NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 14:30
1. The widening scandal in the McCrory Administration about coal ash The headlines in Raleigh these days have been dominated by the landmark ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning much of the North Carolina’s massive voter suppression law with the court citing stunning evidence that state lawmakers asked for data about African-American ...

Congress, North Carolina should put more money into fighting wage theft

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 13:15
Too many workers in North Carolina are suffering from wage theft—when employers refuse to pay their employees all the money they have earned and are owed. A recent op-ed in the Washington Post (via the N&O) rightfully called on Congress to give the US Department of Labor (USDOL) the funding it needs to better fight ...

State Board of Education rejects twenty charter school applications

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 11:55
Citing myriad concerns, including applications apparently riddled with typos and questions about schools’ education plans, State Board of Education members this week denied all but eight of North Carolina’s 28 applications for new charter schools opening in 2017-2018.  The approved applications included two new charters in the Charlotte area, as well as schools in Wake, Durham, Johnston, ...

Just how ridiculous is the latest Pope-Civitas poll?

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 10:57
It continues to amaze that anyone — especially experienced reporters in the mainstream news media — would ever report on or in any way take seriously the “polls” conducted by the Pope-Civitas Institute. This week, the Pope-Civitas people reported that their latest “flash poll” showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by a ...

Editorial: State leaders should end appeals, stop trying to suppress the vote

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 08:00
This morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com “Get real, drop the appeals. Focus on making it easier to vote” hits the nail on the head with its assessment of the absurd and inflammatory efforts of state leaders to defend their indefensible voter suppression law. Not only are state leaders continuing to sow confusion about ...

McLennan: Unpredictable Trump puts McCrory, Burr in no-win situation (video)

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 05:30
When Governor Pat McCrory praised Donald Trump as the outsider that the country needs in the White House, he probably could not have imagined Trump would start a public feud with a Gold Star family, kick a baby out of a campaign rally, and complain the November’s election could be rigged. Political scientist David McLennan ...

North State Journal, staffed by former DEQ employees, joins McCrory in attacking Ken Rudo

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 14:41
Conservative attacks on state toxicologist Ken Rudo continue, now by The North State Journal  in an article today. However, NSJ’s veneer of objectivity cracks once you realize that three of its staff members, including publisher Neil Robbins and editor Drew Elliot, are former employees of the state Department of Environmental Quality. Elliot, Robbins and NSJ ...

Websites for NC lawmakers still pushing inaccurate education report pulled by Pope-Civitas group

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 14:01
[The post has been updated.] The folks over on Right-Wing Avenue appear to have had a bit of a communication breakdown in recent days. That’s the charitable explanation anyway. You’ll recall that a couple of weeks back, NC Justice Center Education Policy and Finance Consultant Kris Nordstrom had to conduct a little math lesson for ...

Get your hip waders: New EPA report says Wilmington No. 1 in coastal cities for flooding

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 11:36
Since 2010, for an average of 49 days each year — the equivalent of seven weeks — Wilmington has flooded. That figure distinguishes the city as first in the number of coastal flood days in the U.S., a phenomenon spurred  by climate change. A series of reports, “Climate Change Indicators,” released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, portends more flooding trouble along the ...

New state-by-state analysis: NC gets a ‘D’ for workplace policies that aid families

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 09:37
This is hardly a surprise, but it’s sobering nonetheless… New analysis of state policies released this week by the National Partnership for Women & Families ranked North Carolina among the nation’s worst when it comes to providing basic workplace supports to expecting and new parents. “This should be a wake-up call for our state and ...

NC economy continues to struggle according to latest numbers

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 06:47
In case you missed it yesterday, economist Patrick McHugh of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center is the latest expert to issue a not-so-enthusiastic report on the state of the North Carolina economy. “Employment figures for June show tepid growth across much of the state and actual backsliding in many communities. All but a handful ...

State Board of Education questions charter takeovers

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 16:10
Faced with stiff deadlines in forcing charter takeovers of a few low-performing schools next year, members of the North Carolina State Board of Education on Wednesday described the reform as a somewhat avant-garde approach. “This is truly an edgy idea,” said board member Olivia Holmes Oxendine. “I don’t say that in a pejorative way. It’s ...

Powerful new report documents the demise of NC environmental protection laws

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 13:58
In case you missed it all of the hubbub surrounding the roiling controversy over the McCrory administration’s decision to overrule state toxicologist Ken Rudo over the safety of drinking water from wells located near Duke coal ash dumps, the good folks at the Southern Environmental Law Center released a new report last week that’s worth ...

Prosperity Watch: SNAP (food stamps) caseloads declining quickly

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:11
The latest issue of Prosperity Watch takes a look at the trend in SNAP caseloads between January and April of this year. We selected this period because it covers the time in which 23 of the state’s 100 counties began cutting people off SNAP after re-imposing the three-month time limit in January. We found that ...

McCrory administration repudiates state toxicologist over coal ash drinking water

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:50
When Gov. Pat McCrory decided to repudiate the state’s veteran toxicologist, Ken Rudo, about coal ash — one of the most controversial issues facing North Carolina — he didn’t do it himself. Instead, he sent his chief of staff, Thomas Stith, to do the difficult work. In a late-night press conference designed only for the ...

“Values” crusader exposed in confrontation with reporters over HB2

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:34
In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out reporter Jordan Green’s story in Triad City Beat chronicling the bizarre impromptu press conference that N.C. Values Coalition Executive Director and all-purpose right-wing social agenda crusader Tami Fitzgerald had on Monday with some members of the media after the federal court hearing on HB2. ...

Why Roy Cooper need not always defend the state in court

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 15:37
The issue of whether attorneys general (and, in particular, North Carolina A.G. Roy Cooper – pictured at left) must always defend the state when its laws are challenged in court is not a new one. In fact, former N.C. Policy Watch Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey delved in to the issue in some depth ...

Education takes the back burner in presidential spotlight

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 13:00
On Monday, Education Week offered a thorough analysis of K-12’s role in this year’s bristling presidential campaign.  According to that report, that role is somewhat nonexistent in a campaign dominated by debates over guns, terrorism and the economy. From Education Week: Is K-12 education poised to catch fire in the policy debates leading up to ...

North Carolina, the ne’er do-well state, immune from Voting Rights formula, but not court scrutiny

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:56
April 4, 2013, was a fateful day in North Carolina voting history. On that Thursday, GOP legislators Tim Moore, Tom Murry, Harry Warren and Ruth Samuelson filed an election reform bill designed to disenfranchise African-American — and by extension — Democratic voters. How could the lawmakers lose? They held a Republican majority, backed by a newly elected Republican governor. Meanwhile in Alabama, a ...

Homecare workers in every North Carolina county earn too little to make ends meet

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:39
Home healthcare workers are earning wages that pay far below what it takes to make ends meet across every county in North Carolina, according to a new brief from the Workers’ Rights Project. This wage gap is weakening the overall economy and damaging the quality of long-term care seniors receive in their homes. Direct homecare ...

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