NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 7 min ago

State seeks emergency stay of redistricting ruling

3 hours 13 min ago
State officials have asked the three-judge panel that late last week tossed Congressional Districts 1 and 12  as racial gerrymanders to stay their order requiring a new congressional redistricting plan by February 19, arguing that disrupting the primary elections already underway will lead to “significant voter confusion and irreparable harm to the citizens of North Carolina.” They have ...

Five reasons you can’t miss this Saturday’s Moral March on Raleigh

7 hours 34 min ago
There are actually dozens of good reasons to get off your keister, come to downtown Raleigh this Saturday and add your voice to the thousands who will march for justice in our state at the 10th annual HK on J People’s Assembly. In fact, as we reported last October in “This year’s dirty dozen: Twelve ...

It’s time to delay the March primary

10 hours 44 min ago
Moving the 2016 primary from its normal date in May to March was always a lousy idea — one that was motivated as much by the desire to protect incumbents and the state’s conservative legislature as it was to make a North Carolina a “player” in national presidential politics. Now, with Friday’s federal court ruling ...

Federal three-judge panel throws out Congressional Districts 1 and 12 as racial gerrymanders

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 20:05
A federal three-judge panel threw out North Carolina’s Congressional Districts 1 and 12 today as racial gerrymanders and gave the General Assembly until February 19 to redraw new maps. Writing for the court in a decision handed down late this afternoon, Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory said: After careful consideration of all evidence presented during a ...

Friday afternoon good news: Amazing solar power plant goes online

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 15:31
If you’re looking for a measure of good news to get you through the weekend (and are willing to look outside North Carolina), check out this story (and the amazing photos) on detailing the massive new solar power plant in the northwest African nation of Morocco. To quote: “Morocco has officially turned on a ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 14:30
1. UNC system official explains N.C.’s prodigious drop in those seeking teaching degrees Members of the N.C. State Board of Education received some more troubling news about teachers Wednesday. Alisa Chapman, vice president for academic and university programs in the UNC system, presented data that show the state’s increasing inability to attract students to the ...

Report: Automation may eliminate half of NC’s current jobs in one generation (video)

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 13:21
If you feel secure in your current job, here’s something that may give you pause: New analysis by NC State University suggests that jobs in some 39 major current employment categories in our state are at least 70% likely to be eliminated within one generation as a result of automation. The so-called Disruption Index for ...

Another tool for local governments to combat wage theft

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 11:48
Our neighbors in the Midwest had a big victory earlier this year when Cincinnati passed an innovative ordinance aimed at reducing wage theft.  Recognizing the devastating impact of this common problem on workers and the local economy, Cincinnati is setting expectations for companies that do business with the city or that receive incentives.  These companies ...

Editorial: Conservative policies led directly to declining interest in teaching profession

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 09:12
An editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer (“In NC a teacher shortage develops by design”) tells it like it is: “One would have thought, when Republican lawmakers raised starting teacher pay in North Carolina to $35,000, that they’d marched into classrooms in North Carolina with sacks of gold and silver. Of ...

As the Family Medical Leave Act turns 23, advocates push for greater access to paid family leave (video)

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 06:00
Friday marks the 23rd anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act. The federal law signed by then-President Bill Clinton required covered employers provide their workers with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified medical reasons. Allan Freyer, director of the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project, says while the 1993 law provided important protections for workers, improvements ...

Context is key for understanding Insurance Commissioner’s Affordable Care Act comments

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 14:56
Many people were surprised to see a story in the News & Observer today where Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin seems to be giving support to opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The article is about a letter that Goodwin sent to federal Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about problems in the North Carolina ...

State education officials respond to GOP leader’s allegations of misusing funds

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:45
One day after N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson responded to aggressive questioning by at least one Senate Republican about allegations of misusing funds, state education officials explained themselves in a letter to Senate President Phil Berger, Policy Watch has learned. In the letter, State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey and Atkinson stated ...

Super Bowl week laughs: Group founded by Lt. Gov. Forest purports to grade NFL for adherence to conservative “Christian” values

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 11:45
If ever you find yourself in need of a moment of mirth in today’s stressed out news cycle and you’ve already checked out all the day’s headlines at The Onion, here’s a great #2 option: surf on over to the website of the “Faith Driven Consumer” and check out their latest LOL ratings of corporate ...

State considers cutting student growth from teaching evaluations

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 10:18
As we reported on Tuesday, North Carolina has more autonomy these days when it comes to evaluating teachers, thanks to last year’s update of the controversial federal education law, No Child Left Behind, now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). So it should come as little surprise that one of the first reforms North Carolina ...

More trickledown pay raises for top one percenters at UNC

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 06:16
There they go again. A few months after the UNC Board of Governors dropped some big cash on system chancellors, UNC Chapel Hill trustees have bestowed big, retroactive raises on an array of already extremely well-paid administrators. This is, of course, at a time when other North Carolina public employees of more modest stature are ...

Supporting Home-Grown Entrepreneurs A Better Job Creation Approach

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 01:13
Supporting homegrown startups and young, fast-growing in-state companies is likely to be a more effective strategy for states to create jobs and build a strong economy than across-the-board tax cuts and other attempts to lure businesses from elsewhere that many states pursue today. A new report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ...

UNC system official explains N.C.’s prodigious drop in those seeking teaching degrees

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 15:15
Members of the N.C. State Board of Education received some more troubling news about teachers Wednesday. Alisa Chapman, vice president for academic and university programs in the UNC system, presented data that show the state’s increasing inability to attract students to the teaching profession. Since 2010, enrollment in bachelor’s and master’s education programs systemwide has ...

Powerful new report: State tax cuts aren’t what produces job growth

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 11:38
The wonks at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are out with a new report that, once again, derides the central premise  of the “economic development” strategy being pursued by Governor Pat McCrory and the General Assembly. Here’s the opening to “State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base”: To create jobs and build strong ...

Teacher pens open letter, op-ed defending public education

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 10:01
Forsyth County high school teacher Stuart Egan has a couple of “must reads” you should check out this morning. Number One is this open letter from the main N.C. Policy Watch site to State Rep. Paul Stam in which he dissects some of Stam’s recent comments about what’s needed in our public schools. Here’s Egan ...

The rich are still getting richer: More amazing stats

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 07:42
This month’s amazing infographic from the good people at and their project Too Much Online is entitled “Tracking Our World’s Relentless Rich.” Read it and, hopefully, be moved to action: