NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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HB3’s Rainy Day Fund provisions aren’t going to save NC from fiscal challenges

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:54
Among the various changes to the state Constitution proposed in House Bill 3 are a series of Rainy Day Fund provisions that reflect unnecessary and counterproductive limits to the ability of lawmakers to use these savings to protect North Carolina communities and families from the brunt of a natural disaster or an economic downturn. The ...

Anti-immigrant bill would give Attorney General unchecked power to yank school construction, transportation funding

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 12:01
The Senate Appropriations committee gave its blessing to a bill that would give the Attorney General nearly unchecked power to withhold state funding for local school construction projects and road construction and repair. If HB 100 passes as written, a single state official would have the power to cut off funding for your child’s education ...

Changes to the state Constitution headed to the Senate floor

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 11:17
The Senate Rules Committee gave approval to a suite of constitutional changes that would undercut our state’s economy permanently by setting a low, arbitrary income tax rate and limiting access to the state’s savings in times of emergency. It is an entirely unnecessary move that seeks to permanently limit future budget choices to the ones ...

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:39
Abortion rights advocates are declaring a victory today after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down (in a 5-3 ruling) Texas abortion restrictions that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Texas rules also required that clinics must meet hospital-like standards, prompting several clinics in the Lone Star State ...

The best op-ed of the weekend: A devastating ten point indictment of state lawmakers

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:23
In case you missed it over the weekend, Professor Gene Nichol’s essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer (“Making the case that lawmakers are destroying North Carolina”) is an absolute “must read.” In it, Nichol provides a scathing 10-point indictment of the performance of state leaders in recent years. Here’s #1-5: “When I read the other ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch:

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 16:01
#1 – Ending discrimination is more important than ending the session It’s that time of the General Assembly session when legislative leaders are talking about adjourning and leaving town. House Speaker Tim Moore said this week that the odds are 50-50 that the session will end before July 4th while Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown ...

Senate committee approves controversial charter takeover of low-performing schools

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 14:06
With just days remaining in the N.C. General Assembly’s short session, leaders on the Senate Education Committee have given their approval to achievement school districts, a GOP-backed model of school reform that may clear for-profit charter takeovers of low-performing schools. Committee Chair Jerry Tillman, a Republican who supports the measure, declared the “ayes” to have won ...

Prominent physician skewers McCrory administration’s disastrous Medicaid policies

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 10:55
If you missed it this morning, be sure to check out the fine op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer by Robert Bilbro, the  head of Raleigh Medical Group. As Bilbro points out, the McCrory administration’s two overarching policies toward Medicaid (i.e. refusing to close the coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of people in need ...

Damage from Supreme Court blockade continues; Large majority of North Carolinians want it to end

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 07:46
The fallout from the U.S. Senate’s disastrous blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland continued yesterday as the Court was forced to issue several new and momentous rulings without its full complement of justices. The lowlight occurred, of course, when the Court deadlocked 4-4 on a critically important immigration law decision. This from a story ...

BREAKING: Virginia federal judge officially orders restroom access for transgender student

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 16:00
The following tweet and the fine print order therein spell out some great news from Virginia. Maybe this well help Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers grasp the futility of hanging on the HB2: The district court just issued a preliminary injunction for Gavin — Joshua Block (@JoshACLU) June 23, 2016

North Carolina does not have a $1.2 billion revenue surplus

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 15:32
North Carolina continues to struggle with too few dollars coming in to serve a growing state that needs good, quality schools, healthy environments, safe neighborhoods and supports for workforce training and economic development. In the final days as policymakers negotiate the differences in their original proposals to arrive at a final budget, relying on bad ...

Protesting teachers arrested last week detail their booking experience, skewer McCrory

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 14:31
On Policy Watch Wednesday, we wrote about pending background check legislation that some worry will impact teachers’ ability to participate in acts of civil disobedience. It comes after 14 education demonstrators were arrested outside of the state capitol last week, following a pro-public education rally on the steps of the legislative building. This week, following ...

Legislation disguises tax giveaway to wealthy investors as aid for struggling communities

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 12:47
Special interests often use the dog days of the legislative session to see if one of their old hounds can still hunt. As has become an almost yearly ritual, out of state companies appear once again to be trying to secure a huge tax give-away for their clients. Under the guise of supposedly helping low-income ...

DC leads the way on minimum wage, will NC follow?

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 11:58
Washington, DC took an important step forward for workers last week, joining a growing number of states and cities that have raised the minimum wage. Meanwhile, workers in North Carolina continue to wait on the General Assembly to take positive steps to raise wages. The capital city joins 17 states that have changed their minimum-wage ...

Provision added to regulatory reform bill would undermine farmworker unions

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 10:24
As has been common with bills drafted by this General Assembly, the title of HB593 does not adequately describe its contents.  The “Act to Amend Certain Environmental, Natural Resources, and 3 Other Laws” deals with wide ranging subjects, including storm water, erosion, reptiles, and mopeds.  A late addition, Section 17, adds unions to the mix. ...

North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system is the envy of no one

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 09:54
Last week the Center for American Progress and National Employment Law Project released a review of unemployment insurance as a federal and state partnership and the choices in recent years that have made it less effective at reaching jobless workers. North Carolina policymakers, of course, aggressively pursued the worst changes in unemployment insurance. The result ...

Wilmington Star News blasts conservative obstruction of wind power

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 08:45
Be sure to check out the on-the-money lead editorial in this morning’s Wilmington Star News and its scathing take down of state lawmakers and their manufactured excuses for trying to undermine wind power in North Carolina (lately, lawmakers have been claiming that windmills would somehow disrupt eastern NC military bases).  Here’s the excellent conclusion: “One ...

House Democrats stage sit-in, demand gun-control legislation (video)

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 06:32
Congressional Democrats staged a sit-in on the U.S. House floor Wednesday, demanding the chamber vote on common sense gun-control measures. Congresswoman Alma Adams appealed to her colleagues to take action after the Orlando shooting that left 50 dead and 53 wounded. Adams drew applause as she demanded “NRA, get the hell out of the way!” ...

Summer months mean going without healthy foods for many NC kids, study finds

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 12:00
Making sure that kids in low-income households have access to nutritious foods over the summer helps improve their overall health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found in a recently completed five-year study. For hundreds of thousands of children in low-income households across the state, the summer months often mean fewer healthy food options because ...

National charter group blasts bill limiting state oversight of struggling charter schools

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 11:13
This month, we wrote about a Senate rewrite of a white collar crime bill, House Bill 242, which would place new limits on the state’s power to shutter low-performing charter schools. This week, a national, nonpartisan charter group is warning North Carolina lawmakers that the provision, backed by Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Moore, Randolph, could weaken ...