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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 28 min ago

Editorial: What NC can and should do about gun safety

5 hours 3 min ago

There’s an excellent lead editorial in this morning’s Charlotte Observer that spells out a logical path for North Carolina in the aftermath of last week’s assault weapon massacre at a Florida high school.  The editorial points out that after Congress failed to act in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, state officials took ...

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Loopholes in the draft coal ash landfill rules; two public hearings scheduled this week

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:01

The public hearing started with an apology and without many members of the public. Only four days before, the NC Department of Environmental Quality had published a notice on its website that it would hold the first hearing on 89 pages of draft rules governing coal ash landfills. It wasn’t surprising then that the seats ...

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Judge turned lawmaker Morey proposes gun violence restraining order in NC

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:50

Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham) is calling on her colleagues to pass legislation that would remove guns from individuals who are considered a danger to themselves or others. A Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is similar to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in that it would allow a district court judge to order the removal of ...

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Smaller schools, nurses, the arts: Lauded North Carolina teacher talks gun violence

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:29

Smaller schools, better community engagement, more school nurses and a renewed emphasis on the arts. All are ways educators may address the wave of gun violence in U.S. schools, says Bobbie Cavnar, a 12th-grade English teacher in Gaston County who, this month, took home a top honor from the National Education Association. Cavnar, a former ...

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Wow! Conservative N&O columnist hits home run

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:00

J. Peder Zane is a conservative columnist for Raleigh’s News & Observer who can almost always be counted on to produce maddening takes on a wide array of issues. Last Friday, however, Zane did something quite refreshing and praiseworthy: he wrote a column about the central problem confronting our public schools that was right on ...

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Ex-DEQ chief Donald van der Vaart could lead EPA Council on Environmental Quality

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 09:27

Donald van der Vaart, the controversial former NC DEQ secretary, is a leading candidate for a top EPA post, E&E News reported yesterday. Van der Vaart, who long had his sights on an EPA job, has the support of conservatives who want to see him lead the agency’s Council on Environmental Quality. CEQ wields power ...

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After Florida school shooting, Speaker Moore says he will launch school safety committee

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:42

Following this week’s horrendous school shooting in Parkland, Fla., N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore says he will launch a committee tasked with making recommendations for improving school safety. According to WRAL, Moore said he will announce the committee’s membership at a press conference next week in Shelby. More from WRAL: The bipartisan House Select Committee ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:33

1. 12 years of negligence. 1 million gallons of manure. A $64,000 fine. A Jones County hog farm is out of business — for now. On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in rural Jones County. An environmental specialist with the state’s Division of Water Resources, ...

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Which judges are double-bunked in the new maps? Here’s a list

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:39

Lawmakers have said they won’t be back until May to take up judicial redistricting, but dropped two new maps before adjourning a special session this week. The maps this time were released with incumbency information, but not without errors. NC Policy Watch analyzed the information (again) and found that there are more judges double-bunked in ...

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Burr and Tillis stick to their irresponsible, NRA-funded lines in aftermath of Florida high school massacre

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:27

Raleigh’s News & Observer reports this morning that North Carolina’s U.S. senators are two of the top four campaign funding recipients from the National Rifle Association. What a shock it is, therefore, to read in the remainder of the story that neither man is willing to say or do anything of substance to address the ...

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Gov. Cooper’s office: Lawmakers have “imperiled” pipeline agreement by reallocating funds

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 18:57

In a letter to lawmakers today, Kristi Jones, chief of staff for Gov. Roy Cooper, implied that a $57.8 million mitigation fund for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could be in jeopardy now that lawmakers have reallocated the money from its original purpose. “It’s unclear if North Carolina will receive these funds, denying businesses and farms ...

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Republicans denounce partisan judicial elections in merit selection discussion

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 15:01

The Federalist Society’s Triangle Lawyers Chapter hosted a discussion Thursday on merit selection, but panelists instead focused on the pros and cons of partisan judicial elections. Buddy Wester, a business attorney from Charlotte, and Bob Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice — both of whom are registered Republicans — denounced partisan labels for judges, ...

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How can North Carolina make sure students are eating breakfast?

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 09:05

The benefits of school breakfast participation are clear — reduced hunger, improved academic achievement and test scores, elevated health and nutrition, and reduced absenteeism, tardiness, and behavior referrals. In 2016-2017, more children participated in the school breakfast program nationally than ever before, according to the Food Research Action Center’s (FRAC) School Breakfast Scorecard. This report ...

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The gun madness continues as American school shootings reach truly obscene levels

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 06:26

Ho hum. Another day, another 17 American children gunned down in what ought to be one of the safest havens in society by a disturbed man-child with a mass killing machine. As the New York Times explains this morning, the numbers have become certifiably obscene: “When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults ...

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NC Congressional delegation denounces Florida School Shooting; Rep. Price demands vote on gun violence bills

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 23:27

Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida claimed at least 17 lives. The 19-year-old suspect had previously been expelled from the school. The following reaction is from North Carolina’s Congressional delegation: Tragic news out of Florida. Please keep the victims, their families, first responders and the community in your thoughts and ...

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Gov. Roy Cooper won’t veto class size, Board of Elections, pipeline omnibus

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:21

Gov. Roy Cooper says he won’t veto an omnibus bill that eases North Carolina’s class size crisis, despite several parts of the bill that he calls “political attacks and power grabs.” “Our kids in schools are too important,” said Cooper. “But we do need to talk about the bad parts of the bill.” The legislation, ...

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Evil or just bad policy? Trump’s budget leaves hungry North Carolinians to fend for themselves

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 15:15

On Monday, the President released his 2019 budget, which included devastating cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formally known as food stamps). The plan aims to cut one of the nation’s most important safety net programs by nearly 30 percent, or $213 billion over 10 years. Although the cuts would have devastating effects ...

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NC Harm Reduction Coalition gets $1 million grant to battle opioid epidemic

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 14:30

The work of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition was given a boost this week when the group received a $1 million grant Tuesday from health care provider Aetna. From the Spectrum News story on the grant:   Healthcare provider, Aetna, presented a $1 million grant to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a group dedicated to battling ...

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Next fix for legislators to address – the nurse-to-student ratio in NC’s public schools

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 13:20

Legislators headed home Tuesday, wrapping-up the special session with a controversial fix to the unfunded class-size mandate. And with that issue off the front burner for now, lawmakers might want to revisit a recent legislative study that found the state would need to spend up to $79 million a year to meet the recommended school ...

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Three important ways in which President Trump’s proposed budget shifts costs to North Carolina

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 12:45

On the heels of a federal tax plan that provides tax breaks to the wealthy, foreign investors and profitable corporations, President Trump has released a budget that will make it more difficult for people to get back to work and strengthen their quality of life and ensure thriving communities. It is unlikely that North Carolina ...

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