Pat McCrory

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.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory and Senate Leader Phil Berger expect debate on an economic development measure this month. The powerful Republicans had lunch together Tuesday, and hours later spoke at an NC Chamber event in Raleigh.

McCrory said he “expects action and debate in the next two weeks and I think that’s very good news.”

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
wikipedia

Governor Pat McCrory is halfway through his first term, but with the General Assembly working its way through this year's long legislative session, the success of Gov. McCrory's agenda remains unclear. 

With two years of experience as governor, McCrory continues to find ways to maneuver his political priorities. Craig Jarvis, political reporter for the News & Observer, says the governor  got off to a rough start his first year in office in 2013, but this year his support has grown.

Dorothea Dix campus
Ted Buckner / Flickr/Creative Commons

State officials voted unanimously Tuesday morning to sell the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the City of Raleigh for $52 million. This deal is more than a decade in the making.

The long-term plan is to transform the 300-plus acre site into a downtown park. Governor Pat McCrory said he hopes it becomes a destination for citizens across the state.

Photo: NC Legislative building
Jorge Valencia

A busy Tuesday at the General Assembly ended with mixed results for proposals on religion, taxes and redistricting.

A bill that could allow private businesses to refuse service to someone based on personal religious beliefs could stall in the House. 

Meanwhile, the House and Senate agreed to lower North Carolina's gas tax by 3.5 cents over the next year. And a House committee approved a measure that would redistrict Wake County's Board of Commissioners.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The first law Gov. Pat McCrory signs this year could be an agreement between the House and Senate to slowly drop North Carolina's tax on gas.
 

Under a plan approved by top members of each chamber last week, the gas tax would fall on Wednesday to 36 cents from 37.5 cents, then to 35 cents in January and to 34 cents in July 2016.

The measure would eliminate a plan previously approved by lawmakers that, according to legislative analysis, would've cut the gas tax significantly more, potentially costing dozens of jobs at the state Department of Transportation.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Governor Pat McCrory and state Senate leaders clashed this week over how to distribute sales tax revenues.

Meanwhile, in the House, lawmakers passed a bill to restore historic preservation tax credits but a medical marijuana proposal died in House committee. Advocates say just having a chance to speak was a victory.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Political Junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in North Carolina political news.

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

State legislators have made headlines this week.

The House offered support for Governor McCrory’s economic incentives package while Senate leadership proposed their own plan. 

Legislators also offered measures to eliminate religious exemptions for student vaccinations and proposed legislation that would hinder citizens' abilities to fight large developments across the state. And a three-judge panel unanimously sided with Governor McCrory and two former governors in a lawsuit against the legislature on the appointments of three environmental commissions.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
wikipedia

Leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly violated the separation of powers among the three branches of government when they created three commissions in which lawmakers appoint the majority of the members, a judicial panel said on Monday. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

    

Gov. Pat McCrory filed new forms with the State Ethics Commission that show previously undisclosed travel expenses. 

The governor now says outside groups paid for seven of his trips in 2013, totaling more than $13,000. The money comes from appearances at national governors' conferences, including four backed by the Republican Party. 

The governor says it is appropriate for those groups to pay for his travel. Critics say failure to show the expenses on the original form follows a pattern of nondisclosure at the governor's office.

Governor Pat McCrory has amended a state ethics form to include travel expenditures that were previously omitted. 

The form, submitted on Friday and officially filed Monday, shows seven trips valued at more than $13,000.

Governor Pat McCrory unveiled his budget plan yesterday.

Education tops the governor's priority list but critics say it doesn't go far enough. Meanwhile, in Washington, Senate democrats are calling for a vote on North Carolina native Loretta Lynch's confirmation as attorney general. Both North Carolina senators have pledged to vote against her confirmation. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is proposing raises for new teachers, tax incentives for corporations and a cut to the University system. On Thursday morning, the governor laid out his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
 

Governor McCrory detailed his spending blueprint for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. His 298-page, $21.5 billion proposal is just the first step in a long process.

Governor Pat McCrory released his budgetary agenda today.
Wikimedia Commons

    

Governor Pat McCrory set forth his budgetary agenda today.

The proposed budget included emphasis on increased educational spending. The most recent projections show a $270 million shortfall, but state budget director Lee Roberts says the deficit is small relative to the overall budget.

The legislature will consider the governor's proposal in the next few weeks.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Roberts about the budget priorities. 

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The North Carolina Senate has approved a proposal that would change a panel that hears appeals for unemployment insurance, but Governor Pat McCrory vetoed a similar bill last year.

The plan would shorten the amount of time board members serve on the panel and stagger the terms between each member. It would also require people getting unemployment benefits to contact five instead of three potential employers every week.

The State Of The State

Feb 5, 2015
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

  Governor McCrory took the dais for his state of the state address last night. 

WUNC's Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia was at Governor McCrory's State of the State speech Wednesday. He live-tweeted the proceedings:

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory is calling for Medicaid reform, a $1 billion transportation project, and fewer tests for students.  McCrory delivered his State of the State address to lawmakers last night in Raleigh.

The governor’s 80-minute speech before a packed house chamber on Wednesday offered more praise and pomp than policy and proposals.

He touted the first two years of his administration before laying out an occasionally detailed vision about what he hopes is next.

Tom Augspurger (l), USFWS, taking core sample during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. (l-r) Tom Augsperger, USFWS, John Fridell, USFWS, Rick Smith, Duke Energy. Photo by Steve Alexander, USFWS..
Steve Alexander / USFWS

In retrospect, running a storm pipe under an unlined coal ash pit was a bad idea. One year ago today, such a pipe under such a pit leaked 39,000 tons of toxic ash into the Dan River.

A week after the spill, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks all but admitted the design was flawed.

“It was not a design that we placed in our other plants, certainly, and it was not the original design of the plant,” he said then. “So it’s something we’ll have to look at in our investigation.”

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

Shelby Stephenson (left) is North Carolina's new Poet Laureate.
shelbystephenson.com

North Carolina's new poet laureate, Shelby Stephenson, will be installed Monday, February 2, 2015. 

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

Attorney General Roy Cooper says he'll continue to criticize Republican policies during the legislative session that begins Wednesday, hinting once again hinting that he might run for governor in 2016.  
 

At a luncheon held by the women’s group Lillian's List, Cooper told a few hundred Democrats that he supports issues such as abortion rights and expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.

He hasn't announced his candidacy for governor, but he’s widely seen as the most likely Democrat to try to unseat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Kindergarten teacher Daly Romero Espinal teaches her students basic Spanish commands on the first day of school at Martin Millennium Academy.
Reema Khrais

 Fewer North Carolina students are enrolling in teaching programs, a problem education leaders say they are trying to tackle by strengthening recruitment, improving teacher preparation and supporting pay increases.

The number of undergraduate and graduate students declaring education majors dropped by 12 percent between 2013 and 2014. It’s a statistic education officials repeated and mulled over during Tuesday’s UNC Board of Governors Education Summit held by the SAS Institute.

The North Carolina legislative office building
Wikipedia

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh today to begin preparation for their first legislative session of the year. 

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The North Carolina legislature is back in session this week.  The Republican-led body is touting a strong economy and an unemployment rate that hasn’t been this low since the start of the Great Recession.

So, bust out the Moscato! The unemployment rate in North Carolina is 5.8 percent.  Governor Pat McCrory says it hasn’t been that low since 2008.

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