DUKE ENERGY ATTORNEY SAYS PEOPLE CAN SKIP MCDONALD'S TO COVER RATE HIKE: Duke Energy customers facing a rate hike regardless of how much electricity they use shouldn't be too worried, because it's just the price of a McDonald's value meal each month, a company attorney said Monday. "One extra Big Mac, fries and a drink," Duke Deputy General Counsel Bo Somers said during the company's ongoing rate increase hearing before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Somers was pushing back against claims that the company's rate hikes, meant to raise billions of dollars in new revenue over the next 10 years, would be a hardship for some. Attorneys seeking to block state regulatory approval of the company's full request have keyed at times on Duke's basic facilities charge – the fee customers pay each month just to be hooked into the company's electric grid.
LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS ROLL OUT SCHOOL SAFETY INITIATIVE, INCLUDING REQUIRING PERMIT FOR AR-15: The Democratic lawmakers' proposal largely mirrors the ideas that Gov. Roy Cooper set forth in a social media post last week, including raising the age to 21 for buying what they described as assault weapons. One difference, Chaudhuri said, is that instead of calling for Medicaid to cover more people, the lawmakers propose funding more school psychologists and counselors. Included in their proposal is a way for courts to use "extreme risk protection orders" to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. Rep. Marcia Morey, a former Durham judge, presented such orders as a step beyond domestic violence protective orders. Anyone with direct personal knowledge can ask the court to remove a gun from someone who exhibits threatening, dangerous behavior, she said, while due process rights are preserved. Their proposal would also require background checks before purchase of semi-automatic weapons such as an AR-15 from a private seller, as is already the case for people who buy handguns.
RALEIGH CHURCH EMBROILED IN DEBATE OVER FATE OF HISTORIC HOMES: Neighbors rallied Monday night to ask a Raleigh church to save some historic homes that are slated to be demolished. Hayes Barton Baptist Church wants to tear down six homes it owns on White Oak Road in order to build a 78-space parking lot. Pastor David Hailey said his church needs to grow and expand. “Long established churches either change and plan for the future, or they decline,” he said. The plan to demolish the historic homes is one option under consideration, but a crowded room of neighbors said that would be a mistake. “I honestly think you can build up your church without tearing down half of a historic neighborhood,” Mitchell said. Neighbors had a list of concerns about the proposed plan, including traffic, safety for children, storm water issues and maintaining the historical integrity of the community.
MISSISSIPPI ANTI-ABORTION LAW HEADED TO COURT BEFORE INK DRIES: The nation's most restrictive abortion law is headed for a showdown before a federal judge only hours after it was signed by Mississippi's governor. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves late Monday scheduled arguments Tuesday morning over whether he should immediately block the law after a request by the state's only abortion clinic and a physician who works there. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 on Monday, immediately banning most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. How quickly will the effects of the law be felt in Mississippi? Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis of the Jackson Women's Health Organization stated in court papers that a woman 15 weeks or more pregnant is scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon abortion.
FACEBOOK STOCK PLUMMETS IN WAKE OF CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA'S ABUSE OF USER INFO: The drop in Facebook stock came after the company said Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained data from some of its users. The New York Times and the Guardian reported that Cambridge was able to tap the profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission. Legislators in the U.S. and Europe criticized the company’s response, and investors wondered if companies like Facebook and Alphabet will face tighter regulation as a result. Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research for GBH Insights, said Facebook is in a crisis, and it will have to work hard to reassure users, investors and governments. “This is a defining moment for them,” he said. “It either becomes a blip on the radar and it helps the platform mature... or it becomes the start of something broader.”