Wednesday Wrap: Voting during pandemic, sudden change in NC unemployment system

Posted May 27, 2020 9:29 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2020 9:38 p.m. EDT

— The coronavirus pandemic continues to drive activities in North Carolina government.

The director of the state's unemployment system, Lockhart Taylor, was summarily booted from the job Wednesday and replaced with former lawmaker Pryor Gibson, who had been heading a rural development program championed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The unemployment system has been flooded with more than 1.3 million claims over the last two months, leading to frustrated people who many times couldn't get questions answered or their claims processed. Lawmakers said they believed Taylor was doing the best he could in a bad situation, but the administration obviously thought a change was needed.

A batch of changes to absentee ballots, polling place operations and other elections laws prompted by the pandemic is headed to the House floor.

Meanwhile, the Senate will consider two measures that directly challenge restrictions Cooper has put in place, limiting the number of people in restaurants and keeping bars closed for several more weeks. The bills would allow outdoor seating at both venues, while putting limits of the number of people who could eat or drink outside and calling for social distancing guidelines to be followed.

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