News & Views
Conversations with prominent state and national newsmakers – politicians, advocates, analysts, academics and activists – about the news, events and public policy debates that shape life in North Carolina.
Health and Human Services Sec. Kody Kinsley discusses the upcoming Dec. 1st expansion of Medicaid
NCDHHS Sec. Kody Kinsley
In a special two-part conversation, NC Newsline chats with North Carolina state Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley about the upcoming December 1st expansion of Medicaid, how it will work, and what it will mean for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
The post Health and Human Services Sec. Kody Kinsley discusses the upcoming Dec. 1st expansion of Medicaid appeared first on NC Newsline.
Pollster David McLennan discusses how the 2024 gubernatorial candidates are faring
Political scientist and pollster David McLennan
The 2024 primary election in North Carolina is only just over three months away and according to the most recent Meredith College poll, we may very well already know which major party candidates are likely to prevail. According to Meredith College political scientist and pollster David McLennan the latest poll found Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and Republican Lt. Governor Mark Robinson way ahead of their top challengers – Democratic former Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan and Republicans, attorney Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell.
McLennan told NC Newsline, however, th...
House Democratic Leader Robert Reives recaps the legislative session and the impact on NC elections
House Minority Leader Robert Reives (Photo: NCGA)
The job of leading North Carolina House Democrats – a diverse group with an array of ideologies and priorities — has always been a tough job. And in the current era in which aggressive Republican gerrymandering has rigged the outcome in so many districts that it’s all but impossible for Democrats to win their fair share of seats, the leader’s role can frequently be a downright thankless task.
All that said, the current holder of the position – State Rep. Robert Reives of Chatham and Randolph Counties – has somehow managed to n...
ACLU of NC’s Michele Delgado on the disparity in referrals for disorderly conduct in NC schools
ACLU of North Carolina attorney Michele Delgado
In “The Consequences of Cops in North Carolina Schools,” researchers report that current state law – which grants police broad and vaguely worded authority – has led to a situation in which school-based complaints of disorderly conduct against Black students occur at four times the rate of white kids. In some counties, the numbers were even worse.
Recently, in order to get a better handle on the report’s findings and the recommendations it makes, NC Newsline caught with one of the experts behind it, ACLU attorney Michele Delgado.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning on efforts to avoid a government shutdown and her future in Congress
U.S. Representative Kathy Manning
U.S. Representative Kathy Manning of central North Carolina’s sixth congressional district is less than halfway through her second two-year-term in Washington, but it’s already been one heck of a tumultuous ride. From the January 6 insurrection, through the pandemic, a national economic recovery, two chaotic House Speaker elections and dozens of controversial policy debates and court rulings, Manning has remained a remarkably active and outspoken voice for progressive change.
Now, however, thanks to the latest Republican redistricting scheme, Manning finds herself living in a district that’s likely imposs...
Sen. Lisa Grafstein discusses the recent session and being a target of Republican gerrymandering
Senator Lisa Grafstein, Wake County
Wake County State Senator Lisa Grafstein was recently a target of Republican gerrymandering. Under the state’s newly enacted legislative maps, Grafstein – a skilled attorney and one of the Senate’s most vocal and articulate critics of culture war legislation, regressive tax policies and efforts to alter state elections laws – was double-bunked with another progressive Democratic colleague in the obvious hope of scuttling her career in Raleigh.
Reports of Grafstein’s political demise, however, are clearly premature. Not only has the senator already moved to a new home in an a nearby W...
Lauren Fox of the Public School Forum discusses North Carolina’s worrisome teacher shortage
Lauren Fox, Ph.D. Senior Director, Policy & Research, Public School Forum
As news reports have made clear repeatedly in recent years, North Carolina is suffering from a big and deeply problematic teacher shortage – especially in rural low wealth districts and when it comes to teachers of color. The problem was big and bad even before the pandemic, and it’s gotten worse in its aftermath.
Thankfully, the causes of the shortage are no particular mystery. Indeed, as researchers at the Public School Forum of North Carolina make clear in a new report, there are several emin...
NC Newsline investigative reporter Lynn Bonner on the new gerrymandered electoral maps
Photo: State legislative building and reporter Lynn Bonner
Gerrymandering. It’s a topic that’s been on a lot of lips in recent weeks as the Republican leadership of the North Carolina legislature, for what seems like the umpteenth time, drew new legislative and congressional maps for our state.
Interestingly, while gerrymandering – that is to say, rigging maps to favor certain outcomes – is something politicians are normally rather circumspect about, this time that wasn’t the case. Instead, Republican legislators openly bragged that they were drawing maps to guarantee Republicans victories in most legislative and congressio...
Attorneys Laura Webb and Rochelle Sparko on inequities in the way NC collects court fines and fee
Laura Webb and Rochelle Sparko
There are a lot of significant real-world problems that the state legislature’s cheapskate budgeting practices have caused in recent years, and here’s a classic example: Because it receives inadequate funding, the state’s court system has been forced to try and fund itself by imposing big fines and fees on people accused of crimes.
Of course, however, the big problem here is that most of these people are poor and unable to pay. Right now, the state tries to collect over time by converting these fines and fees into c...
WRAL TV sports anchor Chris Lea discusses the new documentary “Ghosts in the Stadium”
Photo: Chris Lea (Courtesy WRAL-TV)
A fascinating new documentary from WRAL TV looks at the hidden and troubling histories of some iconic sports venues in the Carolinas. “Ghosts in the Stadium” explores the sobering legacy of white supremacy at Kenan Stadium at UNC Chapel Hill, Carter-Finely Stadium at NC State, Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and Memorial Stadium at Clemson University.
The documentary was conceived and produced by Investigative Documentary Producer Cristin Severance, Sports Anchor Chris Lea and Documentary Photojournalist Dwayne Myers, and recently Lea was kind enough to join NC Newsline for a conv...
What to know about the fall Respiratory Virus Season with state Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson
Dr. Betsey Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer (Photo courtesy of NCDHHS)
North Carolina State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson shares details on where things stand with COVID-19 and what to expect from this year’s respiratory virus season. Plus we learn the steps you should take in the weeks ahead to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Editor’s note: This is a rebroadcast of an interview NC Newsline originally aired August 20, 2023.Stream and subscribe | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts
The post What to know about the fall Respiratory Virus Seas...
Barb Walsh, founder and executive director of the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina
Barb Walsh and her daughter Sophia
The fentanyl crisis has taken the lives of more than 13,000 North Carolinians in recent years and it’s currently killing eight North Carolinians a day. The rise in overdose deaths is driven by illegally manufactured fentanyl.
The group Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina recently joined NC Newsline for an extended conversation, in which founder Barb Walsh shared her family’s story, described the organization she leads, and shared some of the policy changes the group is seeking from state leaders.
Editor’s note: This is a rebroa...
Talking hunger in NC with nonprofit leaders, Ron Pringle and Ashley McCumber
Ron Pringle of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (left) and Ashley McCumber of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC (File photos)
Despite some encouraging progress, the number of people struggling to stay afloat and avoid hunger in our community remains frustratingly large – a situation made worse by the demise of several pandemic relief programs. Recently, to get a gauge on where things stand and what policymakers and average citizens can do to help, Newsline caught up with two nonprofit leaders whose organizations are on the anti-poverty frontlines: Ron Pringle of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and...
Duke political scientists Deondra Rose and Kerry Haynie: The impact of new state laws in 2024
Professors Deondra Rose (left) and Kerry Haynie (right): Photo: Duke University stream
Whether it’s the GOP taking control of local and state election board appointments or mandating a photo ID for all voters, there’s no doubt that the 2024 election cycle will look different for North Carolinians.
Recently, NC Newsline listened in as a pair of Duke University experts — Deondra Rose, a professor of public policy and political science, studies voter behavior and Professor Kerry Haynie, a Duke political scientist who specializes in southern politics — shared their observations on how the actions of the Ge...
States Newsroom national reporter Zachary Roth discusses threats to democracy
Zachary Roth is the National Democracy Reporter for States Newsroom Photo: States Newsroom
Even though Donald Trump has been out of office now for well over two and a half years, some of his conservative allies – particularly at the state legislative level – continue to advance new laws that threaten democracy by making voting more difficult and exclusive and handing the oversight of elections to partisan politicians. Last month, in a report published by NC Newsline, States Newsroom national democracy reporter Zachary Roth documented this trend and recently Newsline caught up with him from his office in Wa...
Prof. Steven Rogers on his new book, “Accountability in State Legislatures”
Prof. Steven Rogers - Photo: stevenmrogers.com
In his new book, “Accountability in State Legislatures,” Prof. Steven Rogers of St. Louis University presents a wealth of data which show that elections have come to do very little to hold state legislators accountable.
Among other things, Rogers reports that more than a third of state legislative incumbents win reelection without either a primary or general election challenger and that only 11% of voters can recall who their state legislator is.
What’s more, when deciding how to vote in state legislative elections, voters’ approval...
Attorney Hilary Harris Klein on NC’s new and restrictive voting and election laws
Hilary Harris Klein - Photo: Southern Coalition for Social Justice
As NC Newsline has reported at length in recent weeks, North Carolina Republican lawmakers maintain large and gerrymandered veto-proof majorities at the state Legislative Building and are using them to further extend their control over state government. Indeed, the 2023 legislative session has seen the advancement of several new laws designed to make voting harder – particularly for people of color and low income – as well as a process for crafting new legislative and congressional districts that are sure to favor the GOP.
And while the l...
Sen. Natalie Murdock on the good, the bad, and the very ugly in North Carolina’s new state budget
Senator Natalie Murdock (Photo: NCGA)
As you’ve probably heard by now, the North Carolina General Assembly has finally voted to expand the state’s Medicaid program – thereby making affordable health insurance available to more than a half-million uninsured people. It was a long overdue action that will save numerous lives and struggling hospitals and create thousands of jobs in our state.
Unfortunately, the process for passing the new law was anything but smooth. Not only did it take way too long, but the expansion was attached to a new state budget that’s packed with all...
Meredith College pollster David McLennan on NC voter attitudes ahead of the 2024 elections
Meredith College political science professor David McLennan.
In just five months, North Carolinians will go to the polls in the 2024 primary election. In addition to helping select the nominees for the presidency in the Democratic and Republican parties, voters will nominate candidates for every major political office in our state, save for U.S. Senate.
So, what do we know at this point?
Is Donald Trump a shoo-in for a rematch with President Biden despite facing multiple criminal charges? Who will voters nominate to replace outgoing Governor Roy Cooper?
Rose Hoban of NC Health News on a $30B budget heavy on policy, and what’s next for Medicaid
NC Health News founder Rose Hoban (Courtesy photo)
After months of delay, Republican legislative leaders pushed through a $30 billion state budget filled with new appropriations and policy in less than 48 hours. Since then, experts and observers have been trying to piece together and decipher the scores of new laws – many highly questionable and never seen before – that are now in the state statute books.
One budget provision, however, that came as no surprise was the much-delayed final approval of expanding the state’s Medicaid program – a change that will extend health insurance coverage to as many as...
Rep. Joe John on how policy provisions in the state budget will reshape NC’s judicial system
Rep. Joe John (Wake Co.) (Photo: NCGA)
After a delay that stretched almost three months into the new fiscal year, Republican legislators unveiled a massive budget document on September 20 and then pushed it through both chambers of the General Assembly in less than 48 hours without affording any opportunity for amendments.
In order to get a better understanding of some of the key provisions – and in particular some big and questionable changes the budget includes for our state’s judiciary – NC Newsline caught up with Wake County state Representative and former appellate court judge Joe John. And as...
Senator Natasha Marcus weighs in on the state budget, Medicaid expansion and casino gambling
Senator Natasha Marcus (Photo: NCGA)
After an extended period of inactivity that’s left the state without a new budget for the first quarter of the new fiscal year, the state legislature kicked things into high gear last week passing a $30 billion budget and a series of lengthy, momentous, and controversial proposals.
The sudden deluge of contentious ideas — most notably a scheme to link Medicaid expansion to the introduction of widespread casino gambling — helped make for an extremely fluid and topsy turvy week. Ultimately, the proponents of the casino plan appeared to fold their cards for th...
North Carolina Budget & Tax Center director Alexandra Sirota on the latest poverty data
Alexandra Sirota (File Photo)
One of the very few silver linings to accompany the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant decline in American child poverty. Thanks to various relief initiatives and, most notably, the expansion of the federal child tax credit that the Biden administration championed, poverty numbers fell significantly for a time as the federal government provided what was, in effect, a big tax cut for millions of the nation’s lowest income families.
Unfortunately, congressional Republicans have rebuffed the administration’s’ efforts to retain the expanded child tax credit and, as a result, poverty number...
Reporter Joe Killian on the effort by Republican lawmakers to remake our public universities
Reporter Joe Killian (File Photo)
For several years now, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated state legislature has been pursuing a determined effort to overhaul the state’s university system. Whether it’s the makeup of the boards and chancellors that oversee the system and its various campuses, or the actual academic programs the campuses house and the professors they hire and fire, conservative politicians have involved themselves in micromanagement to an unprecedented degree. This direct involvement found its way into the new state budget lawmakers recently unveiled, and in order to get a handle on the budget and other...
Rep. Marcia Morey on the budget saga, casino gambling, gun violence, and election law changes
Rep. Marcia Morey
When state lawmakers returned to Raleigh last week, the word on the street was that, at last, two-and-a-half months into the new state fiscal year, a budget agreement between House and Senate Republicans had finally been achieved. As it turned out, however, this rumor proved inaccurate as a dispute over whether to introduce casino gambling to the state continued to divide Republican legislators.
For State Rep. Marcia Morey of Durham County, the collapse in budget talks was just the latest in a maddening series of failures this session on a long list...