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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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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The latest proposal to close the health care gap was introduced at the legislature this week.

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North Carolina politics is the focus of a federal investigation into corruption. Four men, including the chair of the state Republican Party, were arrested this week for conspiring to bribe the state insurance commissioner.

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North Carolina's congressional maps are partisan gerrymanders, but does that make them illegal?

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Marcia Morey is a two-term House lawmaker from Durham County. The Democrat is a former judge, Olympian, and NCAA investigator.

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David Lewis is one of the most influential lawmakers at the North Carolina General Assembly. The nine-term Republican and House Rules chair from Harnett County joins the podcast to discuss a range of topics.

Rep. Lewis talks with Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest appointment to the judiciary (starting at 2:57), redistricting (13:00), learning to live with a speech impediment (30:05) and the political middle (38:37).

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Joining Jeff Tiberii on the politics podcast this week are Rob Schofield of the N.C. Justice Center and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation.

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Mark Meadows, special congressional elections, and hands-free driving are all fair game on this week's podcast.

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Congressman David Price returns to the podcast to discuss some of what is playing out in the political landscape.

He discussed a range of topics in front of a studio audience in Chapel Hill, on Thursday.

Price weighed in on election fraud, his late friend Walter Jones, while also answering a myriad of questions from constituents.

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Chuck McGrady sits down for a conversation about some of the notable legislation he is pursuing this year at the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Republican state representative from Henderson County has introduced a bill to establish independent redistricting, wants to change ABC regulations, and continues to have an eye on environmental issues.

McGrady also discusses his time leading a summer camp and his friendship with Congressman John Lewis.

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NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea is already on the 2020 campaign trail.

This week he was in Iowa to watch the State of The Union and hear reaction from prospective voters.

He joins the WUNCPolitics Podcast this week to discuss the Midwest, a new slot on the election calendar for California, and Tiny Desk Concerts.

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The effects of the opioid epidemic extend from small North Carolina communities, to countries around the world.

Taylor Knopf of North Carolina Health News recently traveled to Europe for a reporting trip to better understand how other places have tried to curb a drug crisis. She has written a series on what she learned during her trip, and talks about it on this week's politics podcast.

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With the North Carolina legislature convening at the end of the month, this episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast checks in on some of what is happening elsewhere.

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A new legislature was sworn in this week and there are plenty of new elected officials. A total of 38 legislators are new to their posts and two of them join this week's podcast.

Jim Burgin (H-Harnett) and Julie Von Haefen (D-Wake) join WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to offer lessons learned on the campaign trail, reactions from the ceremonial swearing in, and share some of what they hope to accomplish in the new biennium.

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Rob Christensen has reported on, written about, and observed North Carolina politics for 45 years.

The longtime journalist is retiring from the News & Observer this month. He joins this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast to reflect on country stores, flying in small planes, and an occasionally contentious relationship with Jesse Helms.

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WUNC Data Reporter Jason de Bruyn joins this edition of the WUNCPolitics podcast.

Among the topics discussed are an on-going investigation into alleged election fraud in the 9th Congressional District, as well as major job expansion announcement that left North Carolina leaders disappointed.

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North Carolina is again drawing the attention of the country for a rare political story.

Alleged election fraud in Bladen and Robeson Counties has led to an investigation by state officials, and members of Congress stating a new election may be possible.

Kirk Ross, who has been writing about the developing 9th Congressional story for the Washington Post, joins this week's podcast to discuss his reporting, and what we know about a fluid situation.

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There was plenty of North Carolina political news in Raleigh, and points beyond this week.

Lauren Horsch of the NC Insider discusses legislative efforts to pass voter ID legislation, the divide over economic incentives, as well as the surprising stall of a nominee to the federal bench. Horsch is also quizzed on her knowledge of Durham (spoiler: she knows the Bull City well).

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