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Court of appeals sets date in Rowan County prayer case

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:56

Attorneys will argue the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ current prayer policy before all 15 judges of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 22. The court is located in Richmond, Va. The en banc review was granted in response to the ACLU of North Carolina asking the federal court to reconsider after a 2-1 ...

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Amount of toxics released into air declines, but NC’s water is in trouble

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:26

Breathe deeply — well, not too deeply. But swim cautiously because the water is worse than the air. The amount of toxic pollutants that industry emitted into North Carolina’s air decreased substantially from 2005 to 2015. Unfortunately, the load of toxic contaminants increased in the state’s waterways by 200,000 pounds over that same decade. The figures come ...

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Charlotte real estate execs on HB2: “It needs to go away.”

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:16

This week a group of Charlotte real estate executives held a 2017 market forecast – and continued to see HB2 as a problem on the horizon. From the Charlotte Observer: “It’s idiotic, and it needs to go away,” said Wyatt Dixon, managing principal at apartment developer Proffitt Dixon. He said an investor on an undisclosed ...

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Real people are in the Medicaid coverage gap

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:26

The numbers are out there. For over three years the numbers have been reported on everything from how many people with diabetes could receive the medications they need to control this chronic condition to the number of jobs that could be created in each county. The numbers even show how some of the most vulnerable like children or ...

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AG Josh Stein on North Carolina’s opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform and legislative lawsuits (audio)

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:45

North Carolina’s new Attorney General Josh Stein was gracious enough to join Policy Watch in studio over the weekend to discuss criminal justice reform, the repeal of HB2, and how to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.  If you missed Stein’s radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon on Sunday, make time to listen to the podcast below: ...

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Raleigh full-time employees to see raise by end of summer

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:42

Raleigh City Council approved a living wage policy that will increase the pay of more than 200 full-time city employees beginning in July. The News and Observer reports that the city currently pays its lowest-level employees a minimum of $12.01 an hour, which comes out to about $24,981 a year. Under the new policy, Raleigh will ...

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Sen. Thom Tillis: Voters didn’t give GOP an ideological mandate

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 09:31

In case you missed it: Republican Sen. Thom Tillis penned a column for the Charlotte Observer yesterday in which he warns the GOP that voters didn’t deliver them a mandate to ram through a right wing ideological agenda. From the piece: During the election, Donald Trump seized on the nation’s discontent, convincing voters in swing ...

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The drumbeat against ACA repeal grows as new and disastrous numbers highlight the risk

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 07:00

At some point, you’ve got to think that Donald Trump and the members of Congress driving the ACA repeal bus are going to stop and ask themselves “what in the heck are we doing?” The latest numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (remember, CBO serves a Congress that has been Republican-controlled for some time) ...

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Reps. Butterfield, Adams to skip Trump’s inauguration, Price will attend

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 06:00

The three Democratic members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are divided on their plans to attend Donald Trump’s Inauguration. Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) issued three tweets Tuesday spelling out his decision not to be in the audience: After prayerful consideration, I cannot in good conscious attend the inaugural ceremony for President-elect Donald Trump. (1/3) — ...

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Panel: HB2 repeal is inevitable; public, business outcry ‘tip of the iceberg’

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 16:24

A full repeal of House Bill 2 is inevitable, according to a panel of experts who spoke Tuesday about the future of the sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation. “I think full repeal is the only thing that’s going to fix the problem,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina and a former member of the ...

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House Speaker Tim Moore names committee leaders, some with dubious environmental histories

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 15:33

House Speaker Tim Moore announced his appointments for committee chairs today, the people in charge of herding the membership and their bills. All of the top posts for the environmental and agriculture committees went to Republicans. In addition to the chairs specific to the environment and agriculture, the Regulatory Reform committee leadership also bears watching. Many environmental laws ...

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What’s at stake as legislative leaders double down on Medicaid blockade

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 15:26

Last week, conservative leaders at North Carolina General Assembly launched a legal attack against Gov. Cooper’s efforts to expand Medicaid. In so doing, these lawmakers went against the desires of 72 percent of North Carolinians who want to fix the health insurance gap by expanding Medicaid. Suing both the federal and state Department of Health ...

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Senator Jeff Jackson: Medicaid expansion efforts should proceed (audio)

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 13:59

If you missed it over the holiday weekend, state Senator Jeff Jackson joined NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon to discuss the need for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, despite the efforts by legislative leaders to block Gov. Cooper every step of the way.  Jackson also shared his thoughts on what repeal of the Affordable Care ...

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News & Observer column: No need for cops in schools

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 12:56

In case you missed it this weekend, The News & Observer’s Barry Saunders has offered up his characteristically spirited take on the stewing debate over police officers in schools following the disturbing Jan. 3 altercation captured on tape at Rolesville High. It’s a fascinating read, and it comes, as Policy Watch reported last week, with ...

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Why Berger and Moore’s suit against Gov. Cooper over Medicaid expansion is bogus

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 10:30

There are obviously a lot of substantive reasons why expanding Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act would be great for North Carolina. One can actually come up with thousands by doing nothing other than considering the number of human lives that would be saved from premature death. That said, it’s also worth ...

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Last call for tomorrow’s Crucial Conversation luncheon with Dr. William Spriggs

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 07:59

A few seats still remain for tomorrow’s Crucial Conversation luncheon: What is the true state of the economy and how do we make it work for everyone? Featuring special guest, Dr. William Spriggs, Chief Economist for the national AFL-CIO. Click here to register — Here are the details: As new administrations take office in Washington ...

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Federal judge temporarily blocks governor’s Medicaid expansion efforts

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 15:35

A federal judge over the weekend granted North Carolina legislative leaders’ request to block Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to expand Medicaid. Plaintiffs, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, filed the motion for a temporary restraining order Saturday. U.S. District Court Judge Louise Wood Flanagan issued the order granting their motion the ...

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The toxics in the water at Camp Lejeune can be found throughout North Carolina

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 13:29

There have been at least six major wars and nine smaller U.S. invasions since the drinking water became contaminated at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville. Yet the cancer-causing contaminants are not limited to the military base. Benzene, which comes from petroleum and chemical industries; TCE, known as trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser; and PCE, short for perchloroethylene, a ...

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Forsyth County teacher dissects the folly and hypocrisy of school privatization

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 09:01

One of the best op-eds of recent days in North Carolina was the latest missive from occasional NC Policy Watch contributor and Forsyth County public school teacher, Stuart Egan. This is from Egan’s essay (“Offenders of public education should be its defenders”) that appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal this past Friday: “Public education is a sacred ...

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Feds file court motion in attempt to make NC comply with mental health services agreement

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 14:58

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion last week in federal court to enforce a 2012 settlement agreement with the state of North Carolina, alleging it failed to comply with requirements by not providing enough community-based housing to adults with serious mental illnesses. The agreement required the state to provide 1,166 community-based supportive housing slots ...

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