Terry Van Duyn

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Buncombe County Democrats showed a united front as candidate filing began.  The four Asheville-area legislators, Democrats John Ager, Susan Fisher, Brian Turner and Terry Van Duyn filed for re-election together as filing got underway at noon Monday at the Buncombe County elections office.  Reps. Ager and Turner are likely to have competitive elections in 2018.  Rep. Fisher and Sen. Van Duyn are in districts more favorable to Democrats.  Fisher noted the strong presence of women candidates running in Buncombe County and statewide.  

WRAL

Friday update:

(Associated Press) The North Carolina House leader predicts redrawn election districts for trial court judges can be finalized with Senate Republicans by the end of January. But he's unsure what his colleagues think about a Senate proposal eliminating head-to-head judicial elections.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger appointed Thursday members of a special bipartisan joint committee tasked with recommending judicial changes to the General Assembly.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Chris Sgro, the leader of the state LGBT rights group Equality NC, has announced he's stepping down at the end of May after nearly four years with the group.  He's taking a job with the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.  He'll be their communications director.  Sgro spoke with BPR about his time with ENC and about the bill that partly repealed HB2.

Soggy6/Flickr

The North Carolina Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday night that splits Asheville into six districts for the purpose of electing city council members.   Senate Bill 285 is similar to one put forward by Hendersonville Republican Senator Tom Apodaca.  It would change the way voters choose city council members by creating six districts with voters allowed to choose only in their districts.  The mayor would still be elected at-large.  Apodaca’s bill died when a number of Republicans joined Democrats in voting no.  Now Apodaca’s successor, Republican Chuck Edwards, is trying again.

ncleg.net

A bill that would carve Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members passed its first committee Tuesday night.  The controversial measure is opposed by most Asheville-area lawmakers, as well as city council members and the mayor.  Its sponsor is Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville, who represents a small part of south Asheville.  The bill mandates the city draw up 6 districts for electing council members.  Voters in those districts could vote for only those running in their district.  The mayor would still be elected at-large.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

With the legislature back to work in Raleigh, we’re talking to some of those lawmakers out here in the west.  Today, Senator Terry Van Duyn, Democrat of Buncombe County.

Asheville Citizen-Times

Lawmakers gaveled in a new session in Raleigh Wednesday.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

NC Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to Fairview on Saturday.  The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet."  He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser later in the day.  

Cooper started his remarks talking about public education.  "People are hungry for leaders who truly believe in public education and will do something about it instead of just talking about it."

Asheville Citizen-Times

Political observers and the public alike were scratching their heads after a bill that would impose districts on the city of Asheville for city council elections failed.  The bill was being pushed by a powerful state lawmaker and had sailed through two committees and the full Senate with little but Democratic resistance.  And then, on its last stop in the full House, all of that changed.  Debate seemed to persuade lawmakers at the last minute, and that is something rarely seen in politics today.  But in truth, there were probably multiple factors at play, and they had occurred not just over

SOGGY6 / FLICKR

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County, over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Apodaca is considered one of the most powerful lawmakers in the General Assembly.  But this bill went down by a vote of 48-58. 

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

 

By a vote of 33-16, the North Carolina Senate gave final approval Monday to Senate Bill 897.  The bill changes the way Asheville elects its city council, moving it from an at-large system to one in which candidates would be elected in one of six districts.  Bill sponsor Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville explained the bill after introducing it.  

Legislative Wrap: Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Oct 14, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

WCQS is speaking with mountain area lawmakers about the recently completed General Assembly session.  Our series continues today with Terry Van Duyn, a Democratic state senator from Buncombe County.  Van Duyn emerged throughout the session as one of the most outspoken members of the Democratic caucus, rising to the position of minority whip.  You can hear the full conversation above.  Some highlights from the interview are featured below.

Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

In interviews with WCQS, 3 Democrats expressed dismay at how a bill dealing with renewable energy was pushed through committee.  You can find those interviews below.

wral.com

 The North Carolina House has decided it wants to extend the time a pregnant woman must wait before having an abortion from 24 hours after contacting a provider to 72 hours.

The House voted 74-45 Thursday to expand the waiting period before women can undergo the procedure. The passage followed an emotional but civil debate about the issue that's gotten more attention from the Republican-led legislature over the past four years.

In Their Words: WCQS Speaks With Lawmakers

Apr 17, 2015

As part of an ongoing series, WCQS is reaching out to lawmakers from western North Carolina and beyond for in-depth, wide-ranging discussions on the issues that matter to you.  The goal of the series we're calling "In Their Words" is for you to have a chance to hear from the people running our local, state, and federal government in an open, honest, unfiltered way.  We will update the series over time.

In Their Words: Rep. John Ager

Apr 12, 2015
Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

We’ve been conducting interviews with area lawmakers over the past week, as many were home for their version of spring break.  Our conversations continue with Representative John Ager, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  In the segment below, we talked to Ager about recent changes the legislature made to the state gasoline tax, which was immediately cut by a cent and a half, but that initial cut actually prevented the tax from dropping much further -as was projected, because the gas tax is tied to the wholesale price of gasoline.

In Their Words: Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Apr 9, 2015
Mountain XPress

We’re hearing from state legislators this week who are home for a week-long recess.  WCQS reached out to members of both parties and is airing the interviews in the order they were conducted.  Today the focus is on Terry Van Duyn, a Democratic State Senator of Buncombe County.  We spoke on a range of issues, from the economy and jobs to bills dealing with social issues, which Van Duyn has been an outspoken critic of.

In Their Words: Rep. Brian Turner

Apr 8, 2015
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

This week, state lawmakers are on their version of spring break, and many local legislators are home.  That gave us an opportunity to sit down and talk about the current session with many of them.  We reached out to members of both parties, and will air excerpts from the interviews in the order they were conducted.  We start today with Representative Brian Turner.  He’s a Democrat representing Buncombe County.  The first-term legislator scored an upset win over Tim Moffitt in November’s election, one among just a few bright spots for Democrats in an otherwise tough election cycle.   

Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

Three lawmakers say their proposal to update North Carolina's childhood vaccination regimen and eliminate an immunization exemption on religious grounds is dead less than two weeks after their bill was filed.

The state senators announced Wednesday their measure has already reached a dead-end in the two-year session after hearing "serious concerns" from constituents and other citizens.

Mountain XPress

State figures show a rise in the rate of children in Buncombe County opting out of required vaccinations.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that about one in 20 kindergarten students at the beginning of this school year had opted out of immunization, a higher percentage than the previous year. Almost all claimed religious beliefs.

Mountain XPress

A local legislator in the General Assembly is taking a stand for same-sex couples.  Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncumbe County joined a press conference this morning denouncing a bill that sponsors say protects religious freedom.  Senate leader Phil Berger introduced the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of weddings if they have conflicting religious beliefs.  That could mean anyone, but Van Duyn says same-sex couples are the ones being targeted.