Politics & Government

Political news

State Senator Tom Apodaca
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Another powerful member of the North Carolina Senate will retire next year. Republican Tom Apodaca of Henderson County will not seek an eighth term in the General Assembly.

N.C. Political Roundup

Nov 24, 2015
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
United States Government

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill last week to restrict Syrian and Iraqi refugees admission to the United States until more stringent security measures are in place.

Rep. Walter Jones (R - N.C. 3rd District) was one of two GOP members to vote against the bill, saying it was too hastily passed and requires further discussion. 

An image of Republican Renee Ellmers
Public Domain

North Carolina has 13 members in the United States House of Representatives. Ten are currently Republicans and next week each is expected to file paperwork to run for another term. However, the road to re-election looks different for some members of the GOP.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the U.S. House passed a bill to ban all refugees from Syria until stringent background checks are conducted.

And the two leading candidates for North Carolina governor, Republican incumbent Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, both say the state needs to stop admitting Syrian refugees until the federal government provides assurances about security concerns. The debate raises new questions about the government's surveillance methods and privacy matters.

In the South, African-American and Latino coalitions are coming together to support civil rights and immigration rights.
Fibonacci Blue / Flickr Creative Commons

In the last several decades state legislatures across the South have considered measures to limit the rights and privileges of immigrant populations. In response, new coalitions have formed between traditional civil rights groups and nascent immigrant rights organizations.

These new groups have leveraged political power to affect change in states like Mississippi and Alabama.

A 7-hour committee meeting carried on Wednesday at the Capitol. Refugees, open meetings and prison maintenance contracts were among the topics.
Jeff Tiberii

Two members of the Governor's Cabinet say the renewal of prison maintenance contracts to a campaign donor did not violate any laws.

State Budget Director Lee Roberts and Department of Public Safety Director Frank Perry answered questions from lawmakers during a grueling seven hour meeting of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations at the Capitol on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory joined a few other Republican governors who wanted to close the door on refugees from Syria. The following morning, he appeared on Fox News and CNN. The chorus of governors was growing so loud that White House officials arranged a phone conference for Tuesday night.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama announced the United States will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year, an increase from the 1,854 Syrian refugees admitted since 2012.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

White House officials are scheduled to hold a conference call with governors on Tuesday night about Syrian refugees, as more than half of the country’s governors have said they will not welcome resettlement of Syrians in their states.

The call is in response to state leaders’ complaints that they do not have enough information on the vetting process of people being admitted into the country as refugees from the war in Syria, Gov. Pat McCrory told CNN today.

Conservatives Say No To The Death Penalty

Nov 17, 2015
Jon Hardister
North Carolina General Assembly

Support for the death penalty has declined over the past 20 years. A Pew Research Center poll this year shows a 30 percent drop among Democrats and a 10 percent decline in support among Republicans. However, GOP approval of the death penalty is still strong at more than 75 percent.

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

With the often overwhelming multi-month holiday time upon us, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge the one season that seems to extend longer than the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-Solstice-New Year's, marathon.

Election Season.

There is another election this week. It's on Saturday. And while chances are you will not be voting for the next governor of Louisiana, it has been quite a contentious race down in the Bayou.

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.
Bz3rk / Wikipedia

Update: Raleigh's City Council has unanimously approved a Unified Development Ordinance to update zoning for one third of the city. This remapping could bring taller buildings and dense construction to the city.
 

Monday, November 17, 2015:

Raleigh City Council's is considering allowing 40-story skyscrapers to be built along Fayetteville Street as part of the city's ongoing zoning district re-mapping efforts. But the council is also considering height restrictions for iconic old buildings there.

University of North Carolina system logo
University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina system Board of Governors conceded today to demands from state lawmakers to turn over records from a recent closed-door meeting that gave pay raises to top campus executives.

The university Board of Governors voted to turn over recordings, draft minutes and agendas from a controversial meeting in which chancellors at 12 of the state's 17 campuses raises of up to $70,000.

Assistant Secretary for the Division of Employment Security celebrated the state's unemployment trust fund surplus, on Thursday. Governor McCrory stood over his left should, while Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla looked on as well.
Jeff Tiberii

State officials are celebrating a $1 billion surplus in the North Carolina unemployment trust fund. The Wednesday announcement represents a significant swing from just two and a half years ago when the state owed the federal government $2.8 billion. This past May, the state paid down its debt a year before the due date. The savings have continued.

"Today I am very proud to announce the following - that we have built up our unemployment reserve fund to more than $1 billion," said Governor Pat McCrory before a crowd at the Employment Security Commission.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

In response to allegations of racial disparities in policing, the Greensboro police chief has instructed his force not to stop vehicles for  minor traffic violations based on equipment infractions.

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