Pat McCrory

(Left to right) Lyons Gray, Jeff Epstein, Governor Pat McCrory, Lee Roberts. Gray is the outgoing Secretary of Revenue; Epstein will take over in February; Roberts is returning to the private sector after 18 months in the McCrory administration.
Jeff Tiberii

Governor Pat McCory is welcoming a new secretary and budget director to his administration.

At the Executive Mansion on Thursday afternoon, McCrory appointed Secretary of Revenue Lyons Gray to serve on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.  Replacing Gray as Secretary of Revenue is Jeff Epstein, the current chief operating officer of that department.

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

At the annual Economic Forecast Forum Wednesday, executives and Governor Pat McCrory convened to share their opinions on the state’s economic climate.

Many economists were optimistic, saying 2015 was a big year, but 2016 looks even better. Wages are up, the work force is growing, and even more job growth is projected for the coming year.

Photo: Jim Rose, regional president of Yadkin Bank in Raleigh, speaks before a crowd at the launch of the Connect NC campaign
Jorge Valencia

Governor Pat McCrory made his first public speech for a bond referendum on Tuesday, urging North Carolina voters to approve $2 billion in borrowing for public service investments such as building new science education and research facilities on college campuses, new facilities for the National Guard, and sewage renovations in small towns.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A standing-room-only crowd packed a state government board room in Raleigh last night to express their thoughts on North Carolina’s commitment to climate change.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

A recently released memo from a deputy commissioner of corrections says that Governor Pat McCrory spoke twice with Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry about expiring prison contracts.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is endorsed Democratic candidate Roy Cooper for governor in early December.
Jess Clark

 UPDATED Dec. 10, 2015

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is endorsing Attorney General Roy Cooper for governor.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Governor Pat McCrory made his re-election bid official this week as candidate filing began.

And Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump will be in Raleigh tonight to convince North Carolinians to send him to the White House.

Meanwhile, the country's 355th mass shooting this year prompts renewed debate about the political influence of the NRA. 

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

Shelly / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Governor Pat McCrory to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. It would allow a transgender high school student to use the men's bathroom.

Several local service and faith organizations hosted a multicultural Thanksgiving Dinner to welcome immigrants and refugees.
Reema Khrais

Local service and faith organizations are urging state leaders to not turn their backs on Syrian refugees.

Responding to a national backlash against Syrian refugees, faith leaders and several groups gathered in Greensboro Monday night for a multicultural Thanksgiving dinner to welcome local refugees and immigrants.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the U.S. House passed a bill to ban all refugees from Syria until stringent background checks are conducted.

And the two leading candidates for North Carolina governor, Republican incumbent Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, both say the state needs to stop admitting Syrian refugees until the federal government provides assurances about security concerns. The debate raises new questions about the government's surveillance methods and privacy matters.

A 7-hour committee meeting carried on Wednesday at the Capitol. Refugees, open meetings and prison maintenance contracts were among the topics.
Jeff Tiberii

Two members of the Governor's Cabinet say the renewal of prison maintenance contracts to a campaign donor did not violate any laws.

State Budget Director Lee Roberts and Department of Public Safety Director Frank Perry answered questions from lawmakers during a grueling seven hour meeting of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations at the Capitol on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory joined a few other Republican governors who wanted to close the door on refugees from Syria. The following morning, he appeared on Fox News and CNN. The chorus of governors was growing so loud that White House officials arranged a phone conference for Tuesday night.

Assistant Secretary for the Division of Employment Security celebrated the state's unemployment trust fund surplus, on Thursday. Governor McCrory stood over his left should, while Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla looked on as well.
Jeff Tiberii

State officials are celebrating a $1 billion surplus in the North Carolina unemployment trust fund. The Wednesday announcement represents a significant swing from just two and a half years ago when the state owed the federal government $2.8 billion. This past May, the state paid down its debt a year before the due date. The savings have continued.

"Today I am very proud to announce the following - that we have built up our unemployment reserve fund to more than $1 billion," said Governor Pat McCrory before a crowd at the Employment Security Commission.

Pat McCrory
James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory reportedly used his personal influence to help his friend and major political donor, Graeme Keith Sr., renew a $3 million contract with the state.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law last week that restricts policies of so-called sanctuary cities and requires local law enforcement to work with immigration officials. The law also bans the use of non-governmental identification by police and other governmental agencies. 

Jorge Valencia

Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday signed a law that makes North Carolina less friendly to undocumented immigrants by prohibiting city or county policies that prevent local police from collaborating with federal immigration agents.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Political announcements abound. Attorney General Roy Cooper makes his gubernatorial bid official. The Democrat will face at least one primary challenger before the party’s nominee tries to unseat Governor McCrory.

Former GoTriangle leader and state legislator Deborah Ross announced her challenge for United States Senator Richard Burr's seat. She joins fellow Democrats Kevin Griffin and Chris Rey in their Senate bids. And Democratic presidential hopefuls faced off in their first debate on Tuesday.

Roy Cooper announces his bid for governor before a crowd in Rocky Mount.
Jess Clark

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his run for the democratic nomination for governor last night in Rocky Mount.

Cooper’s announcement was no surprise. The attorney general has been open about his desire to run since at least 2013. He took the stage at Nash County Community College near his hometown of Nashville, in eastern North Carolina.

“It is time for our state to work for everyone, not just the few," Cooper told the crowd. "That’s why today I am announcing that I am a candidate for governor of North Carolina.”

Kelly Holden stands in front of his truck a few days after rain and flood waters damaged some of the fruit and vegetable crops on his 250 acres of land. His family has been farming in Brunwisck County since the 1750s.
Jeff Tiberii

Farmers across eastern North Carolina are assessing crop damage following heavy rains and flooding. Some growers have lost entire fields while others will wait weeks to determine what can be harvested. As local and state officials scurry to place a value on what was lost, members of the agriculture community say they’re glad the harm wasn’t worse.

Governor Pat McCrory addressed a gaggle of local officials and media members on Tuesday in Brunswick County. He says the main focus now is determining how to best help farmers in the eastern region of the state effected by weekend storms.
Jeff Tiberii

Many farmers in eastern North Carolina continue to assess crop damage following weekend storms. Flooded fields are expected to result in depleted peanut, sweet potato and cotton harvests this fall. Governor Pat McCrory expressed concern about the agriculture industry at a Tuesday briefing.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina cities and counties would be prohibited from being “sanctuaries” for people living in the country illegally, under a bill tentatively approved by the Senate on Thursday.
 
The plan would prohibit local governments from directing their police officers to not collect people’s immigration information and report it to federal authorities. Senate Republicans gave the initial nod in a largely party-line vote of 34 to 11. The House of Representatives would have to agree before sending the bill to the governor.
 

Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Bill Would Ban The Sale Of Fetal Tissue From Abortions

Republicans in the Senate's rules committee cleared a bill on Wednesday  that would ban the sale of fetal tissue from abortions.

House Bill 297  is a reaction to a national controversy after an anti-abortion group’s undercover videos suggested Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue from abortions.  

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

A long overdue state budget is now in place. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill on Friday, more than six months after he released his own budget proposal.

The approval officially ended a stalemate that extended budget negotiations nearly three months beyond the fiscal year deadline. 

The governor says he got about 90 percent of what he wanted, but a few items were left on the table.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina legislature gave final approval to a $21.7 billion budget early Friday morning. The vote ended a stalemate that pushed budget negotiations three months past their original deadline. The final deal maintains funding for teacher assistants, cuts the income tax rate to 5.5 percent and expands the sales tax. 

BOEM

North Carolina is one step closer to offshore wind turbines. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management - the federal agency that supervises offshore wind power development as well as offshore oil drilling - announced earlier today the completion of an environmental review of three potential sites off the North Carolina coast.

BOEM found no significant environmental or socioeconomic issues that should stop the issuing of wind energy leases.

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