Published: Wed, February 22, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Cooper announces plan to up teacher pay

Cooper announces plan to up teacher pay

Pat McCrory, shortly before he left office.

In July, a three-judge federal appeals court panel overturned an April ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder, setting the stage for the request for U.S. Supreme Court review filed under the administration of Gov.

In 2013, when the Republicans had control of the legislative and executive branches of state government, the lawmakers adopted sweeping elections law changes that put in place a voter ID requirement, as well as limiting voting options.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, also a Democrat, on Tuesday withdrew the state's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court appealing a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from previous year that overturned the reforms.

"The right to vote is our most fundamental right", said Stein, a former state senator. The law was amended previous year to include a method for people unable to get a photo ID to still vote.

"I support efforts to guarantee fair and honest elections, but those efforts should not be used as an excuse to make it harder for people to vote".

The joint withdrawal does not immediately scuttle the appeal because the state Board of Elections would remain part of the case, at least temporarily. They would have to make similar requests. He said that the board would discuss the case at a planned meeting Wednesday.

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Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the Board of Elections, said the agency had been informed of the governor's decision on Tuesday and was still seeking additional information. Now, Cooper is reversing the state's position and seeking to withdraw the petition for the high court to review the case. Currently, they are not named in the lawsuit.

North Carolina's new Democratic governor and attorney general say they're ending state efforts to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to revive a GOP-backed voter ID law that was struck down by a lower court, but Republican lawmakers say they will continue pushing for the high court's review.

Governor Roy Cooper would like to give teachers an average 5 percent pay increase both this year and next year.

Outside legal counsel working on the case were dismissed this morning, Cooper said.

"Gov. Cooper's two-year teacher pay proposal is a significant step toward restoring respect back to the profession and making North Carolina a teacher destination state once again".

"The courts keep striking down these laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor", Cooper said. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs agreed to waive that amount in legal fees if the petition was dismissed, he said. "The decision will save taxpayers millions of dollars and save millions of voters from needless cuts to early voting and the elimination of safety-net protections (like same-day registration) that improve the elections system for everyone".

Now that the Supreme Court is one member short since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, North Carolina's move may prevent the justices from delving into an area of law where they've been deeply divided in the past.

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