It took Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt three tries over six years to finally become a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

It’s been a bizarre year in North Carolina’s state legislature, and that hasn’t led to the state looking good in national media headlines. 

But after four special sessions (and counting), the legislature appears to be finally winding up while addressing the same issue that brought international scorn and widespread business boycotts to the Old North State earlier this spring.

north carolinaThe North Carolina General Assembly continues to haggle over specific provisions in the proposed 2016-17 state budget as they race to present a compromise spending plan to GOP Gov. Pat McCrory before the long Independence Day holiday weekend.

op fr“I feel like a one-legged man at an ass kicking. They don’t care for me because I call them out. I try to inform the public of the truth, and they don’t like it.”

That’s the colorfully candid state Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, who is back in Raleigh this week as the General Assembly kicks off its biennial short session, which is traditionally devoted to making a few budget tweaks and perhaps passing some noncontroversial legislation.

election timeBy the time polls closed March 15, Kevin Corbin’s soles were feeling the pain from 12 hours of standing on pavement outside polling places in Robbinsville, Murphy and Hayesville.

coverAs people across North Carolina daydream about what they would do if they won millions from playing the lottery, they probably don’t give much thought to how the money is spent every time they buy a losing ticket. 

The North Carolina Education Lottery Commission would argue that no one is a loser when lottery revenue goes to fund education, but local school boards throughout the state might beg to differ. State lottery revenues have increased every year since it was launched in 2006, yet local school districts don’t feel like they are reaping the benefits.

cherokeeWhen the Cherokee Tribal Council voted to create the Office of Legislative Support last week, it was doing more than ramping up tribal staffing.

op frThe North Carolina Senate has become emboldened in its partisanship over the last couple of years, and there appears to be no end in sight. Under the leadership of Sen. Phil Berger, the president pro tem, and his troops — including our own Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin — it has ventured so far to the right and is making moves that are so politically heavy-handed that even Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-controlled state House often call foul.

fr lakeJThe merger of Lake Junaluska with the town of Waynesville cleared a critical milestone in the N.C. General Assembly last week and finally seemed headed for passage, but was sidelined again at the 11th hour.

votingBy Katie Reeder • SMN Intern 

Some opponents of North Carolina’s new voting law claim it negatively impacts college students because of provisions that cut the early voting period and do not allow students to use their campus photo identification cards as a valid form of identification to vote. Students at Western Carolina University were asked their thoughts on the new law.

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