WUNCPolitics

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The WUNCPolitics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina. 

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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.
 


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State Rep. Graig Meyer thinks the money it takes to campaign for seats in the North Carolina General Assembly is really a lot. The Democrat also happens to be a key player in bringing in what his party needs to have a chance at reclaiming power.

On this edition of the podcast, Meyer details fundraising and recruitment efforts, what the policy priorities would be for a Democratic majority, and why his name (pronounced "Greg") is spelled that way.  
 


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A powerful state lawmaker borrowed $500,000 from a friend and political donor for a personal loan. Months later, that lender was indicted on federal bribery charges.

However, the lawmaker - David Lewis (R-Harnett) - said he knew nothing of the investigation into his friend. And there is no evidence to suggest this loan was part of the federal investigation.

That story is among the topics Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss in the latest review of the week in North Carolina politics.

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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. 


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Expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover more low income North Carolinians could lead to 37,000 new jobs in the state. That's the projection from a George Washington University professor who produced a report earlier this year on the potential economic benefits of Gov. Roy Cooper's proposal. Dr. Leighton Ku shares his message for lawmakers on this edition of the politics podcast. 


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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.

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Sen. Dan Blue is the longest serving member of the North Carolina General Assembly. With 36 years of experience in the Legislature, the Wake County Democrat is well-versed in redistricting, budget negotiations, and working with Republicans.

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North Carolina legislators completed their court-ordered redistricting this week. Lawmakers were working on a swift turnaround and, for more transparency, the mapping sessions were livestreamed. The process drew criticism and praise. Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss the meaning of "independent" redistricting and whether anything has changed with lawmakers' return to consideration of Medicaid expansion. 
 


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The North Carolina General Assembly is again sending redrawn district maps back to the court for review.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr weighs in and remembers former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, who wrote another precedent-setting decision on redistricting. Orr also has an eye on a proposal in California that would let college athletes earn compensation from sponsorships.

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Even for relatively chaotic North Carolina, it was a wild week in state politics.

There was a major vote that caught many by surprise, court-ordered redistricting carried on, and a judicial pioneer passed away.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those stories, as well as an incident involving a state senator, a journalist, and a phone that went flying.

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A major court ruling is forcing state lawmakers to redraw North Carolina General Assembly districts for 2020. And Hurricane Dorian interrupted early voting in two special congressional elections.

Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation discuss this week in state politics.

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A major court ruling came Tuesday when three state judges rules that dozens of North Carolina legislative boundaries are illegal.

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This episode of the Politics Podcast is an extended conversation from the Week in State Politics, a weekly conversation featured in All Things Considered.

With a state budget impasse about to enter its third month, legislators in Raleigh are adjusting their approach.

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Several of North Carolina's congressional districts are the focus of this week's politics podcast.

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State lawmakers are showing no signs of a budget breakthrough as the fiscal year marks it's 40th day. On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Travis Fain (@travisfain), statehouse reporter for WRAL, addresses that as well as the latest mass shootings and why policy action is unlikely in Raleigh. Fain also meanders through life as a journalist, SEC football venues, and Big Sky country.

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North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is a nine-term legislator from Cleveland County.

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It’s the fourth week of the fiscal year, however, legislators and the Governor have yet to agree on a new budget for North Carolina.

Democrat Roy Cooper and Republican legislators are in a standstill over whether, and then how, to expand Medicaid – the federal healthcare program for people living in poverty and with disabilities.

On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Gov. Cooper discusses the policy and politics of Medicaid expansion, a new candidate for the 2020 gubernatorial race, as well as being a dad.

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North Carolina State lawmakers and the governor have still not agreed on a new spending plan for the budget year which began now more than two weeks ago.

The biggest sticking point appears to still be the issue of Medicaid expansion.

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There was plenty of budget discussion at the North Carolina General Assembly this week. But for now, still no agreement on a state spending plan.

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Medicaid expansion is not the only major healthcare fight going on in state government these days. There is also a squabble over what to do about the state health plan.

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Two major opinions were handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.

One ruled that federal judges do not have the authority to end extreme partisan gerrymandering, while the other stopped - for now - a citizenship question for the 2020 Census.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Beck Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss the impact of those decisions, while also turning their attention toward the debate surrounding the state budget.

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Many cities across the country are dealing with a housing crisis. The problems are a complex intersection of, among many issues, affordability, capacity, poverty, wage growth and eviction. In a reporting collaborative, NPR member station WFDD (Winston-Salem) recently produced three stories about the challenges facing urban centers.

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A test of divided government played out this week at the General Assembly, where Republicans failed to override a veto from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.

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There were plenty of political happenings in Raleigh and Washington this week.

Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan joins the WUNCPolitics Podcast to discuss Bob Mueller's press conference, a census citizen question, and some of the specifics from a state Senate budget proposal.

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Josh Stein became the 50th attorney general of North Carolina in January 2017. The Wake County Democrat has taken a more proactive role than his predecessor, both sparring and collaborating, with the Republican led legislature.

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Significant changes are coming to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

On Monday, the Democratic board voted to fire its executive director, a Republican appointee. The decision to oust Kim Strach - who has led successful investigations of Democrats and Republicans during her time at the board - was met with notable criticism.

It also led to the resignation of the board's General Counsel Josh Lawson, who is stepping down at the end of the month. Lawson discusses his decision to walk away on this week's episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast.

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It was a relatively anticlimactic, non-controversial week at the General Assembly where lawmakers completed the biennial self-imposed exercise of crossover.

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Thousands of teachers gathered outside the General Assembly this week to call on lawmakers to improve resources, funding, and student support.

Meanwhile lawmakers inside the legislature gave approval to a House budget. WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs discusses the #Red4Ed rally, some of the details from the spending plan, as well as his former life as an actor.

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This week on the podcast, our focus turns to two special congressional elections underway in the state. North Carolina's Ninth District was marred in an absentee election fraud scandal and November's apparent winner was never certified.

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North Carolina House majority leader John Bell IV (R-Wayne) joins this edition of the podcast to discuss recent legislation, the current power dynamic with the Governor, and a special Congressional election. He also looks ahead to another major teacher rally planned for next month, and even offers his all-time hunting foursome.

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