The State Board of Elections told county boards in a memo Wednesday that the request for voter records had been reduced to 789. Eastern North Carolina counties will turn over records of 289 voters, and the State Board of Elections will send 500 voters’ registration records, the memo said. A spokesman for the board wouldn’t say how voters were selected. Officials haven’t said why ICE is seeking voter records, but Higdon’s office is prosecuting citizens from other countries that have voted here, The N&O reported. The state’s elections director wrote the U.S. attorney’s office about suspected fraud in the 9th Congressional District in January 2017, but it appears federal authorities did not follow up with an investigation that year, The N&O reported.
ICE CONDUCTS RAIDS IN SEVERAL NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITIES: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents were seen pulling over, questioning, and arresting numerous drivers around Charlotte Wednesday in what appeared to be a citywide crackdown that has alarmed and stoked fears among the city's immigrants. ICE arrests were also reported elsewhere in North Carolina Wednesday, including in Burlington, N.C., where at least three men were taken into custody by ICE agents stationed at the entrance to the men's neighborhood, according to Que Pasa, a local Spanish-language newspaper. El Pueblo, a Raleigh-based immigrant advocacy group, issued a statement Wednesday saying arrests had also been made in Wake County. The statewide arrests came a day after ICE agents raided a gun manufacturing plant in Sanford, N.C., arresting 27 workers there.
DEFIANT PELOSI MOVES FORWARD WITH CONGRESSIONAL PROBES DESPITE TRUMP THREAT: The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday began a broad inquiry into whether Russia and other foreign powers may be exercising influence over President Trump, acting only hours after a defiant Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that the House would not be cowed by the president’s “all-out threat” to drop its investigations of his administration. Other committees were zeroing in on similarly sensitive oversight targets. On Thursday, Democrats will begin their quest to secure the president’s long-suppressed tax returns. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee readied a subpoena for the acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, in case he tried to avoid Democratic questioning. And a House Appropriations subcommittee chairwoman began an inquiry into administration rule-bending during the 35-day partial government shutdown. Meeting for the first time this Congress, the Intelligence Committee laid out a five-point investigation of the president’s potential foreign entanglements that was far broader in scope than previously expected.