NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 7 min ago

National report highlights troubling career of recently deceased NC prosecutor

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 14:10
Kristin Collins of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation has a great post up today on the blog of the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (cross-posted below) highlighting a new report about the late Joe Freeman Britt of Robeson County. NC “deadliest prosecutor” valued winning over justice, new report shows By Kristin ...

N.C. General Assembly approves charter takeover of low-performing schools

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 11:36
Lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly have signed off on a controversial charter takeover bill affecting low-performing schools. The state House voted 66-40 late Wednesday to approve the Senate’s version of House Bill 1080, a bill which will allow North Carolina officials to turn over management of five low-performing schools to for-profit, charter operators. The ...

More evidence that limiting our Constitution puts NC’s coveted AAA bond rating at risk

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 11:13
The Bond Buyer, an insider investment industry publication, has taken note of North Carolina Senators’ passage of a proposed change to the state’s Constitution that would limit the income tax rate to the low and arbitrary level of 5.5 percent. In a recent article on the risk to the state’s “gilt-edged credit rating,” the reporter ...

General Assembly approves book banning Franklin Graham employee for State Board of Ed

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 10:38
The North Carolina House and Senate gave final approval this morning to Gov. Pat McCrory’s controversial 2015 appointment of Todd Chasteen to the State Board of Education. As N.C. Policy Watch reported last April, at the time of the nomination, Chasteen — an employee of the controversial right-wing preacher Franklin Graham’s Samartian’s Purse organization — ...

Many items you may have not heard about in the General Government budget

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 10:22
Often overlooked amidst the hubbub over big ticket budget items, the General Government section of the joint budget catches a range of items from one-off technology purchases to the operation of many of the state’s administrative functions. While a more complete list is provided below, a few items deserve to be highlighted. First, the North ...

Editorial: Repeal of HB2 is the only option

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 07:05
Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it exactly right this morning with its scathing appraisal of the supposed HB2 “fix” getting cooked up behind closed doors at the Legislative Building. Here are some highlights: “The anger in some parts of the North Carolina business community over the two black eyes and bloody nose the state’s national ...

Floor debate brings false claims, misses key facts

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:18
Last night, the Senate debated and passed House Bill 3, a proposal containing multiple changes to the state Constitution including provisions that would set arbitrary and low income tax rates in the state Constitution and limit access to the state’s savings in times of emergency. The debate itself was full of false claims, and it ...

Proposed HB2 changes would do nothing to help this star U.S. athlete

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 14:28
Most Americans are absurdly and embarrassingly late to the game when it comes to understanding the reality of life for transgender people. HB2 and the ridiculous proposal to “fix” the hateful law that’s being floated right now at the General Assembly are conclusive proof of this. Still, the damaging everyday practical results that this blindness ...

Why draft HB2 “fix” comes up woefully short

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:33
Yesterday, in what appears to have been a premature release of a legislative leadership bill hopefully designed to begin the process of eventual repeal of HB 2, the press reported on a draft bill which, among other provisions returns the right of North Carolina citizens to sue for race, sex, ethnic, and religious discrimination as ...

Budget takes one step forward, two steps back on job training

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:39
North Carolina’s workers have been waiting for weeks to see how state legislators would address their needs, and now that the wait is over, they’re getting very little besides bad news. Not only does the compromise budget eliminate workplace health and safety inspectors at the NC Department of Labor, it also represents a missed opportunity ...

Shameless: Predatory manufactured home dealers push last minute anti-consumer bill

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 09:41
[This post has been updated.]  Things are getting very dark and dangerous right now over at the North Carolina General Assembly. With the final days of the 2016 legislative session in full swing, shameless corporate lobbyists are lining up with their shovels and wheelbarrows to load up and carry off whatever they can detach and ...

Equality, civil rights advocates blast proposed last minute, “backroom deal” on HB2

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 08:22
As reported here and other places, a proposed “compromise” emerged yesterday that would purports to make minor adjustments to HB2 and then commission a group appointed by the authors of the law to “study” further changes in the future. Not surprisingly, equality and civil right advocates are blasting the proposal. This is from Lambda Legal ...

ANER budget doubles down on marketing, spreads a few modest investments around

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 17:00
The Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources (ANER) budget makes one thing clear: North Carolina has image problems. Scattered throughout this section of the budget are a variety of additional funds to support marketing, promotion, and public relations work. New funds are made available to market North Carolina’s agricultural products overseas, to boost the state’s ...

Highlights of Justice and Public Safety Budget in joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 16:24
The joint budget for Justice and Public Safety for the upcoming fiscal year entails a 3.5 percent increase to the original JPS budget passed by state lawmakers last year. Despite unmet needs in North Carolina such as re-entry services for ex-offenders returning into local communities, little progress is made beyond funding for pay raises and one-time ...

Highlights of Higher Education budgets in the joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:30
Under the joint budget, state support for higher education – the UNC System and Community College System – fails to ensure that adequate resources are available to provide quality education services to the more than 400,000 students enrolled in public colleges and universities across the state. The joint budget includes a new fixed-tuition payment option ...

BREAKING: First look at House’s proposed HB2 amendments is not encouraging

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:11
Reporter Nick Ochsner of WBTV is reporting that leaders of the North Carolina House have put together a draft bill that would seek to walk back some of the state’s internationally derided LGBT discrimination law known as HB2. A preliminary look at the draft, however, offers little encouragement that anything truly meaningful will ultimately result. ...

First look at the Health and Human Services Budget in the joint budget agreement

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:07
The joint budget relies on two particular sources of dollars for narrow expansions to targeted programs and services that promote the health and well-being of North Carolinians through Health and Human Services. The first is the $318 million reduction in Medicaid that   is largely due to projections that suggested the demand for Medicaid services would ...

Lowlights of General Assembly’s education budget proposals

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:16
The General Assembly’s Conference Committee budget proposal (special provisions can be found here; changes to funding can be found here) contains a number of education proposals that are worth highlighting: Opportunity Scholarship voucher program:  The conference proposal combines the changes that were included in both the House and Senate versions of the budget.  That is, ...

State budget compromise offers teacher raises but expands controversial private school voucher program

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:01
A $22.34 billion budget compromise by GOP leaders in the N.C. General Assembly includes a nearly 5 percent raise for teachers, but also bundles in a laundry list of conservative wishlist items sure to rankle Democrats and public school advocates. The plan, announced by state Senate and House lawmakers late Monday, includes an average 4.7 percent raise ...

Follow the Money: How the joint budget is funded

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:50
Last night, the House and Senate held a press conference, and they subsequently released their joint budget agreement, which will be voted on over the next week or so in both chambers. The final budget holds to the rigid formula of population plus inflation, spending only $22.3 billion to operate core public services, as well ...

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