Tom Bullock

Reporter

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR.  Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit.  Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others.  Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.

Ways to Connect

More than 6,000 people attended a town hall meeting Thursday evening with Congressman Robert Pittenger, though attend may not be the right word.

The Republican representative decided to hold the event over the phone.

The official reason given for this tele-town hall was that it allowed constituents from all over North Carolina's 9th Congressional District to attend without the inconvenience of a long drive.

Such concern is unnecessary, a caller named Mark told Pittenger (all callers were only identified by first name).

For nearly a year North Carolina has been front and center in the debate about which bathrooms transgender people can use, thanks in large part to House Bill 2.

Now, with the Trump administration's new guidance on transgender student bathroom use, there are a lot of questions about what this means for our state.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

Late Wednesday, a 5th bill to repeal HB 2 was filed at the General Assembly. But this bill stands out from the others. It is the only measure sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans.

House Bill 186 was reportedly hammered out between two Democrats and two Republicans. However, at least five other Republicans have signed on as sponsors. Representative Craig Horn of Union County is one of them.

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.

NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

For the second time, a North Carolina Senate committee has attempted to hold a confirmation hearing for a member of Governor Roy Cooper's cabinet. And, for the second time, that attempt has failed.

It seems our Democratic governor and GOP-controlled state Senate are playing a game of chicken, with each betting the other side will flinch on the confirmation process.

WFAE

Since 2002 all judicial elections in North Carolina have been considered non-partisan races. Which means the candidates party affiliation does not appear on the ballot.

Over the last few months the General Assembly has been changing that. And Monday, a bill which would finalize the process was passed by a committee in the State House.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

By design protest signs and the people who carry them are the most visible part of any rally, demonstration or march. They pull the eye and, yes, camera lenses to focus on what often is a simple message. But those messages have meaning not just to those who took the time to scroll them out by hand, they also reflect the beliefs of a community.

The ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ protest in Marshall Park in uptown was full of just such signs.

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."

North Carolina is one of just four states expecting to see a budget surplus this year. And it is a significant figure. The non-partisan state Fiscal Research Division projects 552 million extra dollars will flow into North Carolina’s coffers.

The budget debates are still months away. But one proposal for some of that extra money is up for a vote next week.

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