Comcast Officially Drops $45 Billion Time Warner Cable Bid

Comcast_0424WASHINGTON–Comcast is abandoning its proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The decision comes two days after Comcast officials met Wednesday with members of the Justice Department and the FCC.

Both agencies expressed strong concerns about the deal.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said:

“Comcast and Time Warner Cable¹s decision to end Comcast¹s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable is in the best interests of consumers. The proposed transaction would have created a company with the most broadband and the video subscribers in the nation alongside the ownership of significant programming interests.”

“Today, we move on,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn¹t agree, we could walk away.”

Roberts went on to say that “Comcast NBCUniversal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn¹t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what¹s next.”

In a statement, Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said that TWC is well positioned without the merger.

“We have always believed that Time Warner Cable is a one-of-a-kind asset,” he said.  “We are strong and getting stronger. Throughout this process, we’ve been laser focused on executing our operating plan and investing in our plant, products and people to deliver great experiences to our customers. Through our strong operational execution and smart capital allocation, we are confident we will continue to create significant value for shareholders.”

“I’m extremely proud of the professionalism, dedication and resiliency our 55,000 employees have shown over the past year and thank them for their continued commitment to Time Warner Cable,” he added.

The combined company would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof.

Analysts say Time Warner Cable could still be picked up by Charter Communications, which had expressed interest before the Comcast deal.

Time Warner Cable is the parent company of Time Warner Cable News.

City Council Approves Sale of Dorothea Dix Property

dixRALEIGH- City Council has approved the sale of the Dorothea Dix property. The city held a meeting Friday morning and gave their final approval for the deal.

State leaders say final approval of a deal to sell the property to the city could take place in May. A senate committee intended to vote on the proposal this week, but postponed the debate until next week as bill sponsors consider options for their proposal.

The city has been in talks with state leaders for years to turn the property in to a destination park and the final approval of a deal could be just weeks away.

The more than 300 acres of land sits near downtown Raleigh. Earlier this month, Gov. McCrory said the Council of State should be able finalize the deal in May but legislative concerns have kept the deal from being finalized sooner.

In January, Gov. McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced the $52 million dollar deal for the downtown space. However, a bill before the legislature would stop that deal and put the land up on the auction block. Bill sponsors say that is simply because the state is not getting enough money in the current proposal.

The proposal is expected to be voted on by the Council of State in May.

- Carly Swanson

Capital Tonight April 23: Commerce Secretary John Skvarla

captonight4232015On Capital Tonight: Commerce Secretary John Skvarla says the battle of economic incentives is hurting North Carolina’s efforts at job recruitment; and Democratic candidate for governor Ken Spaulding talks about his campaign. Watch the program here.

Reports: Comcast Said to Drop Time Warner Cable Deal

TWC_dealAccording to Bloomberg, Comcast is planning to drop its massive $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.

The news comes after executives met with federal regulators Wednesday.

One analyst we spoke to this week said, “The DOJ, and the FCC have real concerns with the two largest cable companies getting together because of the amount of the broadband market they would control.”

So far there is no comment from both Time Warner Cable or Comcast.

In terms of stock reaction, the news did not really move the needle.

Time Warner Cable is the parent company of this station.

Bill Advanced Expanding Insurance Options for People Living With Autism

autism_insurance_0423RALEIGH—State lawmakers have advanced a bill that would give families dealing with autism more options for insurance coverage.

Under the proposal, insurance providers would cover autism spectrum disorder, including screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Insurance providers have fought this for years saying it was both expensive and treatments are not medical, but rather educational.

But now, most parties agree on the bill.

“This doesn’t pick winners and losers. It is a broad base plan that allows different kind of therapies prescribed by experts in the field,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Henderson County Republican.

Under the bill, there would be a cap of $40,000 a year for this coverage. This bill now goes to a second committee for consideration.

Bill Advanced in Senate Restricting Building Design Codes on Family Homes

building_a_houseRALEIGH—A bill has been advanced in the Senate that stops cities from placing building design codes on one and two family homes.

This comes as a result of some municipalities placing restrictions on aesthetics such as type of roofing, windows or colors. Bill sponsors say these restriction go against private property rights.

But opponents say this could have troubling consequences for some home values.

“They’re putting these requirements on the developers, but they are not willing to share in the financial risk involved in adding a house and possibly pricing it out out of the market. This should be a market based decision for builders and developers,” said Sen. Rick Gunn.

“Uniform development standards, particularly in established neighborhoods, protect the property owners who have already bought their home there. They have bought that home with the assurance that the homes that come around them will have the same similar that their home and their biggest investment has,” said Rose Vaughn Smith, with the NC League of Municipalities.

Opponents say they would like changes to the bill that would allow some codes to be allowed for existing homes. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

NC House Approves Extending Length of Wait Time Before Abortion

abortion room genericRALEIGH—The state House has approved a bill by a 74-45 vote to extend the waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.

The legislation states that a woman has to wait for 72  hours after their initial contact with a medical provider before the procedure can be performed. The debate was lengthy and at times emotional, as lawmakers discussed whether or not changes need to be made to North Carolina’s abortion laws.

The key provision within the bill says the wait time for abortions in the state would be extended from 24 hours to 72 hours. The vast majority of the speakers on the bill were women—with supporters saying the additional time this bill offers gives women the wait time they need to get the information they need about abortions and alternatives.

“To see those fingers and toes in some circumstances, when they are given that opportunity, so many of them change their mind. Why do we not want them to have the opportunity to change their mind,” said Rep. Pat McElraft, a Carteret County Republican.

But opponents say this is an issue the Legislature should be staying out of.

“This decision was up to me, my husband, my doctor, and my god. It was not up to any of you in this chamber,” said Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

- Loretta Boniti

Loretta Lynch Wins Confirmation as Attorney General

Loretta_Lynch_0423WASHINGTON — Loretta Lynch has won confirmation to serve as the nation’s attorney general, ending months of delay.

The vote was 56-43 in the Senate Thursday.

Lynch will replace Eric Holder and become the first black woman in the nation’s top law enforcement post. She currently serves as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Her confirmation was delayed for months for a variety of reasons, most recently a lengthy dispute over abortion on an unrelated bill to address sex trafficking.

Lynch boasts strong credentials and a reputation as a no-nonsense prosecutor, but many Republicans opposed her because of her support for President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Capital Tonight April 22: Decriminalizing NC

cap_tonight1On Capital Tonight: Does North Carolina have too many laws on the book, and is it actually hurting job recruitment? A new study from the Manhattan Institute says yes. We talk with the study’s authors about the implications. Our Advocates Francis DeLuca and Kevin Rogers take on some of the bills floating around as the cross-over deadline nears. Watch the program here.

Abortion Bill Extending Wait Time Advances out of House Committee

abortion room genericRALEIGH—State lawmakers have advanced a bill that would make women wait two days longer before they can have an abortion.

Opponents say this is an effort to remove a woman’s control over her body, but supporters say they believe  this extended wait time is key to improving women’s health.

Currently, women in North Carolina have to wait 24 hours after their initial contact with a medical professional before they can get an abortion. Under the proposal, the wait time would be extended to 72 hours.

“This bill still places arbitrary and unnecessary delays on women seeking an abortion. This can be a very time sensitive procedure and it is important women are allowed to make this decision without political interference,” said Melissa Reed, of Planned Parenthood.

During debate in the House Health Committee, supporters of the bill said they believe this extended wait time just makes sense.

“I’ve never known of an emergency abortion that couldn’t wait for a few hours. I have known women who have told me that the impact of their choice didn’t hit them until one fall weekend when they saw the school bus come and realized that their child might have been on their way to Kindergarten that year. It is a irrevocable decision,” said physician Dr. Melinda Synder.

Opponents say their voices were stifled in this debate, and they take offense to the characterization of how women make decisions like the one to abort a child.

“Women were portrayed as we can’t make a decision that fast, and we need to get extra resources because of our emotions. That is shameful and it is extremely patronizing,” said Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.

Beyond the waiting period, the bill also addresses how late-term abortions are reported. However, the legislation removes a provision banning abortions at UNC system medical facilities.

Supporters say even though that was removed, their intent is still clear.

“We realized there are really some logistical issues with that. However we have discussed that this is an issue that we have discussed that we have to make sure that taxpayer funds are not going toward performance of abortions,” said Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, a Mecklenburg County Republican.

The bill was advanced along a party line vote. The proposal needs one more committee consideration, before it goes to the full House for consideration.

- Loretta Boniti