NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 22 min 16 sec ago

Just in: Fourth Circuit allows Wake County Board of Ed redistricting lawsuit to proceed

2 hours 32 min ago
In a 2-1 decision released this morning, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and held that the Wake County citizens’ lawsuit challenging the redistricting of Board of Education electoral districts could proceed toward trial. Writing for the court in Wright v. North Carolina,  U.S. Circuit Judge James A Wynn, Jr. said: ...

Hidden elephant that contributed to mediocre House budget

3 hours 15 min ago
The budget passed by House members last week makes clear that North Carolina remains hampered by costly decisions made in recent years. Despite modest improvements in some areas of the budget, important public investments that drive the state forward remain well below pre-recession spending levels. The House budget is a reflection of choices and an ...

Engaged employees who are treated right deliver better business results

5 hours 16 min ago
[Editor’s note: Stan C. Kimer is a retired IBM executive and former President of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He now runs a firm which offers consulting services around diversity management and training, and talent/career development. This is the second installment in a series of posts he is authoring for The Progressive Pulse]. Last ...

Lawmakers to invite another lawsuit? Bill to okay discrimination by magistrates to be heard today

8 hours 36 min ago
After it gave the bill a perfunctory review and then ignored it, there was hope that the North Carolina House had decided, smartly, to deep-six the discriminatory Senate proposal to allow North Carolina magistrates to opt out of marrying same sex couples. Now, sadly, the measure is back and scheduled to be heard in committee ...

Raise the Bar: Paying more for less in higher education

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:53
This post is part of a series on the budget featuring the voices of North Carolina experts on what our state needs to progress.  Elizabeth Grace Brown is a student at UNC Chapel Hill and is the author of this piece. I’ve spent my entire educational life in North Carolina public schools, from kindergarten to ...

Just in: Fifth Circuit refuses to lift temporary block of Obama immigration plan

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 14:56
From the New York Times: A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Two of three judges on a panel of ...

1,200 NC public schools eligible to participate in initiative to reduce hunger in the classroom

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 14:02
A powerful new initiative aimed at reducing childhood hunger will be available to around 1,200 high-poverty schools in North Carolina this upcoming school year. This initiative, known as community eligibility, allows qualifying schools to serve meals free of charge to all students, ensuring that children whose families are struggling to put food on the table ...

New interactive data tool to assess how your county is faring

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 13:04
The release of the 2013-2014 Economic Snapshots for all 100 counties provides another opportunity to reflect on how our communities are faring in today’s economy. The official economic recovery began in mid-2009 but has been slow to replace the jobs lost during the Recession and quick to produce primarily low-wage jobs that are holding incomes ...

U.S. Supreme Court to hear “one person one vote” case

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:30
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear yet another election law case, this time from Texas and concerning the “one-person one vote” principle of the 14th Amendment. That’s the rule requiring that to the extent possible voting districts be drawn with same-sized populations  — so that one person’s voting power is roughly equivalent to another person’s within a ...

UNC Board of Governors moves to discontinue 46 degree programs (list included)

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:09
The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors decided at its meeting last week to whittle down the types of degrees offered at various campuses. The culling came from a combination of campus requests and a regular system-wide review of programs with low enrollments that’s conducted every two years. The discontinuations don’t necessity mean the ...

The latest on troubling “ag gag” bill

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 08:15
The General Assembly presented the controversial “ag gag” bill to Governor McCrory last Wednesday May 20. The Guv has 10 days to sign or veto the bill (which, by my calculations, means he needs to act by this Saturday). He could also just ignore it — in which case it would become law also. The ...

Six stories to have on your radar this week

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 06:00
1. Senate to OK SEPA Reform bill The NC Senate is expected to give final approval today to the SEPA Reform bill. The Sierra Club notes that House Bill 795 would essentially repeal North Carolina’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) “by creating so many exceptions that there would likely be no projects that would be ...

Crucial Conversation luncheon: Will lawmakers bust North Carolina’s clean energy boom?

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 10:15
Please join us next week for a special NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon — Will lawmakers bust North Carolina’s clean energy boom? Featuring Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association As has been reported recently by N.C. Policy Watch and other media outlets, some powerful North Carolina politicians and interest ...

Film that sounds the alarm about fracking is coming to a town near you

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 08:29
This spring, organizations across North Carolina are joining together to host “Fracking Stories,” a statewide screening tour of six short documentaries that explore the public health and environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and the ways that communities are coming together to respond. The events will provide an opportunity for audiences to learn about the ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 15:30
1. House education budget boosts teacher pay and school vouchers, falls short on classroom needs House lawmakers unveiled a draft biennial budget Monday that includes pay raises for all teachers and a patchwork of funding initiatives aimed at improving leadership and instruction — but what’s not in the budget is what some say will prove ...

Immigrants and North Carolina’s economy

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:28
This week at Prosperity Watch, we featured analysis of the role that immigrants are playing in communities that would otherwise be experiencing population decline. Immigrants represent not only a benefit in changing the demographic picture in a county.  Since immigrants are more likely to be of prime-working age, participate in the labor force and own ...

As House OKs budget, solar tax credits in the crosshairs (video)

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:24
The NC House voted to approve a $22.1 billion budget in the early hours of Friday morning, sending the spending plan off to the Senate where it will most certainly will face more changes. One of the dozens of amendments debated prior to the passage of the spending plan would have eliminated an extension of ...

NC House gives $1 million to lobby group that pays E.D. more than Governor McCrory

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:55
A lot of people are justifiably outraged at the House budget provision that gives $1 million (and delegates public duties) to the conservative school privatization lobby group, Parents for Educational Freedom of North Carolina (PEFNC). As Rep. Rick Glazier — who tried to amend the budget to shift the money to fund teacher assistants — ...

Has confrontational senator finally gone too far?

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 08:35
At some point, you’d think it would have to catch up with Senator Bob Rucho. The quick-tempered Charlotte lawmaker who once resigned (temporarily as it turned out) as chair of the Senate Finance Committee in a huff and who infamously tweeted in December 2013 “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the ...

Paying for Tax Cuts, with Interest

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 19:10
Deep in the weeds of the House budget is a provision that would authorize the state to issue just shy of $300 million in new debt to pay for five large projects. Each of these projects (listed below) has merit, but this proposal raises two important questions: 1) Why do we have to issue debt ...

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