Mark Rumsey

North Carolina’s five living former governors will hold a press conference in Raleigh Monday to send a bipartisan message against two of the proposed amendments to the state constitution that will be on the ballot this fall.  

Candidate filing begins Monday for this year’s judicial elections in North Carolina. The filing period comes in the wake of a series of political and court battles over how judges should be elected in the state.  

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined a bipartisan coalition of 37 attorneys general to “demand answers” from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission opens a hearing Monday on Duke Energy’s revised request for a rate hike for customers in western North Carolina, including the Charlotte area.  

Evangelist Billy Graham has died. He was 99.

For six decades, The Charlotte-born preacher proclaimed the Christian gospel to more than 200 million people in most of the world’s countries. He also influenced social movements and politics in America and beyond.

A federal court's decision to strike down North Carolina's map of congressional districts has cast uncertainty over this year’s elections.

color:#0A0A0A">Federal judges ruled Tuesday that the boundaries drawn by Republican legislators constitute an illegal partisan gerrymander.  The judges gave lawmakers about two weeks to come up with a new map.


 

The federal judges relied heavily on the findings of Duke University mathematics and statistics professor, Dr. Jonathan Mattingly.  He used computer programming and an algorithm to create thousands of simulated congressional districting plans for North Carolina. 

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is selling the team. Richardson, the team's only owner in its 23 seasons, made the announcement following Sunday's 31-24 win over the Packers - and on the same day that Sports Illustrated reported that at least four ex-employees received “significant monetary settlements,” stemming from inappropriate comments and behavior by Richardson.

For the last three years, an advisory panel based at UNC Charlotte has helped guide Duke Energy as the company figures out what to do with coal ash. And, during that time, Duke has also contracted with the university to do scientific research on specific coal ash sites.   

Providing research and advice of this nature requires a degree of collaboration. But, when companies turn to universities for hired expertise, challenges and questions about the relationship can arise. Can such collaboration become too cozy?

After Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican Governor Pat McCrory a year ago, state environmental secretary Donald van der Vaart gave up his office. After all, he was a McCrory appointee. But he didn't leave the agency. Instead he demoted himself and the department's No. 2 official, John Evans, to staff positions. The two men have since spoken out on policy issues, sometimes at odds with state policy. Now the Department of Environmental Quality has put the van der Vaart and Evans on paid  "investigatory leave."  WFAE's David Boraks joins "All Things Considered" host Mark Rumsey to talk about the situation.

For several years, Duke Energy has faced criticisms about its handling of coal ash, including concerns about contamination of groundwater around coal ash storage ponds at power plant sites in the Carolinas. Now, the company is facing scrutiny over the way it engaged with experts hired to study its handling of coal ash ponds. 

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee say they haven't determined whether Russia colluded with Donald Trump's presidential campaign in an effort to influence last year's election. But, added committee chairman and North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, "You can't walk away from this and believe that Russia's not currently active in trying to create chaos in our election process."

In the wake of the weekend's racially-tainted violence in Charlottesville, Virginia - tensions have flared in other communities, especially across the South.  In Durham, protesters toppled a monument of a Confederate soldier that has stood outside the old Durham County courthouse since 1924.

And, since Sunday - a brief encounter in a Gaston County neighborhood has brought more emotions to the surface.  A video from the Facebook page of a Mount Holly woman named Page Braswell has gone viral.  She confronted a man who was flying the Nazi flag at his home. He told her his name is Joe Love. WFAE's Mark Rumsey spoke to Braswell about her encounter.

The U.S. Supreme Court this fall will take up a momentous fight over parties manipulating electoral districts to gain partisan advantage.  The cases could affect the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina and other states. 

Voters in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District will choose their next representative in a special election on Tuesday. The election was required after President Trump tapped Republican Mick Mulvaney  to become White House Budget Director.

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down North Carolina's 1st and 12th congressional district lines drawn by state legislators in 2011.   A three-judge 

Science, and religion. Are they mutually exclusive? Former North Carolina governor Jim Martin doesn't think so. 

"It's a new interpretation that science and religion are not only different domains of truth, but they...harmonize."

A new report from the left-leaning group Democracy North Carolina alleges that former governor Pat McCrory's campaign and the state Republican Party generated "false charges" of voter fraud in last November's election.  In the report released Tuesday, the group says Republicans engaged in a "coordinated legal and publicity crusade to disrupt and potentially corrupt" the election process.

One week ago, House Bill 2 was repealed and replaced by House Bill 142. And a lot has happened since then.

The NCAA and ACC have each said championship games can again be played in North Carolina. But in the case of the NCAA, its decision was a "reluctant one."

That’s because the compromise law that ended HB 2 also essentially blocks LGBT discrimination protections in North Carolina until [at least] December of 2020.

Charlotte  transgender activist Lara Americo is among the disappointed. She thinks House Bill 2 was borne of ignorance among lawmakers. Not so with the HB 142 compromise.

“There’s been a lot of education about what the transgender community in North Carolina looks like," Americo says. "Now with HB 142 being passed, they know who we are and what we’re about, but they still refuse to give us the protections that we need.” 

Americo spoke to WFAE’s Mark Rumsey about the new law, and what life has been like since the passage of House Bill 2.

Governor Roy Cooper's effort to expand North Carolina's Medicaid program is on hold for at least two weeks, following a federal judge's order over the weekend. 

When it comes to House Bill 2, time can apparently heal some wounds. Three months ago, Charlotte City Council refused an overture from the General Assembly. The deal was that if council repealed the city’s expansion of its non-discrimination ordinance, lawmakers would vote to repeal HB2. Most council members, including LaWana Mayfield, weren't interested.

By now, you've probably heard at least pieces of a bizarre tale that's been dubbed "PizzaGate."  The story was fueled by conspiracy theorists on social media and fake news sites, and  involved false claims of a child sex ring that was supposedly operating in tunnels beneath a Washington, DC., restaurant called Comet Ping Pong. The pre-election conspiracy stories alleged that Hillary Clinton was behind the supposed sex ring. 

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the distinction between race and politics in North Carolina's redistricting process. The nation's highest court heard arguments Monday in a case that struck down two of North Carolina's congressional districts. WFAE's Michael Tomsic joined Mark Rumsey for analysis of the arguments.

The votes are still being tallied in North Carolina's governor's race.  Governor Pat McCrory trails Roy Cooper by more than 6,000 votes. McCrory's campaign has disputed results in 52 counties alleging voter fraud. We wanted to ask the McCrory campaign about its complaints, but no one from the campaign responded to WFAE's interview requests. However, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes did and spoke to All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey.

The Charlotte police officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott last week has a short personal history with CMPD but a long family one. WFAE's Michael Tomsic has been researching officer Brentley Vinson, who, like Scott, is African-American. He joined Mark Rumsey to discuss what we know.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police have released some of the body and dash cam video of the police shooting of Keith Scott. They had the discretion to do that. But come Saturday, that will no longer be their call to make. A new law will require a court order to release that type of video. State Representative Allen McNeill, a Republican from Asheboro, is the primary sponsor of the law.

The bill has been the target of renewed criticism as calls intensified for CMPD to release video of the Scott shooting, but McNeill says critics are misinformed.

UPDATED

(10:00 pm) Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles was at the CMPD control center Wednesday night. She spoke with WFAE's Mark Rumsey about the night's events and the investigation into the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by CMPD Officer Brently Vinson.

"I have confidence that they are going to respect their mission and values in this investigation," said Lyles.

   

North Carolina has already lost a series of college sports tournaments because of opposition to House Bill 2. The NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference announced last week they are pulling 17 events from the state for this academic year.  

Now the fate of another event is uncertain.  Southern Conference officials are considering whether to relocate the basketball tournament scheduled to take place March 2-6, 2017 in Asheville, because of the state's controversial law that limits non-discrimination protection for LGBT people.  

Federal wildlife officials plan to announce this month a decision on the future of the nearly 30-year old Red Wolf Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina.  The effort to reintroduce the endangered species has faced numerous challenges.  

The main purpose of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is simple – provide loans to foreign entities, so they can buy American-made goods.  These loans, in essence, are a way to make American exports more affordable and more competitive.  Since 1945, the bank has operated as an independent agency, created and funded by Congress.

North Carolina lawmakers are evaluating their next steps in what's now become a five-year battle over the districts we vote in. Thursday, a federal court struck down the 2011 changes to many state House and Senate districts. WFAE's Michael Tomsic joined Mark Rumsey for analysis of the decision and what comes next.

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