Politics & Government

Political news

President Barack Obama spoke to thousands of people on the North Carolina State Campus this afternoon. The president is promoting his 450-billion dollar jobs bill. He told the crowd the bill would provide money for important infrastructure projects.

President Obama:  "In North Carolina alone there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be prepared. Four of them are near here, on the belt-line. Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?"

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Triangle tomorrow.   He’s drumming up support for his “American Jobs Act” plan.

President Obama will talk jobs and the economy at N-C State tomorrow afternoon.  He’ll also speak with the owners of a small business in nearby Apex.  The business is West-Star Precision.  It is a manufacturer of specialized machined components for the aerospace and medical industries.  Brenda Steen is executive director of the Apex Chamber of Commerce. She says the company is not a chamber member – but President Obama’s visit will benefit all.

Voters in North Carolina will decide next May whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriage. Earlier today, the state Senate voted with a three-fifths majority in favor of a proposed amendment that recognizes marriage as being between one man and one woman. The House passed the measure yesterday. Republican Senator Buck Newton says adding such an amendment to the state constitution would make it more difficult for judges to overturn bans on same-sex marriage.

Candidates for Raleigh mayor and city council meet tonight for a candidate forum.

For the first time in 10 years, there is no incumbent running for mayor in Raleigh. In April, Charles Meeker decided not to seek a sixth term.

Three candidates are seeking to replace him and none of them are democrats. Nancy MacFarlane is running as an unaffiliated candidate, although she has been endorsed by the Wake County Democratic Party. Randall Williams and Billie Jean Redmond are running as Republicans.

Lawmakers in the North Carolina House have passed a bill to let voters decide whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. 75 legislators voted in favor of the bill, after three and a half hours of debate.

State lawmakers are back in Raleigh this week for a special session to vote on potential amendments to the state constitution.

DNC Kickoff Rally

Sep 5, 2011

The Democratic National Committee will hold a kick-off rally in Charlotte tomorrow to prepare for its national convention in 2012.

The convention is a year away, but organizers say this event will help get things started in Charlotte. Steve Kerrigan heads the group's convention committee. He says it will be great to hold the gathering in a state that helped President Obama win the White House in 2008.

It’s campaign season in cities and counties across the state. And nowhere are the races more interesting or hotly contested than in Wake County.

A chemical plant proposed for the city of Wilson is drawing concerns from the people in its surrounding neighborhood. The Texas-based company Pencco wants to build the plant to manufacture iron sulfates to be used as water treatment chemicals. Brian Wodetzki of Pencco says the plant will be safe. He says the company is doing its best to explain the process to concerned citizens in the neighborhood by holding public meetings with them.

Governor Perdue has appointed the head of the new, restructured Department of Public Safety.

Annie L. Jones Park
townofcary.org

A public meeting in Cary will focus on expanding developer fees for parks. Parks land fees apply to single-family and townhomes but not to apartments and condominiums. Doug McRainey is the Parks Planning Manager for the town of Cary.

An artist rendering of the ATT bridge over I-40.
City of Durham

Efforts to extend a popular bike and pedestrian trail in Durham have hit a snag. City officials want to extend the American Tobacco Trail about 4 miles to the Chatham County line. That includes building a bridge across I-40. Bids for the project came in higher than expected. Ed Venable is a manager of engineering and stormwater for the City of Durham.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district has warned county commissioners and mayors that school growth could put building permits on hold.

 A local ordinance in Chapel Hill-Carrboro prevents home builders from receiving permits if schools are overcrowded. Right now schools in the district are at full capacity. When they reach 105 percent, the ordinance takes effect, says Todd LoFrese, an assistant superintendent with the district.

Triangle Transit Authority
Triangle Transit Authority

The Raleigh City Council has approved a proposal for a downtown light rail line.

City council members voted last night to support a route that goes through the west side of downtown along Harrington Avenue. It's a segment of the light rail proposal from Triangle Transit Authority that would eventually run from Chapel Hill to Garner. The council's plan breaks from a recommendation by the city's Passenger Rail Task Force. That route would have brought tracks into the heart of downtown on both sides of the Capitol building.

Victims of a forced sterilization program in North Carolina should receive compensatory damages, according to a preliminary report released today.

City Council members in Raleigh are holding a public hearing today to get feedback about a light rail line proposal.

The recommendation from Raleigh's Passenger Rail Task Force takes light rail tracks down Morgan Street to the Capitol building. There, they split in two and run north along Wilmington Street and south on Salisbury Street. It's part of Triangle Transit Authority's plan to build commuter train and light rail tracks from Chapel Hill to Garner by 2025.

A picture of a yellow NCDOT truck.
ncdot.org

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is expanding its driver assistance patrols to interstate between major cities. The Incident Management Assistance Patrol, or IMAP, has increased its number of yellow trucks on areas between Charlotte and Raleigh. That includes Davidson, Randolph, and Rowan Counties along I-85. IMAP directs traffic in the event of major accidents and helps with broken down vehicles to improve congestion. Sam Whittington is the Regional Instant Management Engineer for the Triad.

Women in North Carolina will soon be required to undergo state counseling, an ultrasound and a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion. That’s according to a new law passed yesterday by state legislators. The governor had vetoed the “Woman’s Right to Know Act” during the regular legislative session, but the North Carolina House overrode that veto yesterday by one vote.

North Carolina lawmakers have finalized new redistricting maps for the state senate and for 13 congressional districts. Jessica Jones reports the new boundaries are expected to benefit Republicans.

The GOP-drawn maps for the state House, state Senate and the U.S. Congress are now law. It's estimated the newly drawn Congressional map could get several more Republicans elected to Congress.

Many Democrats are opposed to the newly drawn boundaries, saying they crowd African-American voters into special districts so their vote won't have as much influence.

The state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for what it says is the most cost-effective plan to build a new Bonner Bridge. The existing bridge that connects Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks is nearly 50 years old and cost the DOT more than $26 million to repair over the last decade. The contract awarded to PCL Civil Constructors and HDR Engineering is the cheapest of the three proposals at $216 million, but also got the lowest technical score from state officials.

State lawmakers in the House have overturned the governor's veto of a bill that would place additional restrictions on abortions.

Legislators voted 72 to 47 yesterday to resurrect the bill. It would require women to receive state counseling and an ultrasound before undergoing the procedure. Republican representative Ruth Samuelson is one of the bill's sponsors. She says the measure will help women make better decisions.

Fiscal policy experts and money managers came together today at UNC-Chapel Hill to debate the country’s impending debt crisis. 

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan told the crowd – it’s time for shared sacrifices as the country gets close to hitting its 14-point-3 trillion dollar debt ceiling.

Kay Hagan:  "And I think that’s where the public is going to have to get involved and say, you know, Washington, it’s time to put those partisanship battles aside, this is serious stuff."

State lawmakers have overriden two of Governor Perdue's vetoes during a special session today.

Lawmakers are back in session to vote on proposed redistricting maps as they do every ten years. But they're also working to resurrect a number of bills the Governor red-stamped earlier this year.

Local election season officially gets underway today. Candidates are able to file for election in both Wake and Durham.

The most crowded race is expected to be for Mayor of Raleigh. Incumbent Charles Meeker has announced he will not seek re-election. That has opened up the field to a number of candidates.

A state legislative committee has approved congressional and state Senate redistricting maps, which are redrawn every ten years.

The Republican-led committee approved the maps earlier today. But committee leaders got into testy exchanges with Democrats, who accuse Republicans of crowding African-American voters into more districts to dilute their statewide vote. Democratic Senate Leader Martin Nesbitt tried to get Republican Senator Bob Rucho, chair of the Redistricting committee, to admit to what's known as "packing."

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