NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

Highlights of the House education budget proposal

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 12:56
House lawmakers unveiled their 2015-17 biennial budget Thursday morning—and education proposals were longer on policy pitches than big figure changes, including measures that would affect student assessment & classroom staffing models as well as six different pilot programs aimed at teacher preparation, workforce development and remediation, among other ideas. The budget also did not include a much anticipated announcement ...

State House budget process has become a mockery of democratic governance

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 10:41
There were a lot of things that the Democrats did wrong while they were running the North Carolina General Assembly back in the day– especially in the state Senate — and many of them were highlighted at the time on this website. That said, the “process” now in use on Jones Street has degenerated since ...

House budget for courts: How it compares

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 10:40
The House released its proposed 2015-2017 budget this morning with some good news for the courts: an infusion of more than $18 million to finally bring the state judicial system into the digital age. That’s way more than the $5 million former Administrative Office of the Courts director John Smith requested for technology for in his February ...

Let’s hope uninsured South Carolina man and others learn lesson from liberals

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 07:26
News item from the Charlotte Observer: “The Fort Mill, S.C., Republican who went public Tuesday with his plea for help paying for sight-saving surgery had raised almost $12,000 by Wednesday evening – most of it from self-described liberals and Affordable Care Act supporters saying they hope he’s learned a lesson. That’s enough to ensure he ...

North Carolina’s April surprise mimics national trend, warrants caution

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:50
Policymakers are beginning to put the finishing touches on their budgets this week in the House. The Senate will soon follow.  While the April surprise has some thinking of investments in core services that are needed or, even more disturbing, proposing more tax cuts, a cautious approach is warranted.  Not only does the revenue announcement ...

The assault on higher education continues

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:27
In case you missed it earlier today, be sure to check out this new and sobering release from the Justice Center on the sorry state of North Carolina’s investment in higher education: North Carolina’s spending on higher education cut deeply since 2008 Shortchanging public universities and colleges reduces access to higher education, hurts economy RALEIGH ...

As Teaching Fellows program sunsets, educators ask: Where will tomorrow’s teachers come from? (Audio)

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:57
Education reporter Lindsay Wagner has a must read piece on NC Policy Watch’s main site today profiling one of the final college students to go through the highly-acclaimed NC Teaching Fellows program.  Here’s an excerpt from her story: Since its inception, the program has graduated in the neighborhood of 9,000 teaching fellows. Participants of the ...

Audit: DHHS’ Medicaid billing department wasted $1.6 million by overpaying temps, overtime

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 11:36
An audit released today showed that the state’s Medicaid billing department wasted more than $1.6 million in overpayments for temporary employees and excessive overtime, while its director hired close relatives and associates to work at the public agency. The former director of the Office of Medicaid Management Information Systems Services, identified by WRAL as Angie ...

State lawmakers lower the bar, profitable corporations get more tax cuts

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 11:20
The lesson this week in North Carolina is that when you dramatically lower expectations, you are bound to exceed them. Behind these low expectations is a state setting itself up for more cuts to things like schools and a slowed economic recovery. When North Carolina’s revenue this month came in a bit higher than the ...

WBTV: Big safety concerns thanks to state law loophole that fails to require charter school bus inspections

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 09:22
WBTV reported Monday that thanks to a loophole in state law, dozens of school buses serving students at charter schools in the Charlotte area go uninspected, prompting serious safety concerns. State law only requires that charter schools ensure transportation isn’t a barrier to a student attending their school. There is no requirement to offer transportation services. ...

Greensboro N&R columnist explains grisly details of gun proposal

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 08:04
[This post has been updated.] As explained in the post immediately below, the House Rules Committee was scheduled to take up a bill this morning to further liberalize North Carolina gun laws. Late last night, however, the meeting was, thankfully, cancelled. Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd explains this morning why the bill “is ...

Lack of process, public input on gun bill the latest outrage on Jones Street

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 16:40
As long as North Carolina is going regulate guns about as effectively as a broken down banana republic, it might as well pass laws in a similar way. That’s about the only conclusion that one can draw about the attitudes of the folks running the General Assembly after this afternoon’s announcement by North Carolina House ...

House prepares to fast track its budget

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 15:14
NC House Speaker Tim Moore hopes his chamber will pass its version of the state budget by the end of next week, in advance of the Memorial Day weekend. Moore sat down with reporters at the NC Insider Tuesday and hinted the spending package members will vote on likely next Wednesday and Thursday could include ...

Disabled woman explains why better pay for the people who help care for her is essential

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 13:24
Here’s an question that most healthy, able-bodied people have probably never spent much time considering: How much should the people who help others to get dressed, shower and use the toilet get paid? According to the present-day “genius of the market,” the answer is: “not much.” Home care workers in our society – many of ...

Opponents of controversial gun bill debut TV ad (video)

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 10:30
For the first time in a while in North Carolina, advocates for common sense gun regulations are showing some real spunk (and getting some traction) in combating legislation pushed by the Second Amendment fundamentalists. Scroll down to see the new TV ad from the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the North Carolina chapter ...

Charlotte Observer calls on Guv to act on McCollum and Brown pardon

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 07:04
As has been chronicled for some time now on these pages, the unexplained delay in justice for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown continues. This is Day 243 since the pair submitted their pardon application to Gov. McCrory. The two remain essentially indigent after having had 31 years of their lives stolen by the state of ...

Bye, bye buffers: Former DENR official explains what demise of water protection rules will mean

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 16:04
Former state environmental official and current Appalachian Voices advocate Amy Adams (whose coal ash-covered hand graced hundreds of articles in the aftermath of the Dan River disaster last year) has written a highly instructive and disturbing explanation of the proposal in the current “regulatory reform” bill wending its way through the General Assembly to, in ...

Indigent defense – the “civil rights issue of our time”

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 12:36
Jon Rapping’s at it again. Watch the founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization that trains and supports public defenders, talk about how his young proteges are taking on what he calls the biggest civil rights issue of our time — ensuring that those who can’t afford an attorney get the representation they need to navigate the ...

Was voter registration decline intentional? NAACP, Democracy NC demand explanation

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:50
The leaders of the North Carolina NAACP and Democracy North Carolina held a brief press conference outside Gov. McCrory’s office this morning to highlight their demand that the Governor explain the precipitous and troubling drop-off in voter registrations at state public assistance offices. As was reported here and in several other places last week, a ...

Advice to NC’s new grads: Live a life that matters, be curious, ‘don’t run from big and bold challenges’

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:47
Spring commencement services were held across North Carolina over the weekend, with the Class of 2015 hearing from scientists, journalists, leaders in education and philanthropists. Here are a few excerpts from the more notable speeches: “No other country in the world is graduating as many people in higher education as the United Stated in the history of ...

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