Politics & Government

Political news

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.

A Confederate soldier statue is a part of a larger monument outside the North Carolina Capitol
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina House of Representatives has tentatively approved a bill that could make it more difficult to take down the state's Confederate statues.

An image of Ella Baker speaking
The Ella Baker Center for Hman Rights / Wikipedia Creative Commons

We recently sent out a survey asking about monuments in North Carolina. The State Director of Historic Sites said North Carolina needs more monuments, and we want to know who you want to see receive a monument, memorial or statue. Click here to fill out your response.

Michael Hill of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources recommends honoring Ella Josephine Baker in a statue on the grounds of Shaw University in Raleigh. Baker was a prominent civil rights leader, and helped start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960.

Image of video poker
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly three years after North Carolina outlawed Internet sweepstakes games, a new report shows how hard owners fought to keep them going.

  

They spent $10 million on lawyers and lobbyists over four years.

The investigation has led to the resignation of one member of the state Board of Elections.

Some of the money also went to political campaigns in North Carolina, but the report says there were no violations of campaign finance law. 

An image of a person rallying outside a voting rights trial in Winston-Salem
Kimberly Pierce Cartwright / WNCU Public Radio 90.7 FM

The first week of a federal trial challenging North Carolina’s voting regulations is wrapping up in Winston-Salem. The plaintiffs - a group including the U.S. Department of Justice,  the NAACP, and League of Women Voters - aim to prove whether House Bill 589, enacted in 2013 by a Republican-led state legislature discriminated against minority voters.

An image of people zip lining
Ferdilouw / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The General Assembly passed a measure this week that will examine whether the state needs to regulate aerial amusement devices. The measure comes a month after a fatal zip line accident at Glade Valley's Camp Cheerio in Alleghany County.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr raised $1.7 million over the last three months, and has $3.8 million in cash for his re-election campaign next year, according to the Associated Press.

An image of a Burlington community meeting
Burlington Police Department

 

In an effort to foster a more transparent relationship with its Latino residents, the Burlington Police Department has launched a Facebook page in Spanish. The page, titled “Departamento de Policia de Burlington," is the Spanish counterpart to the department’s pre-existing page in English.

Voting sign
kristinausk / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal trial is underway in a case challenging North Carolina's elections law. Opponents say provisions limiting early voting amount to voter suppression that especially affects African-Americans. 

Supporters say the measure prevents fraud. The decision from Judge Thomas D. Schroeder could have big implications for voting laws across the country.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WFAE reporter Michael Tomsic about the latest.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The legal challenge against North Carolina's voter ID law goes to trial next week. It's the culmination of two years' worth of arguments over the elections law passed in 2013.

Meanwhile, an early poll shows billionaire Donald Trump is the most popular Republican presidential candidate in North Carolina. 

Shotgun houses in Raleigh's historic Oakwood neighborhood.
Universal Pops / flickr.com/photos/universalpops/6911412279

The Raleigh City Council has scheduled another hearing for people who want to talk about proposed zoning requirements. An overflow crowd turned out at this this week's Council meeting.

At issue is a proposal to update zoning requirements for about one-third of the city to complete Raleigh's Unified Development Ordinance.

Robert Wilcoxson, right, is embraced by his father in 2011 after being proclaimed innocent in the murder of Walter Bowman. Wilcoxson now lives near Detroit.
Asheville Citizen-Times / Citizen-Times file photo

Robert Wilcoxson served 11 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, and now he’s going to be compensated for the wrongful conviction.

Image of Benjamin Hedin, who is a widely published author and essayist. His latest book is 'In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now.'
Sheila Griffin

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law ended unfair voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools and workplaces.

Unfortunately, that law did not end discrimination, and people around the country continue to fight every day for equal rights and freedom. 

An image of a youth radio reporter and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch
Kamaya Truitt-Martin / WUNC

It’s not every day you get to see Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to be U.S. Attorney General. WUNC Youth Radio’s Kamaya Truitt-Martin and Taylor Walker almost didn’t get that chance.

What Is A Terrorist?

Jul 2, 2015
Image of terrorism definition
Jagz Mario / Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: North Carolina Supreme Court
Giant Sloth / Flickr

The North Carolina Supreme Court scrutinized arguments Tuesday in a case that could shift the balance of power between the state’s executive and legislative branches. Attorneys representing Gov. Pat McCrory and two former governors argued against state lawmakers appointing members to three environmental boards that perform administrative duties. 

The North Carolina legislative office building
Wikipedia

State lawmakers passed a temporary spending measure this week to keep North Carolina’s government running for 45 days.

The move allowed lawmakers to avoid the midnight deadline tonight that marks the end of the fiscal year. Legislators to continue to debate differences over tax structure, education spending and Medicaid. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about the latest. 

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court says housing discrimination does not have to be intentional to be illegal.

Last week's ruling in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project held that while the state did not intend to create racially discriminatory housing policies, the negative outcomes for minority communities in Dallas meant a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The decision could affect the way states across the country assign affordable housing projects, including in North Carolina.

North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh.
Jim Bowen / Flickr

The North Carolina House of Representatives has rejected a controversial plan that would limit the authority of the Greensboro mayor and could change the make-up of the city council.

The House rejected the bill in a 73-35 vote on Monday night. A joint committee of House and Senate members will negotiate the terms of the measure, which had been approved by the House as a different plan, before returning it to each chamber for a new vote.

Photo: An Interstate in North Carolina
Jimmy Emmerson / Flickr

North Carolina teenagers would no longer be required to take driver’s education under the Senate’s budget proposal.

That means they would no longer have to sit in class for 30 hours, or spend a few days behind the wheel with an instructor.

In its place, Republican senators want them to score at least 85 percent of the questions correctly on a written test (instead of the current 80 percent), and spend 85 hours driving with a parent or qualified adult (instead of 60) before getting a license.

A Confederate monument
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

The shooting of nine African-Americans earlier this month has prompted national debate over whether the Confederate battle flag should continue to fly at the South Carolina Capitol.

Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag to be taken down while President Obama said it "represented more than just ancestral pride" during the eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney Friday.

Pages