NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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New analysis: Up to 50,000 NC voters silenced by new rules, confusion, poor preparation at the polls

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 12:20
There was a good deal of anecdotal evidence during the November election indicating that something was amiss in a lot voting places around the state. Now, sadly, there is damning confirmation in a new report from the watchdogs at Democracy North Carolina. This is from the report summary: “New voting restrictions and unprepared poll workers ...

Quantifying the beneficiaries and broad benefits of immigration action

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:26
The stories of children held back from pursuing educational opportunities, of families separated and weakened by deportations or their threat, of communities uncertain how to integrate and engage immigrants, provide the most compelling support for President Obama’s announcement of a new proposal to grant temporary, limited immigration status to certain immigrant families. To complement these ...

NC protests over grand jury decision in Mike Brown case held tonight (with updated list)

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 10:25
Several protests will be held today in response to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson police officer who shot and killed a teenager last August. The shooting death of Mike Brown, who was black, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, touched off protests and unrest across the nation. ...

What you need to know about Ferguson

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 10:08
The Marshall Project has this excellent summary of the grand jury proceedings that concluded yesterday with the return of no indictment of Ferguson police office Darren Wilson for the death of teenager Michael Brown. The summary has links to many relevant stories and sources, including legal commentary on the unusual nature of the prosecutor’s handling of ...

Charter school’s failure a testament to inadequate standards and oversight

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 08:48
It’s funny and sad how humans have to constantly relearn basic lessons of history. The latest exhibit here in North Carolina comes from the world of education where, once again, we’ve been reminded of just why it is that our forebears established a uniform system of public education. It’s not that children didn’t receive education ...

Recount confirms Beasley win in Supreme Court race

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 05:48
Late yesterday, the state Board of Elections completed the recount of votes cast in the Supreme Court race between sitting Justice Cheri Beasley and her challenger, Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, with Beasley coming out ahead by more than 5,400 votes. When Robinson initially requested the recount, the tally showed Beasley ahead by 5,427 votes.  Final ...

Update on North Carolina’s missing workers

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 13:45
Coverage of the latest labor market release on Friday has focused on the fact that the state has replaced all the jobs lost in the Great Recession, a milestone achieved after nearly seven years since that recession started.  There is still much progress to be made to achieve a full recovery in the labor market. ...

New national report: Energy industry behind push from McCrory and other governors to expand off-shore drilling

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:12
There’s a hard-hitting report out today from the Center for Public Integrity peeling back the layers behind the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, a group of primarily Republican governors pushing to allow off-shore drilling in Atlantic waters. The coalition is chaired by Gov. Pat McCrory, and the Center for Public Integrity report (also published in ...

Data tools for policymaking: USDA Food Atlas

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:04
As I wrote about last week, it is increasingly urgent that emphasis be put on facts as the foundation of policymaking. And there are some great data tools out there to support identification of the issues facing North Carolina’s communities and the most effective solutions. One such tool is the USDA Food Atlas which provides ...

Solar and wind prices now compete with fossil fuels

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:57
Some good news today for renewable energy and global warming!  A new study shows that the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low at 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour in comparison to natural gas at 6.1 cents and coal at 6.6 cents.  The investment banking firm Lazard, who conducted the study, highlights that even without ...

Rep. Justin Burr forwards racist tweet

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 08:46
Just a day after he lost his long shot bid to be Speaker of the House, state Rep. Justin Burr forwarded the tweet show below to his followers from Young Conservatives.  Very classy Rep. Burr.

A small bit of good news to start your week

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 07:30
There’s still a long way to go in transforming our criminal justice system into what it needs to be. Indeed, the lead editorial in Sunday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer reminded us that the ongoing assault on North Carolina’s court system by the General Assembly and Governor McCrory is as absurd as it is ...

Employment picture improves, but jobs deficit, sluggish growth endure

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:48
State officials report that North Carolina gained of 17,200 jobs in October, dropping the state’s overall jobless rate to 6.3 percent. Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement Friday saying with those gains North Carolina has now recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Economists acknowledge that the number of payroll jobs are ...

Judge orders state lawmakers to begin producing emails and other documents in voting law cases

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:26
What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation? That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by legislators they served with subpoenas last December, asking for emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes in 2013. ...

Our built environment and the challenge of bringing food to the table this holiday season

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:16
As our minds turn to food in preparation for Thanksgiving, there continue to be too many North Carolinians who struggle to bring food to the table each and every day. For these families, a lack of resources represents the greatest challenge in ensuring nutritious meals are available but another factor is access and proximity to ...

Most inane local response to President’s immigration announcement?

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:30
The list is no doubt long and growing rapidly — be sure to check out this morning’s edition of the “Friday Follies” for more — but the always-entertaining (if rarely intentionally) State Senator Andrew Brock has to be a leading contender in the category of “most inane response by a North Carolina politician” when he ...

The President gets real on immigration reform

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 08:13
There were lots of compelling moments in the President’s speech last night on immigration policy. Especially during the moments in which he appealed to the better angels of our nature with powerful rhetoric and Biblical citations, Obama reminded us of why he can be such an inspiring figure to so many Americans. For example: “Are ...

Obama’s immigration plan draws mixed response; McCrory open to legal action

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 22:59
President Barack Obama’s plan to sidestep Congress and order his own action on immigration,  sparing as many as 5 million people from deportation is drawing a mixed response: “With this latest executive order, President Obama is making new law by bypassing Congress. I’m already discussing with other governors a long-term solution to immigration reform as ...

Some, but not all, salary information disclosed by Wilmington-area charter schools

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:00
As has already been reported, the Charter Day School group of public charter schools run by a private company has turned over much of the salary information. Both the Wilmington Star-News and ProPublica, a national investigative journalism non-profit, have reports out about what was missing from the disclosures. Roger Bacon Academies, the company owned by ...

Don’t get shut out – reserve your tickets for our 10th anniversary celebration

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:07
Holiday Season and the hubbub that comes with it are almost upon us so don’t wait too long to get your tickets for the upcoming NC Policy Watch 10th anniversary celebration. Please join our three co-hosts – former Governor Jim Hunt, Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue and Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon – Monday, December ...