Politics & Government

Political news

Preparations are being made to pay thousands of dollars to Native American farmers and ranchers who were discriminated against by the U-S-D-A.

Voters in Durham County will decide on a half-cent sales tax designed to increase revenue for a future rail line in the Triangle. Commissioners voted unanimously last week to place a referendum on November's ballot. It would raise more than $18 million to fund Triangle Transit Authority's proposal for a train network connecting Chapel Hill to Garner. Wake and Orange Counties decided to put off referendums until next year. Durham commissioner Ellen Reckhow says it makes sense for the county to take the lead on the project due to its central location in the Triangle.

North Carolina's newly proposed Republican-drawn congressional districts would make it challenging for several Democratic incumbents to keep their seats.

Governor Bev Perdue has now made decisions on all the bills on her desk. Perdue vetoed four bills before last night's midnight deadline.

If you're keeping score, that's 15 vetoes for the Governor this legislative session. The latest group includes a bill that would have allowed more exploration of offshore oil drilling. It also would have allowed hydraulic fracking, a controversial method of natural gas extraction.

A state audit has revealed further details of financial mismanagement at NC Central University. The report shows that the director of the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium diverted more than a million dollars to a secret fund only she controlled.

The proposed move of a federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office in Cary is raising hackles among some residents. ICE officials want to move from a Cary business park to another location. One of the sites being considered is in a shopping center where a supermarket was housed. Susan Moran is a spokesperson for the town of Cary.

Susan Moran: "If the ICE facility were to relocate there and be more than 12 thousand square feet, and that building is 59 thousand square feet, it would absolutely violate the zoning conditions for that area."

Governor Perdue has vetoed a bill that would have required women seeking abortions to receive extensive counseling and an ultrasound before the procedure.

Victims of North Carolina's April tornadoes are entering their last week to apply for disaster aid. The Federal Emergency Management Administration extended the deadline from last week to July 5th. The extension came after the state said less than a quarter of victims who claimed they needed assistance had submitted applications. Officials also added Alamance County to the list of North Carolina disaster areas last week. North Carolina Emergency Management spokeswoman Julia Jarema says some residents are still assessing the damage done to their homes.

Eugenics Victims Speak

Jun 23, 2011

Between 1933 and 1974, the state of North Carolina sterilized thousands of people in an effort to supposedly improve society. About 76-hundred men and women were lied to, coerced, or forced into medical procedures that left them unable to bear children, often when they were children themselves. This spring Governor Bev Perdue convened a task force to study the issue and determine how to compensate victims who are still living. That task force met in Raleigh yesterday to hear those victims’ stories.

Educational experts testified in a Wake County courtroom yesterday in a hearing over how the state's recently passed budget will affect North Carolina's schools.

Public Health Cuts in State Budget

Jun 20, 2011

State public health leaders are regrouping after the budget passed last week, determining how to do more with less.

At first glance, it seems like the state's division of public health got a big bump - going from 160 to 190 million dollars next year. But state Health Director Jeff Engel says that's a one time infusion, as state budget writers eliminated the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and shifted this year's allocation to his department.

House lawmakers have passed a measure that would restrict the ability of state officials to go after corporations that may be underreporting their income in the Tar Heel state.

Republican Majority Leader Paul Stam says House Bill 619 will help create jobs by encouraging companies to do more business in North Carolina.

Paul Stam: "The passage of this bill is probably more important to the economic development and prospects of this state as far as seeking investment from other states or even other countries than everything else we do in economic development."

Lawmakers in the House have voted to nullify a 2009 law that allows death row prisoners to contest their sentences on the basis of racial bias. The law, called the Racial Justice Act, allows a judge to commute a condemned prisoner's sentence to life in prison if he or she determines the case was tainted by race. Republican representative Justin Burr says the law has forced prosecutors to spend too much time reviewing old cases.

Lawmakers have passed a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

State senators passed the bill as expected last night, but not before more than an hour of spirited debate. Republican Buck Newton told lawmakers requiring voters to bring ID with them to the polls will help combat instances of fraud.
 

Lawmakers in North Carolina's legislature have officially overturned Governor Perdue's veto of a Republican-penned 19-point-7 billion dollar budget. The Senate voted to reject the governor's veto this afternoon. House lawmakers voted to override after midnight early this morning. Republican Senator Richard Stevens is a lead budget writer.

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