Ken Rudin - Political Junkie

Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
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Ken Rudin has a problem:  he is hooked on politics. The political junkie regularly joins The State of Things for Friday discussions about the political world in North Carolina. Ken’s experience spans three decades of political coverage, most recently at NPR.

From the latest congressional news to behind-the-scenes views on the campaign trail, Ken offers political insight, historical analysis and trivia. More information, including his weekly scuttlebutton puzzle, can be found at his website.

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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.

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With the passing of Congressman Howard Coble, North Carolina loses one of a vanishing breed: the old style politician.

Meanwhile, municipal elections across the country led to unexpected results in some places. Salt Lake City will likely have its first openly gay mayor, pending a recount later this month. 

In Houston, voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBTQ residents, and Jeb Bush's numbers fall as the Republican presidential primary continues.

Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has been tabbed as the next UNC system president.
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The UNC Board of Governors makes their selection for a new university system president. 

Former U.S. Department of Education secretary Margaret Spellings is the president-elect, chosen to replace outgoing president Tom Ross who was forced to resign earlier this year. Spellings served in the George W. Bush administration.

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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.

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House Speaker John Boehner told colleagues he will resign in October. The Republican leader faced a rebellion in his own party from tea party members who say Boehner is not conservative enough.

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North Carolina lawmakers say they need more time to reconcile differences about the state budget.

They passed another continuing resolution yesterday that funds the government through September 18.

It's the third time they have had to create a stop-gap spending measure since the fiscal year started nearly two months ago.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina has again hinted at requesting a vote to remove House Speaker John Boehner from his position. 

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Republican Sen. Thom Tillis skipped out on a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about ISIS last week and instead met privately with former Vice President Dick Cheney. This follows Tillis’ loud campaign criticism of former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for her attendance record at meetings related to ISIS.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a bill that widely protects Confederate monuments in the state. 

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The legal challenge against North Carolina's voter ID law goes to trial next week. It's the culmination of two years' worth of arguments over the elections law passed in 2013.

Meanwhile, an early poll shows billionaire Donald Trump is the most popular Republican presidential candidate in North Carolina. 

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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. 

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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.

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A federal appellate court declares phone data collection by the NSA under the Patriot Act illegal.

At the same time, North Carolina Senator and Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr calls for extension of the Patriot Act which is set to expire at the end of the month. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest on the NSA and other political news around the state.

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A controversial bill that would have outlawed any state action that might burden one's exercise of religion is dead in the North Carolina House. 

Republican leaders said they are dropping the Religious Freedom Act to focus on legislation to boost the economy and create jobs.

House lawmakers also voted yesterday to extend the waiting period for abortions from one day to three. 

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North Carolina's Religious Freedom Restoration Act is marinating in the state House while lawmakers are on vacation. Similar measures in Indiana, Arkansas and Maine have attracted national attention.

Supporters say the bills protect their rights to worship freely while opponents say they allow private companies to discriminate against the LGBT community. 

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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.

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. 

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