NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 45 min ago

Senate committee approves teacher background checks, but excludes private schools

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:46
A state Senate education panel gave its approval Tuesday to draft legislation mandating fingerprint background checks for all public school teachers, but did not take up rules that would require the same of all private school teachers. Senate Bill 867, titled “Protect Students in Schools,” is a response to a February article in USA Today assessing states’ varying teacher ...

New SCOTUS ruling sends strong message to North Carolina

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:27
Editor’s note: Cross-posted from the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed what North Carolina death row inmates have been saying for years: Race discrimination in jury selection is a serious problem, and states cannot continue to ignore it. Watch our new video on racial bias in ...

Justice Clarence Thomas takes his extreme views to a new level

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 09:45
In case you missed it, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision yesterday when it overturned the conviction of an African-American man from Georgia whose trial featured some of the most outrageous, race-based behavior by prosecutors you can imagine. Basically, as Chief Justice Roberts detailed in his opinion, prosecutors did everything they could to ...

ICYMI, David Gergen’s full address at Elon (video)

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 09:00
CNN political analyst David Gergen spoke this weekend at Elon University’s commencement ceremony. In case you missed it, here’s the video of his speech (excerpt and link to transcript below): I would like to depart from the tradition of showering you with personal advice. Instead, at the risk of offending some of you, I want ...

Whatever the Charlotte City Council does now, the fight for LGBT equality will go on

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 07:22
The Charlotte City Council backed off a plan to “repeal” the anti-discrimination ordinance that gave rise to HB2 last night. Good for the seven members who took that action — though the fact that they ever started to go down that road was a huge mistake. First of all, the notion that there needed to ...

BREAKING: Charlotte City Council pulls anti-discrimination ordinance discussion from tonight’s agenda

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 16:57
The Charlotte Observer reports a bit of what appears to be good news: “The Charlotte City Council will not discuss the economic impact of House Bill 2 at its meeting Monday, the city announced Monday afternoon. That means there also will be no vote on repealing the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance that was approved in February. ...

N.Y. Times tracks the long path to bathroom politics before House Bill 2

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 14:51
With leaders in Charlotte perhaps considering a vote to repeal the city’s transgender-friendly bathroom ordinance tonight, The New York Times offered an in-depth look this weekend at the long path to the bathroom controversy that exploded in North Carolina this year. Here’s the takeaway: It’s a fight that’s been in the making for several years, before ...

Fabulous cartoon series explains America’s exploding inequality

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 12:35
Alvin Chang at Vox had a fabulous post this morning that illustrates America’s exploding inequality in 20 on-the-money cartoons. Here’s the intro and cartoon #1: “Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans. You can ...

HB2 update: Is Charlotte City Council planning to back down?

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:44
Worrisome and perplexing news from the Queen City this morning: there are indications that the Charlotte City Council may take action tonight to “repeal” all or part of the human rights ordinance it adopted in March as some sort of olive branch to the state lawmakers behind HB2. The effort is being driven by the ...

Former advisor to Presidents Reagan, Ford, Nixon and Clinton blasts NC GOP leaders

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 07:05
In case you missed it over the weekend, a veteran of three Republican White Houses with longstanding ties to North Carolina called on his native state to repeal HB2 over the weekend. In a commencement speech at Elon University, David Gergen called on state leaders to repeal the law, which he described as taking the ...

This week’s top five on N.C. Policy Watch

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 15:30
1. ECU chancellor-elect brings complicated, political past to new role: Critics question whether ideology trumps academics in Cecil Staton’s hiring Late last month, when Cecil Staton—Republican politician, religious scholar, businessman and right-wing book publisher—was named the future chancellor of East Carolina University, the news came and went with little reaction from most North Carolinians. Staton, ...

Five of the biggest problems with the state budget passed by the NC House this week

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 14:14
There are actually dozens of things not to like about the 2017 budget proposal advanced by the North Carolina House of Representatives yesterday. Unfortunately, caring and thinking people have become so numbed and cowed by the relentless and regressive assault on progress and modernity that conservatives have been waging in recent years that many have ...

In post-Teaching Fellows N.C., Wake County training its own future teachers

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 10:39
Today’s News & Observer offered an interesting report from T. Keung Hui on a fledgling Wake County initiative that provides training and contracts to college students planning on entering the teaching profession. In a post-Teaching Fellows North Carolina, some education advocates say this type of locally-geared effort is what’s left for addressing crippling teacher shortages. Policy Watch ...

Coal ash: The chorus exposing and opposing Duke Energy grows

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 08:10
Be sure to check out a couple of excellent new opinion pieces on Duke Energy’s coal ash mess in two of the state’s major dailies this morning. The first, which isn’t yet online for some reason, is letter from Amy Brown — a woman who lives near a Duke Coal Ash site in Belmont — ...

Remarks by Rep. Paul Luebke on the House budget

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 15:25
The full transcript of the remarks by Rep. Paul Luebke today during the House debate on the budget. (Watch his remarks beginning at the 16:30 mark.) My concern looking at this bill is that it’s not placed in the proper context. And the context is the needs of the state and decisions that have been ...

USDOL’s new overtime rule restores overtime protections to middle class workers

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 15:11
Yesterday the US Department of Labor published a long overdue update to the salary threshold for overtime exemption.  The simplified explanation of the new rule is this: if you are paid on a salary basis and make less than $47,476 per year or $913 per week your employer has to pay you overtime in addition ...

Affordable higher education should be a priority for North Carolina

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 14:38
As state support for higher education has eroded, North Carolina students and families have shouldered more and more of the cost of a post-secondary education. A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights how years of reduced investment by North Carolina in higher education has helped drive up tuition at public ...

House budget, including modest teacher raises, advances to the state Senate

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:58
As expected, leaders in the N.C. House have overwhelmingly approved a $22.2 billion spending plan for the coming year that includes modest teacher pay raises for some. The House plan passed with some opposition from Democrats in the chamber, but as the N.C. Justice Center’s Tazra Mitchell points out, it comes with many missing progressive ...

More on Itzhak Perlman’s courageous and inspiring stand against “ugly and hostile” HB2

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:43
In case you missed it, WUNC radio reporter Anastasia Tsioulcas posted a fine story yesterday afternoon that includes an interview with world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman in which he sheds more light on his decision to cancel his planned concert last night in Raleigh in protest over HB2. This is from the story: “One of ...

Attacks on renewable energy continue in Raleigh

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:15
Reporter John Murawski of Raleigh’s News & Observer has another story this morning on the latest conservative attack on renewable energy in the General Assembly. Here’s the introduction: “Green energy advocates are aghast at the latest energy proposal in the state legislature to regulate wind farms and solar farms, a bill they say would turn North ...

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