Legislators met this week to tackle the task of redrawing congressional maps. The first meeting determined Republicans want to use the maps created for the advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina, while Democrats want to start from scratch. A three-judge panel ruled last week that the gerrymandered districts be redrawn in time for the 2020 election.
WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the continuing drama surrounding North Carolina’s gerrymandered districts. Meanwhile, a campaign finance watchdog is calling for an investigation into North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. The Republican has been leasing a townhouse in Raleigh and using campaign funds to pay the monthly rent. This arrangement has been approved twice by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and it is legal for campaign funds to be used for expenses related to holding public office. The watchdog’s concern is that Berger owns the property and manages the company that leases it. Tiberii weighs in on this developing story.
And state legislators were all set to vote on increased vaping taxes that would have brought in an estimated $16.5 million annually. Within hours of a House Finance Committee meeting where leaders agreed to vote for this increase, they were called to another meeting with a tobacco lobbyist representing Reynolds American. Tiberii talks about how that meeting ended the vaping tax.