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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 14 min ago

Remembering Terry Sanford in today’s NC

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:00

Given North Carolina’s current political environment, writer Howard E. Covington Jr.’s recent remembrance of former Gov. Terry Sanford on the centennial of his birth is worth a read this week. Covington is the co-author with Marion A. Ellis of 1999’s  Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambition. In his recent piece, published in Greensboro’s News & ...

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NC public schools fight childhood hunger: Let’s hope the Right doesn’t find out

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:26

The latest NC Budget and Tax Center Prosperity Watch report is out and the subject is extremely timely: childhood hunger and some promising North Carolina public school initiatives to attack it. Let’s hope the programs highlighted in the report are nurtured and allowed  to grow. As has been reported on these page in previous years, ...

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Editorial: Critical that state Supreme Court invalidates legislature’s election power grab

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 07:09

As was explained in this post last week, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard one of the most important cases in many years this past Monday when it listened to the arguments of the parties in Cooper v. Berger and Moore — the governor’s challenge to the legislature’s attempt to steal his constitutional power to ...

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Late addition to HB 56 gives $435K to UNC Wilmington, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority — $0 to DEQ, DHHS

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 19:56

House Bill 56, already laden with the plastic bag ban and modified-but-still-controversial riparian buffer language, took on more freight Wednesday night with a $435,000 appropriation to combat GenX in the Cape Fear River. But that money would not go to the state environmental and health departments, for which Gov. Roy Cooper had requested a $2.58 ...

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Waterkeeper Alliance sues state agriculture department over public records request

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 15:38

  The Waterkeeper Alliance, known for its role as an environmental watchdog over industrialized hog farming practices, has filed a complaint against the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for allegedly violating the state’s Public Records Act. The dispute centers on whether the agency lawfully charged the alliance more than $2,000 to merely inspect ...

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Report dives into academic, enrollment struggles at North Carolina virtual charters

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 13:56

If you haven’t already, take the time to read WRAL’s deep-dive into North Carolina’s fledgling virtual charter schools, two programs run by for-profit companies that reported soaring withdrawal numbers and middling academic scores in their first years. The report highlights parents’ surveys, examining at least some of the reasons that nearly 2,500 students pulled out ...

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Retired judges of both parties: North Carolinians must fight to preserve independent judiciary

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:09

As NC Policy Watch reporter Melissa Boughton has detailed at great length in recent months, conservative efforts to transform the North Carolina court system from an independent branch of government into one that is partisan and subservient to the Republican leadership of the General Assembly continue apace. From the demise of public financing for judicial ...

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Supporters of UNC Civil Rights Center to hold week of action September 4-8

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 08:13

For caring and thinking North Carolinians looking for an immediate and close-to-home cause to rally around in the era of Trump, the good people defending the UNC Center for Civil Rights against conservative attacks are staging a week of action next week. This is from the event Facebook page: Stand with CCR: A Week of ...

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Redistricting maps advance – Democrats object, look toward courts

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 15:30

N.C. House and Senate redistricting committees voted to approve each others’ maps without debate Tuesday, moving controversial Republican redistricting maps forward. Democrats have made their objections known since last week’s debate but don’t have the votes to do much about the new maps. They predict the court will again weigh in on the redistricting schemes. ...

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Gov. Cooper touts increase in Pre-K funding, calls for additional funds

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 15:00

Gov. Roy Cooper spent Tuesday touting recent increases in funding for North Carolina’s state-run, Pre-K program, as well as reaffirming calls for additional cash in the years to come. As Ed N.C.‘s Alex Granados reported Tuesday morning, Cooper visited a Burlington school to talk about the program, which received funding for an additional 3,500 new ...

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Another bad actor discharging into the Cape Fear River: Cargill fined $75K

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 14:30

The Cape Fear River is again a casualty of industrial pollution and urban runoff, this time because of illegal and unknown discharges from Cargill, which processes and distributes soybeans and their byproducts in Fayetteville. The Environmental Protection Agency has fined the $100 billion company $75,500 in civil penalties as part of a proposed consent agreement that ...

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See all the areas in which conservatives have slashed public education in NC

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:30

Be sure to check out the latest Progressive Voices essay over on the main NC Policy Watch site. As education policy analyst Kris Nordstrom demonstrates in “As new school year commences, shortage of basic supplies demonstrates legislature’s failure to invest,” North Carolina’s chronic underinvestment in a simple and basic aspect of public education — school ...

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Legislature advancing a snake oil bill bought and paid for by a snake oil industry

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:10

In case you missed it this morning, today’s Weekly Briefing looks at a remarkably cynical and misrepresented bill that appears to be on its way to final passage at the General Assembly today despite the veto issued by Governor Roy Cooper. The bill will allow the frequently predatory small loan industry to pack the high ...

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Climate scientists: Get ready for more Harveys

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 08:06

Climate science is obviously a very imprecise discipline when it comes to making very time-specific forecasts. No one can predict at this point what the impacts of climate change will be in a particular place at a particular time. But when it comes to charting probabilities over time, it’s clear that rising global temperatures will ...

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House votes almost along party lines to advance proposed legislative map to Senate

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 16:45

The House voted 65-47 Monday to pass a proposed legislative map that GOP members drew to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Democrats have been arguing against the map since it was introduced a little over a week ago. Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen, Johnston, Sampson) was the only Democrat who voted for the map during Monday’s session. ...

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Neighbors of coal ash ponds sue Duke Energy, allege $5,000 offer is “deceptive”

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 15:45

D eborah Graham was gulping a cup of coffee when her family, sitting at the kitchen table, opened a letter sent from state environmental officials. “Whose water is contaminated?” she asked on that morning in 2015. “Our water?” “I have a mouth full of coffee, made with that water” said Graham, who has lived in ...

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NC Supreme Court takes up redistricting, power struggle between Cooper, legislature

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 15:33

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard two major cases this morning — one about redistricting and voting rights and the other about the legislature’s efforts to diminish the Governor’s powers. In Dickson v. Rucho, a challenge to state legislative and congressional maps, the plaintiffs asked for the case to be remanded back to the trial ...

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Confederacy in the capitol

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 13:30

If you missed last weekend’s great piece on the state capitol’s Confederate monuments by WRAL’s Tyler Dukes, make the time to check it out today. From the piece: Although statues in Durham and on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have become flashpoints for protesters in recent weeks, the old State ...

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Equality advocates sue Trump over military transgender ban: What you need to know

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 11:30

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and the groups Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed federal lawsuits this morning against the Trump administration over its recent and outrageous attempt to ban transgender Americans from serving their country in the armed forces. This is from a post by ACLU staff attorney Chris Strangio: “Today, we and ...

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As new school year begins, many teachers feel ‘shortchanged’ by legislature (audio)

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 08:00

Today’s the first day of classes for most schools on a traditional calendar year. And while teachers are excited to see their students again, the year starts with many funding challenges. Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, notes that the state ranks 43rd in the nation in per-pupil expenditures and remains ...

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