Rusty Jacobs

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC. Rusty previously worked at WUNC as a reporter and substitute host from 2001 until 2007 and now returns after a nine-year absence during which he went to law school at Carolina and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County.

As a reporter, he has covered a wide array of topics including military affairs, sports, government and damaging storms.

The North Carolina General Assembly approved an adjusted budget with a final House vote today and will now send the $24 billion spending plan to Governor Roy Cooper.

Republicans touted the budget's increase in teacher pay, appropriation of $10 million to protect drinking water from emerging contaminants like GenX and a commitment of funds to improving prison safety.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly gave final approval to its 2018-19 budget today, passing an adjusted $24 billion spending plan through a process that allowed for no input or amendments from Democrats.

More than 400 local and state officials, business leaders and economic developers will gather in Raleigh Tuesday for the second annual Rural Day.

Organized by the non-profit North Carolina Rural Center, the event will focus on promoting economic development in the state's 80 counties with a population density of less than 250 people per square mile.

This week’s WUNCPolitics podcast is an extended version of our regular Week In State Politics segment that airs every Friday with Rob Schofield, executive director of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, senior vice president of the conservative John Locke Foundation.

There was at least one big upset in North Carolina congressional primaries Tuesday: incumbent Robert Pittenger lost a close race to Republican Mark Harris, a challenger he beat by only 134 votes two years ago.

This week in North Carolina politics, a conversation about the divide in North Carolina over confederate monuments and the upcoming primary.

WUNC’s reporter Rusty Jacobs discusses these topics with our regular guests: Becki Gray, senior vice president of the conservative John Locke Foundation; and Rob Schofield, executive director of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch.


Primaries are less than a week away and even though Democrats hope this year’s mid-term elections will be swept up in a blue wave, flipping GOP congressional districts in North Carolina will still be a tall order.

WUNC’s Data Reporter Jason DeBruyn joins us this week to talk about the latest campaign finance reports.

With President Donald Trump’s approval rating low, Democrats nationwide are hoping midterm elections will trigger a blue wave this year that will change the balance of power in Congress. Some political observers believe that wave could wash over some North Carolina districts, including the 2nd, where three Democrats are battling for the chance to replace incumbent Republican George Holding.

Democrats suing Republican legislative leaders over a law canceling judicial primaries this year subpoenaed records from the North Carolina GOP, which, this week, turned up memos outlining the state Republican Party's strategy targeting political opponents.

On this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Politics Reporter Rusty Jacobs sits down with Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan, who also directs Meredith Poll.

The two talk about the races for U.S. Congress in North Carolina that are most likely to be competitive in next month’s primary, and this fall’s general election.

On this week’s review of the week in North Carolina politics: high school students and legislators are on different tracks when it comes to school safety; California billionaire Tom Steyer announces he’ll put $1 million into efforts to flip North Carolina’s 9th District; and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest says conservatives have faith in God, while liberals answer to no higher power than politics.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those topics and more with WUNC Political Reporter Rusty Jacobs.

Crews are already cutting trees in Northampton and Robeson counties to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile-long delivery system that will carry natural gas from West Virginia, across Virginia, and through North Carolina. The pipeline will cut an eight-county, 200-mile-long path across the Tar Heel State with supporters and opponents all along the route.

State regulators are testing fish from a privately-owned lake near the Chemours plant in Bladen County for the presence of GenX, the latest regulatory response to increasing questions about the risks posed by this emerging contaminant.

Ted Davis knows any legislation needs to get through a sharply divided General Assembly.

The Wilmington Republican who chairs the Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality has said more controversial issues like funding for the Department of Environmental Quality can come later.

A senate committee looking at judicial redistricting and reform will meet Wednesday in Raleigh, a few weeks after Democrats walked out of a previous meeting.

The Republican chairs had refused to allow a retired superior court judge invited by Democrats to address the committee.

Friday is the deadline for submitting suggestions to the Stanford University law professor tasked with re-drafting North Carolina's legislative maps.

A federal judicial panel appointed the so-called special master to fix flaws in the maps submitted by Republican lawmakers.

North Carolina's economic development community is mounting efforts to lure Amazon's new HQ2 facility to the state. The project could provide 50,000 jobs over 15 years.

A controversial pipeline project is getting some support from local elected leaders in the eastern part of the state.

It has been an intensely divisive time in the North Carolina General Assembly—with disagreements on the budget, LGBT rights, and private nuisance lawsuits against hog farms to name a few. Yet there seems to be near unanimity in the legislature on at least one issue: ballot access.

Legislation in the state House could give local governments a new way of raising funds.

Updated 10:26 a.m., June 2, 2017

A bill that would eliminate the need for a permit to carry a concealed handgun has inched forward in the state House.

The Republican-led North Carolina Senate passed its budget proposal along party lines early Friday morning.

The $22.9 billion dollar plan would spend more than $500 million less than a plan offered by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, and lawmakers could get a two-year budget plan in place by then if all goes as scheduled.

The chief justice of North Carolina's top court threw his support behind legislation to raise the age of juvenile offenders.

North Carolina is now the only state to automatically try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court. But Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin says it's time for that to change.

"Our own Department of Public Safety conducted surveys on this issue which reflected that over 90 percent of parents already thought that 18 was the age for adult jurisdiction," Martin said.

During a press conference to rally support for the bill, Martin highlighted that North Carolina is the only state that has not upped the age limit to try defendants as adults. He said that teenage mistakes can follow North Carolinians into their adulthood as they seek employment. In other states, an error in judgment made by a 17-year-old would have a smaller impact on his ability to find employment later in life.

A statewide non-profit and 10 North Carolina citizens are suing the Republican-led Legislature over a special session held last year to pass laws that eroded the governor's power.

Civil and human rights groups are decrying the NBA’s decision to make Charlotte eligible again to host the league's All-Star game.

President Donald Trump's defeat may be U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows's victory. The North Carolina Republican is enjoying an outpouring of support from conservatives in his home district.

Meadows represents the 11th Congressional District in western North Carolina. He is also head of the Freedom Caucus, the conservative bloc in Congress that scuttled the president's plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

The North Carolina plaintiffs fighting House Bill 2 in federal court face more legal uncertainty after Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are blasting a three-judge panel's granting of a temporary restraining order blocking the senate from proceeding with confirmation hearings on Governor Roy Cooper's cabinet nominees.

Just a month into his first term as governor, Democrat Roy Cooper already sounds a little exasperated when talking about the legislature’s Republican leadership.