NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Senate leadership rolls out teacher pay, big expansion for vouchers in budget

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 17:10
As promised, state Senate leaders rolled out additional “highlights” of their budget plan Tuesday afternoon. The plan, as explained by Senate President Phil Berger, “dramatically” increases teacher pay, expands the state’s controversial private school voucher program, hires close to 1,000 additional first- and second-grade teachers to reduce class sizes, and “fully funds” teaching assistants, in addition to ...

Top 5 Reasons why TABOR is wrong for North Carolina

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 15:25
There are at least 10 million reasons that the House shouldn’t change North Carolina’s constitution to arbitrarily limit what the state can do to build a stronger economy in every community: the 10 million people of North Carolina who deserve leadership that finds out what our state needs and what it will reasonably take to ...

Teacher advocates demand details on Senate pay plan

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 14:00
Last week, state Senate President Phil Berger trumpeted the announcement that his chamber’s budget proposal will include sizable raises for teachers. Now, with Senate leaders reportedly preparing to announce “highlights” of their budget plan this afternoon, progressive groups like Progress N.C. Action are calling for answers on how Berger and Senate GOP leaders plan to ...

The growing movement for sane gun violence policies: Don’t miss next Monday’s luncheon

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 11:47
Don’t miss next week’s very special Crucial Conversation luncheon: A year after the Charleston tragedy: Growing hope for saner anti-gun violence policies Register here It’s been nearly a year since the horrific tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina in which nine attendees at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were shot down and ...

New study: Voucher students doing significantly worse than public school counterparts

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 10:20
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Mark Dynarski is out with a new report that summarizes some damning new findings about the performance of students receiving school vouchers. The report, “On negative effects of vouchers,” looked at data from Indiana and Louisiana. This is from the executive summary: “Recent research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and ...

Editorial: It’s time to move past petty politics and clean up the coal ash mess

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 07:28
In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, the Greensboro News & Record featured a fine editorial about the confusing ongoing battle between the General Assembly and the Governor over coal ash. The basic message: stop the petty feuding over who’s in charge and get the damned job done. At present, the two sides  ...

Sigh…Texas congressman’s bizarre anti-LGBT speech gives voice to the spirit behind HB2 (Video)

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 09:52
In case you missed it last week, you should take a few minutes to check out some of the “highlights” of Texas congressman Louis Gohmert’s recent speech on the floor of the U.S House of Representatives. In it, the poor fellow neatly sums up much of the fear and ignorance that underlie laws like HB2. ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 13:30
1. Locking in North Carolina’s decline The 2017 budget promises nothing but more distress for North Carolina  Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore love to boast that North Carolina is in the midst (or, perhaps, on the cusp) of a rousing economic “comeback.” Hardly a day goes ...

Rick Glazier: NCGA’s “never mind” budget lacking — fails, hurts North Carolina

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 11:57
Rick Glazier, Executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center, wrote an editorial that appeared in the News and Observer yesterday saying the budget from N.C. legislators falls short of not only meeting the needs of the state but also departs from a history of commitment to public investments like the state’s university system and ...

Research shows negative effects of school vouchers on student performance

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:17
Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institution pointed to recent research of voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana suggesting that students with vouchers to attend private schools perform worse on math and reading tests than their peers in public schools. Lack of adequate accountability may be one factor. Excerpt and link to full report below. Recent ...

Not again: Lawmakers unveil yet another polluter protection bill

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 06:15
Those who might have hoped that North Carolina corporate polluters and their political apologists had run out of basic environmental protection laws to raze should have known better. In this release from yesterday afternoon, Dustin Chicurel-Bayard over at the NC chapter of the Sierra Club explains how they’re back at it yet again: Revised bill ...

Will House move to eliminate minimum wage and overtime protections for seasonal workers?

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 16:29
In a surprise move yesterday, the House Finance Committee voted to eliminate state minimum wage and overtime protections for certain seasonal workers and amusement park employees. But a glimmer of hope remains for workers after key Republicans on the panel pledged to address concerns over the minimum wage and the bill was kept off the ...

Issues with HB 1080 set conditions for failure of Achievement School District

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 16:10
Yesterday, the House Education – K-12 Committee approved HB 1080, which would create an “achievement school district.”  Under the bill, five low-performing elementary schools would be selected to have their operation turned over to a charter school operator (an “AS operator”). There is no evidence that the ASD model works.  In Tennessee, ASD schools have not experienced ...

A new way forward on protecting workers in the gig economy

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 15:17
Uber’s major settlement last month illustrates the pressing need for regulatory action in the emerging “gig economy.” And a recent speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren last week shows us the direction that regulatory action should take. Cases brought by Uber drivers to district courts in California and Massachusetts throughout the past year have shed light ...

Standard deduction increase is a blunderbuss tax policy – noisy but ineffective

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 14:54
A proposal to raise the standard personal income tax deduction is being touted as a boon to working class North Carolinians, but that sales pitch doesn’t tell the whole story. The Senate is right to worry that too many working families are struggling to make ends meet and that their tax choices haven’t helped, but ...

Advocates continue to press for Medicaid expansion

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 13:19
Advocates, providers, and people in the coverage gap gathered at the General Assembly yesterday to champion for Medicaid expansion. When NC legislators passed SB 4 in 2013, which purposely blocked the state from closing the coverage gap, advocates knew that it would take continued action of many to ensure that NC legislators understand the health, social, ...

Coal ash cleanup bill delayed in NC Senate, possible vote Tuesday

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 13:17
The state Senate voted 47-0 today to not concur with the version of SB71 that passed the House yesterday. The bill would establish a new coal ash management commission, replacing the commission that was disbanded following a lawsuit from Gov. McCrory. The bill now goes to conference committee with a likely vote on Tuesday. WRAL ...

GAO finds hazardous conditions in poultry, meatpacking continue

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 12:07
The General Accounting Office (GAO) publicly released a report yesterday on workplace health and safety conditions in the poultry industry.  While noting a decline in injury and illness rates from 2004 to 2013, the report highlights the problem of underreporting and inadequate data collection.  The GAO report includes 3 recommendations for Executive Action: Recommendation: To ...

UNC Board of Governors to hold public comment session tomorrow

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:57
The UNC Board of Governors will hold its first public comment session Friday in response to months of protests from students since Margaret Spellings assumed office as UNC President. Spellings introduced the idea, along with livestreaming board meetings, as an effort at transparency. As the News and Observer reported on Monday: After months of protests ...

How come a right-wing group already has a copy of the Senate budget?

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 09:30
The conservative Pope-Civitas Institute sent out an action alert last night in which it informed the folks on their mailing list that “page 120 of the NC Senate budget” includes “two lines of legislation that could cost taxpayers billions of dollars.” It reported that language as saying the following: “Repeal Light Rail Funding Cap, Section ...

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