Politics & Government

Political news

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

Seven weeks after a state budget was supposed to be finalized, leading Republicans have made a breakthrough in negotiations.

Ari Berman's book 'Give Us The Ballot' looks at voting in America since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The modern voting rights movement starts and ends with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The landmark piece of legislation was meant to give African-American voters open access to the polls.

Today, the law is still at the center of the debate about whether states can restrict that access.

Several states, including North Carolina, have passed new elections laws since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, leading to both federal and state court challenges.

An image of Julian Bond
Eduardo Montes-Bradley / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former chairman of the NAACP, died this weekend. He was 75.

Bond fought for equal rights for decades, leaving behind a legacy of social justice as one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and former president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A portrait of Deondra Rose when she was four
Deondra Rose

Deondra Rose has always been 10 steps ahead of her peers.

She took an interest in government and politics in first grade while running for student council and says that many of her most vivid memories about growing up revolve around electoral politics—like when she lost her first election in 4th grade because she refused to vote for herself.

A picture of a highway traffic jam.
Simon Forsyth / Flickr

Fortify project crews have begun to reduce the roadway from five lanes to four on the I-40/440 split to Hammond Road, and from four lanes to three from Hammond Road to Lake Wheeler Road.

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

The state Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to limit income taxes and year-by-year spending increases.

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

School leaders, not the state, should decide if they want to hire teachers or teacher assistants, according to Governor Pat McCrory.

In their budget proposal, state senators are calling for schools to cut back on the equivalent of about 8,500 teacher assistants and use the extra money to hire about 2,000 teachers and reduce classroom sizes. House lawmakers would keep funding intact.

On Thursday, McCrory chimed in on the debate, arguing that decisions over staffing should come from principals and superintendents who understand the needs of their students.   

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

The N.C. House and Senate voted Wednesday to spend at least two more weeks crafting a final budget. 

Their original deadline was July 1st, which is when the fiscal year began. Lawmakers had extended the deadline until Friday, but the two chambers still haven’t resolved differences over how much money to spend and where to spend it. 

On Wednesday, House and Senate lawmakers passed a temporary budget bill – also known as ‘continuing resolution’ – that would keep the state running until August 31st.

Photo: NC Legislative building
Jorge Valencia

In a 34-12 vote, the North Carolina Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would expand economic incentives and redistribute local sales taxes to help more rural communities.

Republican leaders say the idea behind the sales tax proposal is to funnel more money into rural areas.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina Senate Republicans are looking to give voters the opportunity to add spending and income tax caps to the state’s constitution.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Seventeen GOP presidential contenders took the stage last night in a two-tiered appearance on Fox. Did the event help or hurt poll leaders Donald Trump and Jeb Bush?

Plus, the debate over Planned Parenthood funding continues on the Hill.

And Jon Stewart ends his 16-year run on The Daily Show.  

Photo: NC Legislative building
Jorge Valencia

Leading state senators proposed a compromise plan Thursday that redistributes tax revenue and creates job incentives.

They say the measure simplifies the corporate income tax rate, and is similar to the model in neighboring states South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

A picture of solar panels
SayCheeeeeese / Wikipedia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $63 million in loans and grants for its Rural Energy for America Program.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says more than $48 million of that will go toward 14 solar and energy efficiency projects in North Carolina.

Bill Maher

Aug 6, 2015
Image of Bill Maher
David Becker / WireImage

Comedian Bill Maher has been setting the standard for political talk shows for more than two decades.

  It all started in 1993 with his first talk show “Politically Incorrect.” As the host, Maher specialized in biting political humor. His latest Emmy-nominated program is “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

He wrote four bestselling books, starred in one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time, and still tours regularly on the stand-up circuit.

North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs

North Carolina legislators are considering a bill that allows the North Carolina National Guard to arm its service members at recruiting centers.

State Senator Dan Soucek  sponsored the measure in response to last month's killing of five servicemen outside a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, T.N. Soucek said policy keeping Guardsmen unarmed makes them potential targets for terrorists.

Rick Brajer
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday Aldona Wos is resigning from her position as the secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

The state House Finance Committee passed a $4 billion transportation and infrastructure package Tuesday morning. 

Gavel
www.stockmonkeys.com / Flickr Creative Commons

The trial of a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in the shooting of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell is underway this week.

Wes Randall Kerrick is charged with fatally wounding Ferrell, who had been involved in a car accident and knocked on a door for help. The resident of the home told officers she believed Ferrell was a burglar. Kerrick shot Ferrell 12 times.

Meet Robert Brown

Aug 3, 2015
Image of Brown meeting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa at his home in Johannesburg.
Robert Brown

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

He had a pretty humble start in High Point, where he was born and raised. He was among the city’s first African-American police officers in the 1950s.

But he moved on quickly, first as a federal drug enforcement officer, and then as an adviser to some of the world’s most powerful people: Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Nelson Mandela and John F. Kennedy, and that’s only part of the list.

Lethal injection room
Wikipedia Creative Commons

Doctors in North Carolina would no longer be required to oversee or participate in executions under a bill heading to Governor Pat McCrory's desk.

House lawmakers gave final approval to the measure Wednesday that allows physician assistants, nurse practitioners or paramedics to oversee executions.

Image of Asheville police cra
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of untested rape kits are sitting in police storage throughout the country according to a new investigation by USA Today.

The kits include evidence that could be matched to attackers but some law enforcement agencies say the cost is prohibitive. Here in North Carolina, hundreds of rape kits remain untested. 

An image of former NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata
NCDOTcommunications / Flickr Creative Commons

Tony Tata  is resigning from his post as North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary to pursue other endeavors. Governor Pat McCrory abruptly announced the resignation this morning in a release.

Tata said he will spend more time with family and writing fiction books. In an interview set to air Wednesday night on Time Warner Cable, Tata was asked about a possible run for Congress in 2016.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis skipped out on a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about ISIS last week and instead met privately with former Vice President Dick Cheney. This follows Tillis’ loud campaign criticism of former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for her attendance record at meetings related to ISIS.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a bill that widely protects Confederate monuments in the state. 

Fayetteville teacher assistant Grace King works with first graders on sight words.
Reema Khrais

Teacher assistant positions in North Carolina have been cut steadily in recent years. And the North Carolina Senate's proposed budget eliminates funding for about 8,500 more TAs in order to hire more teachers.

Teacher assistants and researchers are split on the effectiveness of TAs. 

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC reporter Reema Khrais about the state of teacher assistant jobs.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina senators have approved a plan that moves the state's presidential primary to March 15. For decades, North Carolina voters have chosen presidential candidates in May, usually after they already know the nominee.

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