mandatory minimum

Adams Wood

What’s the difference between committing the same non-violent crime in one North Carolina county and another? For Daniel Noell, a homeless man convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and drug trafficking in Buncombe and Yancey counties, the difference was vast: he was sentenced to 30 months of probation in Buncombe County and nearly six years in prison in Yancey County. 

SEAN HOBSON / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Exhausted by the longest legislative session since 2001, state lawmakers are pushing through piecemeal spending measures as the full budget sits in the senate. Governor Cooper signed off on raises for most state employees, but public school teachers as well as staff at state universities and community colleges are still waiting.