NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

Subscribe to NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse feed
Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 15:23
1. Lawmakers weigh options to reduce state commitment to retiree health benefits Despite the fact that North Carolina already ranks near the bottom nationally in the generosity of its retiree health plan—better only than Georgia—Senate and House lawmakers met on Monday to mull over ways to address the plan’s looming unfunded liability, with some options ...

50 years young, Medicaid makes its mark in North Carolina (with video)

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 13:38
Earlier this week, health care advocates across the nation marked a milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Medicaid and Medicare programs. To mark the occasion, the good folks at North Carolina Health News have put together a useful interactive map, demonstrating how Medicaid benefits the residents of each county in our state. Here’s a snapshot ...

Budget a month overdue, Rep. Stam says no worries

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 13:08
Rep. Skip Stam (R-Wake) told WPTF on Thursday that despite stalled budget talks that have kept the state waiting a month past the deadline for a deal that spells out how the government should run its schools and other agencies, North Carolinians should take heart — everything is running smoothly. “Every other time I’ve been ...

Robeson County faces federal scrutiny, pledges to improve access for disabled residents

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:49
Robeson County officials settled a complaint with the federal justice department this week, saying it would take steps to improve access for disabled residents to public resources. The federal agency had found the county had numerous violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which was passed 25 years ago) , leaving those with disabilities unable ...

Editorial: Voucher ruling leaves parents, public in a fog (with audio)

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:47
A week after the state Supreme Court ruled that school vouchers were constitutional, the Rocky Mount Telegram writes it’s time for parents to ask some hard questions about the enacted “Opportunity Scholarship” program. The editorial board writes in Friday’s paper: Public schools in the Twin Counties alone have plenty of kids who would benefit from ...

NC’s opportunity to build upon good start fighting child hunger

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 08:48
For the 2015-16 school year, the NC Department of Public Instruction reports that around 1,200 public schools are eligible to participate in an initiative that aims to fight hunger in high-poverty schools. Referred to as Community Eligibility, this initiative allows eligible high-poverty schools, groups of schools, or school districts to offer breakfast and lunch to all ...

McCrory misleads on “Sanctuary Cities”?

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 16:45
Gov. Pat McCrory’s statements on so-called “sanctuary cities” are misleading, inaccurate and alarmist. While the Governor suggests that limiting participation in enforcement of federal immigration guidelines could protect violent criminals, the evidence is clear that the opposite is true. Across the country, cities, counties, states and police departments have adopted policies that limit their participation ...

Celebrating Medicare and Medicaid with a little help from our friends

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 16:00
Fifty years ago today President Lyndon B. Johnson created two of our most important safety net programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare gave many seniors the health care access and financial security they lacked, and Medicaid gave many children a stable start in life. To help celebrate the occasion we decided to share several historical and ...

Ex-head of NC’s public-private economic development group got $30K bonus to stay, left three months later

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 13:03
The former head of North Carolina’s public-private economic development group received a $30,000 “stay” bonus in January, an enticement that only kept him at the new endeavor for three months. Richard Lindenmuth, a Raleigh business executive, was selected in January 2014 to get the largely publicly-funded Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina off the ground. ...

Barber sends open letter to Governor McCrory, seeks to work together on flag issue

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:10
“Protect the People”: Open Letter to Gov. Pat McCrory Dear Governor McCrory: I recently read a news story that reported the following: “‘Governor Pat McCrory has sworn to uphold the constitution. He will not assume powers not provided to him by law and it is clear he does not have the authority to unilaterally stop ...

Rep. Pendleton: Eliminating retiree health benefits “should have been done a long time ago.”

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 07:58
In a meeting Wednesday where House lawmakers discussed key differences between the two chambers’ 2015-17 budget proposals, Rep. Gary Pendleton (R-Raleigh) said he was all for eliminating retiree medical benefits for future teachers and state employees. “That’s something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Pendleton after legislative staff outlined the differences ...

Conservatives sure are running state government “like a business”

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 07:12
If you had dollar for every time conservative politicians promised to start “running North Carolina like a business” back when they were engineering their rise to power at the start of the decade, you’d have a lot of money — maybe enough to hire back some of the educators they’ve fired since then. This morning, ...

Editorials decry death penalty secrecy bill as “bloodlust” and “macabre”

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 16:19
In case you missed it, the Fayetteville Observer had this to say this morning about the dreadful proposal to expedite executions and keep the drugs used to do the dirty deed a secret: “The legislative urgency to get North Carolina back into executing murderers has reached a fever pitch that looks a lot like bloodlust. It’s ...

NYT Must Read: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 13:19
Today’s must read comes from  Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times. In his latest piece, A Dream Undone, Rutenberg takes readers back to 1956 when Henry Frye (who later became North Carolina’s first black Supreme Court chief justice) was subjected to a literacy test and barred from registering to vote. Rutenberg then fast-forwards us ...

GOP lawmaker says if McCrory “would just shut his mouth…”

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 12:21
Another day, another startling display of disrespect from a Republican state lawmaker toward Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Patrick Gannon of the The Insider (subscription required)  reports that Rep. Phil Shepard was overheard Tuesday delivering some harsh words about the governor to his Republican colleagues. Before a House Transportation Committee Tuesday morning, Shepard, a committee cochairman, was overheard ...

Shameless stalling on Obama judicial nominees hits new low

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 11:31
As the numbers below from the good people at the Alliance For Justice show, the the conservative blockade of President Obama’s judicial nominees is reaching absurd and historic levels. Admittedly, Obama has 18 months to go in his term, but if things continue at their current pace, only 20 nominees will be confirmed during his ...

The nonsense surrounding Tata and his departure

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 09:42
If you’re looking for a powerful testimonial to the sorry state of both the policy and media worlds in modern North Carolina, you need look no further than the ridiculous hubbub surrounding yesterday’s sudden resignation of state Department of Transportation Secretary, Tony Tata. The story begins with the bizarre fact that Tata was ever in ...

Why did State Board of Elections approve local elections official who posted hateful speech?

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 15:28
Kudos to citizen journalist Greg Flynn for pointing out on Twitter today the recent and outrageous appointment of Rowan County businessman and former Housing Board Chairman Mac Butner to the Rowan County Board of Elections. As Flynn reported this morning, Butner said the following on Facebook in 2013:               ...

Leg. staff offers better mousetrap on retiree benefits. Will the Senate buy it?

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:45
Legislative staff pitched a policy solution to lawmakers on Monday that could reduce the state’s $25.5 billion unfunded liability associated with the Retiree Health Benefit Fund by 11.8 percent, producing a larger cost savings than the Senate’s proposal to eliminate retiree health benefits for all teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016. The fix? Shift some ...

Trending today on Jones Street – the resignation of NCDOT Sec. Tony Tata

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 12:06
Governor Pat McCrory’s Transportation Secretary caught many in the state government world by surprise Tuesday with the announcement that he would leave the office immediately. A press release from the governor’s office explained Tony Tata’s departure this way: …Tony Tata has resigned as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) to focus on ...

Pages