Republicans have been able to cut tax rates, balance budgets, and increase spending on high-priority items since taking control of the N.C. General Assembly in 2011. But they will face some new challenges as they return to the budget process in the new year. Joseph Coletti, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, outlines those challenges. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman delivered free-market messages to a wide television audience with his “Free to Choose” program on public TV. The Free to Choose Network follows in Friedman’s footsteps with a series of programs highlighting the importance of markets. President and CEO Robert Chatfield discusses the network’s latest projects. Before announcing plans to step down as UNC System president, Margaret Spellings offered praise for a program designed to highlight two cost-saving programs for students within the statewide university system. Spellings touted the taxpayer-funded We Promise campaign during a meeting with the system’s Board of Governors. Absentee ballot irregularities in southeastern North Carolina prompted members of the N.C. elections board to delay certifying results of the hotly contested 9th District congressional race. As elections officials investigated, three Republican state senators called on the governor to establish a new bipartisan task force to look into the issue. You’ll hear why they believe an outside group should probe allegations of illegal activity involving absentee ballots. A special N.C. House committee has unveiled its proposals for addressing safety in the state’s public schools. Lindsay Marchello, Carolina Journal associate editor, covered the committee’s debate of its final report. Marchello highlights the group’s top priorities.