State Politics

Political news from around NC (and beyond).

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

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.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina cities and counties would be prohibited from being “sanctuaries” for people living in the country illegally, under a bill tentatively approved by the Senate on Thursday.
The plan would prohibit local governments from directing their police officers to not collect people’s immigration information and report it to federal authorities. Senate Republicans gave the initial nod in a largely party-line vote of 34 to 11. The House of Representatives would have to agree before sending the bill to the governor.

Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons/ USDA

Representative Barney Frank served in Congress for more than three decades.

His momentous career was marked by personal and political achievements; he was the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, he helped bring about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he co-authored the far-reaching Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Bill Would Ban The Sale Of Fetal Tissue From Abortions

Republicans in the Senate's rules committee cleared a bill on Wednesday  that would ban the sale of fetal tissue from abortions.

House Bill 297  is a reaction to a national controversy after an anti-abortion group’s undercover videos suggested Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue from abortions.  

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

A long overdue state budget is now in place. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill on Friday, more than six months after he released his own budget proposal.

The approval officially ended a stalemate that extended budget negotiations nearly three months beyond the fiscal year deadline. 

The governor says he got about 90 percent of what he wanted, but a few items were left on the table.

The Forgotten Angolan Massacre

Sep 23, 2015
A shot of Luanda, the capital of Angola
David Stanley / Flickr Creative Commons

On May 27, 1977, an uprising within Angola’s ruling Marxist-Leninist party, MPLA, turned into a national massacre. Hundreds and possibly thousands of Angolans were murdered.

Lara Pawson, a former BBC correspondent in Angola, learned about the massacre and was determined to uncover the truth. She discovered how the trauma from 1977 still affects Angolans today. A nationwide chilling effect furthers the government’s goal of hiding this event.

The chambers of the NC State House
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

The North Carolina House and Senate approved on Tuesday afternoon a long-awaited plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid system. The proposal could affect more than 1.5 million people who receive health care through the publicly-funded program, but it could take years for it to be fully implemented.

Top Republicans celebrated on Tuesday as they passed a proposal they've been working on for four years. Medicaid serves about 1.8 million people who qualify as low-income or disabled, almost one fifth of the state population.

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

A package of economic incentives aimed at luring businesses to North Carolina is one vote away from reaching the Governor’s desk.

The Senate swiftly approved the bill on Tuesday, while the House gave a tentative approval, 84-24, after a lengthy and lively debate.

The plan would increase funding for the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program from $15 million to $20 million a year.

It could go as high as $35 million if the state attracts a large project, like an auto plant, that invests at least $500 million and adds at least 1,750 jobs.

A picture of a voting sign.
Tom Arthur / Wikipedia

Volunteers hit the streets for National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, asking neighbors if their registration is current.

There are 6.3 million voters registered in North Carolina. Whether they are all registered in the counties they plan to vote in come Election Day is a different story.

Josh Lawson of the State Board of Elections says many voters have shown up at the polls in the past to find they weren't actually registered in the county they planned to vote in.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina senators acted Monday on two plans that could have a wide impact on charter schools and the state's business recruitment efforts, and debated a plan to issue $2 billion dollars in bonds to renovate and put up new buildings. A recap: 

$2B Bond Package Focuses On Colleges And Universities, Leaves Out McCrory's Highway Plan 

State Senators unveiled a plan to borrow $2 billion in bonds for building construction and renovation.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina legislature gave final approval to a $21.7 billion budget early Friday morning. The vote ended a stalemate that pushed budget negotiations three months past their original deadline. The final deal maintains funding for teacher assistants, cuts the income tax rate to 5.5 percent and expands the sales tax. 

NC State House

Following 11 weeks of waiting, dozens of closed-door negotiations and an undetermined number of offers, proposals, phone calls, arguments, lobbyist exchanges and dinner deliveries - we have a budget deal.

"This budget is a net tax cut," proclaimed House Rules Chair David Lewis (R-Harnett) on the floor Thursday night.

"We know this is a good budget, there is a lot of stuff in this budget we like."

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Gov. Pat McCrory said this morning he will sign the budget compromise the state Senate approved this week.

The House is expected to give the $21.7 billion spending plan final approval tonight or tomorrow morning before it heads to the governor's desk. 

Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

This summer, North Carolina lawmakers unveiled controversial education proposals - like ending funding for driver's education, and slashing money for teacher assistant positions to pay for more teachers. After months of press conferences, closed-door negotiations and loud floor debates, lawmakers released details of their budget deal this week. Below are some of the K-12 education highlights: 


Politicos across the state are sifting through the 429-page budget bill - as well as the generally easier-to-follow 207-page money report - after its release late Monday night. The spending plan for the two fiscal years beginning July 1 is complicated, dense, and spotted with policy changes - including money for Medicaid reform and changes to the tax code, among other provisions.