Political news from around NC and beyond.

Two people registering to vote.
Tech. Sgt. Raheem Moore / U.S. Air Force

Six proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot could impact key aspects of state government. But there is not much information available about how these amendments would be implemented.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously agreed Monday night to set aside another $800 million dollars for Hurricane Florence relief.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

As Florence recovery marches on across portions of North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper calls on the Legislature to appropriate a $750 million down payment. His request came the same week as a new report out from the United Nations on the short-term effects of climate change.

North Carolina legislative building
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Lawmakers were in and out this week, addressing Florence relief while avoiding the usual partisan bickering or the occasional surprise. Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss this week's one-day special session, as well as a federal investigation into North Carolina's largest political donor, and a legislative committee taking aim at the treatment of college athletes.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

State lawmakers were civil and efficient during a one-day special session, when they approved the first steps of relief for victims of Florence.

Meanwhile, a major political donor is under federal investigation, community leaders are discussing long-term plans for aging water and sewer systems, and guest Colin Campbell shares a new approach to improving discourse on Twitter.

North Carolina legislative building
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State lawmakers hold a special session Tuesday to discuss the response to Hurricane Florence. Legislators will decide how much money to appropriate for disaster relief while citizens and state agencies are still trying to tally up the damages.

Emergency workers inspect a power line that was damaged by a tree uprooted by Hurricane Florence in Mount Olive, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

North Carolina lawmakers have quickly approved their initial legislation designed to address the damage and logistics problems caused by Hurricane Florence.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Win McNamee / Pool Photo via AP

North Carolina Democrats want to capitalize on anger over the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process and allegations he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were high school students in the 1980s.

Republicans controlled 10 of 13 Congressional seats in the 2016 election, despite winning only slightly more than half the total votes.
Preliminary 2016 election results / N.C. Board of Elections

Republicans surely will hold onto their majority of North Carolina's 13-seat congressional delegation this fall but Democrats believe they can swing two, if not three, districts.

The candidates battling for the 9th District, which runs from the southeast Charlotte suburbs, along the South Carolina border, to Fayetteville, have already raised a total of $3.5 million, the most of any race in the state, according to the Center for  Responsive Politics website, opensecrets.org.

North Carolina legislative building
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Hurricane Florence is one of the most devastating weather systems to strike North Carolina. The storm's impacts will be felt for a long time, and the recovery efforts are likely to last years.

Along with damaging communities, infrastructure, and farms, the storm will have an influence on politics as well.

North Carolina legislative building
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This week in North Carolina politics, a federal prosecutor made a rather large records request, only to do an about face a day later. And voters also know now which referendum questions will appear on the November ballot.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh continue this week, and many have described them as a circus. Angry protesters repeatedly disrupted proceedings and were dragged out of the hearings. And Democrats themselves protested on the first day that they did not have sufficient time to review more than 40,000 pages of documents they received hours before the hearings were set to begin. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast

Colleges campuses are again bustling and that means more young adults seeking mental health services.

Taylor Knopf, a reporter with NC Health News, joins WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss the increasing demand on campus, as well as efforts to try to improve upon infant mortality rates and childhood poverty in the state.

Pat McCrory
James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

A half-dozen state boards and commissions are unconstitutional because the governor lacks sufficient control over their membership, a judicial panel ruled Friday.

File photo of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. The governor addressed the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 at North Carolina State University.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The rewritten questions that frame two proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution should remain on November ballots, a panel of state judges ruled Friday. The questions had been rewritten after some of the same judges blocked earlier versions of the referendums.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

Uncertainty and chaos continues to cloud North Carolina's upcoming election.

On Monday federal judged re-affirmed the state's U.S. House seats are illegal partisan gerrymanders, and left the door open to a possible special election.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A group of state lawmakers dusted off two seemingly controversial topics during a committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, and they promised further review and scrutiny of practices by the Governor.

Gerrymandered districts have given Republicans an edge in recent years
CQ Press / UNC-Chapel Hill

A federal court has again found North Carolina’s congressional district map to be unconstitutional, ruling that it was drawn to favor Republicans. The panel was reconsidering the case at the direction of the Supreme Court, which declined to hear it earlier this year. With November’s midterm elections quickly approaching, the court must now decide whether to demand new maps be drawn and who should draw them. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast

Since 1990, North Carolina's population has grown by more than 3.5 million residents.

Rebecca Tippett, founding director of Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, discusses where the bulk of that growth can be found, the varying needs that follow, and how we simply consider populations may change 30 years from now.

To read more about Tippett, and her colleague's research, visit their blog.

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

A federal court ruling could have a major impact on Congressional elections this fall.

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that North Carolina's Republican-controlled General Assembly gerrymandered 12 of the state's 13 districts with such extreme partisanship that the maps violate the equal protection and First Amendment rights of non-Republican voters.

wp paarz / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/GDRLvC

Updated 10:05 a.m. | Aug. 28, 2018

Federal judges on Monday affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina's congressional districts as unconstitutional because Republicans drew them with excessive partisanship.

North Carolina legislative building
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North Carolina legislators have finalized two new constitutional amendments to submit to voters in November after a judicial panel's ruling keeping those questions off ballots caused them to try again.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

It has been a busy week in the world of politics with Trump's guilty allies, confederate monuments and a hasty special legislative session making the news.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, discuss the latest in the world of politics with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly holding a special session to address constitutional amendment referendums blocked by a court ruling (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The North Carolina House has made quick work of two proposed revised amendments to the state constitution that would go before voters in November.

NC State House

The North Carolina General Assembly is in a last-minute special session, called yesterday, to rewrite two proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot.

State Senator Phil Berger
Dave DeWitt

Stymied by a court that ruled their ballot questions misleading, North Carolina Republican lawmakers are preparing for a special session to replace two proposed constitutional amendments that, if approved by voters, would shift key executive powers to the legislature.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

It was a neck-straining Tuesday in the world of politics.

Among the headlines were convictions for two of the president's closest confidants, a panel of judges ruling to block two North Carolina ballot questions, and more fervent debate over confederate monuments.

North Carolina legislative building
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The latest legal fight between the Governor and state lawmakers played out in a state court this week. At issue is whether proposals that would change the balance of powers in state government should remain on the ballot this fall.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, discuss the proposed constitutional amendments, as well as one open U.S. House race, and how the press should respond to frequent attacks from President Trump.

WUNCPolitics Podcast

Lawsuits challenging proposed changes to the state constitution, forecasts that show one North Carolina Congressional race in a dead heat, and former governors convening to assail state lawmakers.

Even with the General Assembly and U.S. Congress out of session, plenty played out in the political world this week.

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson / US Airforce Photo

A three-judge panel met Wednesday to discuss two challenges to constitutional amendments proposed by the Republican-led General Assembly.