NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Department of Justice: Rivers Correctional Institution in Hertford County is a lawless place

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 15:37
Rivers Correctional Institution is located on 257 bucolic acres on Parker’s Fishery Road, in unincorporated Hertford County. With a capacity of 1,450, the federal prison could fit about two Wintons — the closest town, population 760 or so — inside its walls. Even though Rivers is a low-security facility — not a supermax prison — it is a desperate, violent ...

Three things North Carolina consumers need to know about Aetna’s Marketplace exit

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 13:37
On Monday, the health insurance giant Aetna announced it would scale back its offerings on the Health Insurance Marketplace, where consumers can shop around for individual health insurance plans and qualify for financial help from the federal government to afford their coverage. While Aetna ostensibly cites high costs as the reason it is pulling back ...

TANF at 20: How it contributed to a tattered safety net for struggling families

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 12:03
This blog is the first post in a series that will detail how lawmakers have weakened Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) over the last 20 years, explain why TANF is a cautionary tale rather than a model for other work and income support programs, and map out a better way forward. Come Monday, Aug. ...

Dissecting McCrory’s “laughable” explanation for his appeal to the Supreme Court

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:12
This morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record includes an on-the-money takedown of Gov. Pat McCrory’s downright preposterous excuse for pushing an “emergency” appeal of the Fourth Circuit’s July ruling striking down the state’s “monster” voter suppression law. As the N&R demonstrates, the Guv’s explanation would literally be laugh-out-loud funny if it wasn’t so ...

What is Dallas Woodhouse really afraid of?

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:16
The big story in North Carolina today is the blatantly partisan effort of state Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse (pictured at left in his Americans for Prosperity days) to suppress voter turnout in the November election. As Colin Campbell of Raleigh’s News & Observer reported yesterday afternoon, Woodhouse has sent directives to all of ...

Great news from Greensboro as city adopts paid parental leave policy for city workers

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:49
There was great news in Greensboro last night as North Carolina’s third largest city moved into the 21st Century (the 20th in other advanced parts of the world) in an important area of public policy: leave for new parents. The good people at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, report: Greensboro City Council ...

Expert: Why McCrory’s (very expensive) lawyer faces an uphill battle at the Supreme Court

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:56
U.S. Supreme Court chronicler Ian Millhiser has another fascinating post at Think Progress on the “emergency” appeal that Gov. Pat McCrory filed 17 days after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s discriminatory “monster” voter suppression law. As Millhiser notes in “North Carolina Hires One Of America’s Most Expensive Attorneys To Defend ...

It’s past time to halt program that subsidizes discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 08:43
A few weeks back, Chris Fitzsimon was the first commentator in the state to call attention to the fact that North Carolina’s badly misnamed “Opportunity Scholarship” (i.e. school vouchers) program is funneling public money to private religious schools that discriminate against LGBT children and/or kids whose parents are LGBT. Happily, since that time, mainstream news ...

New analysis: NC teacher pay still mired near the bottom (state-by-state chart)

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 15:07
The most recent edition of the NC Budget and Tax Center’s “Prosperity Watch” feature by BTC Director Alexandra Siroat has more sobering news on teacher pay in North Carolina: Prosperity Watch: N.C. teacher pay still lagging as they go back to school As children, families, teachers and communities prepare to head back to school, the ...

Blatant voter suppression efforts continue as local conservative officials work to limit early voting

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:58
Despite somewhat encouraging results in Guilford County last week, efforts by conservatives around the state to limit early voting in the fall election continue apace. This is from today’s Charlotte Observer: “Despite pleas not to curtail early voting, Mecklenburg County elections officials voted Monday to cut the overall number of hours from the 2012 election ...

What a way to live: Raleigh mall panic highlights the terror (and costs) of a society awash in guns

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 09:27
News outlets are reporting today that there is still no definitive evidence that gunshots were actually fired this past weekend at a Raleigh mall. This is from Raleigh’s News & Observer: “Police are still trying to determine what caused the ‘loud noise’ reported as gunshots at Crabtree Valley Mall on Saturday afternoon and are asking ...

McCrory appeals to Supreme Court to restore voter ID ahead of fall elections

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 06:39
Governor Pat McCrory has formally requested U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stay a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and reinstate North Carolina’s Voter ID law. “Allowing the Fourth Circuit’s ruling to stand creates confusion among voters and poll workers and it disregards our successful rollout of Voter ID in the ...

Parents, teachers: NC state spending not meeting needs for school supplies

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 16:40
Last week, we shared an op-ed from a Wake County teacher bemoaning the increasing financial burden for North Carolina teachers who, lacking proper funding from the state, oftentimes spend their own cash to provide for their pupils. Today, The News & Observer is wading into the issue for parents and teachers as many students prepare to ...

Supreme Court expert: It’s as if NC lawmakers “were trying to get caught” on voting rights

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 15:20
Ian Millhiser, the extremely knowledgeable Supreme Court observer/analyst at the Center for American Progress, has some advice for the lawyers representing Gov. Pat McCrory and the other defenders of the state’s voter suppression law that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a couple of weeks ago. This is from his new post: “Is ...

Panel of scientists, including several from N.C., disagree with EPA’s rosy fracking report

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 14:24
More than two dozen scientists, including several from N.C. State and UNC Chapel Hill, have criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 draft fracking report, stating it downplays the risks that horizontal drilling poses to local water supplies. This is conclusion of the EPA’s independent science panel, which recently released its own report  asking the agency to incorporate its findings, according ...

The ultimate insult? N&O blasts Tillis as “cable’s friend”

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:40
As we reported here last week, a federal appeals court in Ohio issued an unfortunate ruling on the matter of local governments establishing public broadband networks that compete with cable monopolies. There’s still hope that further appeals could overturn the decision, but for now the cable company giants have won a big victory and one ...

Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 09:29
Stumping across North Carolina – Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will keep the intensity of the 2016 election season high with visits this week in Buncombe and Cumberland counties. Kaine will be in Asheville today promoting Hillary Clinton’s economic plan with a 6:30 p.m. rally at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center.(Doors ...

Best editorial of the weekend: Investigate McCrory administration’s water safety scandal

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 07:53
The Winston-Salem Journal minced few words this weekend in an editorial calling for an independent investigation of the McCrory administration’s handing of the ongoing scandal surrounding water safety near coal ash facilities. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “In a perfect world, McCrory, a former employer of Duke Energy, would initiate that independent investigation to dispel concerns ...

Rep. Mike Hager resigns; GOP to meet to suggest replacement

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 12:22
  The House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Hager (R-Burke, Rutherford) has resigned just three months before the November election. A former Duke Energy employee before he took office, Hager worked on several bills that favored fossil fuels and Duke, in particular. A three-term House member, introduced a bill that would have repealed the state’s renewable portfolio standard. He ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 14:21
1. McCrory’s determined efforts to make it harder for certain people to vote After listening to Gov. Pat McCrory talk about the recent decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn much of the voter suppression law he signed in 2013 you are left with only two explanations. Either he hasn’t read the ...

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