NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

A bad budget with one positive signal to progressives

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 07:07
Headline-hunting legislative leaders got what they wanted and needed (for now) with yesterday’s latest budget announcement. They wanted the story to be first and foremost about big teacher raises and it appears pretty clear that they got that. Media outlets around the state are reporting that central component of the proposed budget agreement this morning ...

State budget compromise gives teachers 7 percent raise, GOP leaders mum on details about potential cuts

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:55
In a joint press conference Tuesday, N.C House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger gave a broad outline of their recently-reached compromise on the state’s $21.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. The Republican legislative leaders used the half-hour press conference to outline what the budget would do ...

Public schools across North Carolina adopt universal meal programs

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:59
With a new school year approaching, many local school boards across North Carolina will join an effort to help end childhood hunger. For the 2014-15 school year the nation-wide Community Eligibility Program (CEP) allows high-poverty North Carolina schools to eliminate collecting school meal applications and offer breakfast and lunch to all of their students at ...

Renewed National Attention to NC Unemployment Insurance Cuts Tell Story of Harm and Unbalanced Approach

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:30
This week has already featured several prominent pieces on North Carolina’s unemployment insurance cuts with the final assessment that many jobless workers have likely been harmed and a more balanced approach to trust fund debt based on evidence not ideology was needed. On Sunday, the New York Times featured a piece by Justin Wolfers of ...

What we expect to be true in the soon-to-be released final budget deal

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:36
Budget writers announced over the weekend that the Senate and House leadership agreed to a basic framework for a final budget deal. That framework includes a pay raise for teachers averaging roughly 7 percent and further cuts to the Medicaid program that provides health insurance and long-term care to children and adults who are poor, ...

Veteran WaPo columnist: “North Carolina Republicans put ideology above lives”

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:12
Veteran Washington Post columnist Dana Millbank gets things just about right in this new essay about the stubborn refusal of the state’s conservative political leaders to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Millbank’s column was inspired by Belhaven mayor Adam O’Neal’s march to Washington that was designed to highlight the plight of his small ...

Yet another environmental outrage at the General Assembly

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:42
It’s last-minute sausage making time down on Jones Street and lawmakers are doing their worst to ram through a raft of measures that are of, by and for the well-heeled special interests. See for example the 54-page “technical corrections” bill that was passed by the House last week and that’s scheduled to blitz through the ...

Attorney General on defending Amendment One: It’s time to stop making arguments we will lose (video)

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 18:15
Attorney General Roy Cooper spoke out Monday following the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Cooper said while his office has “vigorously defended” North Carolina’s ban, today’s appellate ruling makes it clear that Amendment One will eventually be overturned. “It’s time to stop making arguments we ...

Members of British Parliament join U.S. farmworker leader in call for justice

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:24
On Monday at Pullen Church in Raleigh at an event sponsored by the National Farm Worker Ministry, two members of the British Parliament–Ian Lavery and James Sheridan–joined American farmworker leader Baldemar Velasquez to speak to over 200 supporters about their current tour and mission in the U.S. to fight for justice among farmworkers. Velasquez is ...

Fourth Circuit finds Virginia same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 13:52
In a 2-1 ruling today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which decides appeals from federal courts in  Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland — found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Affirming a lower court ruling and writing for the Court in Bostic v. Schaefer, Judge Henry F. Floyd said: We ...

Legislators pressed to strengthen coal ash bill before adjournment (video)

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:02
State lawmakers may come together with a final budget bill this week, but environmentalists say there is plenty of work to do on a final coal ash management bill before legislators wrap-up the session. Grady McCallie, policy director for the NC Conservation Network, says both the House and Senate versions of the coal ash bill ...

Eastern North Carolina could see lower electricity bills, with deal announced Monday

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:02
A deal between two North Carolina electricity providers could finally give some Eastern North Carolina residents relief from monthly electricity bills that rank among highest in the state. The N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency and Duke Energy announced Monday a plan for Duke to buy $1.2 billion worth of assets held by the municipal power ...

Rep. Cotham to McCrory: Keep your word and veto bill that thwarts charter school transparency

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:59
Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenberg) sent a letter on Monday to Gov. Pat McCrory, asking him to veto legislation sent to him last week by the General Assembly that allows private, for-profit charter school operators to keep their employees’ salaries secret, even though they are paid with public funds.  “While this bill requires that charter schools disclose the ...

Unemployment insurance debt paid down by jobless workers

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:08
Last week as the Budget & Tax Center released its analysis of the impact of unemployment insurance changes on jobless workers one year later, the Department of Commerce Employment Security Division announced that the unemployment insurance debt will be paid down early. The resolution of the debt in August 2015 rather than November 2015 will ...

“White smoke” on Jones Street really a sign of leaking oil

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:34
In an allusion to the signal that’s seen in the Vatican when the leaders of the Catholic Church elect a new Pope, at least one news media report this morning is talking about “white smoke” being visible on Jones Street. The story accompanying the headline, of course, is that leaders of the North Carolina General ...

Income tax cuts cost more than originally projected according to Fiscal Research Division

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:24
Income tax cut costs will rise to more than $1 billion by 2016, raising serious concerns about whether the current budget negotiations are putting forward a fiscally responsible path to meet the priorities of our state. Before the budget is finalized, legislative leadership must consider this newly available information that the tax cuts will cost ...

House OKs bill that allows private charter school education management companies to keep their employees’ salaries secret

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:36
House lawmakers approved legislation Friday that allows private, for-profit management companies that run charter schools to keep their employees’ salaries secret, even though they are paid with public funds. The bill also fails to provide protections for LGBT students, even though an earlier version did. While the bill, SB 793, or Charter School Modifications, clarifies ...

Technical corrections bill allows for-profit companies spots on North Carolina charter school boards

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 10:50
Buried deep in a House technical corrections bill unveiled yesterday is a provision to would allow staff of for-profit charter school management groups to serve on the boards of the public charters schools that contract with them. The 55-page technical corrections bill that the N.C. House of Representatives is expected to vote on today. The legislation would also ...

Editorial: Apply common sense on ACA subsidies

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 09:21
This morning’s Greensboro News & Record makes some sound points in assessing the split in the federal courts over the Affordable Care Act and the availability of subsidies in states without state-based exchanges. While the editorial (which is entitled “Save the subsidies”) acknowledges the ambiguity of some of the language in the statute, it also rightfully calls ...

Medical Society issues scathing takedown of NC Senate Medicaid proposal

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:05
North Carolina doctors pulled no punches in their review of the Medicaid “reform” (i.e. privatization) plan adopted by the state Senate today. This is the official statement from the NC Medical Society: “Today the Senate had a clear choice between the health of our state’s most vulnerable citizens and the health of Wall Street corporations, ...

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