U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments Monday Over First Amendment And N.C. Sex Offenders

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday morning over the First Amendment rights of sex offenders in North Carolina. The justices will consider a North Carolina law that forbids offenders from accessing Facebook and other social media.

In 2002, Lester Packingham pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child in Cabarrus County. In 2008, state lawmakers banned sex offenders from using social networking websites that minors frequent. Two years later, Packingham was arrested in Durham in relation to a Facebook post in which he praised God for the dismissal of a traffic ticket.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that law does not violate the First Amendment right to free speech. The state court noted that Packingham could still use other websites, and that the law furthered a governmental interest of protecting children.

Packingham’s attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that’s “an alarming departure from our legal tradition” and an “obvious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment.” They’ll try to convince the justices to strike the law down. They say the ban also applies to amazon.com and nytimes.com, although the state disputes that.

North Carolina’s attorneys argue the ban does not burden speech any more than necessary to achieve its purpose. Attorneys general from 13 other states, including South Carolina, filed a brief in support of the law.

Governor Proposes Average 5 Percent Pay Increase For Teachers For Next Two Years

Gov. Roy Cooper proposed average pay raises of 5 percent for teachers this year and next year in his upcoming budget. He made the announcement Monday at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, surrounded by teachers.

Gov. Cooper says the two-year teacher pay raise will cost the state $813 million and he says taxes would not be raised to make it happen.

“That is the largest two-year investment in teacher salaries in decades,” Cooper said. “Under my plan at this rate, North Carolina teachers will be the best in the Southeast in teacher salaries in three years.”

Cooper says no teacher would receive less than a three percent raise, with some possibly receiving as much as a 7 percent increase. In the past two years, teacher pay raises have targeted new and mid-career teachers. Cooper says his plan will ensure that all teachers get a pay increase, especially veterans.

“Some veteran teachers haven’t gotten anything but some have actually seen decreases in pay, so you will see that we have made sure that they aren’t left out this time,” Cooper said.

Teacher salaries in the state currently average just over $49,000, giving the state a national ranking of 41st in the nation. Cooper says his goal is for North Carolina teachers’ pay to equal the national average of $62,000 within five years.

Whitewater Middle School math teacher Khadeem Maddox says he’s encouraged by the governor’s plan and thinks it will make teachers feel more appreciated.

“Comparing my salary with other states and looking at the shortages we have in math and science I think this will help motivate teachers to stay in North Carolina,” Maddox said.

The governor’s plan also calls for teachers to receive a $150 annual stipend for instruction materials since many often use their own money to buy supplies. Coopers says he’s prepared to fight in the legislature to get the pay increases approved. He says he believes legislators on both sides of the aisles recognize that in order to attract and retain good teachers, pay increases are needed.

How to Find a Good, Affordable Apartment in Charlotte

How to Find a Good, Affordable Apartment in Charlotte

When you’re looking for an apartment, you have many things to consider. The most important criteria when you start your search is the price. When it comes to apartment hunting, you can’t begin until you know how much you can afford. After you decide your price range, you’ll need to take the time to look for the best apartment.

Here are some steps you can take to get the best apartment at a great price.

1. Know Your Neighborhoods

Before you start searching you need to determine which section of Charlotte you want to live in. The communities you choose should have apartments in your price range. You may decide to choose a community near your job, or you may base your decision on the local schools.

The reason you choose a neighborhood does not matter. What’s important is that you know the name of the area so that you can focus on looking for apartments in the location where you want to live.

2. Look for Special Deals and Discounts

Sometimes apartments have discounts or deals available for a rental. When an apartment first opens or during certain times of year when people tend to move out, they may offer a slight discount on the monthly rent, waive the application fee, or reduce the deposit.

These discounts or deals might be able to make an apartment that is slightly higher than your price range more affordable for you. As soon as you see these offers, you should visit the apartment and if you’re interested put in an application. These deals go fast, so you need to move quickly.

3. See If There Is a Waiting List

Since people are looking for good, affordable apartments in Charlotte, the best ones are not available. Some apartments have waiting lists for people who are interested in moving into their apartments. When there is an upcoming vacancy, they’ll call these people to see if they’re interested, before spending money on advertising.

If the apartments you’re interested in have a list, sign up. If you start looking for your apartment a few months before moving, this may be enough time for a person in the apartment to decide they want to move. While this is an option, you should not depend on a vacancy opening up when you need it, keep looking for the right place, until you find an apartment you want to rent.

When it comes to finding the best apartment at a good place, it takes time and effort, and maybe a bit of luck. By following these tips, you’ll be one step closer to having an apartment you love.

How You Can Find An Affordable Apartment In Charlotte

How You Can Find An Affordable Apartment In Charlotte

If you’re a renter, you’re going to want to be careful about any lease that you sign. You aren’t going to want to wind up in an apartment that you can’t afford.

If you’re looking at apartments in Charlotte, you’ll want to find a nice apartment with a reasonable monthly rate. Here are a few tips that will help you to find affordable apartments in the area:

Look At Unconventional Apartments

If you’re renting in Charlotte, you don’t have to look at apartments that are in a complex. You can rent an apartment that’s above a restaurant, or even rent an apartment that’s in a basement.

In many cases, these unconventional apartments have cheaper rent than cooker-cutter apartments do. If you’re willing to think outside of the box, you may be able to find the kind of apartment that offers the things that you want.

Look For An Apartment With Reasonable Utilities

If your goal is to keep your monthly spending down, you shouldn’t just look for an apartment with cheap rent. You should look for an apartment with reasonable rates for utilities.

If utilities aren’t included in the rent, you should check to see how much the rates usually are. You should pay especially close attention to the rates for things like electricity. Electric bills are usually higher in the summer, when you have to cover cooling costs.

If you take all of your expenses into account, you should be able to find some very affordable options.

Look For Deals

In many cases, landlords will offer special deals to attract tenants. As an example, you may be able to move into an apartment without having to pay your first month of rent.

If you save some money during one month, you’ll be able to enjoy those savings throughout the year. You’ll be able to put the money you save towards other expenses, and you’ll be able to keep your finances in great shape.

Have you been looking for an affordable apartment in Charlotte? If you’ve been trying to find a place to rent in Charlotte, you should know that there are plenty of options that should work for you. You don’t have to live in a dumpy apartment if you want to save. It is more than possible to find a nice apartment in this area that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.