STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS CONCERNED ABOUT DISCHARGES OF MYSTERY CHEMICAL GENX: Willmington residents and state officials demanded answers at Thursday night's meeting regarding Chemours, the manufacturing plant that has been discharging toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River for decades. The information has caused concern of contaminated drinking water in the city of Wilmington and the surrounding area. Chemours is a chemical manufacturing plant upstream of the Cape Fear River. As part of its operations, an unregulated compound called GenX has been released in the river, the source of water for many in the Wilmington area. Officials and locals want more current data immediately, meaning state workers could start collecting water samples from the Cape Fear River as soon as next week.
STEVE SCALISE UNDERGOES THIRD SURGERY, MORE WILL BE NEEDED: Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican shot Wednesday during congressional baseball practice, remains in critical condition “but has improved in the last 24 hours,” MedStar Washington Hospital announced Thursday. Scalise underwent a third procedure and second surgery for his gunshot wound Thursday. According to the hospital, he sustained a single shot to his left hip, with the bullet traveling across his pelvis causing bone fractures, internal organ injury and severe bleeding. On Thursday, the hospital reiterated that Scalise will need more operations and will be in the hospital “for some time.” The hospital also said it will continue to provide periodical updates.
3-JUDGE PANEL ALLOWS NC GOP ELECTIONS POWER GRAB TO GO FORWARD: A three-judge panel says it will not block a North Carolina law merging oversight of state elections, ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws into a single agency. The same three-judge panel that two weeks ago dismissed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s lawsuit against legislative Republicans said Thursday the law will stay in effect while Cooper appeals. The law takes away a chunk of Cooper’s authority over managing elections. The new elections, ethics and campaign finance board has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, but a Republican will head it during presidential election years.
TRUMP SON-IN-LAW JARED KUSHNER IS ALSO UNDER INVESTIGATION: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, as part of the probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to officials familiar with the matter. The Washington Post had earlier reported that investigators were scrutinizing separate meetings that Kushner held with Russians in December - first with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and then with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian development bank. At the time of that report it was not clear that the FBI was investigating Kushner's business dealings.
MARK BINKER HONORED IN NC SENATE RESOLUTION: The N.C. Senate on Thursday honored former News & Record state reporter Mark Binker. A longtime statehouse journalist, Binker, 43, died April 29. Senate Resolution 680, sponsored by Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger of Eden, described Binker as "a reporter of enormous talent, intellect, institutional knowledge, and professional dedication." According to the resolution, Binker "was greatly admired and respected by those he covered, many of whom described him as an outstanding, tough but fair professional member of the media."