OPPONENTS OF BILL TO ARM TEACHERS HEADED TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY: A growing number of mothers is voicing opposition to arming teachers in the classroom. On Wednesday, hundreds of people are planning to confront state lawmakers about the issue and other school security issues. The advocates plan to voice concerns at the State Legislature about the School Security Act, a bill that would give teachers a 5 percent raise if they become sworn police officers. This would give them authority to carry a concealed weapon in class and give them arresting power. The group speaking out Wednesday consists mainly of moms, but they're not the only ones opposed to arming teachers. State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the N.C. Associations for Educators have also spoke up, raising concerns.
MARK WALKER SPENT $50,000 ON "WHITE COLLAR" LAWYER BEFORE BRIBERY INDICTMENTS: The campaign spending reports of U.S. Rep. Mark Walker show a $50,000 payment to a Washington, D.C., law firm that specializes in white-collar defense and congressional investigations. The payment came less than four months before last week’s indictment of campaign donor Greg Lindberg, a Durham businessman who donated more than $200,000 to Walker and groups supporting him. Walker has not been charged in the federal grand jury’s indictment accusing Lindberg and NC Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes of an attempted bribery scheme. Walker has assisted the federal Department of Justice in its probe, his communications director, Jack Minor, told The News & Observer on Monday. Minor didn’t answer questions about whether the legal payment had anything to do with the investigation.
NC INMATE WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXONERATED DIES IN PRISON: Lee Wayne Hunt died a prisoner, officially deemed guilty of a double murder — even though a co-defendant absolved him in a conversation with a lawyer that remained secret for decades. Attorney Staples Hughes said a client who also was convicted in the case told him not long after the 1984 slayings of a Fayetteville couple that Hunt wasn't involved. Hughes risked disbarment when he told a judge in 2007 about the confession, after the client, Jerry Cashwell, had died. "If you believe what my client told me, and I believe my client, that Mr. Hunt didn't do this, then it just becomes so terrible and so sad," Hughes told The Associated Press. Hunt, 59, died alone Feb. 13 at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, where he had been taken about a week earlier for treatment of heart problems, his daughter, Heather Allen, told the AP. Prison officials didn't tell Hunt's relatives that he'd been moved from Maury Correctional Institution to the hospital until the family got word he had died, Allen said. He'd spent more than half his life in state prisons.
RAZAN AND YUSOR'S FATHER TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS ABOUT HATE CRIME: For a North Carolina Muslim father, the pain of losing his two daughters and son-in-law is “just as sharp now” as it was on the day they were fatally shot four years ago. “Three beautiful young Americans were brutally murdered, and there is no question in our minds that this tragedy was born of bigotry and hate,” Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha told a U.S. Congressional committee Tuesday, according to a live video feed. Abu-Salha spoke during a hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.” His daughters — Razan, 19, and Yusor, 21, — and Yusor’s husband Deah Barakat, 23, were fatally shot Feb. 10, 2015, in a Chapel Hill condo complex. Craig Stephen Hicks was charged in connection with the shooting, which happened after a reported parking dispute The News & Observer has reported.
NEW ZEALAND PASSES ASSAULT RIFLE BAN LESS THAN A MONTH AFTER MASSACRE: Less than a month after 50 Muslim worshipers in the city of Christchurch were fatally shot in terrorist attacks on two mosques, New Zealand passed a law banning most semiautomatic weapons on Wednesday — a measure supported by all but one of Parliament’s 120 lawmakers. The passage of the bill means temporary restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern six days after the massacre, to prevent New Zealanders from stockpiling guns before the law went into effect, will now be permanent. The swift action by lawmakers stands in stark contrast to similar efforts in the United States, where nationwide gun control proposals have stalled despite a series of mass shootings in recent years. “New Zealand stands apart in its widespread availability of weapons of such destructive nature and force,” Ms. Ardern told Parliament on Wednesday. “Today that anomaly ends.” The law outlaws military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles, and violators face five years in prison.