2016 put North Carolina in national spotlight over GOP-backed laws

FILE - In this Monday, April 25, 2016, file photo, protesters head into the Legislative building for a sit-in against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina legislators will repeal the contentious HB2 law that limited protections for LGBT people and led to an economic backlash, the state's Gov.-elect Roy Cooper said Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — 2016 is the year North Carolina’s identity crisis ran squarely into the national consciousness.

Long perceived as a progressive Southern state, the rest of the nation finally discovered that a takeover of state politics by GOP lawmakers had pushed North Carolina to the far-right. The state found itself in the spotlight over a number of issues including LGBT rights, voting rights, redistricting and most recently an unwillingness to let the state’s new Democratic governor keep the same powers that the outgoing Republican governor had.

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Other stories that made headlines in North Carolina include unprecedented fights over voting rights that occurred both before and after the November election and the fatal shooting of a black man in Charlotte by officers that sparked several nights of protests and riots.

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