Politics & Government

Political news

Mollie Young

The Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives was often divided this year. In July, members met for hours behind closed doors and narrowly approved re-organizing the seats on the Greensboro City Council. In September, the 74 members of the Republican caucus were divided and eventually defeated a plan that would have overturned city and county nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.

Carmen Rodriguez, third from left, was one of six protesters who blocked traffic in front of governor's executive mansion
Jorge Valencia

Six pro-immigrant protesters were arrested outside of the North Carolina Governor's mansion in downtown Raleigh on Thursday after they blocked rush-hour traffic in protest of a controversial new law that encourages local police collaboration with federal immigration authorities.

The demonstrators walked into traffic lanes of Blount Street at about 4 p.m. as more than 200 people encouraged them with chants of "We are America!" and "No papers, No fear!" The six demonstrators locked their arms together with long plastic traps as a man quickly shackled their ankles together.

Jorge Valencia

Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed a law that makes North Carolina less friendly to undocumented immigrants by prohibiting city or county policies that prevent local police from collaborating with federal immigration agents.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou opposed the torture tactics that the CIA used in the 'War on Terror.'
Troy Page / t r u t h o u t / Flickr Creative Commons

John Kiriakou spent 14 years in the CIA as an analyst and counterterrorism officer. At one-point he was responsible for leading the team that found Abu Zubaydah, one of the highest ranking al-Qaeda officers at the time.

But Kiriakou’s career has become defined by a decision he made after he left the CIA. In 2007, he became the first CIA official to publicly acknowledge the agency’s use of waterboarding.

Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has been tabbed as the next UNC system president.
LBJ Foundation / Flickr Creative Commons

The UNC Board of Governors makes their selection for a new university system president. 

Former U.S. Department of Education secretary Margaret Spellings is the president-elect, chosen to replace outgoing president Tom Ross who was forced to resign earlier this year. Spellings served in the George W. Bush administration.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

A federal court judge in Winston-Salem is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on whether to throw out parts of three lawsuits that challenge North Carolina’s 2013 election law changes.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder is expected to hear from attorneys on whether he should dismiss portions of the suits that challenge the state’s new requirement for voters to show qualifying photo identification at polling stations.

Jumilla / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice is scheduled to release about 6,000 inmates at the end of October as part of a larger effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons and scale back punishment for low-level drug offenses.

North Carolina is set to release approximately 218 inmates, the fifth most in the country.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department could implement no-go zones to prevent criminals from returning to the same areas.
James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is considering a policy that would preclude people who are arrested from returning to designated areas.

The measure is designed to reduce crime and other cities have instituted similar measures with carried successes. Opponents say the no-go zones raise constitutional concerns.

Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger says the Medicaid overhaul North Carolina lawmakers approved last month will contain the cost of the publicly funded health insurance program and improve the quality of service patients receive.

The overhaul, which was approved after more than two years of deliberations, will allow a majority of the state’s 1.8 million Medicaid recipients to get an improved quality of care because organizations led by insurance companies and organizations led by local groups of medical providers will compete to manage care of patients, Berger says.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Political announcements abound. Attorney General Roy Cooper makes his gubernatorial bid official. The Democrat will face at least one primary challenger before the party’s nominee tries to unseat Governor McCrory.

Former GoTriangle leader and state legislator Deborah Ross announced her challenge for United States Senator Richard Burr's seat. She joins fellow Democrats Kevin Griffin and Chris Rey in their Senate bids. And Democratic presidential hopefuls faced off in their first debate on Tuesday.

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

State Treasurer Janet Cowell will not seek re-election in 2016. The former Raleigh City Council member was first elected to the statewide post in 2008. She is the first woman to serve in the position.

Roy Cooper announces his bid for governor before a crowd in Rocky Mount.
Jess Clark

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his run for the democratic nomination for governor last night in Rocky Mount.

Cooper’s announcement was no surprise. The attorney general has been open about his desire to run since at least 2013. He took the stage at Nash County Community College near his hometown of Nashville, in eastern North Carolina.

“It is time for our state to work for everyone, not just the few," Cooper told the crowd. "That’s why today I am announcing that I am a candidate for governor of North Carolina.”

The Walters Dam on the Pigeon River in Waterville.
ChristopherM / Wikipedia

Fourteen dams failed in South Carolina as a result of heavy storms in the region. North Carolina escaped that fate this time around.

Bridget Munger of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says the state regulates more than 2,600 active dams. Many are classified as low- and intermediate-hazard levels, which means a failure could block road ways and cause thousands of dollars in damage. But nearly half of state regulated dams are considered high-hazard.

Rep. Mark Meadows
United States Congress

A surprise announcement by Representative Kevin McCarthy yesterday has left Republican House leadership in a bind.

McCarthy was the assumed nominee for the Speakership since John Boehner announced his resignation last month. North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows played a key role in Boehner’s departure.  

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Former Charlotte police officer Randall Kerrick has reached a settlement with the city.

Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter for his killing of an unarmed African American male, but the trial ended in a hung jury. Kerrick has resigned, and the city will pay him more than $100,000. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with WFAE reporter Gwendolyn Glenn about the trial and the settlement.

Photo: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Public Domain / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Members of North Carolina’s Republican congressional delegation were calling for more conservative leadership after Representative Kevin McCarthy’s stunning withdraw from the race for Speaker threw Congress into turmoil Thursday.

U.S. Capitol Building
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

Republicans on Capitol Hill met Thursday to nominate a new Speaker of the House after John Boehner announced last month he will be resigning.

The front runner for the nomination was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. However, McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race Thursday, causing disarray in the Republican caucus. The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on a new Speaker at the end of October. The vote has now been postponed as GOP leaders search for a new nominee.

A Republican congressman charts his course in a Democratic capital.
The Martin Family

Jim Martin was the first and only two-term Republican governor in North Carolina, serving from 1985-1993.

 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina lawmakers passed measures in the middle of the night on Tuesday after an eight-month long session. The final push ended the longest session of the General Assembly since 2001. Among the bills crammed into the session: immigration restrictions, the $2 million transportation bond referendum and a cap on light rail spending.

Three handguns of various styles.
Matanya / Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for gun control propose stricter enforcement of background checks as a means to reduce gun-related crime.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

One of the last-minute pieces of legislation the General Assembly passed Tuesday night is designed to make North Carolina less friendly to undocumented immigrants. House Bill 318 would ban what are known as "sanctuary cities." It would also ban police from accepting registration cards from consulates as a valid form of identification.

The chambers of the NC State House
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Lawmakers at the N.C. General Assembly have adjourned for the year, ending the longest session since 2001. An almost all-night session included passage of bills related to immigration, environmental regulations and technical corrections to thousands of pages of legislation passed during the last eight months.

Before the day started, Senate rules chairman Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) told a committee room to “stay tuned” and that “we could see all kinds of things between now and later.”

Immigration Bill Sparks Tense Debate

Finding Solutions For Mass Incarceration

Sep 29, 2015
Prison cells
sean hobson / Flickr Creative Commons

Although the United States makes up just five percent of the global population, America holds 25 percent of the world's prison population.

Five decades ago, lawmakers implemented policy changes that have led to mass incarceration today.

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

Employees at the state Department of Health and Human Services received subpoenas in a federal investigation, according to a report by the News and Observer. 

Federal prosecutors are investigating expensive contracts for high-ranking DHHS employees and a Medicaid consulting firm. The subpoenas request information for more than 30 employees, including the employment contract for former DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

House Speaker John Boehner told colleagues he will resign in October. The Republican leader faced a rebellion in his own party from tea party members who say Boehner is not conservative enough.

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