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Still time to RSVP for Thursday’s luncheon on the Supreme Court

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 17:05
It looks like we’ll have a sizable crowd, but some seats still remain for Thursday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon: The State of the U.S. Supreme Court with Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress. Millhiser is the Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress and the Justice Editor for ...

Missing workers update: July 2014

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 15:15
Yesterday’s release of the latest labor market numbers for July 2014 continues to show a slow recovery of jobs in North Carolina. Job growth, while occurring, is insufficient to ensure that the state’s growing working age population has employment opportunities. North Carolina has still not replaced the nearly 300,000 jobs lost during the Great Recession. ...

Public’s first chance to comment on fracking rules comes Wednesday

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 14:16
It’s been more than two months since Governor Pat MCcrory signed into law legislation that clears the way for permits to be issued for fracking in North Carolina. Still, environmental groups and concerned citizens are expected to turn out in full force this week to comment on draft rules for future gas and oil exploration. ...

Former state Rep. LaRoque looking for money from Kinston non-profit he’s accused of stealing from

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:05
Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque wants back pay from the non-profit he founded – the same federally-funded group that prosecutors contend he stole $300,000 from while serving as its executive director. LaRoque, a Kinston Republican who resigned from the state legislature in July 2012 following his federal indictment, filed a breach of contract lawsuit in ...

New poll: North Carolinians back living wage standards, paid sick leave

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:24
A new poll out today finds North Carolinians of all political backgrounds favor raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing access to paid sick days and establishing local living wage ordinances. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, finds that 62 percent of North Carolina voters support a state law guaranteeing access to paid sick days. Even ...

Court’s refusal to stay monster voting law is headed to the Fourth Circuit

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:55
Students who challenged the state’s monster voting law in court have filed a notice of appeal of U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s August 8 ruling denying a stay of that law, pending the November elections. Their filing yesterday is here. Stay tuned for more.

Duke Energy havoc: The unaddressed coal ash crisis and McCrory’s ethics problems

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 06:41
This morning’s Weekly Briefing tries to bring readers up to date on the sad state of North Carolina’s coal ash debate and the surprising — and potentially tragic — lack of action by state leaders to confront Duke Energy and protect the public’s well-being. One important side story to the coal ash crisis that it ...

Virginia plaintiffs ask Supreme Court to deny stay in same-sex marriage case

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 16:56
Plaintiffs in the Virginia marriage equality case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the request for a stay of the 4th Circuit decision rejecting that state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. As reported previously, attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban had asked the U.S. ...

Tracking the Cuts: Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Randolph County schools forced to eliminate jobs

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 15:57
Members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education approved a budget last week that eliminates 22 teacher assistant positions, thanks to a $911,000 budget shortfall handed down by state lawmakers. According to chapelboro.com: Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese said that while the state budget would allow Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to shift some money ...

Justice Mark Martin to replace retiring Chief Justice Sarah Parker

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 14:56
As expected, Gov. Pat McCrory today announced that he will appoint sitting Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin to serve as Chief Justice effective September 1, 2014, replacing the retiring chief, Sarah Parker. Martin is the court’s Senior Associate Justice, elected to a seat there in 1998 at the age of 35. He previously served on the ...

How much special interest cash have NC politicians piled up? This much…

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:40
Just in from the watchdogs at Democracy NC (click here to read the entire report): State Legislators Pile Up $8 Million for Campaigns; Incumbent Advantage Will Grow with PACs’ “Gratitude Money” A review of financial reports by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina shows that state legislators running for reelection have stockpiled more than $8 ...

North Carolina’s unemployment up slightly, as state sheds thousands of jobs

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:58
North Carolina had 20,000 fewer people working in July than the previous month, as the state’s unemployment ticked up slightly to 6.5 percent. The July jobs report that came out Monday morning (click here to read) puts the state’s unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, much lower than the 8.1 percent unemployment the state experienced a ...

Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:17
1. Lawmakers inch toward adjournment - This afternoon at 4:30 p.m. the House Rules committee will take up House Bill 1224, legislation that ties together a sales tax and economic development measure to a budget fix that would fund teaching assistant positions for the 2014-15 school year. Incentives and the TA budget fix are the ...

New report: Failure to expand Medicaid will cost NC $51 billion

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 08:43
The negative impact of the failure of state leaders to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is becoming truly gigantic. As the Asheville Citizen-Times reported over the weekend: North Carolina will miss $51 billion in federal payments over the next decade unless lawmakers expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new report. Hospitals in ...

House to return Monday, not in November (video)

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 20:40
Try as the might, the NC House was unable to wrap-up the short session on Friday. Legislators in that chamber will return for two days next week, in which they hope to conclude their work for the remainder of the year and adjourn. House Speaker Thom Tillis announced late Friday that the body does not ...

Ethics Commission member makes questionable comment about Governor’s stock disclosure

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:31
Here’s a fascinating and disturbing, if not terribly surprising, sidebar to the story that has erupted in recent days around Governor McCrory’s failure to disclose his Duke Energy holdings: one of McCrory’s own appointees to the State Ethics Commission (the group that would likely review the Governor’s behavior in the matter) appears to have made ...

Request for stay of 4th Circuit same-sex marriage decision now at the Supreme Court

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:18
Attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban asked the U.S. Supreme Court last night to stay implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s decision, in Bostic v. Schaefer, striking down that ban as unconstitutional. Per SCOTUSBLOG, that decision will go into effect at 9 a.m. next Thursday absent intervention by the high ...

Surprise! Last minute “regulatory reform” bill includes polluter wish list

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:44
[Updated: The Senate adopted the conference committee report as its first act this morning]. As state lawmakers prepare to gather this morning for what could be the final day of the 2013-14 General Assembly, it should come as no surprise that one of the final acts is likely to be the enactment of a polluter ...

What could be better that one adjournment resolution? Try three!

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:10
You read that right. The Senate actually passed three unique adjournment resolutions Thursday evening that would allow: lawmakers to wrap-up this session and head home for the year (House Joint Resolution 1276) lawmakers to return November 17th to consider Medicaid reform  (House Joint Resolution 182) lawmakers to head home now, but return November 17th to ...

Is this finally THE day?

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 08:07
You know…the day that North Carolinians can finally say adieu to the 170 members of the 2013-14 General Assembly? As has almost always been the case with the current crop of state lawmakers, the signals are mixed and confusing. News reports this morning indicate that even as legislative leaders  look for ways to append a ...

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