NC General Assembly

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The North Carolina legislature voted to override a veto by Governor McCrory. The move puts a measure into law that allows magistrates who disagree with same-sex marriage to opt out of performing marriages.

And Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks out against voting restrictions like the one’s passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. Republican leaders push back, saying voting regulation is a state issue. 

Solar Panels
Strata Solar

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering legislation to limit the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. Proponents say tax incentives and government mandates for renewable energy are crucial to continued growth in revenue and jobs. 

  Several large companies like Google and Facebook have urged the legislature not to roll back the measures. Opponents say solar businesses costs the state more than they generates and taxpayers end up footing the bill. 

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

The legislature considers controversial measures on gun regulations and magistrates performing same-sex marriages.

And Governor Pat McCrory says he will sign a bill that increases the waiting period for an abortion, a move that contradicts his campaign promise. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The North Carolina General Assembly gets a veto from Governor McCrory on their measure to exempt some magistrates from performing marriages. And the Patriot Act is set to expire this weekend.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Post updated: 3:55 p.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory says he will veto Senate Bill 2. In an email, McCroy said he plans to stop a plan to give magistrates the ability to opt out of performing weddings based on strongly held religious beliefs.

Opponents of the measure have called it a pathway to descrimination of same-sex couples. Supporters call it a religious freedom measure. McCrory's announcement comes just hours after state lawmakers approved the bill.

Photo: A graffiti painting at an intersection in Asheville
It's Tea / Flickr

State lawmakers are expected to send Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday a bill that would make graffiti vandalism a felony if performed by repeat offenders.

Under House Bill 552, which was approved unanimously by the House and is expected to get final approval from the Senate, anyone who has two or more prior convictions for graffiti vandalism or violates the law against it at least five times within two months could be charged with a felony. The offender could face up to 39 months in jail.

Photo: 10 people were arrested outside the offices of North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger.
Jorge Valencia

Police officers arrested 10 protesters at the North Carolina General Assembly on Friday, as the protesters chanted and called on Republican lawmakers to put a referendum on a statewide ballot to raise the minimum wage.

Officers handcuffed the protesters outside the office of Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) after they refused to leave the building past its posted 5 p.m. closing time. 

Officers took protesters to the Wake County Detention Center and charged them with second degree trespassing, said police Chief Jeff Weaver.

An image of a handgun
RabidSquirrel / pixabay

One morning this month, Kaaren Haldeman, an anthropologist in Durham, sent her three sons to school and drove to downtown Raleigh. There, down the hallways of the North Carolina General Assembly building, she led two mothers who were pushing babies in strollers.

“Have you been in this building much?” she asked them. “It's like a labyrinth.”

A picture of the US Supreme Court building.
Daderot / Wikipedia

 

 Voting districts are back on the table for the North Carolina Supreme Court, but not by choice.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the state Supreme Court ruling on Monday that upheld Republican-drawn legislative and congressional districts. It ordered the North Carolina Supreme Court to reconsider whether the redistricting of 2011 relied too heavily on race.

 

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

From gay marriage to puppy mills, North Carolina state legislators have filed more than 1,600 bills this legislative session and they are not even halfway done.

Many bills will not make it through the General Assembly, but some are still causing a stir.

Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Feb 13, 2015

The governor and the legislature are at odds over changes at the Department of Transportation concerning layoffs and the gas tax. 

Plus, President Obama chose North Carolina native Loretta Lynch to fill the attorney general position, but her confirmation hearings have been delayed. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about these stories and other political news around the state.

high school students
Vancouver Film School via Flickr/Creative Commons

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has released letter grades for every school in the state.

They are based on standardized testing and academic growth. The report says 29 percent of them got a D or an F last year, which by law prompts them to notify parents of their low grades.

Supporters of the new evaluation system say it is more comprehensive. Opponents say it is not an accurate depiction of public education.

Photo: Map of North Carolina
Flickr user Lindley Ashline

A coalition of Democratic and Republican state representatives wants to cede their responsibility to draw North Carolina's electoral districts, to non-partisan staff or a non-partisan commission.

They say they want to take politics out of the process, but similar efforts have failed for more than 20 years.

The North Carolina General Assembly is back to work in Raleigh and lawmakers are filing dozens of bills.

rainbow flag
Ted via Flickr/Creative Commons

At the North Carolina State Legislature, Senate Leader Phil Berger introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates across North Carolina to opt-out of performing same-sex marriages. He wants government officials such as magistrates and registers of deeds, who object to same-sex marriage, to receive protection.

Stephen LaRoque
North Carolina General Assembly

Stephen LaRoque, a former high-ranking member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft at a federal court in Greenville on Monday.

LaRoque, who resigned his house seat after he was indicted in 2012, entered a plea as part of a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allowing him to avoid a trial originally scheduled for next week. He will pay $300,000 in restitution and faces up to 10 years in prison, the attorney’s office said in a statement. Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

Renee Ellmers
http://beta.congress.gov/

Another battle over abortion regulations played out in Washington this week. This time, the conflict was within the Republican Party over a bill in the House that would have banned abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) led the opposition, but put her support behind a new measure that would cut all federal funding for the procedures.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina judge heard arguments about new proficiency standards for public schools. He's considering whether they meet the constitutional mandate of a "sound, basic education."

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

State lawmakers will be back in Raleigh Wednesday for a one-day organizational session. The most important task at hand for legislators is to formally elect the heads of the state House and Senate. And there shouldn't be any surprises.

The previous session's President Pro Tem of the Senate, Republican Phil Berger of Eden, is expected to be re-elected easily. He's scheduled to hold a news conference later in the morning.

Image of Student Protesters
Jeff Tiberii

    

Members of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors heard presentations Wednesday and Thursday from centers and institutes across the system as they consider possible cuts. 

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Medicaid oversight subcommittee has approved recommendations laying out goals for reform of the state's health insurance program for low-income residents. But support for the measure was not unanimous among Republicans. 

The recommendations approved Tuesday will now go before the full Health and Human Services oversight committee.

Two-pages of findings sketch out general goals for Medicaid reform in the state. Overall, it reiterates the feeling among some lawmakers- including Senator Ralph Hise- that the primary goal in reforming Medicaid should be to cut costs.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Republicans maintained their super majority in the state House and Senate after Tuesday night’s election, meaning they will continue to have the ability to override gubernatorial vetoes and pass laws without a single vote from Democrats.

In the Senate, Republicans gained one seat, raising their majority to 34 seats in the 50-member changer. In the House, Democrats gained as many as four seats, likely lowering the Republican majority to 73 seats in the 120-member house.

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

The state auditor's office is preparing detailed audits of six state government agencies in order to comply with a request from state lawmakers. Earlier this week, lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee asked for the audits. The request will provide specific line item details on how state funds are actually spent, says State Auditor Beth Wood.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.
NAACP

In the above interview, host Catherine Brand speaks with Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia about Raleigh's top prosecutor's decision to dismiss hundreds of cases against people who were arrested for protesting at the state Capitol last year.

In talking about the decision, District Attorney Ned Mangum referenced a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Massachusetts law limiting protests outside abortion clinics. He says the District and Superior courts in Wake County have cited the case to dismiss some protest cases here.

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Gov. Pat McCrory released a video Friday stating, he will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session.  In it he says he doesn't see the need to bring legislators back after a long and at time contentious short session. 

“It would be counter- productive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on," McCrory said in the video release.  "And after a lengthy session, they need a break and frankly, I need a break from them.”

Harold Brubaker
Wikipedia

The most influential lobbyist in North Carolina is former state House speaker Harold Brubaker, according to a report from the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Brubaker, a Republican who represented Randolph County for 18 terms, counts Alliance for Access to Dental Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and 21st Century Oncology among his current clients.

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