House bill could be helping hand for broadband

There’s probably no bigger economic development issue in rural America than access to dependable high-speed internet service. 

“One hundred percent,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin. “It’s the biggest issue in Western North Carolina as far as infrastructure and the economy.”

A new state park: Funding and opening Pisgah View State Park will be years-long process

A new state park has been created in Buncombe and Haywood counties following Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature on a state Senate bill July 19, but it will be years before Pisgah View State Park will bridge the gap from concept to reality. 

WCU begins ‘Welcome Tour’ to introduce new chancellor

Western Carolina University Chancellor Kelli R. Brown is meeting with alumni, friends of the university and community members across North Carolina this summer and fall as part of a “Chancellor’s Welcome Tour” designed to introduce WCU’s new chief executive officer to the region and state.

What Queen didn’t tell readers about budget standoff

By Patrick M. Gleason • Guest Columnist

What Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, failed to mention in his recent column in these pages is that imposing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in North Carolina would require state government to spend an additional $6 billion in taxpayer dollars over the next two years alone. Those additional costs would have to be paid by North Carolina taxpayers. 

High spirits: craft distilling bill will help the industry

A highly-anticipated reform bill that will open up new revenue streams for the state’s estimated 80 craft distillers has cleared the North Carolina General Assembly and currently awaits the governor’s signature.

Budget stalemate drags on

Although Republicans still control both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly, Democratic victories in the 2018 legislative election stripped Republicans of their power to override the veto of Gov. Roy Cooper, D-Rocky Mount. That, said Waynesville Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen, has changed the political climate in Raleigh. 

State passes ‘Death by Distribution’ law

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Death by Distribution Act into law earlier this month, making it easier for prosecutors to charge drug dealers with second-degree murder for selling someone a lethal dose. 

Millions and billions — Correction from last week’s guest column

By Joe Sam Queen • Guest writer

When it comes to talking about millions and billions, getting tongue-tied or misquoted is a hazard of the state budget talks. The numbers are so big that most of us don’t have a grasp of the phenomenal difference they make for real people’s lives, in the economy of our state. 

Queen: Dems ‘won’t cave’ on budget veto, Medicaid expansion

North Carolina’s budget standoff shows no signs of ending, weeks after Gov. Roy Cooper, D-Rocky Mount, followed through on a promise to veto a Republican-crafted budget that doesn’t include Medicaid expansion. 

Sports betting bill passes N.C. House

Sports betting is likely to come to Cherokee following the N.C. House of Representatives’ July 15 vote to pass a Senate bill allowing it to occur on the Qualla Boundary. 

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