NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:00

1. The radical Trumpcare scam hidden in the Senate tax reform bill Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit so that they can give corporations permanent tax breaks. And now Senate Republicans have decided to turn their already awful tax bill into a secret Trumpcare bill ...

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Republican tax plan could fuel offshoring and automation, killing manufacturing jobs

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 10:07

In the dog days of summer in 2003, people in Kannapolis and neighboring towns northeast of Charlotte got news that over four thousand people working for Pillowtex were losing their jobs. Several hundred more in Concord got the same news, along with other communities outside of North Carolina. It was the largest single-day layoff in ...

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The top 3 reasons why the Senate Tax Plan is bad for North Carolina

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:00

The U.S. Senate is planning to vote on its proposed tax bill next week. In this season of giving, a time when communities are coming together and donating their time and resources to ensure that everyone has food on the table and a roof over their heads, the proposed Senate tax plan would do just ...

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One in six North Carolinians struggle with hunger; GOP tax plan threatens to make it worse

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 15:50

Over the last few years, North Carolina has remained one of the hungriest places in the US. With one in six people defined as “food-insecure,” North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the nation. Plans to cut federal taxes in a way that will grow the deficit, like the one to be voted on ...

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N&O: Wake County schools superintendent to retire

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 13:00

A longtime leader in North Carolina’s largest public school system is retiring. The News & Observer reported late Tuesday that James Merrill, superintendent of Wake County Public School System, will step down in February. Merrill’s news comes as a bit of a surprise. More than four years ago, Merrill stepped in during a rocky period ...

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Natural gas leak at Robeson County compressor station adds to anxiety over Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:12

A compressor station in the town of Prospect in Robeson County leaked natural gas for more than an hour early yesterday morning, before repair crews could stop it. That accident, although minor, underscores the safety concerns voiced by Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponents. The Robesonian first reported the story today. The paper quoted Talford Dial, who ...

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Legislative bill tracking: Former judge turned lawmaker keeping track of ‘war’ on judiciary

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 09:00

Trying to keep track of the major legislation over the last year that has been aimed at the judiciary? Look no further than Rep. Joe John (D-Wake), one of two lawmakers in the General Assembly who used to be a judge. John, who was part of a panel last week at an NC Policy Watch ...

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As conservative legislators ignores sea level rise, locals move ahead without them

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 07:34

There is a somewhat encouraging story on sea level rise that’s worth your time this week in a Wilmington-based Port City Daily. In “How the Wilmington area deals with rising seas and an increasing number of floods,” reporter Benjamin Schachtman explains how local officials are planning and preparing for the inevitable rising waters that will ...

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Betsy DeVos accused of citing bogus statistics

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:45

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using bogus data to back up recent calls for reforms in American public schools, Chalkbeat reports today. From Chalkbeat: In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a remarkable claim: “Children starting kindergarten this year face a prospect of having 65 percent of the jobs ...

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House speaker: Lawmakers may soon revisit issue of voter ID

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:58

House Speaker Tim Moore visited Moore County recently and told an audience that lawmakers could soon take up a voter identification issue again, this time through a constitutional amendment, according to The Pilot. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s original voter ID law and found that it sought to “target ...

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Here’s something to be thankful for: better air through renewable energy, efficiency

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:03

  Utilities’ energy efficiency and renewable energy programs reduced levels of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants on the southeastern grid by 3.3 million tons last year. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted by Washington, D.C. in 2014. Energy efficiency and renewable energy also removed nearly 2,600 tons of sulfur dioxide and 2,200 ...

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Charlotte Observer blasts “startling hypocrisy” of NC GOP

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:55

Be sure to check out today’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer.  In “The startling hypocrisy of N.C. Republicans,” the paper highlights the utter absurdity of state Republican claims that the latest North Carolina legislative maps drawn by federal court special master Nathan Persily amount to “race-based redistricting.” Here’s the Observer: “We’re not sure if ...

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Democracy NC: Redistricting reform gaining momentum in Southeastern states

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 07:30

Redistricting reform is building across the Southeast, a region known for gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, according to a new report from Democracy North Carolina. The voting rights organization’s researchers looked at proposed redistricting legislation in nine Southeastern states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In the first ...

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In Robeson County, local paper endorses controversial charter takeover

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:30

A controversial state plan for charter takeover of a struggling Robeson County elementary earned a rude reception from many residents and public officials in recent weeks, but the local newspaper writes in an editorial that local opposition to the Innovative School District is “weakening.” Members of the Robeson Board of Education have until February to ...

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NC Utilities Commission reaches partial settlement with Duke Energy over rate hikes; still disagree on coal ash

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:20

The public staff of the NC Utilities Commission went behind closed doors with Duke Energy Progress today to hammer out a partial settlement agreement regarding the utility’s request for a 16.7 percent increase in residential rates. These private negotiations occurred instead of a public evidentiary hearing, which was scheduled for today at 1 p.m. That ...

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Report: AOC to mail 615 monthly waivers to prepare for change in court fines, fees

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:00

A budget provision that will make it more difficult for judges to waive court fines and fees for indigent defendants goes into effect Dec. 1, but the Administrative Office of the Courts has found a way to lighten the load. The provision mandates that no court may waive or remit all or part of any ...

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Lawmakers still object to special master; Covington plaintiffs offer incumbency tweaks to new plan

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 08:45

The legislative defendants in the racial gerrymandering case that involves state House and Senate districts opposes the federal court’s appointment of a special master and alleges abuse of discretion in a motion filed Friday. “The process under which the special master is proceeding is irregular and inappropriate,” the motion states. “It defies precedent, ignores state ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 07:00

There have been a lot of editorials lamenting the poor environmental protection enforcement that allowed the GenX chemical disaster to hit southeastern North Carolina, but this Sunday’s Fayetteville Observer really hit the nail on the head with its assessment of why and how lax North Carolina law is at fault. Simply put, the editorial blasts ...

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Chemours plant in Fayetteville is leaking like a sieve, this time into the air

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:52

Late this afternoon, the state Department of Environmental Quality is investigating reports of an air emissions leak at Chemours’ Fayetteville facility and whether the leak constitutes a violation of the company’s air permit. According to an agency press release, Chemours’ officials reported on Wednesday morning that the leak occurred Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. in the ...

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Center for American Progress highlights effects of NC judicial changes on judges of color

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:10

Lawmakers are hellbent on changing the judiciary one way or another before the 2018 elections, and though it’s still unknown what exactly will happen, the proposals that have been floated result in a whitewashing of the bench. Judges of color are already underrepresented on the bench and a recent NC Policy Watch analysis of House ...

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