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Updated: 11 min 40 sec ago

Early voting outpaces 2010 levels

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:22
With early voting drawing to a close on Saturday, the number of people voting in person and taking advantage of the convenience of early voting is approaching 700,000. Associated Press’ Gary Robertson reports: State Board of Elections data show nearly 690,000 people had cast ballots from the start of early voting Oct. 23 through Wednesday ...

Medicaid expansion? Real conservative bosses still offer little hope

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 09:05
The talk about Medicaid expansion for North Carolina in 2015 from political leaders without much power to do anything about it continues. Gov. McCrory and his HHS Secretary keep talking about expansion as does, rather amusingly, lame duck Speaker/U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis. Obviously, expansion would be a terrific thing and is horrifically overdue as ...

Sticker shock – 42,000 Blue Cross customers sent incorrect insurance renewal rates

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:56
If you received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield this week quoting individual insurance rates for 2015, it might be worth checking those numbers twice. About 42,000 BCBSNC individuals received letters this week containing incorrect amounts. In some cases, customers saw their costs increase more than 100 percent. Blue Cross is inviting customers to ...

Workers facing tougher times at the N.C. Industrial Commission?

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 14:06
The Independent, the alternative weekly newspaper in the Triangle, had an interesting piece this week about changes the N.C. Industrial Commission has faced under Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration. The Industrial Commission serves as the decision-makers in workers compensation disputes and has become more hostile to injured workers and more friendly to business interests with matters ...

Today’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 13:14
Be sure to check out the newest lead stories on the main NCPW site today: This morning, N.C. Justice Center Communication Director Jeff Shaw authored a personal and exceedingly rational commentary on the latest outbreak of gun madness in our gun-obsessed culture (which even discusses his own personal experience growing up with firearms). Meanwhile, in ...

High-profile politicos make the case for Tillis, Hagan in the final days of the campaign (video)

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 10:00
North Carolina’s tight Senate race earned a new distinction this week – topping $100 million spent in total advertising, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation. The contest also brought former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney to Raleigh Wednesday stumping for Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis: “There’s no question but that the president’s ...

Newby banjo ad recycled for Supreme Court challenger Mike Robinson

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 08:30
As we reported yesterday, the Justice for All NC PAC is poised for a last-minute ad blitz supporting Republican-endorsed candidates for the state Supreme Court, after receiving a fresh infusion of $400,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee this past week. Now it appears that at least of some of that money is going toward ...

NC General Assembly: Visiting more indignities on teachers, wasting money on privatization

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:02
The follies of the North Carolina General Assembly and its shortsighted attitudes toward public education (and public service in general) are neatly illustrated by two stories in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal. In “Who’s a teacher? The legislature wrongly decides,” reporter Scott Sexton tells the story of  veteran teacher named Patti Morrison who, because of the ...

Wilmington charter school company: school salary info are “trade secrets” and should be kept from public

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:06
A group of Wilmington-area charter schools missed a Monday deadline to provide information to the state about salaries earned by employees of a private contractor that work at the public schools. But the private company contracted to run the four charter schools said it will give up the salary information under one condition – that ...

Apple CEO reminds us about importance of protecting workers from discrimination

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 13:46
There is lots of talk on right-wing avenue this week about North Carolina’s big jump in the business climate rankings published by the right-leaning Tax Foundation. Imagine that, a conservative think tank that evaluates states solely on their tax rates giving North Carolina a higher ranking for cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. More ...

North Carolina cited in new national study of problems with provisional ballots

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 11:00
A new, lengthy and in-depth report from the Center for American Progress raises real and important questions about racial discrimination in the use of provisional ballots. The report, “Uncounted Votes: The Racially Discriminatory Effect of Provisional Ballots,”  looked at the use of the ballots throughout the country during the 2012 election and found that: “Of ...

Medicaid expansion for North Carolina coming ‘truly very soon’

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 09:30
House Speaker Thom Tillis is not the only one warming to the idea of Medicaid expansion these days. State Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said in an interview with public radio station WUNC that with the state’s Medicaid program more stable, she’s preparing to present an expansion plan to Governor Pat McCrory: “We’re ...

Are more attack ads coming in the state Supreme Court race?

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 06:51
Three candidates for the state Supreme Court — current Justices Robin Hudson and Cheri Beasley and Court of Appeals Judge Sam J. Ervin, IV will be holding news conferences today in three cities to discuss the latest influx of “dark money” from outside independent groups hoping to steer the race toward conservative-backed candidates. As happened during the May ...

Hopeful news: SAT scores de-emphasized at three UNC system HBCU’s

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:12
Three UNC system schools will now be able to admit students with lower SAT scores if their grade point average (GPA) is higher than required. The three year pilot program, approved by the UNC Board of Governors on Friday, will allow North Carolina Central, Elizabeth City State and Fayetteville State Universities to admit students on ...

Against Ebola? Support Medicaid expansion

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:53
People fear the unfamiliar. It’s human nature. When a new threat emerges, our minds often race about it — even when the same old threats are far more worrisome. This is one reason a healthy (heh) number of my friends are anxious about the Ebola virus. Maybe yours are, too. Heck, maybe you are. Well, ...

The Lieutenant Governor hangs on to states’ rights

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 10:55
Same-sex marriages may be happening in North Carolina — thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review the Fourth Circuit’s Bostic decision, allowing such marriages — but one day soon that might change, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Forest suggests in a recent blog post on his website. In the article (written under his signature but posted ...

Have you seen this man?

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 09:50
According to some reports, serial right-wing troublemaker and convicted breaker and enterer James O’Keefe (that’s him on the left in his federal government mugshot) is back in North Carolina and looking to pull off another one of his dishonest stunts. O’Keefe, as you will recall, is a friend of the Pope groups who plead guilty ...

The Right’s big whopper about living wages and the fast food industry

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 08:41
Don’t you just love it when the business lobby and their toadies in the far right think tanks get all misty-eyed about the fate of those poor, poor workers who will supposedly be so much worse off if the minimum wage rises substantially? You know the rap: “Hey, it would be great if workers could ...

Today’s lead stories on NC Policy Watch

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 14:44
In case you missed them, two commentaries on the main Policy Watch website from earlier today are worth a look this afternoon. In today’s “Monday numbers,” Chris Fitzsimon lists some of the latest sobering numbers surrounding the unrepentant efforts of Senator Phil Berger, Rep. Paul Stam and some other troubled souls to block enforcement of ...

Rick Perry blasts Common Core that McCrory supports

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:01
The folks in the North Carolina Republican Party keep wanting to have it both ways on Common Core. Abolishing the standards has become a crusade for the Tea Party wing led by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, when he is not planning wacky constitutional conventions.  But much of the state’s business community, specifically the NC Chamber, has been outspoken proponents ...

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