breaking news

Speaker's Race

Updated: Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, confirmed Thursday that he is "openly expressing interest" in becoming the next House speaker with fellow House Republicans. Holloway said the feedback has been positive. "I think we have a very good shot at this," he said.

from this morning's Insider

Speaker Hopefuls
The list of potential N.C. House speakers for the 2015-16 legislative session appears to be growing, rather than shrinking, just a couple of months away from a possible vote by the Republican caucus. Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, the House majority leader, said Wednesday that he considers Reps. Leo Daughtry of Johnston County, Nelson Dollar of Wake County, Mike Hager of Rutherford County and Tim Moore of Cleveland County as "top-tier contenders," but that none of them have distinguished themselves as the frontrunner. "There's not a clear leader," he said. "We've got some people who are jockeying for position, but I do not see a clear leader at this time."

Starnes, who said he isn't running for the post, said he believed the caucus would be "evenly divided" if a vote were taken today. He added that as long as there's no clear leader, he expects others will put their names forward as candidates. He said he's heard that Reps. Bryan Holloway of Stokes County and John Blust of Guilford County also are testing the waters. "They don't see anybody going over the top, so there's always room for more (candidates)," Starnes said.

Blust confirmed Wednesday that he's considering a bid, but isn't "definitely in" at this point. Holloway couldn't immediately be reached, but Blust said he's also heard of Holloway's interest. Blust agreed that no one has pulled ahead in the race. "I really think at this point nobody's got even 10 sure votes that they can bank on," he said. The Republican caucus is expected to choose a nominee late this year, and the full House will vote on a speaker when the 2015 session begins in January. In interviews this week, Daughtry, Dollar and Moore all said they are actively running for the House's top job, and all said they are raising money for the GOP caucus in hopes that they will keep as many seats as possible in the chamber. Republicans currently have a 77-43 advantage in the chamber. Hager didn't return a phone call.

"We're in a good spot," Dollar said. "We can't go wrong. We've got good candidates."

MODIFIED: 09/18/14 12:15:08

News Items

Campaign Cash - House District 31

A quick look at campaign donations and spending in N.C. House District 31, which includes parts of Durham County, based on information from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

MODIFIED: 09/18/14 11:48:18

Transit Vision

Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that he wants the state to borrow more than $1 billion to "kick-start" a raft of mostly rural transportation projects.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:32:45

Medicaid Options

North Carolina's health secretary said Wednesday that her agency is collecting information for Gov. Pat McCrory to offer him possible ways to expand Medicaid coverage to more people under the federal health care overhaul.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:31:33

Food Stamps

A new federal report on North Carolina's food stamp program describes significant problems including applications that fail to notify potential recipients of their rights and workers ignoring suspected fraud.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:30:07

Remaining Bills

Gov. Pat McCrory has until the end of the day Thursday to decide whether he will sign bills increasing the penalties for some crimes, making certain kinds of development easier and making poaching Venus flytraps a felony.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:29:11

McCrory Opposition

Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that the state's recently created coal ash commission is only the beginning of his fight against similar panels that he believes may be violating the state constitution.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:28:29

Tillis Campaign

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis comes to Fayetteville on Thursday with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to raise money and try to win over voters.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:27:41

Hagan Ad

A Koch brothers-funded super PAC, formed this year to direct more than $15 million to help free-market candidates in the midterm elections, is launching two TV ads against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:26:58

Court Candidates

Two recent targets of hard-knuckled ads in their run for North Carolina Supreme Court seats said Wednesday that they're worried big outside money is harming the public's perception of the courts and discouraging potential future candidates.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:26:13

12th District

Congressional candidates Alma Adams and Vince Coakley differed sharply on federal involvement in a variety of issues Tuesday at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:25:20

Hospital Partnership

Growing pressure to cut medical costs is pushing three regional hospital chains operating hundreds of locations across North Carolina to combine purchasing and standardize some medical practices, the hospitals said Wednesday.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:24:33

Forest Sale

Gov. Pat McCrory has stepped into a dispute over North Carolina State University's planned sale of the 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest, requesting that the buyers allow Marines from Camp Lejeune to continue using the forest for training.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:23:47

Pittenger Comments

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican, is standing by comments he made this month that businesses should be free to fire employees based on sexual orientation.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:22:52

Same-Sex Marriage

A new poll shows North Carolinians remain strongly divided over whether marriage between same-sex couples should be recognized as just as valid as traditional marriage.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:20:43

Ash Petitions

An environmental organization says it will deliver more than 10,000 petitions to the governor calling for stronger efforts to clean up coal ash basins around the state.

MODIFIED: 09/17/14 23:19:52

YOU DON’T SAY...

"It's taking, basically, the politics out and looking at the data for where we can create jobs, where we can save lives, and where we can create opportunity."
Gov. Pat McCrory, on his 25-year plan for transit investments across the state.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/17/14

the capitol view

Government Corruption in the Spotlight

This column has been on the list for awhile, and the longer it waits, the more examples of government corruption show up in media reports. Each time they do, the public gets a little more cynical, losing a little more faith in government.

MODIFIED: 09/15/14 12:30:14

Video Killed the Special Session

In a video posted online Friday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory, smiling throughout, announced he wouldn't call legislators back to Raleigh this year to consider new economic development incentives or extend existing tax credit programs. He left the door open, however, to summon the General Assembly if a "major job-recruitment effort develops and it requires legislative support."

MODIFIED: 09/15/14 12:29:04

Odd House Bills

Every two-year legislative session, General Assembly lawmakers propose laws that raise eyebrows, generate chuckles around the Legislative Building or are simply a little weird. It's fun to imagine what the staffers who draft the bills are thinking as they write them. Here are descriptions of 15 such House bills from the past two years. Try to guess which ones passed the House and Senate and became law. Answers appear at the end.

MODIFIED: 09/02/14 14:41:03

McCrory in a Tough Position Over Incentives

State lawmakers have returned home to their districts for good to campaign for re-election in November. Or have they? The latest chatter in the capital is about whether House and Senate members will be called back by Gov. Pat McCrory to consider legislation that would result in more state spending on economic incentives to help lure companies to North Carolina. McCrory hasn't tipped his hand about whether he's going to call a special lawmaking session before the Nov. 4 elections.

MODIFIED: 09/02/14 14:38:07

Hagan and Tillis Spar on National Security

Two little-reported questions asked during North Carolina's first U.S. Senate debate last week centered around the surge of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East and the shooting of an unarmed teenager by police and subsequent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., which has ignited a national debate over police militarization.

MODIFIED: 09/08/14 16:36:12
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