Conservative North Carolina political leaders have adopted more freedom-oriented policies in the past few years, and the results have paid off in a new national ranking. The Cato Institute’s “Freedom in the 50 States” report ranks North Carolina No. 19 among the states. That’s up from a No. 24 ranking in the report’s 2013 edition. Report co-author Jason Sorens of Dartmouth College’s Political Economy Project explains how North Carolina has improved its ranking. Sorens also discusses how the Tar Heel State could take other steps toward greater freedom. One of the points of attack against North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the so-called “bathroom law,” involves the potential negative economic impact. Nearly 70 corporations signed onto a legal document supporting the Obama administration’s effort to fight H.B. 2 in court. But one Raleigh-based business recently had the tables turned. Justin Danhof, general counsel at the National Center for Public Policy Research, attended Red Hat’s recent annual shareholders meeting in Raleigh. Danhof asked the software company what legal basis it used in deciding to join the legal fight. Danhof says Red Hat and other signees seem to have missed the point of the debate: The Obama administration is inserting the executive branch of the federal government into an issue that should be decided by Congress or left to the states. North Carolina recently sold the first set of bonds associated with the multibillion-dollar, voter-approved Connect NC package. State lawmakers recently highlighted the bond sale. They focused special attention on historically low interest rates associated with the bond sale. It’s unlikely that you’ve heard much about the potential threat of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. But James Carafano hopes to raise awareness of the devastation that could result in the United States from an EMP attack. Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, says the complications from an EMP attack could end up killing nine out of 10 Americans. He’s urging policymakers to take steps that would limit the potential for such havoc. In a hotly contested presidential race in North Carolina, third-party candidates could play a more important role than they have in the past. Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein both hope to draw some support in November. Carolina Journal Managing Editor Rick Henderson explains why only Johnson will appear alongside the Republican and Democratic candidates on the North Carolina ballot. Henderson also analyzes the prospects for third-party impact on the final result in the Tar Heel State.