CURRENT LAWSUITS MOVE FORWARD IN HOG FARM NUISANCE CLAIMS: Last October, over the objections of Murphy-Brown, the court allowed investigators to visit the hog farms, take air-quality samples, record video evidence, send in drones and catch as many pathogen transmission vectors – flies – as they could. The lawsuits also allege that the smells, pig transport trucks, open-air lagoons and spraying of waste onto fields are so offensive that people living in the vicinity can’t have visitors to their homes or have outdoor activities. The company says it complies with all existing laws and regulations, rendering the lawsuits groundless. The federal trials cleared their most recent hurdle Thursday. The state legislature passed proposed legislation protecting hog farms against lawsuits, after lawmakers agreed to remove a provision that would have made the protections retroactive to the Murphy-Brown lawsuits.
JUDGES VOTE 2/1 TO TEMPORARILY RESTRAIN NEWEST GOP EFFORT TO RESHUFFLE ELECTION BOARDS: North Carolina judges on Friday put a temporary brake on renewed efforts by Republican state lawmakers to curtail the new Democratic governor's control over state and local elections. A panel of state trial court judges voted 2-1 to stop a new law from taking effect Monday until a more extensive hearing on May 10. The panel's majority said Gov. Roy Cooper was likely to succeed in challenging a law GOP legislators passed this week diluting the ability governors have had for more than a century to pick election board majorities. State Senate leader Phil Berger blasted the temporary restraining order, saying legislators had responded to the panel's rejection of an earlier version by tailoring the revamped effort "exactly as they required."
DRILLING FOR OIL OFF NORTH CAROLINA COAST ONCE AGAIN POSSIBLE UNDER TRUMP ORDER: Working to dismantle his predecessor’s environmental legacy, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump will order his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations. The order could open to oil and gas exploration areas off Virginia and North and South Carolina, where drilling has been blocked for decades.
ANOTHER NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH FAILS, TRUMP TWEETS ABOUT IT: A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. President Donald Trump said on Twitter, "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" He did not answer reporters' questions about the missile launch upon returning to the White House from a day trip to Atlanta.
MOSCOW DEMONSTRATORS CALL FOR PUTIN TO NOT RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM: Several hundred demonstrators are gathered in a Moscow park, trying to move to the nearby presidential administration building to present letters calling on President Vladimir Putin not to run for a fourth term in office in 2018. The demonstration is one of about two dozen called for Saturday by Open Russia, an organization founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Putin critic and former oil tycoon who spent a decade behind bars before being pardoned in 2013. The Moscow gathering was not sanctioned by officials, but there were no immediate reports of arrest.