Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Democratic state lawmaker Duane Hall (D-Wake) has no plans to step down from his elected post, despite calls from some powerful members of his party. Hall has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, but disputes the allegations and the story, which was published by NC Policy Watch.

The Asheville Police Department badge.
Courtesy of APD

North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) was met with harsh criticism from other Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Roy Cooper, when he refused to step down amid claims of sexual harassment by multiple women.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

Last November, some voters in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Sharpsburg showed up to the polls but were unable to cast ballots. Due to a technical error, the Wilson County Board of Elections only printed 12 ballots for their precinct, even though that precinct has over 200 eligible voters. The mayoral race was decided by three votes, and the man who lost has since successfully challenged the results in court.

photo of a gun and ammunition
Wikimedia Commons

Since the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump says teachers should be armed. Last week North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson polled teachers around the state about the matter.

photo of Rep. Duane Hall
NC Legislature

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A state lawmaker accused of sexual harassment says he will not resign from his seat, despite calls from leading members of his party to step down.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The filing period for legislative and congressional candidates concluded this week and every race will be contested in 2018.

photo of Donald Trump, speaking and gesturing
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Two of the nation’s largest gun sellers announced they will take steps to curb firearm sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, and they’ll also require those buying guns to be over 21, whether it’s required by local laws or not. Walmart will no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21, and they’ll stop selling items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. 

photo of Rep. Duane Hall
NC Legislature

Democratic leaders in Raleigh are calling for one of their own to step down. According to reporting from left-leaning publication NC Policy Watch, five women say North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct. Hall denies the allegations, But Governor Cooper and other Democratic leaders say he must resign from his post.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The candidate filing period has concluded in North Carolina and there are hundreds of competitors for congressional, legislative and judicial races.

Jonathan Kappler, Executive Director of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation, sits down to talk about some of the candidates running for office, which districts he expects to be the most competitive, and what issues may swing voters in this mid-term election cycle.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

For the first time ever, all 170 races for the North Carolina General Assembly will have candidates from both major parties.

Donald van der Vaart
DENR

Donald van der Vaart was North Carolina’s top environmental official under former Gov. Pat McCrory.  When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Van der Vaart demoted himself and was later placed on suspension after writing a controversial opinion piece in an environmental law journal. However, he recently reemerged as a candidate for President Trump's Council on Environmental Quality.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

With candidates filing to run for state legislative seats, another lawsuit was filed this week, challenging a few of the political boundaries.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss this latest redistricting challenge, as well as what firearm, or school safety policy changes, may be feasible in the wake of a school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. They also discuss the influence of famed Evangelist Billy Graham, who died this week at the age of 99.

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

There was another mass shooting in the United States this week. That means another round of emotional reactions, social media sparring and carefully delivered messages by elected officials. If recent shootings serve as any example, it's also likely that no legislative action will follow.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

State legislators have departed for an extended break, but unsurprisingly, the partisan spats are not quieting down.

This week in North Carolina politics saw disputes over the constitutionality and possible ethical issue stemming from a $57.8 million mitigation fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State legislators have adjourned until May after voting to fix a long-standing issue over mandated class sizes, while delaying further action on the GenX water contamination issue.

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of North Carolinians are satisfied with how things are going in the state, and there is a large political divide when it comes to how voters in the state perceive the new tax law.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

It was a hectic week in downtown Raleigh, where lawmakers sparred with Governor Roy Cooper, debated the components of a multifaceted bill, and closed in on the 2018 election, which begins Monday with candidate filings.

Lauren Horsch, a reporter with the NC Insider, reviews the week with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and notes her favorite winter Olympic sport.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a class size bill, and North Carolina’s redistricting saga are among the issues in the news this week in state politics. Also, how open is North Carolina state’s  government and how accessible is it for journalists and the public to access what happens at the General Assembly?

Photo of the NC state senate chambers
Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked new voting maps for Wake and Mecklenburg counties. The districts are in the state’s two most populous counties, and the decision comes just days before candidates are set to start filing for office.

Mickey Michaux
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux, currently North Carolina's longest-serving state legislator and a fixture at the General Assembly in the fight for voting rights and funding historically black colleges, said Thursday he won't seek re-election.

Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Updated 3:15 p.m. Feb. 9, 2018

Republican legislation to phase in North Carolina's upcoming class-size mandate has passed one General Assembly chamber. Democrats complained it is loaded with other provisions targeting Gov. Roy Cooper and the state elections board.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The North Carolina General Assembly signaled action later this week on environment, education and possibly elections administration legislation, ending a nearly monthlong hiatus as lawmakers returned to Raleigh.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Significant court rulings, the latest round of campaign finance reports and policies that might help combat the opioid epidemic were among the political topics that received attention this week.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about these and other topics in the week's political news.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Elected officials from both parties and at all levels of government are working on curbing the opioid crisis.

In 2017, President Donald Trump seated a commission to make recommendations on the issue, state lawmakers passed a measure changing prescribing guidelines, and municipalities mobilized more first responders to carry an opiate reversal agent.

Image of three different maps of North Carolina, with different districts.
Courtesy of Jonathan Mattingly

In the past few months, the courts have found fault with North Carolina’s state and congressional maps. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that state legislative districts are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering, and last month a three-judge panel in federal court determined that there is partisan gerrymandering in the state’s congressional districts. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sits for an interview with WUNC in the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Cooper addressed the opiod crisis affecting the state.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper is taking a leadership role in North Carolina - and in the country – in addressing the opioid crisis. He was one of six members of President Donald Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Governor Roy Cooper tour areas of High Point, N.C., affected by the opioid epidemic during a ride-along with Chris Wilson, of the Guilford County Emergency Management Service on January 25, 2018.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

It’s a cold January morning in High Point as Governor Roy Cooper climbs into a white SUV. Guilford County EMS worker Chris Wilson drives through the city’s south side. On one side of the road there are two dingy motels. On the other a large cross and the message “God is love” on the ground.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Judicial musings and off-shore drilling were among the array of North Carolina political topics that received attention this week.

Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, review that recent news, and also weigh-in on a piece by the Wall Street Journal exploring an economic divide in the state. Not discussed on this week’s forum – but mentioned – is a piece from the New York Times, noting the wariness of southern lawmakers to pursue divisive social policy, at least for now.

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