NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago

Just how bad *is* the opioid epidemic?

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 15:52

This week we wrote about North Carolina’s response to the opioid epidemic in the recently passed state budget. While the budget did improve funding for the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System and funneled $10 million in federal grants to treatment services, it was well under what Gov. Roy Cooper called for in his suggested budget and only ...

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NC joins lawsuit against Betsy DeVos on behalf of student loan borrowers

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 13:03

It comes as no surprise that the the administration of the Prevaricator-in-Chief — a man who for whom ripping off college students was an important business practice prior to becoming president — would be doing his worst to stop those same students from getting out from under debilitating and often predatory loan debt. Last month, ...

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As EPA prepares to rescind the Waters of the US rule, state ag department has an extra $250K sitting around

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:14

H ouse lawmakers handed the state Department of Agriculture $250,000 to fight a legal battle that is all but moot. And now, unlike many cash-strapped agencies, the department has an extra quarter-million dollars that it needs to spend. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced late last week that he would rescind the Waters of the United ...

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Attention Burr and Tillis: U.S. Senate plan to gut Medicaid would be disastrous for NC moms

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 06:56

While US Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr are enjoying their Fourth of July recess, children, working families, veterans, older adults, and people with disabilities are worried that the Senate health care bill — known as the  Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) — will cut their access to health coverage and care. What is perhaps ...

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In Wake County, tension over public school funding grows

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 15:05

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises this budget season came with increasing tension in Democrat-dominated Wake County over public school funding. As Policy Watch reported last month, Wake County commissioners approved a $21 million funding increase for the fast-growing school system, which is the largest in the state. However, that amount was only about half ...

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State Board of Elections, Ethics answers questions about Trump Commission inquiry

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 13:14

The Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement is trying to stay ahead of inquiries and concerns about President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission’s data request. In case the 4th of July festivities have kept you preoccupied, here’s what’s going on: The Commission, which was created by Trump to investigate his unverified claims of voter ...

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200,000 gallons of dairy manure spills into Pott Creek, prompting utilities to switch water supplies

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 12:09

Lincolnton and Dallas public utilities have stopped withdrawing water from the Catawba River after 200,000 gallons of manure spilled from a dairy farm upstream. A pump at Gladden Farm in Catawba County failed last week, allowing the feces-ridden sludge to enter Pott Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Catawba River. 200,000 gallons ...

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Want to have your say on seismic testing, drilling off the NC coast? Thursday’s your deadline.

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 11:46

If you enjoyed the beach over the long holiday weekend or have plans to go to the coast later this summer, you owe it to yourself to read Lisa Sorg’s new piece on the main Policy Watch website. Sorg details the latest plans for seismic testing and offshore drilling, along with details on how you ...

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Vital rights hang by a thread as prospect of another Trump appointee to the Supreme Court grows

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:08

The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retiresThere’s an immensely sobering but important posy this morning on ThinkProgress by Supreme Court watcher Ian Millhiser entitled “The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retires.” As Millhiser points out, Americans will likely have to “say goodbye to Roe, racial justice, voting rights, and any new progress on LGBT rights.” Here’s the alarming ...

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New report: Senate health care bill poses threat to NC abuse and neglect victims

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:24

The good folks at NC Child have some more troubling news this morning about the U.S. Senate’s proposed healthcare bill (the one that Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis are apparently ready to vote for). Here’s the release that accompanies “Senate Health Care Bill Would Damage NC’s Child Welfare System”: US Senate Health Bill Would Damage ...

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Concealed carry bill far from dead

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 14:21

The latest legislative session ended last week with the HR 746 still bottled up in the Senate Rules committee. But the bill, which would allow North Carolinians to carry concealed handguns without a permit under most circumstances, is one of a number of bills that is likely to resurface as lawmakers come back to Raleigh for ...

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N&O editorial: GOP should stop “meddling” with N.C. public education

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:30

A Sunday editorial from The News & Observer offers up some advice for Republican leaders in the N.C. General Assembly: Stop meddling with public schools. The editorial follows a report from Policy Watch last week on a budget directive from GOP lawmakers that eliminates top positions at the State Board of Education and the N.C. ...

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The skinny on NC and Trump’s request for election data

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:00

The good people at Democracy North Carolina are pointing out on the group’s Facebook page that North Carolina officials are actually doing the right thing when it comes to the Trump administration’s request for state election data. Amid concerns about Trump administration demands this week for private voter info from all 50 states, the NC ...

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Neonic pesticides shorten bees’ lives in newly discovered way — with consequences for our drinking water

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 09:52

A new study confirms that honeybees exposed to neonic pesticides, long implicated in their illness and death, send them to an early grave– putting the health of entire hive at risk. Canadian researchers used “field realistic” exposure levels to study the bees’ health. Skeptics of neonics’ toxicity — the very companies that manufacture the chemicals ...

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Do our choices match our values, as a state and as a nation? A July 4 rumination

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 08:00

Our country was born 241 years ago, when our Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence. The story that we tell ourselves, of our birth and who we are as a country, has been a continuous thread since then – the story of the American Dream. We tell ourselves that, in our country, there is ...

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Hold your sprayers: Gov. Cooper puts the kibosh on leachate bill

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 18:05

Leachate won’t start spewing garbage juice for at least another month now that Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed House Bill 576. The measure would require state environmental officials to permit an untested technology that sprays leachate from landfills into the air. The theory is the larger, harmful contaminated particles will drop to the surface of ...

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This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 15:02

1. Budget bill fires State Board of Ed director, DPI staffers with ties to Atkinson A N.C. General Assembly budget mandate to fire certain North Carolina public education officials would target Republican rivals’ allies and the top staffer in the State Board of Education, N.C. Policy Watch has learned. Of the five filled positions set for ...

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NC will comply with federal voter data request; Governor criticizes Trump fraud claims

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:50

Every state now has to decide how it will handle the request by President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for all 50 states to hand over their states’ full voter-roll data – including names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations, last four Social Security number digits and voting history since 2006. Some states – like Kentucky – have ...

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Wind energy sent to time-out for 18 months, HB 589 heads to Gov. Cooper’s desk

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:10

A t 1 o’clock this morning, the winds in Raleigh were blowing from the southwest at 10 miles per hour, a gentle breeze nonetheless strong enough to move the blades of a wind turbine. Inside the building, though, a storm brewed over House Bill 589. Earlier in the week, Sen. Harry Brown, a Republican from Onslow ...

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Lawmakers attempt to set their own timelines in racial gerrymandering case; court will have final say

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 11:48

While you were (probably) sleeping, North Carolina lawmakers named the committee members who will redraw racially gerrymandered legislative maps. Lawmakers committed to holding a redistricting session no later than Nov. 15, though a court will have the final say on that date. Today, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina is ...

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