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Despite opposition from some Republicans and Democrats, the state House gave initial approval Wednesday to Gov. Pat McCrory’s N.C. Competes jobs incentives plan with an 87-32 vote.

The plan would double the money available in what is now known as the Job Development Investment Grant or JDIG. The fund, used to lure major employers to the state, is largely out of money but would get a $22.5 million infusion if legislators approve.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday declared as unconstitutional a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before she can have an abortion.

The decision upholds a lower-court ruling from January and could send the issue to the Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON — First District Congressman G. K. Butterfield was unanimously elected Wednesday as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the next two years.

Beginning in January, the North Carolina Democrat will lead the 45-member caucus, the largest group in the organization’s history.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Well, that was expensive.

And loud. 

The 2014 U.S. Senate campaign in North Carolina led the nation in money-fueled sound and fury and, in many ways, set the stage for the 2016, when a trio of hugely important statewide races will headline the ballot. 

GREENSBORO — It went down to the final precincts, but North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis unseated incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan Tuesday night.

Tillis bested Hagan 49 percent to 47 percent in complete but unofficial results.

“We didn’t bend. We won,” Tillis told supporters in Charlotte while delivering his acceptance speech. “We have swept this nation with a compelling Senate majority.”

Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh placed a distant third with 4 percent of the vote.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 12.6 percent, according to a little known federal estimate called the U6 index that is considered the broadest existing measure of unemployment.


The U6 rate, issued Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, is almost twice as high as North Carolina’s jobless rate of 6.7 percent for September.


The U6 measure is higher because it counts people who are “underemployed” and also those who give up looking for work because they are discouraged.

Early voting starts Thursday across North Carolina in an election headlined by one of the nation’s most-watched U.S. Senate races.

This year’s early voting reflects two changes that were part of the sweeping voter bill passed by the General Assembly last year. It will be a week shorter than it was two years ago and new voters can no longer register and vote the same day.

Starting Thursday voters can cast early ballots through Nov. 1.

Raising the federal minimum wage would save the government billions and have sweeping benefits for low-income families, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank focused on labor issues.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Nearly two years after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment recognizing marriage only as a union between a man and a woman, a federal court judge in Asheville on Friday overturned the ban, allowing gay and lesbian couples across the state to marry immediately.

U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn's ruling came five days after the nation's top court declined to hear any appeal of a July decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond striking down Virginia's ban. That court has jurisdiction over North Carolina.