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Undecided about taking part in Saturday’s 11th annual Moral March? Then just listen to its founder

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 23:36

Reverend William Barber, president of the NC NAACP and Moral Monday movement, recently discussed with Policy Watch why North Carolinians should participate in 11th annual march on downtown Raleigh. Click below to hear that interview. http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/News-and-Views-for-2-5-2017-SEGMENT-TWO.mp3 Saturday’s March begins at 9:00 a.m. at Shaw University.

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NC’s revenue challenge persists despite latest revenue forecast

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 19:08

The ongoing economic recovery has bypassed many North Carolinians and communities across the state. This isn’t surprising news, but it is the reality that we should keep in mind when thinking about how to use $552.5 million in public revenues that are expected to be collected above state’s official’s initial projection. This revenue forecast is ...

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Judges deliberating halting Senate decisions on Cooper’s appointees until lawsuit resolution

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 17:33

A three-judge panel did not decide from the bench Friday whether to temporarily block the Senate from making decisions on Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet appointees. The panel issued a temporary restraining order earlier this week but heard arguments Friday about whether to issue a preliminary injunction for 25 days until the overall case is resolved. Cooper’s ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 14:30

  1. Despite GOP questioning, class-size legislation advances past House budget committee Despite suggestions from some GOP members that local school districts may be misusing funded positions, a House budget committee gave its approval Thursday to legislation allaying a looming class-size crisis for North Carolina school districts. Policy Watch reported in November that last year’s ...

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Court of Appeals overturns lower court order that halted Elections, Ethics Commission merge

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 10:44

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has said that the General Assembly’s bill overhauling the State Board of Elections can move forward, overturning the lower court’s preliminary injunction. The first part of Senate Bill 4 would eradicate the current State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission and merge their powers and duties into one ...

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Trump considering ex-DEQ’s Donald Van der Vaart for No. 2 post at EPA

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 10:28

Donald van der Vaart wrote a helluva cover letter. Shortly after the November elections, divining that he would soon be out of work, the former secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality wrote a letter to Donald Trump laying out a new vision for the EPA. Its language largely mirrored Trump’s distaste for rules (unless he’s the one ...

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Explained: Why the confirmation hearings scheme for Cooper’s cabinet is unconstitutional

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 07:30

As was detailed in Tuesday’s edition of the Weekly Briefing, there are a number of compelling and obvious practical reasons why it’s a lousy idea for the North Carolina Senate to presume to conduct confirmation hearings for Gov. Cooper’s department heads. Add to this the simple statutory argument that the law the General Assembly passed ...

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BREAKING: Appeals Court refuses to reinstate Trump travel ban

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 18:36

News agencies are reporting the great news that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration in its effort to reinstate the travel ban struck down by a District Court in Seattle. This is from Associated Press and WRAL.com: A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reinstate President ...

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Former DHHS deputy Randall Williams nominated to head Missouri health department

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 15:44

Randall Williams, among the state officials entangled in the coal ash and drinking water controversy, could be the next leader of the Missouri health and senior services department. The story was reported today by The Kansas City Star. Williams, who served as the deputy secretary of the the NC Health and Human Services, was nominated ...

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NC Senate, House Democrats introduce HB2 repeal bills

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 13:58

Democratic lawmakers filed two separate bills Thursday to repeal HB2. The bills come as sports officials have warned North Carolina could lose dozens of NCAA championship events if the controversial law is not repealed soon. Despite that, much of the GOP majority in the N.C. House and Senate continue to oppose a full repeal or ...

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Despite GOP questioning, class-size legislation advances past House budget committee

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 11:06

Despite suggestions from some GOP members that local school districts may be misusing funded positions, a House budget committee gave its approval Thursday to legislation allaying a looming class-size crisis for North Carolina school districts. Policy Watch reported in November that last year’s directive from the legislature to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 starting ...

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Isn’t it ironic? The Medicaid blockade prevents health aides from getting health coverage

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 09:30

Obtaining health coverage can be enormously difficult for childless North Carolinians of modest income. In North Carolina, they are not eligible for Medicaid. Add to this the fact that many have a difficult time paying for private insurance and that several jobs do not offer employer-sponsored health insurance and it’s a wonder that any are ...

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GOP lawmakers introduce “Wild, Wild West” gun bill, new anti-choice proposal

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 07:07

There’s more evidence this morning that conservative North Carolina lawmakers have little interest in backing off of their hard right agenda. Two new bills introduced yesterday at the General Assembly make this clear. House Bill 69 is what one might properly term the “Wild, Wild, West Act.” It would establish it as the default position ...

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Jeff Sessions confirmed as Trump’s Attorney General with support from Tillis and Burr

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 22:23

The U.S. Senate pushed through another controversial nominee of President Trump’s Wednesday, confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions on a 52-47 vote to serve as the next U.S. Attorney General. Democrats objected to Sessions’ record on civil rights and immigration. But Senator Richard Burr praised the Alabama Republican on social media, calling the new AG a friend ...

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Controversial school reformer Michelle Rhee talks teacher raises, pay-for-performance in N.C.

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 15:39

Raising pay for teachers and implementing fair, pay-for-performance measures is a path to better student performance, controversial former D.C. public schools chief Michelle Rhee told North Carolina reporters Tuesday afternoon in Raleigh. Rhee was in town for a private legislative gathering Tuesday night hosted by BEST N.C., a Raleigh-based group of education lobbyists led by ...

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UNC Constitutional law professor weighs in on what’s next for Gorsuch nomination

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 15:09

University of North Carolina Constitutional law professor Michael Gerhardt wrote a very detailed post Tuesday afternoon for SCOTUSblog outlining the path forward in the U.S. Senate for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The post begins by explaining how nominations and Senate confirmations work and then delves into a little history before getting to Gorsuch. ...

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North Carolina residents accused of illegally voting in 2016 election file defamation lawsuit

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:36

Four Guilford County voters have filed a defamation lawsuit against the person who accused them of voter fraud in the November election. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice reports that at least 85 North Carolinian’s were accused of voting in multiple states or of being ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction. None of ...

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The fiscal fallout from flawed executive orders on immigration

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:04

Public outcry and legal challenges to President Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration were immediate.  The costs to our country and economy will mount in the coming weeks, months, and could play out over generations if these Executive Orders stand. They will be felt not just in the immigrant community but among the broader public through ...

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NC Congressman co-sponsors bill to scrap the US Department of Education

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:03

On the same day the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Betsy Devos to serve as President Trump’s Education Secretary, a group of Republican Congressmen introduced legislation to do away with the entire Education Department. H.R.899 – simply titled To terminate the Department of Education – was introduced by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie and lists Congressman Walter ...

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