Around the South for Mar. 31: NC, MS & KY

North Carolina: Lawmakers want a bigger slice for rural areas. Tar Heel state senators last week displayed a pie-chart that showed three counties – Mecklenburg (Charlotte), Wake (Raleigh) and Durham – received 86% of job development grants and introduced legislation to limit the money going to the three urban areas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R) said, “It’s time for the 97 other counties in this state to be treated with respect,” reported the Charlotte Observer. Gov. Pat McCrory (R), a former mayor of Charlotte, said the bill would “break the bank” and that it “divides North Carolina.” …….

Mississippi: Wicker introduces bill to keep ARC up and funded. US Sen. Roger Wicker (R), along with a bipartisan trio of senators, last week introduced a bill that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for $500 million annually for the next five years. The measure includes $10 million a year to improve rural broadband services. “Improvements to high-speed Internet would have an enormous impact on economic development throughoutAppalachia,” Wicker said in a press release …….

Kentucky: Beshear signs anti-heroin bill. Gov. Steve Beshear (D) last week signed bipartisan legislation to impose stiffer penalties on heroin traffickers and provide for money for addiction treatment. The measure also provides immunity for heroin users who report an overdose victim. “It’s a new day in the fight against heroin in our Commonwealth,” reported …….