Politics

Politics
7:28 am
Wed February 11, 2015

NC Gas Tax Reformulation Heading to Senate Floor

Thomas Harden of Chicago pumps gas into his truck. He says he wouldn't support a gas tax increase.
David Schaper NPR

Senate Republicans say their bill to rework North Carolina's gasoline tax will provide a short-term break to motorists while making road-building revenues more stable. Opponents argue it's just a tax increase in disguise.

The full Senate meets Wednesday to debate and hold the first of two required votes on a measure that reformulates the tax.

First, the bill would reduce the gas tax from 37.5 cents per gallon to 35 cents starting March 1 through the rest of 2015. The tax floor would be 35 cents moving forward.

Politics
6:38 am
Mon February 9, 2015

NC Democrats Pick Asheville's Patsy Keever to Head Party as Chair

Patsy Keever
John Fletcher/Black Mountain News

The North Carolina Democratic Party is promoting the party's No. 2 administrative leader to its top job heading into the critical 2016 elections.

Hundreds of party activists meeting Saturday at a Pittsboro high school elected Patsy Keever of Asheville as chair. She got a majority of the votes cast among the five seeking to succeed outgoing Chair Randy Voller.

Keever has been 1st vice chair since 2013. She's been a state House member, county commissioner and two-time congressional candidate.

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Politics
11:28 am
Tue February 3, 2015

NCDOT Charging to View Public Records

Dave DeWitt; North Carolina Public Radio WUNC

In what one group is calling a violation of state law, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is charging fees to view public records.  The Southern Environmental Law Center made a request to view public documents related to Governor Pat McCrory’s 25-year transportation plan and a proposed billion-dollar transportation bond.  SELC attorney Kym Hunter says they were told they would have to pay a fee of $468 to view the files. 

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Politics
6:57 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Rep. McGrady Lands on Key Committee

Rep. Chuck McGrady (R, Henderson)
hendersonvillelighning.com

Representative Chuck McGrady has landed an influential committee chair.  Carolina Public Press reports the Hendersonville Republican will be among four chairs in the House Appropriations Committee.  That committee takes charge of writing the state budget.  McGrady is in his third term and will also serve as a vice chair of the House Environment Committee and as a vice chair of the Judiciary II Committee.

Politics
6:14 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Rep. Susan Fisher Says Protect Abortion Care

Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe)
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

Abortion-rights groups are worried that Republican legislators will try to override rules proposed for North Carolina abortion clinics that activists contend balance patient safety with access to the procedure. 

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Moral Mondays
7:26 am
Thu January 29, 2015

NAACP-led Protests Resume at NC Legislature

The Rev. William Barber
Bob Geary via indyweek.com

North Carolina's NAACP leader has challenged new rules about public assembly in the state Legislative Building as part of protests targeting policies by the GOP-led Legislature.

About 75 people marched to the building with the Rev. William Barber on Wednesday for a demonstration as lawmakers reconvened this year's session.

After prayers and speeches, Barber asked the group to follow him in a lap around the Rotunda between chambers.

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Politics
7:08 am
Thu January 29, 2015

1st Day Bills Filed at the NC General Assembly At-a-Glance

Legislative Building in Raleigh
Angie Newsome via carolinapublicpress.org

The first work day at the General Assembly usually brings an early flurry of bills. Nearly 30 were filed by late Wednesday afternoon in the House and Senate. The bills include those that would:

— allow magistrates and workers under a county Register of Deeds to refuse to perform marriage duties because of strongly held religious objections. Chief sponsor: Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

— invite Gov. Pat McCrory to deliver his State of the State address Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. Chief sponsor: Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

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Gay Marriage
12:59 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Buncombe Sen. Van Duyn Speaks Out Against "Religious Freedom" Bill

Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe)
Mountain XPress

A local legislator in the General Assembly is taking a stand for same-sex couples.  Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncumbe County joined a press conference this morning denouncing a bill that sponsors say protects religious freedom.  Senate leader Phil Berger introduced the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of weddings if they have conflicting religious beliefs.  That could mean anyone, but Van Duyn says same-sex couples are the ones being targeted.

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Gay Marriage
11:24 am
Wed January 28, 2015

As NC Legislature Begins, Gay Marriage Takes Center Stage

NC Senate Leader Phil Berger
AP/Gerry Broome

Gay marriage is front and center on this year's first real work day at the North Carolina General Assembly.

Senate leader Phil Berger filed a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on religious convictions. But they wouldn't be involved in traditional marriages either.

Berger had said he'd file a recusal bill after judges last October struck down North Carolina's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

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Politics
7:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

NC Legislators Back in Raleigh

Legislative Building in Raleigh
Angie Newsome via carolinapublicpress.org

The North Carolina legislature is back in town and ready to work for the year following a two-week break.

The House and Senate planned to reconvene the General Assembly session at midday Wednesday. Little debate was expected on the first day, but lawmakers were expected to file an early flurry of bills. Two chambers elected Republican favorites Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger to their leadership posts on Jan. 14, then went home.

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