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Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Tragic Worker Deaths and Injuries Highlight Dangerous Workplaces in North Carolina

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 13:37
Three workers were killed and one was gravely injured after falling from a scaffold which collapsed yesterday at the Charter Building in downtown Raleigh. A Department of Transportation worker was also killed yesterday in Wayne County. Construction and transportation are some of the most hazardous jobs in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department ...

The Costs of Delay on Immigration Directives

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:52
After several states including North Carolina challenged the extension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans a preliminary injunction was issued holding up implementation of these immigration directives with the potential to reach 5 million immigrants without documents nationwide. While the issue is considered in the courts, the ...

New report highlight’s NC’s self-destructive decision not to fill the Medicaid gap

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:22
The beneficial impacts of Obamacare continue add up, but unfortunately, North Carolina isn’t getting its fair share. That’s that’s one of the takeaways from a new report distributed yesterday on the fifth anniversary of the law. As health policy expert Tara Culp Ressler of Think Progress reports: “According to a new report from the Department ...

Editorial: Tata needs to focus on his job

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 07:49
In case you missed it, this morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer rightfully tells the state’s $136,000 per year Transportation Secretary, Tony Tata, to start focusing on his job and ditch the Obama bashing on Fox News with Sean Hannity. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “Why Hannity is turning to Tata for wisdom on ...

Assessing the ACA and its impact on women at age five

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 16:52
Hard numbers and real life stories documented the impact of the Affordable Care Act today at an event in Durham commemorating the law’s fifth anniversary. “The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Women” was a roundtable discussion that featured knowledgeable women from throughout Triangle region. Women experts and advocates from Duke Regional Hospital, Enroll ...

Digging a Deeper Hole: Senate Leadership Proposes More Tax Cuts for Profitable Corporations

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 13:39
It bears repeating that the first rule of climbing out of a hole is to stop digging. But some policymakers obviously haven’t learned that lesson. They are pushing more tax cuts for those who need them least, even though revenue for schools and other priorities is coming in below projections because of tax cuts that ...

Virginia Governor signs into law repeal of A-F school grades

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 12:43
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law last Thursday a bill that repeals the state’s A-F school grading system – an accountability mechanism similar to North Carolina’s own new model that grades public schools largely on the basis of how students perform on standardized tests. A Republican Senator, Virginia Rep. Richard Black, introduced the bill ...

Five key facts on the fifth anniversary of Obamacare

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 12:04
Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress has one very impressive list: More than 16 million people have gained insurance. According to the most recent data from the Obama administration, about 16.4 previously uninsured Americans have gotten coverage under the law, either by purchasing private plans on the new state-level marketplaces or by gaining public insurance through ...

Houston goes fishing again for teachers in Greensboro

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 09:07
The Greensboro News & Record reported this weekend that the Houston Independent School District, which is led by former Guilford County schools chief Terry Grier, held another job fair for teachers at a hotel on Saturday. Houston is offering starting teachers with no experience $49,100 — a far cry from North Carolina’s current base starting ...

News & Observer editor misses the mark in column about Gene Nichol

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 08:07
John Drescher, the executive editor of Raleigh’s News & Observer, had an odd and flawed column over the weekend regarding UNC Law School professor Gene Nichol entitled “Gene Nichol doesn’t regret column about Pat McCrory.” (Full disclosure: Nichol used to serve on the Board of the NC Justice Center, NC Policy Watch’s parent organization). It ...

Fitzsimon teaching fellows column is #1 tending story on News & Observer website

Sun, 03/22/2015 - 08:32
In case you missed last week’s Fitzsimon File on the ridiculous and partisan demise of the state teaching fellows program, click here to read it on the website of Raleigh’s News & Observer where it is — even at the height of March Madness — the #1 trending story. Seems safe to say that the column ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 20:55
1. Political revenge more important than public schools  If you are looking for an example of how the pettiness and bitter partisanship of the folks currently running North Carolina have hurt the state, it’s hard to find a more illustrative one than the decision to end the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.  No one disputes that ...

Private funders of NC’s new economic development group may get advisory board spots

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 16:14
North Carolina’s newly privatized economic development group may create a business advisory board with seats designated as rewards for private funders, board members said during a meeting Friday. The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina gets most of its funding from state taxpayers, but members of an advisory board could draw its membership from its ...

Education bills to watch at the NCGA

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 14:23
It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the General Assembly, now that there’s no longer any snow or ice to contend with (our neighbors in DC are not so lucky on this first day of spring). Lawmakers have set their sights already in the 2015 session on a number of education policy reforms, and ...

Anti-same sex marriage “economist” to bash Medicaid expansion in NC

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:30
Out-of-state activist J. Scott Moody will be making the rounds on Monday in North Carolina to say that expanding Medicaid will hurt our economy. Moody is from a South Carolina outfit called State Budget Solutions and he travels the country speaking out against policies disfavored by conservatives. His schtick is releasing cut-and-paste reports showing the ...

Feds should act quickly to save and improve foreign guest worker program

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 09:15
The H-2B visa program – a program which allows employers to hire foreign workers, mostly from Mexico, to fill seasonal and temporary unskilled jobs in the U.S. — has been in the news lately because a recent federal court decision resulted in a temporary shut-down of the program by the federal Department of Labor (USDOL). ...

Marijuana reform: Ex-military and Republican activists now on board

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 07:22
The movement to end marijuana prohibition is slowly and quietly gathering steam in North Carolina — sometimes with surprising champions. As WRAL.com explains, a large group of activists came to the General Assembly yesterday: “About 150 people turned out Thursday to lobby state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana, marking the largest turnout in years. Even ...

#ThrowbackThursday: North Carolina can’t compete by spending at 1973 levels

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 17:32
Policymakers have chosen to reduce state spending in recent budgets and appear poised to continue that approach even despite a recovering economy.   Such small thinking ignores the fundamental role of state budgets in supporting the broader economy and delivering opportunities to communities and families. The state’s most recent budgets (and current budget proposal from the ...

N.C. House elects its slate of eight UNC Board of Governors, one Democrat included

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 15:59
The N.C. House of Representatives had its election Thursday for eight members serving four-year terms on the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors. House members voted to keep three current members in place for another four years, while bringing on five new members. Several of the 30 candidates vying for this year’s 16 open ...

Senate JDIG proposal costs too much, yields too few jobs in return

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 13:29
Following sharp questioning of Commerce Secretary Skvarla in a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday, it was readily apparent that the Senate would take a different tack on economic development than the House, which passed its own much-criticized package last month. In a surprise press conference yesterday afternoon announcing their own “jobs package” , however, Senate ...

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