State Politics

Political news from around NC (and beyond).

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast, we play a rousing game of "Big Deal, Or No Deal?"

We will analyze Senator Phil Berger's plan for teacher raises, the House bill that revives the Coal Ash Management Commission, the presidential election in North Carolina, and much more.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

High profile leaders from both sides of the political aisle try to move the state towards compromise on House Bill 2.

And at the capitol, lawmakers continue to negotiate details of the state budget. In particular, the two chambers do not have common ground on the amount and distribution of teacher pay.

And on the national stage, Trump says he officially has the delegates for the GOP nomination, and buzz continues about possible vice presidential selections.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

State lawmakers are again wrangling with Governor Pat McCrory over coal ash cleanup.

The House has approved a bill reconstituting the coal ash management commission. Lawmakers organized this group once before. But McCrory sued fellow Republicans saying it usurped his power.

Photo: Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican from Rockingham County
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

A plan introduced Wednesday at the legislature by Senate Republicans would increase average annual teacher pay, and move North Carolina to the top of compensation in the southeast. The plan is significant in size, and represents a bargaining chip in the ongoing budget negotiations between the Senate and House.

Jorge Valencia / WUNC

It’s hard to imagine an industry in North Carolina that hasn’t somehow been affected by House Bill 2.  Restaurants say they’ve lost business. Hotels have seen conference organizers cancel conventions to protest the law. And start-ups say some investors are steering clear of North Carolina. But much of the work of dealing with the unwanted attention has been left to small businesses that don’t want to be associated with the law.

RuPaul's Drag Race, HB2, Equality NC, Race
Courtesy of Salima Al-Ismaili

Big name entertainers have canceled several North Carolina concerts and shows because of their opposition to House Bill 2.  But not RuPaul’s Drag Race, which performed Sunday in Durham.

Lots of fans for RuPaul’s Drag Race at DPAC came to see their favorite queen—men dressed as flamboyant women, for entertainment.

Faith leaders voiced their support of House Bill 2. The clergy also denounces comparisons between Civil Rights struggles and LGBT equality efforts.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

A group of clergy convened in front of the State Capitol Building to stand in solidarity and support House Bill 2 on Tuesday morning.

The group of about 40 pastors - both black and white from across the state - spoke for more than an hour in the foreground of a George Washington statue.

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Last night, Charlotte City Council members declined to vote on a repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance that prompted House Bill 2. The possible vote was part of a compromise deal with some state lawmakers.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 The countdown to the conventions is on. Just a short time ago, it looked like the GOP convention would be the stage for the most drama. But Donald Trump has steadily eliminated his competition. And now all eyes are on the democratic ticket. Will Bernie Sanders go all the way to the Philadelphia convention? And how does his decision affect Hillary Clinton's chances to once again reside in the White House? In North Carolina, lawmakers are working on the state's budget, but they do so against the backdrop of continuing controversy over House Bill Two. Does that affect their priorities?

The chambers of the NC State House
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

House lawmakers have given final approval to a budget proposal. The plan passed its most important vote 103 to 12 Wednesday night with bipartisan support. 

NC NAACP, Voter ID, Ben and Jerry's
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

North Carolina Central University was the back-drop for the unveiling of a new flavor of ice cream by Ben and Jerry’s.  It’s called “Empower Mint.”

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield stood side-by-side with North Carolina NAACP’s the Reverend William Barber to reveal the new flavor, with a voting rights theme.

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

The State Employees Association of North Carolina, or SEANC, wants Democrat Janet Cowell to resign --- either from her elected job as treasurer, or her newer, appointed positions to two corporate boards.

On the fourth edition of the WUNCPolitics podcast: three distinctly different views on HB2. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, UNC President Margaret Spellings, and high school student Hunter Schafer. They have very different ideas - and have reacted in different ways - to the law passed by the General Assembly in March. 

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

NC House Democrats Seek to Expand State LGBT Protections

May 11, 2016
rainbow flag
Ted via Flickr/Creative Commons

Democrats in the North Carolina House have filed a bill to expand state protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and familial status.

Greensboro Representative Chris Sgro is one of the sponsors of House Bill 1078, dubbed the “Equality for All Act”.  He called it the most comprehensive set of non-discrimination protections ever introduced in the General Assembly.

Photo: UNC Board of Governors Chair Louis Bisette and UNC President Margaret Spellings
Jorge Valencia

The leaders of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system say they are not violating federal anti-discrimination protections by following the state’s new bathroom access law, and are seeking legal representation in a lawsuit against federal authorities.

Gov Pat McCrory speaks to reporters about the state's HB2 lawsuit
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has sued the U.S. government and the Justice Department, asking federal courts to clarify a controversial new state law that limits transgender access to bathrooms.

The Justice Department in turn filed its own lawsuit against the state, saying the law restricting use of public restrooms by transgender people constitutes a pattern of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.

All 100 North Carolina counties were represented at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro this past weekend.
Jeff Tiberii

For seven generations members of the Wallenda family have pulled off incredible tightrope performances.

They've walked between skyscrapers, over Niagara Falls—and even the Grand Canyon—without a safety net. 

Republicans from Cherokee to Corolla gathered for their state convention this past weekend. There were no high-wire stunts in Greensboro at the state convention this weekend. But there was certainly a balancing act. 

Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger on the first day of this year's legislative session.
Jessica Jones / WUNC

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast, we discuss what Republican leaders in the state are saying about the U.S. Department of Justice's letter to Governor McCrory this week, telling him if HB2 was enforced the feds would consider it a violation of federal discrimination laws - and how the state could lose billions of dollars in federal money. Also, Congressional primary races are a month away, education funding discussions are coming up in the General Assembly, and Treasurer Janet Cowell takes positions on two corporate boards, while she manages the state's pension fund.

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

State Treasurer Janet Cowell has come under fire for her role as a public official working in the private sector.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Department of Justice says North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. It's the latest in the fallout from HB2 and could threaten billions of dollars in federal education funds.

Meanwhile, two different polls find conflicting results in North Carolinians' support of the law. And Donald Trump is assured the Republican nomination for president.

Political analysts are speculating about who might be Trump's running mate, and whether the establishment wing of the GOP will stand behind Trump in November. 

Photo: Gov. Pat McCrory at a question-and-answer session with the NC Chamber
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Republican leaders in the General Assembly are refusing to back down from the controversial House Bill 2 after the U.S. Department of Justice told the state this week that it is in violation of federal anti-discrimination protections.

An image of Crystal Sanders
Crystal Sanders

In 1965, a Head Start program called the Child Development Group of Mississippi offered an alternative education for children in low-income communities. It also gave working-class black Mississippians a chance to secure jobs outside of the local white power structure.

An image of author Willie Drye
Doward Jones

Florida is the third largest state in the U.S. and gets millions of tourists each year. But back in the early 1900s, the state was mostly undeveloped swampland and had quite a different reputation.

During the Roaring ‘20s, the Sunshine State experienced a huge land boom due to the work of entrepreneurs, movie stars and scoundrels, and began to attract wealthy entrepreneurs and eager vacationers. 

Allen County Public Library via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Governor Pat McCrory that House Bill 2 violates Title IX of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, potentially jeopardizing millions in federal funding for public schools.

The department, in a letter signed Wednesday, gave state officials until Monday to respond confirming whether or not they will comply with their advisory. If the department’s opinion is upheld by the courts, North Carolina could lose federal school funding for violation of Title IX, which bars discrimination in education based on gender.

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