State Politics

Political news from around NC (and beyond).

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.

Chapel Hill's Town Council is scheduled to discuss a new report on a police raid on protesters occupying a vacant downtown car dealership. Town Manager Roger Stancil found the action "appropriate."

Teachers aren’t the only ones seething after the Republican-led Legislature made it more difficult for educators to pay their dues to the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Early this morning, state lawmakers overrode the governor's veto of a bill preventing teachers from automatically paying dues to the state's largest organization for educators.

Winston-Salem Police say one man was drunk driving prior to a fatal car crash involving an elected official last month.

Teenagers in North Carolina now have to keep driving logs in order to get their drivers license.

Mark Walker and Laura FJeld both hope to replace 83-year-old Howard Coble who is retiring after 30 years in Congress.
US House of Representatives

Congressman Howard Coble says he’s ready to get back to work after spending the last two weeks in the hospital.

Congressman Coble is planning to report to work in Washington by mid-January.  But that’s all he’s sure of right now.   The 80-year-old Republican is still contemplating re-election.

Leoneda Inge:  "Are you still planning to run for re-election?"

Howard Coble:  "Well, I’m leaning that way now.  I want to see how the final re-drawn map looks, that’s in litigation right now. And I want to see how I recover from the hospital, so far, so good."

Engineers from the state DOT meet with federal wildlife officials this afternoon to consider options for repairing Highway 12 on the Outer Banks. Storm surge from Hurricane Irene breached the highway in several spots on Hatteras Island. The options include beach re-nourishment, creating bridges above the existing road, or bridges that re-route the highway. But at issue in today's meeting is how the options might affect the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Beth Smyre  is the DOT planning engineer who oversees the project.

Governor Bev Perdue has vetoed a bill that would have repealed the Racial Justice Act.

Residents have a chance to weigh in on the state's emergency response to Hurricane Irene. Emergency management officials and forecasters are hosting public meetings this week in eastern North Carolina to review their communication tactics during the storm. Rich Bandy is the lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Newport.

A state panel charged with recommending compensation for victims of the state's eugenics program will try to come up with a specific lump sum at its next meeting. The Governor's Eugenics Compensation Task Force was scheduled to discuss a lump sum today, but did not come to a conclusion. One task force member suggested compensation of twenty thousand dollars, but victims who attended the meeting said that is not enough. Dr. Laura Gerald heads the group.

Hurricane damaged Highway 12 on Hatteras Island is the subject of two public workshops this week. The only road along parts of the Outer Banks was breached in several places by Hurricane Irene in August. Traffic is rolling again on temporary fixes, but state officials want to move forward with permanent repairs. Greer Beatty works for North Carolina's Department of Transportation.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and Mayor-elect Nancy McFarlane
raleighnc.gov

Outgoing Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is on somewhat of a farewell tour today. First off is the Human Relation Commission's "Unity Day" at the Convention Center this morning. One big issue they'll be discussing is the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and domestic unions in the state. Meeker doesn't mince words about that.

State lawmakers are back in Raleigh today. They'll discuss repealing the Racial Justice Act.

The deadline approaches for victims of Hurricane Irene to file flood insurance claims. Residents who experienced damage have until Wednesday to send a damage report to insurers that issued a National Flood Insurance Policy. This week's deadline is a 30-day extension of the original October cutoff. FEMA spokesman Jeff Welsh says that was in response to residents who were not satisfied with inspections immediately after Hurricane Irene.

A report from the state auditor says North Carolina does not have an accurate list of state property. State officials started an investigation this summer to determine whether the state could save money on insurance for its property. But the report says the State Property Office has more than 400 buildings on its list that are not on a list from the Department of Insurance. State Property Office spokeswoman Jill Lucas says they rely on individual agencies to report their inventory.

Voters in Greensboro have elected a new mayor.

Voters go to the polls today for municipal elections across the state. In Durham and Orange Counties, they will decide on sales tax measures in addition to picking candidates.

Voters are casting ballots in local elections across the state today. Greensboro voters will pick a mayor and City Council.

State lawmakers have voted to restore omissions in redistricting maps that left out about half a million voters.

Lawmakers voted mostly along party lines yesterday to pass bills that restored the missing census blocks. A software problem in the program used to draw the maps caused the issues. Republican representative David Lewis said debating these bills is completely unlike the heated discussions over drawing the maps earlier this year.

North Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is calling on Congress to pass another piece of President Obama's jobs bill. The president divided his first proposal into pieces after it failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate. The first piece was also voted down last month. Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to pass the second part earlier today. It's a $50 billion proposal that would go toward infrastructure projects. Hagan says the investment would support businesses in North Carolina.

On Tuesday, Durham County voters will decide whether to approve a sales tax increase that would help fund big improvements to public transit. Public transportation advocates across the Triangle have been working for years to plan a comprehensive network of buses and trains to make the area more commuter-friendly.

Jim Forrester
NC General Assembly

A state senator who led the fight against gay marriage has died. Republican Jim Forrester of Gaston County suffered health problems before checking in to a hospital this weekend.

The North Carolina N-double-A-C-P has submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking it not to pre-clear the proposed redistricting maps drawn earlier this year in the General Assembly. Reverend William Barber heads the state's N-double-A-C-P. He says the maps pack black voters into a small number of districts to dilute their statewide influence.

President Obama continues a bus tour through North Carolina today. Will Michaels reports.

Mr. Obama speaks today at Guilford Technical Community College near Greensboro. His three-day bus tour started yesterday in Asheville. It's the third time the president has visited North Carolina since June. He spoke at a high school in Wilkesboro before making other stops in Marion and Boone. Mr. Obama again touted his jobs bill. He said he would break up the legislation into smaller parts and ask Congress to approve them individually.

Raleigh voters have elected the city's first new mayor in a decade-- City Council member Nancy McFarlane.

McFarlane beat Billie Redmond and Randall Williams with 61 percent of the vote. She says she's thrilled to be the city's next leader.

Nancy McFarlane:" It's a huge honor and it's very humbling to know that that many people have faith in you. It's also very exciting to know that that many people share a vision of Raleigh and where we're going to go. "

Voters in Raleigh approved transportation and affordable housing bonds by about two-thirds of the vote.

Voters in Raleigh will help choose a new mayor at the polls tomorrow.

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