Week In State Politics

This Week In State Politics: the Governor delayed a decision about whether public schools would open in the fall.

As Democrat Roy Cooper said he needed more time, he was also served with a lawsuit. His political opponent, Republican Dan Forest, contends that the Governor is implementing too much unilateral authority.

And with lawmakers away for a little while, news trickled out of the General Assembly that a lobbyist tested positive for COVID-19. Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss those stories, as well as their fireworks plans for this weekend.


Another bustling week in North Carolina politics included the toppling of Confederate monuments in the state capitol and elsewhere, the governor's decision to mandate face coverings statewide because of the coronavirus, and an after-hours marathon session at the General Assembly.

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss executive actions, legislative inaction, and what the addition of GOP donor and policy wonk Art Pope may mean for the UNC Board of Governors.
 


North Carolina lawmakers this week approved a plan to provide teachers with a one-time bonus. Meanwhile temperature checks at the General Assembly building were halted — albeit briefly — as the capital city moved to require masks to curb COVID-19. And a group of lawyers sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders arguing Confederate monuments violate the state constitution. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, and two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

After weeks of unrest over police brutality and systemic racism, North Carolina lawmakers turned attention back to two pieces of legislation: One would ease expungement of criminal records, another would let judges avoid some sentencing mandates. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation talk about how significant these bills are, and where they come down on the idea of renaming military bases named for Confederate generals. 

Also, did they feel any relief with the announcement this week that the RNC is officially heading to Jacksonville, Florida for President Trump's renomination?


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As protests took place across North Carolina and the nation, calling for justice after the killing of George Floyd, President Donald Trump called for a greater use of force.

In North Carolina two task forces were announced —one by the governor, one by lawmakers — aimed at trying to help bridge the racial divide.

Meanwhile, it looks less likely that the Republican National Convention will take place in Charlotte this August.

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch review what was a historic week in the state and country.
 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week began with President Trump trying to lure Gov. Roy Cooper into a tussle on Twitter.

It concluded with North Carolina's health secretary pressing for more details about how the organizers of the Republican National Convention plan to safely hold the event in Charlotte this August. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch ponder that, and also state lawmakers' bipartisan agreement on an elections bill and discord over letting bars reopen sooner rather than later while COVID-19 remains a threat.  
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As restaurants, salons and pools reopen (partially) in North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend, there are varying levels of worry about the coronavirus. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation chat about the loosening of public health restrictions, more record-setting unemployment numbers, and the news that there will be no criminal charges against the chemical manufacturer Chemours for contamination in the Cape Fear River. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Several sheriffs across the state signaled this week they won't enforce North Carolina's ban on church services held indoors. 

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are getting ready to meet in Raleigh again next week for a session where the coronavirus pandemic will still be looming large. 

The John Locke Foundation's Becki Gray and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch consider those developments and whether it's a matter of if or now when U.S. Sen. Richard Burr steps aside as he's dogged by an insider trading investigation. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina is entering the first phase of reopening after the coronavirus-related shutdowns. Outdoor church services are OK now, shoppers can return to malls, and the gates on state parks are coming up. 

As they review the week's political news, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation say wheher they'll be venturing out. 

And they offer their reactions to more outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat processing plants, the governor signing a pair of coronavirus relief bills, and the state transportation agency getting a scathing audit report. 
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week in state politics, lawmakers returned to the North Carolina General Assembly to deliberate how much of the available federal aid should be dolled out immediately.  

Meanwhile, another wave of unemployment claims rolled in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

And a giant of the state Legislature died. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss balancing economic health and public health, and the legacy of the dry-witted former Sen. Tony Rand. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a couple of tough calls this week in the face of increasing frustration with social distancing restrictions.

He extended his stay-at-home order. And he declared public school buildings will stay shut for the rest of the academic year. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss what lessons could be learned from online learning, and what decisions state lawmakers should make in response to the coronavirus crisis when it's their turn next week.
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina is rounding out its first week under a statewide stay-at-home order. 

Two years' worth of unemployment applications have suffocated the state agency charged with handling them. 

And the coronavirus pandemic has now reached into the state's nursing homes, prisons, and even the legislative building. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss what's transpired, what lawmakers should do to prepare for the inevitable budget shortfalls, and the conundrum of political fundraising during a crisis. 
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As a global pandemic continues to spread throughout the country, a prominent North Carolina politician landed in the crosshairs on Thursday. Richard Burr, the senior U.S. Senator from North Carolina, gave a grim warning about the virus to a private audience, while striking a different message in public. Reporting this week also revealed he made 33 transactions, dumping as much as $1.7 million in stock as COVID-19 prepared to wreak financial havoc.

Becki Gray, a senior vice president with the conservative John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, director with the progressive N.C. Policy Watch, join WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss the week's news. In a first for this series, which has run every week for three years, Gray, Schofield, and Tiberii were in three separate locations, in order to maintain safe social distancing.


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina's response to the coronavirus is changing every hour. Gov. Roy Cooper has strongly advised against gatherings of more than 100 people. And the courts will largely postpone hearings, beginning next week. 

Rob Schofield of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation discuss what more government can — and should do — and how the state response compares to how federal leaders have handled this global pandemic.

UPDATE: Since initial taping of this podcast, the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) has suspended performances through March 29 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Problems with the Iowa Caucuses dominate discussion about the Democratic presidential contest ahead of the New Hampshire primary. And in North Carolina, we get a look at the candidates' campaign finance reports.

Becki Gray  of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch dissect the presidential race and campaign fundraising.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

While U.S. senators (and our airwaves) were occupied with an impeachment trial, former Vice President Joe Biden picked up a couple of endorsements from notable North Carolinians. 

Becki Gray  of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch weigh in on the questions of witnesses and impeachable offenses and the significance of endorsements these days. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Republican candidate for governor (and current lieutenant governor) Dan Forest claimed that Planned Parenthood was created to, "destroy the entire black race," during a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Then on Wednesday he compared abortion to slavery. 

This week in North Carolina politics also included an allegation of illegal coordination between a senate campaign and a friendly PAC, and a new order in a decades-old lawsuit over public education funding. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Billy Ball of the progressive NC Policy Watch review the developments. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The state superintendent made a $928,000 emergency purchase that stoked the fight with the state board of education over what tool schools should be using to evaluate reading skills. 

A Democratic state senator who Republicans found both annoying and essential officially stepped down to join the state Utilities Commission.   

And presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer are spending millions on ads in North Carolina as Super Tuesday looms. 

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch —  our political observers on the right and the left — assess the week's news. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

A judge put North Carolina's requirement that voters show photo ID on hold for now. 

Duke Energy agreed to excavate millions of tons residue from burning coal - which will cost billions. 

And it's officially 2020!

Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation catch up with the first big political stories of the new year.
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faced criticism this week for its decision to pay the Sons of Confederate Veterans $2.5 million, and hand over the Confederate monument Silent Sam which was erected during the Jim Crow era and loomed over the school’s campus until it was toppled in August, 2018.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Plans to overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid program are on an indefinite hold — another casualty of the budget impasse. 

A Republican-led investigation concluded Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper improperly handled negotiations over a mitigation fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

And, on the heels of legislative redistricting, a five-term state senator has announced his retirement. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation give their takes — from the left and the right — on what's behind the week's political news. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Republicans in North Carolina's congressional delegation are split on President Donald Trump's withdrawal of troops from northern Syria. 

A class action lawsuit challenged the use of solitary confinement in state prisons. 

In our weekly look back at North Carolina politics, Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments and why the state has been slow to reveal details of drinking water contamination in Pittsboro.
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

More trouble in the UNC System this week with a chancellor suspended after being caught on film at a bar with co-eds. 

A former congressman and North Carolina GOP chairman pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation of a bribery scheme.

And state lawmakers ressurected a controversial bill, backed by Duke Energy, that would, among other things, give the energy company more autonomy to set rates. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss all that and whether the General Assembly will adjourn before Halloween. 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Democrats have filed another lawsuit challenging North Carolina's political boundaries, this time charging that the congressional map is too partisan. Could it make tensions between state Republicans and Democrats worse? This week the finger-pointing between lawmakers in the General Assembly included calls for lie detector tests.

Meanwhile, more resignations made us wonder who would want to be president of the UNC System. And video of a drunk driver raised questions about whether Blue Cross NC properly reported the arrest of its CEO. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch synthesize the week's political news.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The first wave of indictments stemming from fraud in the Ninth Congressional election came down this week.

There was also the latest proposal to limit the government's ability to use eminent domain, and yet another piece of legislation that would limit use of a cell phone while driving a vehicle.

Rob Schofield  and Becki Gray discuss some of the stories from this past week, including the implications of one controversial court ruling.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

It was a frenzied week in Chapel Hill, where UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation, and at the same time authorized the removal of what remained of the Silent Sam Confederate monument.

Should North Carolina voters show a photo ID to vote in person? That will be just one of six questions voters will decide when they head to the polls in November. Legislators approved the sixth ballot question just before adjourning the spring legislative session Friday.