NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Pro-school privatization group could receive $2 million taxpayer dollars to support charter school expansion in NC

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 14:00
A bill moving through the General Assembly would award $2 million over two years to Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) to help expand the number of charter schools throughout the state. Sponsored by Reps. Bryan (R-Mecklenburg), Brockman (D-Guilford) and B. Brown (R-Pitt), HB 535, “Promoting Charter School Success Pilot” would also allow ...

Shining the light on business practices of for-profit charter school management firms

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 11:43
Hats off to the Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Dunn, who published a series of stories this weekend about how for-profit education management organizations that operate charter schools in North Carolina are allowed to keep secret, to some extent, how they spend taxpayer dollars — and how that reality can ultimately contribute to the abuse of public money. ...

The proposed sales tax shift: Ignoring why things are the way they are?

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 09:26
Mooresville writer John Deem has a rock-anthem-inspired take this morning on the proposals in the General Assembly to shift sales tax revenues from urban to rural areas of the state: Sales tax redistribution: Money for nothing and your trips for free By John Deem Nearly all of the debate over Republican legislators’ proposals for redistributing ...

The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 07:15
In case you missed it, the best editorial of the weekend dealt with the most important failure of North Carolina’s political leadership in recent years. The essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer was entitled: “NC losing funding and savings with Medicaid holdout: By balking on Medicaid expansion, N.C. forgoes billions of dollars and a chance ...

Don’t miss upcoming luncheons re: “What’s the matter with Kansas?” and offshore drilling and the NC coast

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 09:26
There are now two Crucial Conversation luncheons you want to miss on the schedule for April: #1: “Can this coastline be saved? Offshore drilling and what it will likely mean for North Carolina’s beaches and wetlands. “  The event will feature one of the state’s leading experts on the topic, Southern Environmental Law Center attorney ...

Rep. Martin: Governor should clearly state he would veto ‘Religious Freedom’ bill (audio)

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 07:07
The national debate in the name of religious freedom came to North Carolina this week with Gov. Pat McCrory saying he opposes legislation in the General Assembly similar to the law in Indiana that’s drawing widespread criticism. House Speaker Tim Moore has said he would like to see how such a measure would affect North ...

McCrory tours charter school with national for-profit charter chain exec Jonathan Hage

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 16:14
Governor Pat McCrory toured a Cary charter school Thursday with the head of that school’s for-profit education management organization, Charter Schools USA. “He’s just here to highlight a good school,” said Eric Guckian, McCrory’s education advisor, when asked what prompted the Governor’s visit Thursday to Cardinal Charter Academy, which opened its doors to grades K-6 ...

Raising the bar: McCrory’s plan for the environment is a job killer

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 14:57
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in the “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina nonprofit leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved. We need an energy system that protects our vital ...

McDonald’s wage increase proposal: workers not lovin’ it

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 14:00
McDonald’s announced Wednesday that it would raise wages for its corporate employees by an average of 10% in July. The bottom line: because the announcement only impacts employees in corporate-run restaurants, the increase would leave a whopping 90% of the chain’s nearly 900,000 workers out in the cold. The move was widely panned by workers and labor advocates as ...

New legislation would all but end access to safe, legal abortions in North Carolina

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:18
Women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies took another blow yesterday and this time the strike was aimed at doctors too. While proponents of women’s rights were still reeling from the anti-abortion Senate bill filed last week, HB 465 was introduced, yesterday, containing the most restrictive proposed abortion restrictions North Carolina has seen ...

Hopeful sign: Business and environmental interests coming together on solar power

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 12:04
Spencer Nelson, a senior at UNC Chapel Hill and Chair of the Renewable Energy Committee in Student Government, recently authored the following essay highlighting some hopeful news on the renewable energy front: Win-win legislation would promote solar energy through market forces By Spencer Nelson Both business interests and environmental advocates are enthusiastic about two bills ...

Of state “brands” and “religious freedom”

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:45
Mooresville writer John Deem is not impressed with state House Speaker Tim Moore’s recent statements about the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and its potential impact on North Carolina’s “brand”: Speaker Moore: “I’m all about the brand, ’bout that brand, no trouble …” N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s promise of a pragmatic approach in deliberations ...

Vaccine bill doesn’t stand a shot this year

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 06:25
Senate Bill 346 – legislation that would require any child in this State to be immunized in order to attend school – is officially dead for this session. Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg), Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake), and Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe), the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 346, issued the following joint statement Wednesday: ...

Not an April Fool’s joke: Wal-Mart CEO speaks out against pro-discrimination bills

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:39
No, hell has not frozen over and the following excerpt from a story in Upstart Business Journal does not appear to be an April Fools’ joke. Rather, it is the latest sure sign that troubled souls on the American religious right are, blessedly, losing the fight for the hearts and minds of the nation: “Facing ...

Raising the bar: NC must invest in Main Street businesses to promote community economic development

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 14:45
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in the “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina nonprofit leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved.   The past few years have brought a major ...

UNC Board of Governors meeting Thursday (at a private Charlotte law firm) to discuss replacing Tom Ross

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 12:19
A subcommittee of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors meets in Charlotte tomorrow to talk about the search for a new president of the 17-campus higher education system. The board’s presidential search nominating committee is holding a public meeting at the McGuire Woods law firm in Charlotte, where UNC Board Chairman John Fennebresque ...

Despite the headlines, McCrory signed bill to raise gas tax and punish struggling homeowners

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:48
There a lot of headlines today about the lower gas tax in North Carolina as a result of legislation passed this week by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. And it’s technically true. The state gas tax went down today by one and a half cents. One conservative advocate took ...

More newspapers weigh in against so-called “religious freedom” bills

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:42
It’s looking more and more like the the pro-discrimination bills in the North Carolina General Assembly masquerading as “religious freedom” proposals are — thank goodness — going nowhere. This morning, you can add the Greensboro News & Record and the Winston-Salem Journal to the list of major news outlets issuing condemnations. Here’s the N&R in ...

Raising the Bar: North Carolina needs a budget debate focused on building an economy that works for all

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 14:15
North Carolina can have quality schools, accessible health care, a sound transportation system, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods—all of the things necessary to strengthen the economy and grow a strong middle class. We just have to make the choice to build this infrastructure of opportunity. In recent years, state policymakers have undercut the effectiveness of ...

Why ‘clarifying’ the Religious Freedom legislation may not be enough

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 13:55
If you’ve been following the uproar and backlash over Indiana’s religious freedom law, you’ll want to read these two articles: First, civil rights icon Julian Bond thoughtfully explains why these ‘religious discrimination’ bills cropping up across the nation (including North Carolina) have nothing to do with religion. From Dr. Bond’s op-ed: These religious refusal proposals ...

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