The Party Line

The Party Line is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s elections, debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development. The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

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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.

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