Politics & Government

Political news

The former president of the UNC system, Erskine Bowles, says he will not run for governor. Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Heath Shuler and state House Representative Joe Hackney will not seek another term in office.

Republican leaders in the state legislature are considering measures that could end the estate tax for North Carolinians. The Revenue Laws Study Committee met today to discuss taxes in the state. The committee plans to hold a full discussion on repealing the estate tax at its next meeting. Republican Senator Robert Rucho is a co-chair of the committee.

North Carolina's farm economy is one of the biggest industries in the state. That's one of the reasons for a forum today on trends that affect the agriculture economy. State officials say farm safety, exports and drought will be some of the topics. Brian Long is with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He says there's another problem that doesn't get as much attention.

Jeff Tiberii

Republican Pat McCrory is in his first full day on the campaign trail for Governor.

Jeff Tiberii: On Tuesday night in a Greensboro suburb just blocks from where he grew up McCrory made the symbolic first step of his Gubernatorial bid:

Pat McCrory: Ladies and Gentlemen I am proud to return back home to officially announce that I will run for Governor because we’re going to fix this broken government and we’re going to fix this broken economy here in North Carolina.

There are new regulations coming for the state's truckers and other commercial drivers. The federal government is setting up a database to be used by the Division of Motor Vehicles in all states. Marge Howell works for North Carolina's DMV.

Marge Howell: Most of our commercial drivers will have to certify the type of driving they do, whether its intrastate or interstate, and they will also be required to provide their DMV with current medical certification information.

The state's first Racial Justice Act hearing will get underway today in Cumberland County.

Later today, a Superior Court judge in Fayetteville will preside over a hearing that will ultimately decide whether to let a death row inmate live. Marcus Robinson is the first prisoner on death row to appeal his sentence under the Racial Justice Act, passed in 2009. If the judge finds racial bias played a role in Robinson’s conviction or sentencing, his sentence could be commuted to life in prison. Robinson’s mother, Shirley Burns, plans to attend the hearing.

Rep. Howard Coble (R) is retiring next year. The race to replace him is already underway.
Jeff Tiberii

Republican Howard Coble is running for re-election to the US House.

Jeff Tiberii: The senior member of North Carolina’s congressional delegation was first elected in 1984. A victory this year would give Coble a 15th term in office. The 80-year-old was asked yesterday if this would be his final re-election campaign.

Howard Coble: I wouldn’t say with finality one way or the other, but give me a little weaseling room if you will. Of course elected officials never ask for weaseling room, do they.

North Carolina’s first female governor has decided not to seek re-election this year. Governor Bev Perdue issued a statement yesterday saying that seeking a second term would "only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools." Her decision leaves the Democratic field of prospective gubernatorial candidates wide open. And it changes the political dynamic leading up to the November election.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue announced today that she will not seek a second term this year. The Democratic Governor was the first woman elected to the position and all indications were that she planned to seek re-election.

Congressman Brad Miller has announced that he will not seek re-election. Miller made the decision after the Republican-controlled State Legislature drew maps that would have put him in the same primary election as his Democratic colleague, David Price.

In an interview today with WUNC, Miller said he’s not sure what he will do when he leaves Congress.

Brad Miller: There’s a well-worn path of former members becoming lobbyists and I really don’t want to do that unless it’s the only way I can eat.

Democratic Governor Bev Perdue says she will not run for re-election this year. Perdue released a statement today saying she won't seek another four-year term because she believes a re-election bid would make it more difficult to find a bipartisan solution to fund public education in a divisive political environment. Perdue became North Carolina's first female governor in 2008. Perdue announced last week she would offer a budget this spring that would seek a sales tax increase for education. Republicans in the legislature let a temporary sales tax increase expire last summer.

Lawmakers in Raleigh listened to presentations today about the impact of illegal immigration on North Carolina.

Teams of volunteers are out on the streets and at campsites across Wake and Orange Counties this week, surveying the homeless population. It's part of a national effort to house 100-thousand people who are homeless by the middle of next year. The United Way's Chantelle Fisher-Borne is the coordinator of Triangle Registry Week.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in North Carolina today taking a tour of the new Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub.

A state lawmaker from Fayetteville plans to challenge North Carolina's incumbent state Superintendent of Public Instruction in the May primary.

The US Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from Forsyth County regarding prayer before public meetings.

President Obama will make his formal acceptance speech at the Bank of America stadium in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention later this year.

Events to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. have been held across the state today. One of the largest was the Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast this morning.

The two-hour event was broadcast on WRAL TV and featured remarks by Governor Bev Perdue. She praised King's passion and vision and speculated that King, if he was alive, might have an issue with some current efforts in the State Legislature.

Jeff Tiberii

The trial of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is being delayed again. From Greensboro, Jeff Tiberii reports a serious medical condition is the cause.

Judges heard more than three hours' worth of arguments yesterday over litigation challenging newly drawn congressional and legislative maps.

Appalachia now has its own version of WikiLeaks. It's a website where government and corporate whistle blowers can anonymously share documents. Jim Tobias is co-coordinator of Honest Appalachia, which will focus on North Carolina and six other states.

The tents that have been at Peace and Justice Plaza in downtown Chapel Hill since mid-October will be packed up today. Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro organizers say a press conference, potluck dinner and dance party will mark the end of this phase of the occupation. Katya Roytburd is involved with planning today's activities. She says the Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro movement has a busy agenda.

Municipal primary elections could be on the chopping block in Fayetteville. The City Council has voted to explore the idea of eliminating the biennial primaries, and their 84-thousand dollar price tag. Fayetteville's mayor is among those who've raised concerns about the potential change. The mayor wonders if ditching the primaries could unfairly benefit incumbents. But Councilman D.J. Haire, who proposed the measure, doesn't share that worry.

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit over newly drawn maps for legislative and congressional districts want to delay the state's May primary until July.

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