NC Legislature

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

​North Carolina's House Bill 2 and the state budget dominated the headlines during this year's legislative short session. But the bills that got less attention could also have a huge impact across the state.

One of them places regulations on the footage caught by police body cameras, and declares those tapes are not public records. That same bill also establishes the first statewide needle exchange program.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

More than half of the state budget is spent on public education.

In the latest budget adjustments, state lawmakers approved an average 4.7 percent raise for teachers.

State Senator Tom Apodaca
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The General Assembly adjourned late Friday and lawmakers headed home.

They passed a $22.3 billion budget before they left, giving state employees a small raise and setting aside more money for the rainy day fund. They also made a small tweak to House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill.

photo of NC Legislature
creative commons

State lawmakers completed a chaotic final day of the legislative session in Raleigh on Friday, giving final approval to a $22.34 billion dollar state budget before sending it on to the Governor.

Photo: North Carolina's Old State Capitol building.
Soggy6 / Flickr

Lawmakers convened in Raleigh nearly a month ago for a short session to address the state's budget. But legislators have proposed measures on other items including bills on coal ash, light rail and sanctuary cities.

Also this week, Senator Fletcher Hartsell, a Republican from Concord, was indicted on charges of illegal campaign expenditures. The long-serving member in the Senate says he will not resign.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie

Early voting is underway in North Carolina's second primary of the year. Two incumbent members of Congress face off against each other. Also on the ballot is a seat on the state's Supreme Court.

At the legislature, the Senate wraps up its budget proposal and lawmakers move behind closed doors to hash out a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

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

According to the U.S. Department of Education, data from a few years ago show that about a fourth of NC teachers work a part-time job.
Flickr user Mike Mozart

In the popular teenage movie Mean Girls, there’s a scene where a few high school students spot someone unexpected at the mall.

“Oh my god, that’s Mrs. Norbury,” one student exclaims.  

“I love seeing teachers outside of school, it’s like seeing a dog walk on its hinds legs,” a second student adds.   

It’s their math teacher, played by Tina Fey. But she’s not shopping.

“No, actually I’m just here because I bar-tend a couple of nights a week,” she says.

Taking On A Retail Job

About 1.8 million people in North Carolina receive healthcare through Medicaid. The program provides for those who are low income and is funded by federal and state dollars.

A recent state audit found that the organization overseeing most Medicaid patients has saved taxpayers more than a billion dollars since 2002. Still, state lawmakers have been poised for years to overhaul the system, and it appears now that a deal is close.

21-year-old Camirra Wilson graduated from N.C. State University this month. She was one of about 500 students across the state who were part of the last N.C. Teaching Fellows class.
Reema Khrais

This month, thousands of college students are walking across graduation stages and receiving their diplomas. Among them is a small group of 500 students across several campuses called North Carolina Teaching Fellows.

They’re the last of their kind to graduate – the state began dismantling the scholarship program in 2011. While the program has a 30-year-old legacy of recruiting teachers, filling classrooms remains to be a challenge that plagues the state today.

During Sunshine Week the media celebrates open government and transparency in public records.
Holley St. Germain / Flickr Creative Commons

Media outlets mark Sunshine Week as a time to celebrate and promote open government laws and free access to public records.

Kevin Spacey plays southern politician Frank Underwood in the Netflix series "House of Cards."
Wikimedia Commons

In the Netflix hit series, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey plays a politician from Gaffney, South Carolina named Frank Underwood.

The fictional president has a heavy southern accent, but some question its authenticity. produced a popular video analyzing Spacey's "r-dropping."

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A program giving developers tax credits to restore old buildings expired on January first. But advocates have launched a campaign asking lawmakers to restore the program.

The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has launched an online petition drive to ask state lawmakers to restore the historic tax credit. So far it has more than 1,700 signatures.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The short session of the North Carolina General Assembly begins today. Environmental issues on the table are coal ash disposal and fracking. Meanwhile, teacher pay remains a hot topic. Legislators will discuss Governor McCrory's proposals to update the teacher pay model. They'll also consider a bill that seeks to repeal Common Core.

Photo of Classroom
Creative Commons


The Common Core standards, a set of benchmarks for K-12 math and English courses, continue to make headlines. 

Stephen D. Melkisethian via Flickr

Among the thousands of people who marched to the North Carolina State Capitol building and filled five city blocks in front of it, there was no singular cause for gathering. But written on the signs and banners people carried were a handful issues that seemed to repeat themselves every 20 feet in the crowd.

Manufactured Home
Royal Homes in Raleigh

Mobile and modular homes have traditionally been a top choice for lower-income home buyers.  But the New Year has brought higher taxes for these properties.

The sales tax will jump about two-fold for those buying a modular home.   Sonny Bannister is president of Royal Homes in Raleigh.

"We've been aware of the pending increase for about 90 days and we've been warning our customers of the potential of an increase since that time," said Bannister.

This segment of The State of Things discusses issues that may be disturbing to some of our younger or more sensitive listeners.  

North Carolina ranks as one of the top 10 states for human commerce in the sex industry. Beginning October 1st, those convicted of trafficking in North Carolina will face harsher punishments under two new laws. 

Megalodon tooth with two great white shark teeth.
Brocken Inaglory & Parzi via Flickr, Creative Commons

Many bills brought before this year’s General Assembly were hotly debated and heavily protested. But one bill that sailed through both chambers without a hitch was HB 830, which designates six new official state symbols. Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law in June. If you’re a Tar Heel, here are your newest state designations:

Rev. William Barber
North Carolina NAACP

Today is the first Monday in thirteen weeks without an NAACP led Moral Monday rally outside the Capitol in Raleigh. But the protests aren’t over. Rev. William Barber, leader of the North Carolina NAACP, says he’s taking Moral Monday on the road, all throughout the state. The road trip starts today in Asheville.

The coalition that Rev. Barber has built over the last few months is entering a new phase, and will be tested. Can it last? And can it win elections? 

The North Carolina State Seal.
NC Department Of Transportation

At the start of this legislative session, the General Assembly was jam-packed with bills to alter ultra-local affairs.

NC General Assembly

One of the issues still to be decided by the North Carolina Legislature before it adjourns is whether to approve new rules that Republicans say would make abortion safer.

Democrats say abortions in the state are already very safe, and that the new provisions would lead to clinics closing.

Protesters gather for a Moral Mondays protest at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

Another demonstration on Halifax Mall led to 73 arrests Monday night. It was the 12th Moral Monday event protesting the Republican-led General Assembly. 

This demonstration centered on what protestors called undue cuts to education and a bill that would change voting requirements.  Protesters said they don't like the provision in the voter ID bill that would cut back on early voting.

"That’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous," said Antoinette Joyner of Winston-Salem.

GOP Leaders Agree On $20.6 Billion State Budget

Jul 22, 2013
North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

RALEIGH, N.C. - Leaders in the North Carolina House and Senate announced Sunday that they have reached agreement on a $20.6 billion budget that will end teacher tenure and allow taxpayer money to be spent for private school tuition.

Highlights of the budget negotiated by the Republican majority were issued in a news release. The actual appropriations bill was released to the public late Sunday night.

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

This week the General Assembly passed a tax reform bill that sets the stage for the state’s budget. The bill, while sweeping, wasn’t as broad as GOP lawmakers originally wanted. A budget agreement is expected to be reached today with details emerging over the weekend.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina General Assembly finally pushed through its tax reform bill, though it’s not nearly as bold as originally proposed. Both personal and corporate income taxes will go down.