Judges to hire expert to aid evaluating North Carolina districts

Nine North Carolina legislative districts redrawn by the Republican-controlled General Assembly over the summer still may be unlawful, a federal court said Thursday while announcing it planned to hire an outside expert to evaluate them and possibly retool them again. A three-judge panel, which last year determined that 28 of the 170 state House and Senate districts approved in 2011 were illegal racial gerrymanders, say problems remain in the latest version of the legislative maps.

White House scales back HBCU event amid protests over Trumpa s actions

The White House has significantly scaled back an annual gathering of the nation's historically black colleges presidents and advocates after a series of potentially offensive actions by President Donald Trump, including his much maligned statement this summer on the deadly race-fueled rally in Charlottesville, Va. Organizers worried some presidents would not attend and students would protest next week's event, initially scheduled to be held at a hotel just outside the nation's capital, according to three people familiar with the situation.

Under Pressure, North Carolina Draws New Voting Maps

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, a Republican, during a Senate 2016 session. Of Democratic criticisms of his party's redistricting efforts, Berger says, "It's easier to blame the maps, blame a process, blame anything, really, than it is to take responsibility for losing touch with the politics of voters in 75 of North Carolina's 100 counties."

North Carolina leaders put more meat on Medicaid proposal

Gov. Roy Cooper's administration wants the state's pending Medicaid overhaul to integrate physical and mental health treatment more quickly and expand coverage to more of the working poor in North Carolina, according to its plan unveiled Tuesday. The Department of Health and Human Services released a report explaining how it wants the Medicaid program to look when a 2015 state law directing the reorganization takes effect, possibly in July 2019.

Midterm spread favors Democrats

It would be very surprising if North Carolina Democrats didn't make significant gains in the next election for General Assembly - whenever that may be. Normally, we'd be talking in the summer of 2017 about legislative elections to be held in the fall of 2018.

North Carolina governor presses lawmakers to redraw maps now

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is pushing Republican state legislators to immediately redraw General Assembly districts, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed that nearly 30 House and Senate maps are illegal racial gerrymanders. Cooper announced Wednesday he's calling a special session - to begin Thursday and run simultaneously with the current General Assembly work session - to get new maps drawn.

The Supreme Court just made it easier to get away with gerrymandering

The Supreme Court handed down a brief order on Monday affirming a lower court's ruling that North Carolina's state legislative maps were an illegal racial gerrymander . That sounds like good news for advocates who oppose the maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislaturea S-a Sbut the decision could actually encourage state lawmakers to attempt more gerrymandered maps in the future.

N Carolina gov., Democrats praise voter ruling

Last month, a federal judge found that a voter ID law in Texas, similar to the one in North Carolina, was enacted with the goal to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics in the state. The justices left in place the lower court ruling striking down the law's photo ID requirement and scaling back of early voting.

Probe of North Carolina congressman ends without charges

Federal investigators closed a two-year investigation into U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger's dealings with his family's business without filing charges. Lia Bantavani, a spokeswoman for western North Carolina's top federal prosecutor, said in an email Thursday that the Justice Department has ended its investigation.

Delegation splits on Medicaid expansion

N.C. Rep. Larry M. Bell reads off of his notes on health care during the Eggs and Issues Legislative Breakfast at Lane Tree Golf Club Friday morning. The Medicaid system is broken and needs fixing not expansion, said Republicans Sen. Louis Pate of Mount Olive and Reps.

NC Lawmakers Want to Shield Factory Farms from Big Damage Payments to Victims

Buzzards alight on a carcass in what's known as a "dead box" at a North Carolina hog farm, among the various sources of noxious odors emitted by the state's industrial swine operations. A bill now moving through the state legislature would limit the amount of damages that could be collected in civil lawsuits by plaintiffs found to be harmed by the industry's practices.

NC Lawmakers Want to Shield Factory Farms from Big Damage Payments to Victims

Buzzards alight on a carcass in what's known as a "dead box" at a North Carolina hog farm, among the various sources of noxious odors emitted by the state's industrial swine operations. A bill now moving through the state legislature would limit the amount of damages that could be collected in civil lawsuits by plaintiffs found to be harmed by the industry's practices.

Justice Department drops North Carolina LGBT rights lawsuit

The Trump administration dropped a lawsuit Friday accusing North Carolina of discriminating against LGBT residents in response to the state's decision to undo its "bathroom bill." The Justice Department's withdrawal represents the first significant movement in a tangle of legal action over the state's nondiscrimination laws since a deal last month to get rid of House Bill 2. LGBT advocates have vowed to continue a separate federal lawsuit, saying the replacement law still violates the rights of gay and transgender people.

Trump Talks Changes to Health Bill to Win Over Conservatives

The White House is talking with House conservatives about last-minute changes to the embattled GOP health-care bill aimed at wooing enough holdouts to secure House passage. Lawmakers and Trump administration officials are discussing revisions to "essential benefits" requirements in Obamacare, according to members of Congress and a White House official familiar with the discussions.

Partisan judicial elections bill OKa d, looks ripe for veto Updated at

The Republican-controlled General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to legislation officially making all local trial court elections in North Carolina partisan affairs again, a decision that appears ripe for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to issue his first veto. With the House agreeing to slight Senate changes, the measure for District Court and Superior Court races attempts to complete the GOP's rapid shift away from nonpartisan elections for judicial seats, which initially started in the mid-1990s with help from Cooper and other Democrats.

In Foxx, Trump & DeVos Have a Staunch Education Ally

With control of all three branches of government, Republicans are set on unraveling President Obama's education legacy and pushing an unprecedented amount of funding and authority back to states. Leading this charge is Rep. Virginia Foxx, the newly appointed chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Partisan power struggle overshadows North Carolina governor

In this Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, file photo, Roy Cooper is ceremonially sworn in as Governor of North Carolina by Chief Justice Mark Martin during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C. Cooper's daughters from left, Hilary, Natalie and Claire look on. A North Carolina court has temporarily blocked a state law passed by the GOP-controlled legislature that strips the Democratic governor of his some of his powers.

Partisan power struggle overshadows North Carolina governor

FILE-In this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 file photo, House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, smiles after taking the oath of office during the start of the 2017 Legislative session at the North Carolina General Assembly in Ral... . FILE-In this file photo taken Thursday, June 23, 2016, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Guilford, right, listens during a Senate session at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C. A North Carolina ... .

In era of rancor, re-elected NC Gop leaders talk unity

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, smiles after taking the oath of office during the start of the 2017 Legislative session at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, smiles after taking the oath of office during the start of the 2017 Legislative session at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

NC governor formally begins Medicaid expansion pursuit

North Carolina's new Democratic governor has formally started his effort to expand Medicaid to more of the working poor in the state, even as Republicans in Washington bear down on repealing the federal health care law that offers this increased coverage. Cooper's office said he sent a letter to federal regulators Friday.

NC governor pledges to expand Medicaid, despite state law

North Carolina's new Democratic governor says he'll seek to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama 's health care overhaul, even though a state law prevents him from seeking expansion unilaterally. A 2013 state law approved by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP legislators declares that North Carolina won't expand Medicaid and says the General Assembly must sign off on any proposal by state officials to do so.

Some power restored to N.C. governor-elect – for now

A North Carolina judge granted a small victory to the state's incoming Democratic governor on Friday, temporarily blocking a law by Republican lawmakers stripping him of control over elections in a legislative power play just weeks ago. Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens blocked the new law, which would end the control governors exert over statewide and county election boards, as Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper is set to take office Sunday.

Some power restored to N.C. governor-elect – for now

A North Carolina judge granted a small victory to the state's incoming Democratic governor on Friday, temporarily blocking a law by Republican lawmakers stripping him of control over elections in a legislative power play just weeks ago. Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens blocked the new law, which would end the control governors exert over statewide and county election boards, as Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper is set to take office Sunday.

Some power restored to North Carolina’s gov.-elect for now

A North Carolina judge granted a small victory to the state's incoming Democratic governor on Friday, temporarily blocking a law by Republican lawmakers stripping him of control over elections in a legislative power play just weeks ago. Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens blocked the new law, which would end the control governors exert over statewide and county election boards, as Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper is set to take office Sunday.

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FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks with supporters at the Guilford County Democratic Party headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. Cooper, No... RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's next Democratic governor has seen a deal he helped broker to repeal the state's law limiting LGBT protections fall apart and had several of his powers stripped away by the state's Republican-dominated legislature. And he hasn't even been sworn in yet.

Failed deal to undo LGBT law marks rocky start for governor

North Carolina's Democratic Governor-elect fights an uphill battle against GOP majority after efforts to repeal the state's 'bathroom bill' fall through The deeply divided state voted Republican in the presidential and senate races, but elected a Democratic governor, making Cooper's job very difficult House Bill 2, commonly known as the 'bathroom bill' has been blamed for job losses, canceled events, and staining North Carolina's reputation He hasn't even been sworn in yet, but several of his powers have already been stripped away by the state's Republican-dominated legislature North Carolina's next Democratic governor faces a tough uphill battle in a state that voted Republican in the presidential and senate races.

Deep divide stops effort to repeal North Carolina LGBT law

A supposedly bipartisan deal to repeal North Carolina's anti-LGBT law collapsed when both sides balked and started blaming each other, likely meaning their state will keep being shunned by corporations, entertainers and high-profile sporting events. After more than nine hours of backroom discussions and sporadic public effort, Republican state legislators quit trying to repeal the law called House Bill 2 and went home Wednesday night.

The Latest: Senate, gay rights leaders lament session

Opponents of House Bill 2 hold signs outside the House chambers gallery as the North Carolina General Assembly convenes for a special session at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. ... . State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, speaks on the senate floor during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly called to consider repeal of NC HB2 in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.

Uncertainty on eve of North Carolina ‘bathroom bill’ debate

FILE - In this June 24, 2016, file photo, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks during a forum in Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina legislators will repeal the contentious HB2 law that limited protections for LGB... RALEIGH, N.C. - Legislators who passed the North Carolina law known as the "bathroom bill" eight months ago head back to the Capitol on Wednesday to consider repealing it. But there's uncertainty over exactly what lawmakers will do, in part because this Republican-controlled legislature has shown a willingness to go its own way, despite intense outside pressure to scrap the law.

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A deal to undo the North Carolina law known as the "bathroom bill" fell apart Wednesday night when legislators couldn't agree on a plan to the repeal the measure, a sign of the bitter political divide within the state. The North Carolina General Assembly was called into a special session about nine months after they passed the law, which tarnished the state's national image as major corporations decided to pull up stakes, entertainers canceled concerts and the NCAA and ACC moved sporting events away.

History can teach both parties

Precisely four times in modern North Carolina history, voters have elected a new governor or lieutenant governor of one party and legislative majorities of the other party. In all four instances, the legislature stripped the newly elected executives of some power.

The Latest: GOP leaders say they are open to repeal of HB2

North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are taking some jabs at Gov.-elect Roy Cooper even as they say they'll go along with a plan for a special session to repeal the state's HB2 law. Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore issued a joint statement Monday saying that they will be ready to act when outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory calls them into a special session.

Gov-elect: End near for North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’

In a stunning development, the North Carolina law widely derided as the "bathroom bill" appeared to be on its way out after it tarnished the state's reputation, cost it scores of jobs and contributed to the Republican governor's narrow loss. Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper announced Monday that legislators will hold a special session to repeal the law known as HB2 that limits protections for LGBT people.

N.C. GOP limits incoming governor’s power

GOP N.C. governor signs bill curbing Democrat successor's power Democrats decry "power grab" while GOP leaders say tactics legal. Check out this story on eveningsun.com: http://usat.ly/2hSF8ft Rep. Nelson Dollar, right, talks to Rep. David Lewis during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday.

N.C. GOP strips governor of some authority

North Carolina Republicans stripped the incoming Democratic governor of some of his authority on Friday and they were on the cusp of an even greater power grab, an extraordinary move that critics said flies in the face of voters. Just last week, it appeared Republicans were ready to accept Democrats' narrow win in a contentious governor's race.

The Latest: Lawmakers adjourn session curbing gov’s powers

A protestor shouts as she is arrested outside the House gallery during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. less A protestor shouts as she is arrested outside the House gallery during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

North Carolina upheaval: GOP bids to limit next gov’s power

North Carolina's Republican-dominated legislature took extraordinary steps Thursday to reduce the powers of a Democratic governor-elect, defying raucous protests and threatened legal challenges days before he takes office. GOP lawmakers ignored protesters disrupting House and Senate floor debate and advanced legislation on the second day of their surprise session, which Democrats angrily called a power grab to weaken Roy Cooper once he becomes governor Jan. 1. The state's attorney general, Cooper beat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory by barely 10,000 votes and vowed to fight back against GOP initiatives of recent years, particularly a law McCrory signed last March limiting LGBT rights.

Democratic NC governor-elect threatens to sue over GOP bills to limit his powers

North Carolina Gov.-elect Roy Cooper said Thursday he's ready to fight in court against Republican legislation moving through a surprise General Assembly session that would undercut his powers as he takes office next month. The outgoing attorney general was already headed to a rough relationship with the Republican-led legislature before lawmakers convened themselves into a special session Wednesday and launched attacks on the Democrat's powers.

Trump message wins over many

For Democrats, the loss in 2016 might prove a blessing in disguise. During the administration of Barack Obama, the party declined at the state level with a massive amount of Republican governors and 60 legislative houses controlled by the GOP.

The Boogeyman of Voter Fraud Does Not Exist


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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is President of the North Carolina NAACP, founder and president of Repairers of the Breach , and co-author of The Third Reconstruction As early voting opened in my home state of North Carolina last week, Donald Trump continued to dominate headlines, despite Hillary Clinton's six-point lead in a national poll . The third and final presidential debate covered several areas of substantive difference between the two candidates, and millions of Americans are already voting for the future they want.

Looking past Trump, Clinton aims to help other Democrats

Newly confident and buoyant in the polls, Hillary Clinton is looking past Donald Trump while widening her mission to include helping Democrats seize the Senate and chip away at the Republican-controlled House. Though Trump's campaign insisted Sunday it was premature to count him out, it's Clinton whose path to winning the White House has only grown wider in the race's final weeks.

Unheralded NC Democrat’s surge threatens GOP’s Burr

In this photo taken July 5, 2016, North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross speaks at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte, N.C. Little-known former Democratic state legislator Deborah Ross is counting on public anger over the GOP political takeover of North Carolina to help her upset two-term U.S. Senator Richard Burr, a victory that could also help hand control of the U.S. Senate back to Democrats.

Will either side blink over North Carolina’s House Bill 2?

North Carolina's Republican leaders and gay-rights supporters are daring each other to clean up the mess over the state's law limiting LGBT protections against discrimination, which is crimping the state's economy as sponsors of major sporting events pull out of the state. Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP legislators have offered to consider rescinding the law, but only if the Democrats who lead Charlotte's City Council act first and essentially admit they were wrong to pass a local ordinance that would have expanded protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Americans for Prosperity seeking Ross defeat in N Carolina

A conservative limited-government group is actively campaigning against Democratic nominee Deborah Ross in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race. Americans for Prosperity North Carolina announced Tuesday it would send out more than 500,000 mailers and emphasize its opposition to Ross in its field activities.

Partial Victory: University of NC Blocked from Enforcing ‘Bathroom Bill’

Moral Monday demonstrators rally against North Carolina's anti-transgender House Bill 2 in May. A U.S. judge on Friday ordered the University of North Carolina to allow transgender students and staff to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, blocking enforcement of the state's controversial "bathroom bill" known as House Bill 2, while a lawsuit challenging the anti-LGBTQ legislation proceeds. "Today, the tightness that I have felt in my chest every day since H.B. 2 passed has eased.

Trump, and Changing Demographics, Are Helping Turn North Carolina Blue

Over the past three election cycles, Republicans in North Carolina won the governor's mansion, ousted Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, and built a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature. But with Donald Trump imperiling down ballot candidates and population demographics in the state undergoing a shift, those gains could soon be reversed.

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Roughly 5 percent of North Carolina's magistrates are refusing to marry same-sex couples for religious reasons, and lawyers for the state say people suing in federal court have no standing to challenge these opt-outs as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn scheduled a hearing for Monday in Asheville in part to consider a motion by the state to dismiss their lawsuit altogether.

Our View: Lawsuits underscore need for independent redistricting panel

Redistricting and lawsuits challenging the resulting new maps have gone together in North Carolina politics for what seems to be about as long as anyone can remember. Republican-created congressional districts that were hurriedly crafted earlier this year after a federal court ruled the district maps drawn in 2011 were racial gerrymandering again have been challenged in court.

It’s ‘Christmas’ for challengers to voting restriction laws

To say that the last few weeks have been good for challengers to voting restriction laws across the country would be an understatement. Kennedy points to a cascade of rulings from several states that she says "stood up for the basic principle that all Americans deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box without manipulation or suppression."

Nonprofit’s ID cards get recognition from police, immigrants

A privately issued ID card that enables illegal immigrants in North Carolina to identify themselves to police is getting national attention, though Republican lawmakers want to shut it down. The FaithAction ID program has issued more than 7,000 ID cards, recognized by police and some local organizations in 16 cities and 9 counties.

Appeals court: North Carolina voter ID law unconstitutional

A federal appeals court ruled that a North Carolina law illegally targeted minorities with tougher ballot access rules, such as requiring photo identification to vote, adding a new partisan flashpoint in a swing state with a raft of hotly contested elections. The ruling Friday by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the 2013 law violated the Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act by targeting black voters "with almost surgical precision."

GOP not worried Trump will lose NC

In the campaign for North Carolina's 15 electoral votes, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appears far ahead of Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump in both money and machinery. She's often stumped in the state, rolled out high-profile surrogates - President Barack Obama, for example - and is spending millions of dollars to assemble get-out-the-vote operations and fill the television airwaves with campaign ads.

Justice Department asks judge to block transgender law

The request for a preliminary injunction, filed late Tuesday, provides the most extensive look yet at the Justice Department's argument that the bathroom-access requirements violate federal law. The filing comes just after North Carolina lawmakers left the measure largely intact during their session that ended Friday, all but ensuring that the measure's fate will be decided in federal court.

Patrick Gannon: McCrory, Cooper fight to a draw in first debate

In the days following North Carolina's first gubernatorial debate of 2016, polls show Gov. Pat McCrory and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper neck-and-neck in one of the more closely watched governor's races in the country. A Public Policy Polling survey released in late June showed the candidates deadlocked at 41 percent.

North Carolina officials offer to help drone operators

The N.C. Department of Transportation's Division of Aviation wants to help drone owners understand new rules issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and how they impact drone operations in the state. Operators who received the required exemption or authorization from the FAA can continue to fly their small drones without further action.

Hillary Clinton visiting Raleigh for campaign rally

Hillary Clinton is coming to North Carolina in her bid to capture the state's electoral votes for a Democrat for just the second time since 1976. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president scheduled a rally Wednesday afternoon at an exposition center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

State pollsters earn good grades

North Carolina has one of the most-polled electorates in the United States. As we head into a general election full of highly competitive races for governor, senator, president, and other offices, those of us who closely follow politics in the Tar Heel State will again appreciate the high frequency of polling available.