Jeremy Loeb

NOAA/STAR via NPR.org

How much does climate change contribute to storms like Hurricane Florence?  Asheville climate scientists are warning climate change is contributing to more powerful storms.  Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive, housed in The Collider in downtown Asheville, says it's like giving the storms steroids.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Carol Anderson's book "One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy" is an extensive look at voter suppression methods past and present.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about her book and about suppression efforts taking place in North Carolina.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

BPR will be interviewing candidates for state races in the 2018 midterms.  Our series of conversations starts with Norm Bossert.  Bossert is a Democrat running in the heavily Republican Senate District 48, which encompasses Henderson, Transylvania and southern Buncombe counties.  It's currently represented by Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards.  Bossert spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty via Asheville Citizen-Times

Ballots are finalized (we think) for the high-stakes November mid-term elections.  Voters will be deciding a state Supreme Court race, the fate of 6 amendments to the state constitution, who goes to Congress and who goes to the legislature.  Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper breaks it all down with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.  

NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues is bringing its forum to Asheville in a month, September 17.  New York Times columnist David Brooks will headline the event.  Leslie Boney is the IEI's director.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about the focus of this year's forum, titled ReCONNECT to Community.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry held a town hall event in Asheville Wednesday.  The packed event at the Riceville Volunteer Fire Department was dominated by questions about President Trump's behavior and the Russia investigation.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was there and videotaped the event.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was among a bipartisan group of twenty attorneys general to urge Congress this week to do more to improve election security.  The move comes in the wake of President Trump's widely-condemned news conference in which he appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agency conclusions that Russia attacked the 2016 election.  Stein told BPR's Jeremy Loeb the president's behavior was "disgraceful."

NC Insider

Voters in North Carolina will decide the fate of six constitutional amendments on their November ballots.  Among them is one requiring photo ID to vote, one that takes the power of commission appointments from the governor and gives it to the legislature, and one that caps the income tax rate.  Colin Campbell is editor of NC Insider.  In his latest column, he says voters will be asked to approve the amendments before knowing fully how they'll be implemented.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Helen Chickering/BPR

The Trump administration took another swipe at the Affordable Care Act recently in announcing that it's cutting funding to ACA 'navigators' 72 percent, from $36 million to $10 million.  In North Carolina, the cut is even more severe: an 85 percent cut from $3.4 million to $500,000.  That will hurt the efforts of navigators to help get people enrolled in health insurance.  Jackie Kiger is an attorney and ACA navigator with Pisgah Legal Services

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Controversial legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members could pick up the support of Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn if the bill is amended on the Senate floor.  An elections committee advanced SB813 this morning.  Van Duyn says the bill will be on the Senate floor on Monday.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about the latest in North Carolina politics.  This week saw a major U.S. Supreme Court "punt" on political gerrymandering, a flurry of election changes pushed by Republican state lawmakers amid a process that's drawn criticism for a lack of transparency, and the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border draws a response from local politicians. 

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Anticipated legislation forcing the city of Asheville to have districts for city council members has been officially filed.  Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville filed the bill mandating 5 city council districts.  One council member would be elected at large.  The mayor would still be elected at large.  The move towards districts was opposed by all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County, as well as the Asheville city council and a large majority of Asheville voters in a Nov

WUSF

North Carolina Republicans are proposing changes to early voting, including doing away with the popular last Saturday before the election.  The House gave final approval to the measure 61-40 Friday.  It now goes to the House.  Rollout of the proposal, Senate Bill 325, prompted an emergency meeting of the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcment.  The board's chairman Andy Penry said they had no input in the bill and received less than a day's notice of it.  The House also quickly passed HB717 with little debate, which makes a slew of changes to judicial districts statewide.

abeka.com

A new study put out by the League of Women Voters finds the vast majority of schools taking in students receiving vouchers are teaching a biblical worldview.  Many of those schools are using what's called the Abeka Curriculum, which teaches students the earth was created 6,000 years ago, that climate change is a hoax, and refers to media as the "liberal press," according to study author Bonnie Bechard.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

ncleg.net

Local sentiment is overwhelmingly against the legislature creating districts for Asheville city council.  Comments solicited by the legislature and obtained by BPR were negative on the prospects of districts, often scathingly so. 

You can read the comments here.  BPR removed names and addresses from the document.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Democrats are calling on the legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.  They plan to re-introduce legislation that stalled in the long session that would raise the minimum wage in phases over five years.  Buncombe County Rep. Susan Fisher is among the Democrats taking the lead on the effort.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Two Buncombe County Democrats took the lead in laying out the Democratic agenda in one of 6 news conferences held across the state.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb reports it primarily centered on expansion of Medicaid.

waynegoodwin.org

The North Carolina Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against Republican Senator Thom Tillis and the state Republican party over their involvement with data-collection company Cambridge Analytica.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin about it.

Mountain XPress

Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn was sharply critical of a committee looking at changes to North Carolina's judiciary Friday.  The Joint Select Committee On Judicial Reform and Redistricting looked at proposals for new maps for judges.  They also discussed proposals to take the power of vacancy appointments away from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and give it to the Republican-dominated General Assembly.  Towards the end of the t

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Asheville City Council member Vijay Kapoor was critical of the North Carolina legislature for moving towards forcing districts on the city of Asheville.  Speaking with BPR's Jeremy Loeb, the councilman of south Asheville said his election shows that voters from anywhere in the city are fully capable of being represented on council under the current system.  And he added that voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of districts in a voter referendum.

Matt Bush

Early voting begins Thursday for the May primaries.  Among the races on the ballot this year is Buncombe County district attorney.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb interviewed both candidates running for the office.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Recently released data from Duke Energy is raising new concerns about contaminated water at the Asheville coal plant and others around the state.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports groundwater at the Asheville plant had levels of radioactivity 38 times the federal safety standard.

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES/ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Leaked video of an Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking has brought renewed attention to the North Carolina law regarding the release of police body cam footage.  Lauren Horsch of NC Insider reports the Asheville incident is being cited by the law's critics as an example of its weaknesses.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen looking for information on election security in North Carolina.  This comes on the heels of last week's indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian businesses for interfering in the 2016 election.  Stein joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb to discuss that and other matters.

Public Schools First NC

The North Carolina legislature is adjourned until May.  Or are they?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper talk about the latest in North Carolina politics, from a loaded class-size bill critics call a "poison pill" to a stand-off over Gen-X, the latest in the neverending gerrymandering saga, and the 2018 midterms.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Buncombe County Democrats showed a united front as candidate filing began.  The four Asheville-area legislators, Democrats John Ager, Susan Fisher, Brian Turner and Terry Van Duyn filed for re-election together as filing got underway at noon Monday at the Buncombe County elections office.  Reps. Ager and Turner are likely to have competitive elections in 2018.  Rep. Fisher and Sen. Van Duyn are in districts more favorable to Democrats.  Fisher noted the strong presence of women candidates running in Buncombe County and statewide.  

BEN GRAUMANN, EQUALITY NC

A column last year in the News & Observer of Raleigh declared "North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy."  The article went viral and prompted a range of heated reactions, even death threats.  The writer, Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at UNC Chapel Hill, recently updated us to say things had only gotten worse.  He joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb and WUNC's Jeff Tiberii to discuss.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

It’s a new year, and for many people, that means new fitness goals.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb checked in at the local YMCA to see how things were going.

Ben Graumann, Equality NC

Updated Thursday 4pm 

A highly anticipated judiciary committee meeting was held Thursday afternoon.  For nearly 3 hours, Senate and House lawmakers discussed various merit selection proposals as well as new district maps for judges.  Democrats were skeptical of the GOP plans, especially considering the number of maps drawn for legislative and Congressional members that heavily favored Republicans.

WRAL

Friday update:

(Associated Press) The North Carolina House leader predicts redrawn election districts for trial court judges can be finalized with Senate Republicans by the end of January. But he's unsure what his colleagues think about a Senate proposal eliminating head-to-head judicial elections.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger appointed Thursday members of a special bipartisan joint committee tasked with recommending judicial changes to the General Assembly.

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