The Party Line

Mecklenburg County

Today is the seventh day of the seventh month of the year. And there are more than a few Mecklenburg County residents hoping today's date is a lucky start to their election or re-election campaigns.

Yes, there have already been candidate forums, fundraising emails aplenty and yard signs are already sprouting like some kind of patriotic perennial. Still, the 2017 election season doesn’t officially kick off in Mecklenburg County until 12:00 p.m. today.

That's when the two week candidate filing period begins.

Charlotte City Council member Al Austin listened to tributes at Monday's City Council meeting.
David Boraks / WFAE

Twelve candidates have applied to replace Charlotte City Council member Al Austin after he steps down next month. They include a mix of newcomers and longtime residents, millennials, and the man Austin defeated in the Democratic primary two years ago. 

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Wisconsin redistricting case and consider whether partisan gerrymandering is constitutional.

In the past, the courts have deferred on answering whether partisan gerrymandering is constitutional or not for the simple fact that it inserts the judiciary into a “political question.”

Nick de la Canal / WFAE-FM

Are you a politically-inclined Charlotte resident with a yearning to take the next step into city politics? Have you been wanting to make a difference in the city, but haven't the stomach or the money to run a full fledged campaign for public office?

Then the city is kindly asking you to consider applying for the newest opening on the Charlotte City Council -- that of District 2 representative.

Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would limit the amount of damages nearby property owners can collect if a court rules that smells from hog and poultry farms are a nuisance The governor also has signed a Republican-backed bill that rolls back some state regulations on the environment, business and government agencies.  

John Arrowood
James, McElroy & Diehl

Updated 1:06 p.m.
A battle between Gov. Roy Cooper and state lawmakers over the state Court of Appeals has escalated, with the governor's appointment of a new judge Monday. Cooper got the chance to pick a Democrat after a Republican judge on the court retired early to protest his party’s efforts to shrink the court. 

Republicans have eliminated or updated a variety of state regulations since taking control of the legislature in 2010. But in the past couple of years, they've found it harder to agree on reforms.

On Wednesday, the state Senate rejected the expanded House version of the GOP-backed 2016-2017 regulatory reform bill. It's got both years in the title because the two chambers also failed to agree last year before the legislature adjourned.

Updated 4:25 p.m.
The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to reduce the number of state appeals court judges, and gave preliminary final approval to a bill that would relax state regulations on the environment and businesses. Senators also confirmed three more Cabinet picks of Gov. Roy Cooper, for commerce, environment and cultural resources. Other bills making their way through the General Assembly would enact new restrictions on opioids, and limit lawsuits against large hog farms. 

It's way past the deadline set by Congress - 35 years past - but women are organizing in North Carolina and nationwide around a bit of unfinished business: ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

ICE officers making an arrest.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement

Ever since President Donald Trump's executive orders in January, immigration officials have insisted that when it comes to enforcement, it's business as usual - mostly. Statistics are hard to come by, especially at the local level. But there are signs of a shift at Immigration Customs & Enforcement, or ICE.

A wind farm near Elizabeth City, NC.
Sarah McCammon / NPR

Several Republican state senators are trying again this session to limit the expansion of wind power, saying new turbines could interfere with military flights. The bill filed Wednesday, the Military Operations Protection Act of 2017, would halt permits for new wind farms until studies show they are safe.

A North Carolina House Judiciary committee voted 6-5 along party lines Tuesday to advance a bill that would take away state funds from local governments that take steps to help undocumented immigrants. 

The state House of Representatives gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would return local judgeship elections to partisan races. Meanwhile, a Senate committee advanced a bill to let voters decide this November whether to lower the constitutional cap on the state income tax to 5.5 percent.

Lawmakers are considering a revised bill that would withhold state funds from local governments deemed to be sanctuary cities.  A House Judiciary Committee discussed the bill Tuesday, but took no action.

The bill calls for penalties to go along with a 2015 law that prohibits cities and towns from adopting policies to protect unauthorized immigrants.

NCGA

The North Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday that would make District and Superior Court races partisan. In other words, judicial candidates would have their party affiliation appear on the ballot.

The vote was unusual, 65 to 51, with Democrats and Republicans voting for and against the measure.

Proponents argue that listing a party affiliation next to a judicial candidate’s name on the ballot provides voters with needed information.

fried chicken drumstick
CC0 Wikipedia

With all the partisan bickering about teacher pay, bathroom use and what the governor can and can’t do these days it’s fair to say there’s a lot of animosity in the General Assembly. But on Thursday, for a very brief moment, there was a bit of bi-partisan levity. 

Twitter

Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse had to issue a mea culpa over the weekend. It came after he tweeted an offensive article calling transgender students "pervs" and "mentally ill."

Public Domain

On Wednesday, two joint resolutions will be introduced in the North Carolina House. They both make reference to Article five of the U.S. Constitution but that’s where the similarities end.

Today, at Little Rock AME Church in uptown, Vi Lyles announced that she is running for Charlotte’s mayor. Elections for that post and city council seats take place later this year.

Sarah Delia

On January 16, Charlotte City Council made a unanimous decision to appoint 30-year-old Dimple Ajmera to serve out the rest of John Autry’s term. Autry was elected to North Carolina’s House of Representatives last November. Six people including Ajmera applied for the job.

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