NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Labor leader on the power of Moral Mondays and collective action

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:38
With today’s Moral Monday focusing on, among other things, the rights of workers in North Carolina, be sure to check out this essay from Saturday’s Raleigh News & Observer by NC AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan. As McMillan notes: “At what cost to the residents of this state do our lawmakers and our governor do the ...

How to take out a Supreme Court justice

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:22
To kick off your Monday, here’s a cautionary tale from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick about what’s happening in Tennessee judicial elections — a tale that’s unfortunately all too familiar here in North Carolina. In a reprise of what happened in that state back in 2009, three Democratically-appointed Supreme Court  justices who are up for a retention ...

House leaders knowingly passed unbalanced budget

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 08:28
The most startling story over the weekend was the revelation in a report by the News & Observer that House leaders knew that the budget they passed last week was based on flawed numbers but passed it anyway. The N.C. Education Lottery warned legislative staffers that the House’s plan to boost lottery sales by doubling ...

Editorial: House budget another bad bet

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 08:11
The House plan to fund teacher raises with increased lottery revenues continues to meet with widespread derision. ICYMI, the Greensboro News & Record weighed in over the weekend: “When it comes to raising teacher pay, the state House has almost trumped the Senate for bad ideas. The Senate offers 11 percent salary hikes, on average, ...

NAACP responds to judge’s decision on Legislative Building rules

Sat, 06/14/2014 - 08:59
As was reported late yesterday, a Superior Court judge in Wake County ruled that at least some new state Legislative Building rules go too far in denying access to the public. Late last night, the NAACP of North Carolina issued the following statement in response: In a great victory for the people in North Carolina, ...

Your weekend read: a close look at resegregation in America’s public schools

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:38
During these past few busy months you may have missed the launch of ProPublica‘s “Segregation Now,” which takes a deep look at how how America’s schools have steadily resegregated since the Brown v. Board of Education federal ruling that was handed down sixty years ago. The ProPublica series begins with Nikole Hannah-Jones’ investigation of Tuscaloosa’s city schools, which are among ...

Court of Appeals temporarily stops release of unemployment appeal notices

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:32
Lawyers who practice in the area of unemployment appeals will no longer be able to obtain copies of appeal notices from the Division of Employment Security, at least pending resolution by the Court of Appeals of a case pitting Durham unemployment attorney Monica Wilson against the division. Wilson, who had been picking up copies of those ...

Medicaid provision is recipe for Washington-style gridlock

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 14:46
The House budget includes a requirement that the position of Medicaid Director be subject to confirmation by the North Carolina General Assembly. Here’s some of the language: 4         APPOINTMENT AND CONFIRMATION OF MEDICAID DIRECTOR 5         SECTION 12H.36.(a) Effective July 1, 2014, and applying to Directors of the 6         Division of Medical Services appointed on or after ...

Top one-percenter admits inequality is getting out of hand

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 14:14
You know things have gotten pretty bad when even the head of the corporate oligarchs at Goldman Sachs starts speaking out against inequality. This is from a story posted by the good people at Think Progress: “CEO of one of the world’s largest banks: Income inequality is ‘destabilizing’ Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs, ...

Statement on House Budget Passage from Alexandra Sirota, Director, Budget & Tax Center

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 11:20
The House budget shortchanges the needs of North Carolinians — the inevitable result of tax cuts for wealthy people and large, profitable corporations. And the House worsened the state’s prospects by voting down restoration of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, a proven tool for helping low-paid, working families make ends meet. It’s time to ...

Editorial: Public has right to know how its money is being spent on charter schools

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 09:31
ICYMI, the Wilmington Star-News hits the nail on the head with this editorial on transparency in charter schools. After noting efforts by local charter school boss and all-purpose right-wing crusader Baker Mitchell to keep details of his Roger Bacon Academy secret, the editorial says this: “The state Senate is considering a bill that would make ...

Local governments feel impact of tax and budget decisions coming out of Raleigh

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 17:21
Local communities across North Carolina are already feeling the impact of recent tax policies and budget decisions made by state policymakers. A recent news article quotes a Pitt County commissioner lamenting disapproval with the state pushing off on local governments what they should be funding. Indeed, the tax plan passed last year results in self-imposed ...

Retired N.C. generals urge state lawmakers to keep Common Core for benefit of future military readiness

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 13:30
Retired generals from North Carolina urged state lawmakers today not to repeal the Common Core State Standards, holding them up as the answer to maintaining a strong and highly qualified military force for the United States. “It is alarming that poor educational achievement is one of the leading reasons why an estimated 75 percent of ...

As June 30 deadline looms, number of compensation claims by Eugenics victims grows

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:36
As of June 1, 520 Eugenics Board sterilization victims or their families have filed claims for compensation from the $10 million fund established by the state in 2012, according to the Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims. The office has forwarded 320 of those claims on to the Industrial Commission for a determination of eligibility; the ...

Burlington Times-News: Health center for frail seniors may close because of state funding issues

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:30
The Burlington Times News had an interesting article today about a  senior health center in Burlington that may close if scheduled cuts to funding through the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services go through. Nearly 140 seniors attend the Program for All-Inclusive Care (PACE) in Burlington, which acts similar to an adult day care ...

A Fiscally Responsible Way to Address Moral Monday Priorities Exists

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 10:33
Earlier this week Senator Berger announced that he and his colleagues drafted an amendment that would meet the demands of Moral Monday protestors but couldn’t find any sponsors. That seems curious given that, barring two sections which have no basis in the Moral Monday agenda, the proposal is not only revenue neutral but provides for ...

“Sanguine” Stam admits House budget is flawed

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 09:26
Apparently it doesn’t bother Rep. Paul Stam that the House budget he supports is playing games with revenue numbers and isn’t really balanced. Stam, to his credit a longtime opponent of the predatory state lottery, tells the News & Observer that he is not happy with the plan to increase lottery revenue by doubling the advertising ...

Editorial: House makes foolish gamble with lottery

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 06:16
Raleigh’s News & Observer joins the growing list of voices to condemn the state House’s decision to attempt squeeze more money out of the vulnerable by increasing lottery advertising efforts to raise teacher pay: “What’s next for Republican leaders of the state House? It’s a tantalizing question because their ideas, or perhaps that should be ...

Follow the money: House leadership takes a different path than Senate and Governor when it comes to paying for its budget

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:39
Yesterday, the North Carolina house unveiled its $21.11 billion budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year that begins in June 2014 and ends in July 2015. The proposal is moving through the committee process with the expectation of a final vote on the House floor by Friday. Surprisingly, there is a considerable difference in how ...

House Finance votes down amendment to bring back NC Earned Income Tax Credit

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:23
False claims abounded this morning in support of the House Finance Committee’s rejection of restoring the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which would have helped working families make ends meet and undone some of the damage from the tax plan adopted last year. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a proven tool to help working ...

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