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    Toyota will invest another $2.1 billion in an electric and hybrid vehicle battery factory that’s under construction near Greensboro, North Carolina. The plant will supply batteries to Toyota’s huge complex in Georgetown, Kentucky, which will build Toyota’s first U.S.-made electric vehicle, a new SUV with three rows of seats. The plans announced Wednesday won’t immediately create any more jobs at either factory.  Toyota plans to have 2,100 employees at the battery factory. The investment will prepare infrastructure to expand for growth. Production is to start in 2025. It brings the total investment to $5.9 billion. The huge Kentucky complex now employs 9,500 people.  The company says jobs will shift to the new electric vehicle when production starts in 2025.

      A bill allowing the state’s leading health insurance provider to restructure is on its way to the desk of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The North Carolina legislature gave the bill final approval despite criticisms from the state insurance commissioner that it would erode his regulatory authority. The measure cleared the Senate 41-5 Tuesday after passing the House with similar bipartisan support earlier this year. The measure permits Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and a dental insurance provider to transfer assets into a parent holding company and make investments. The changes would take effect as soon as it becomes law.

        The composition of several North Carolina state commissions would shift away from gubernatorial appointees and toward the choices of legislators and others in a measure that cleared a House committee. The bill is a version of a Senate bill that passed that chamber last month. Republican sponsors argued the changes would bring more diversity to powerful boards currently controlled by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s picks. Cooper and fellow Democrats consider the legislation an unconstitutional power grab. The version that passed the House committee on Tuesday removes changes to the state Utilities Commission but adds a provision on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

          The North Carolina General Assembly’s chief advocate for legalizing medical marijuana in the state has revealed how he smoked pot over 20 years ago to withstand intense chemotherapy during his fight with cancer. Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County has previously described himself as a colon cancer survivor. But he had been reticent on details like whether he used marijuana until pitching his legislation on Tuesday to the House Health Committee. The measure passed the Senate three months ago. Rabon recalled how a physician told him to obtain marijuana when he sought a more aggressive form of treatment. Medical pot opponents say marijuana may cause harm to patients.

            As the Supreme Court decides the fate of affirmative action, most people in the U.S. say the court should allow consideration of race as part of the admissions process. Yet few believe students’ race should play a significant role in those decisions. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 63% say the Supreme Court should not stop colleges from considering race or ethnicity in their admission systems. The poll shows little divide along political or racial lines. People are more likely to say grades and standardized test scores should be significant factors. Lawsuits are challenging admissions systems at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

              A veteran North Carolina Democratic political consultant died over the weekend after he was ejected from the boat he was riding in near some of the state’s barrier islands. The National Park Service says 42-year-old Conen Morgan of Raleigh died on Sunday. The park service says three passengers were in a rented boat south of Shackleford Banks when it took a wave that ejected them. They all made it to shore but one passenger — identified later as Morgan — collapsed around the wave line. Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted that Morgan's “hard work and determination made a real, positive difference for people of North Carolina.”


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