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.

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For the first time Governor Roy Cooper stood before a joint session of the legislature to deliver his state of the state address.

It was a chance for Cooper to push his priorities. But given the tone of the official Republican response, that's a tall order.

Every two years North Carolina's governor is invited to give the state of the state address. And here is how Governor Roy Cooper sees it: "I want to begin by reporting to you that the state of our state is promising."

It's an interesting choice, which needed some explanation.

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The North Carolina House has passed a trio of new bills that would limit the powers of Governor Roy Cooper. Two of these bills would revoke the governor's authority to fill judicial vacancies. Reporter Tom Bullock joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry to discuss. 

Scott*/Flickr

Three Superior Court judges are now deliberating a case that could have broad implications for how the state of North Carolina is run.

The plaintiff is Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. The defendants are House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger, the leaders of the Republican-dominated General Assembly.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department is one of just 37 agencies to participate in a federal program known as 287(g). It allows deputies to take part in enforcing federal immigration laws.

Participation in the program is voluntary and controversial.

On Thursday the Sheriff's Department hoped to answer questions about 287-G by allowing reporters to walk through the process.

Screen Grab via WRAL

For the first time, Governor Roy Cooper has laid out his priorities in an official budget proposal for the state. Overall he calls for increased spending, but there is notable exception. He wants to phase out North Carolina’s private school voucher program. 

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.

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