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Updated: 29 min 11 sec ago

DHHS Sec. defends no-bid contract, says agency is stronger (video)

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 23:16
Dr. Aldona Wos defended her agency’s decision to award a $6.8 million, no-bid contract to a Washington, D.C. firm to help the state agency better organize its Medicaid finance office. Wos credited the outside consultants at Alvarez and Marsal with helping improve the predictability of the Medicaid program, which has been plagued for years with ...

Breaking: Fourth Circuit to hear expedited appeal of voting rights decision

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:20
In an order issued today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite an appeal of a lower court’s refusal to block voting law changes from taking effect this November, and has scheduled argument on that appeal for September 25 in Charlotte. That lower court refusal came in the form of  a 125-page ...

Medicaid needs to stay with DHHS, Sec. Aldona Wos says

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:02
The head of North Carolina’s troubled health and human services department told lawmakers Tuesday that moving the Medicaid program out from under her purview to a stand-alone agency would “be against common sense.” “Absolutely not,” said N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos in a response to a question about whether moving the $13 ...

Which of these sources do YOU trust when it comes to the future of the planet?

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:53
To call the global discussion over climate change a “debate” is actually quite generous. It’s kind of  like describing the interactions that one has with one’s first grader over the value of an early bedtime or a cupcakes-only diet as a “debate.” Yeah, it’s true that there are two different “sides” with strongly held views, ...

Report: Southern HIV/AIDS epidemic dramatically worsened by failure to expand Medicaid

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 10:53
A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts makes clearer than ever just how mean-spirited and morally bankrupt the decision of state lawmakers and Governor McCrory to turn down federally-funded Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of  low-income North Carolinians is turning out to be. The report, “Southern States Are Now Epicenter of HIV/AIDS in ...

More fuzzy math from leaders on teacher pay

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 08:15
In case you missed it, one of this morning’s “must reads” is a story posted late yesterday by WRAL reporter Mark Binker about the ongoing controversy over North Carolina’s muddled and troubled new teacher pay plan.  As Binker reports: When Gov. Pat McCrory wrote to welcome teachers back to the classroom, he touted a “substantial” ...

This week’s troubling inequality statistics

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 16:10
The good people at Too Much, the online newsletter of Inequality.org have another sobering but powerful article this week. The rather amazing and disturbing finding: the wealth of the average American family is up over the last 25 years, but the wealth of the median family has actually dropped. If this finding leaves you scratching your ...

Where does Tillis stand on insurance requirements?

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 13:44
When I last posted about the Senate debate between Speaker Thom Tillis and Sen. Kay Hagan I had listened to the exchange on radio but I had not yet watched the video. Watching television coverage of the debate one could hardly miss that Tillis was, once again, wearing a blue lapel pin from the science and ...

With attacks fading, “Obamacare is weaving into the fabric of American culture”

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 13:41
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Sahil Kapur’s article today on Talking Points Memo about the fast-fading attacks on Obamacare and why a political “nightmare” may be coming to pass for the American right. One of Kapur’s key sources: none other than long-time conservative icon William Kristol, who two decades ago ...

Kay and Thom: Just old friends?

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:05
There’s been a great deal of discussion in the media and elsewhere in recent days about the issue of sexism in politics and, in particular, whether it was just a friendly and appropriate sign of progress or a sexist and disrespectful bit of backsliding for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis to repeatedly refer to ...

Why obstructionists are losing the battle over Medicaid expansion

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 08:19
Our old NC Policy Watch colleague Adam Searing had a great post last week on the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute blog, Say Ahhh! that explains why Medicaid expansion is fast reaching the tipping point as states that once said “no” are now seeing the light. Let’s hope North Carolina come to their sense soon. ...

Time running out for victims of mortgage foreclosure rip-offs to participate in settlement

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 16:13
From the consumer protection folks over at the North Carolina Department of Justice: North Carolina consumers have until Sept. 15 to file their claim forms in order to obtain relief under nationwide “Ocwen Settlement” If you lost a home to foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, and if your home loan was ...

Back to School Series – Our resilient students

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 15:25
This is part of a Back to School blog series that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2014-15 school year kicks off. (See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6) Our Back to School series ends today just like the first or second week of school ...

First in Flight from the EITC: Heather’s Story (VIDEO)

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:48
Lawmakers let the state Earned Income Tax Credit expire at the end of 2013, making North Carolina the first state in nearly 30 years to eliminate this proven anti-poverty tool. The state EITC helps promote shared economic prosperity for all North Carolinians. It goes only to working people with modest incomes, offering extra support to ...

The best quote from yesterday’s marriage equality ruling

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:23
In case you missed it, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals — a conservative Reagan appointee who has frequently vexed progressive lawyers down through the years — said the following yesterday in what Esquire’s Charles Pierce aptly describes as (among other amusing characterizations) a “remarkably plain-spoken” ruling in favor of marriage ...

Three takes on Art Pope’s tenure in the McCrory Administration

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:34
Art Pope officially departs the McCrory administration today, stepping down from the post of state budget director. Last month, in announcing Pope’s decision to leave, Governor Pat McCrory called the budget director and former state lawmaker “an important voice and important mentor.” Others outside the administration have suggested that the conservative donor had too much ...

Editorial, research: Halt rush to launch virtual charters

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 08:21
This morning’s editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right on the state Board of Education’s plan to approve two new “virtual” charter schools. The central message: “Not so fast!” Charters were seen initially as a chance to be “laboratories” for public education, as places to cultivate innovations that could be used in conventional ...

NC High School Graduation rate nears 84 %

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 08:05
The percentage of students graduating from North Carolina high schools now stands at 83.8 percent, the highest in state history. Since 2006, the first year the state reported a four-year cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students graduating from high school in four years or less has risen 15.5 percentage points. The State Board of ...

Advocates, average citizens demanding that Kroger adopt common sense gun safety policies

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 15:31
The good people at Everytown for Gun Safety have launched a powerful new campaign to convince the giant Kroger grocery chain to prohibit customers from openly carrying weapons in its stores. The campaign features three powerful photographs that highlight the absurdity of Kroger’s current policies — which prohibit customers from bringing in outside food, skateboards ...

Hagan v. Tillis: The health care debate within the debate

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:14
As expected health care played a major role in the first debate between Sen. Hagan and Speaker Tillis. Tillis took two major lines of attack against Sen. Hagan on health care: he chastised Hagan for saying that people could keep the insurance plan they like, and he criticized the policy of setting minimum standards for insurance plans. ...

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