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Updated: 2 hours 21 min ago

Vital rights hang by a thread as prospect of another Trump appointee to the Supreme Court grows

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:08

The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retiresThere’s an immensely sobering but important posy this morning on ThinkProgress by Supreme Court watcher Ian Millhiser entitled “The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retires.” As Millhiser points out, Americans will likely have to “say goodbye to Roe, racial justice, voting rights, and any new progress on LGBT rights.” Here’s the alarming ...

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New report: Senate health care bill poses threat to NC abuse and neglect victims

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:24

The good folks at NC Child have some more troubling news this morning about the U.S. Senate’s proposed healthcare bill (the one that Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis are apparently ready to vote for). Here’s the release that accompanies “Senate Health Care Bill Would Damage NC’s Child Welfare System”: US Senate Health Bill Would Damage ...

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Concealed carry bill far from dead

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 14:21

The latest legislative session ended last week with the HR 746 still bottled up in the Senate Rules committee. But the bill, which would allow North Carolinians to carry concealed handguns without a permit under most circumstances, is one of a number of bills that is likely to resurface as lawmakers come back to Raleigh for ...

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N&O editorial: GOP should stop “meddling” with N.C. public education

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:30

A Sunday editorial from The News & Observer offers up some advice for Republican leaders in the N.C. General Assembly: Stop meddling with public schools. The editorial follows a report from Policy Watch last week on a budget directive from GOP lawmakers that eliminates top positions at the State Board of Education and the N.C. ...

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The skinny on NC and Trump’s request for election data

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:00

The good people at Democracy North Carolina are pointing out on the group’s Facebook page that North Carolina officials are actually doing the right thing when it comes to the Trump administration’s request for state election data. Amid concerns about Trump administration demands this week for private voter info from all 50 states, the NC ...

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Neonic pesticides shorten bees’ lives in newly discovered way — with consequences for our drinking water

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 09:52

A new study confirms that honeybees exposed to neonic pesticides, long implicated in their illness and death, send them to an early grave– putting the health of entire hive at risk. Canadian researchers used “field realistic” exposure levels to study the bees’ health. Skeptics of neonics’ toxicity — the very companies that manufacture the chemicals ...

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Do our choices match our values, as a state and as a nation? A July 4 rumination

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 08:00

Our country was born 241 years ago, when our Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence. The story that we tell ourselves, of our birth and who we are as a country, has been a continuous thread since then – the story of the American Dream. We tell ourselves that, in our country, there is ...

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Hold your sprayers: Gov. Cooper puts the kibosh on leachate bill

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 18:05

Leachate won’t start spewing garbage juice for at least another month now that Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed House Bill 576. The measure would require state environmental officials to permit an untested technology that sprays leachate from landfills into the air. The theory is the larger, harmful contaminated particles will drop to the surface of ...

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This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 15:02

1. Budget bill fires State Board of Ed director, DPI staffers with ties to Atkinson A N.C. General Assembly budget mandate to fire certain North Carolina public education officials would target Republican rivals’ allies and the top staffer in the State Board of Education, N.C. Policy Watch has learned. Of the five filled positions set for ...

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NC will comply with federal voter data request; Governor criticizes Trump fraud claims

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:50

Every state now has to decide how it will handle the request by President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission for all 50 states to hand over their states’ full voter-roll data – including names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations, last four Social Security number digits and voting history since 2006. Some states – like Kentucky – have ...

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Wind energy sent to time-out for 18 months, HB 589 heads to Gov. Cooper’s desk

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:10

A t 1 o’clock this morning, the winds in Raleigh were blowing from the southwest at 10 miles per hour, a gentle breeze nonetheless strong enough to move the blades of a wind turbine. Inside the building, though, a storm brewed over House Bill 589. Earlier in the week, Sen. Harry Brown, a Republican from Onslow ...

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Lawmakers attempt to set their own timelines in racial gerrymandering case; court will have final say

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 11:48

While you were (probably) sleeping, North Carolina lawmakers named the committee members who will redraw racially gerrymandered legislative maps. Lawmakers committed to holding a redistricting session no later than Nov. 15, though a court will have the final say on that date. Today, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina is ...

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General Assembly heads home for a month; good news sparse

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 08:18

The North Carolina General Assembly finally adjourned the 2017 “long session” early this morning — kind of, anyway. As Laura Leslie of WRAL reported: “State lawmakers unveiled an adjournment resolution Thursday night that will bring them back to town in August, September and then again by November to draw new legislative districts. For many years, ...

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State lawmakers approve campus protest bill, rapid charter expansions

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 15:41

A  pair of GOP bills aimed at curtailing UNC campus protests and speeding charter school growth swept through the state House of Representatives Thursday. With lawmakers hoping to wrap the session quickly, the chamber concurred with Senate versions of both bills, despite resistance from Democrats. As Policy Watch reported in April, House Bill 527 emerged ...

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State lawmakers take positive step in Hurricane Matthew recovery

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:30

Today, the NC General Assembly passed The Disaster Recovery Act of 2017 (SB 338). The bill allocates $100 million to help Eastern North Carolina recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. Causing massive flooding and damage in 50 counties in the Eastern part of the state, the storm displaced thousands of families ...

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Legislators push last minute assault on worker freedom

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:30

The list of reactionary proposal on Jones Street seems to grow by the minute these days. As Lynn Bonner of Raleigh’s News & Observer reported late last night, one of the latest outrageous proposal would seek to undermine the already paltry union rights that the state’s farmworkers enjoy. This is from “NC legislature moves to ...

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Legislative madness peaks as lawmakers move to endorse call for national constitutional convention

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 11:26

State lawmakers are looking to wind up the 2017 session this week and, as has been the case in recent years in particular, that means great and potentially destructive mischief is afoot. A classic case in point can be found in a loony, ALEC-supported proposal that sits on the House calendar today. Senate Joint Resolution ...

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Today: Judges will hear arguments in NC Board of Education v. NC, DPI Superintendent

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 08:00

Were North Carolina lawmakers acting constitutionally when they transferred power from the State Board of Education to newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson? A three judge panel will hear arguments on both sides starting at 10 a.m. today in the courtroom of the state Court of Appeals on Morgan Street. The State Board of ...

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House Finance Considering Bill to Amend State Constitution Tonight

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 19:26

In another last-minute consideration of a major policy change, the House will take up a bill (Senate Bill 75) this evening (15 minutes after session ends) that would amend the state Constitution to permanently cap income tax rates at 5.5 percent. Lawmakers have already proven that they can cut income taxes without changing the state ...

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Federal court upholds GOP law allowing religious magistrates to refuse performing same-sex marriages

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 18:50

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the GOP’s Senate Bill 2, a law that allows North Carolina magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs. A three-judge panel from the Richmond-based court dismissed Ansley v. Warren because the couples who brought the suit did not have standing as ...

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