NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 21 min 34 sec ago

Raising the bar: McCrory’s plan for the environment is a job killer

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 14:57
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in the “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina nonprofit leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved. We need an energy system that protects our vital ...

McDonald’s wage increase proposal: workers not lovin’ it

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 14:00
McDonald’s announced Wednesday that it would raise wages for its corporate employees by an average of 10% in July. The bottom line: because the announcement only impacts employees in corporate-run restaurants, the increase would leave a whopping 90% of the chain’s nearly 900,000 workers out in the cold. The move was widely panned by workers and labor advocates as ...

New legislation would all but end access to safe, legal abortions in North Carolina

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 13:18
Women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies took another blow yesterday and this time the strike was aimed at doctors too. While proponents of women’s rights were still reeling from the anti-abortion Senate bill filed last week, HB 465 was introduced, yesterday, containing the most restrictive proposed abortion restrictions North Carolina has seen ...

Hopeful sign: Business and environmental interests coming together on solar power

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 12:04
Spencer Nelson, a senior at UNC Chapel Hill and Chair of the Renewable Energy Committee in Student Government, recently authored the following essay highlighting some hopeful news on the renewable energy front: Win-win legislation would promote solar energy through market forces By Spencer Nelson Both business interests and environmental advocates are enthusiastic about two bills ...

Of state “brands” and “religious freedom”

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:45
Mooresville writer John Deem is not impressed with state House Speaker Tim Moore’s recent statements about the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and its potential impact on North Carolina’s “brand”: Speaker Moore: “I’m all about the brand, ’bout that brand, no trouble …” N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s promise of a pragmatic approach in deliberations ...

Vaccine bill doesn’t stand a shot this year

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 06:25
Senate Bill 346 – legislation that would require any child in this State to be immunized in order to attend school – is officially dead for this session. Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg), Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake), and Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe), the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 346, issued the following joint statement Wednesday: ...

Not an April Fool’s joke: Wal-Mart CEO speaks out against pro-discrimination bills

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 15:39
No, hell has not frozen over and the following excerpt from a story in Upstart Business Journal does not appear to be an April Fools’ joke. Rather, it is the latest sure sign that troubled souls on the American religious right are, blessedly, losing the fight for the hearts and minds of the nation: “Facing ...

Raising the bar: NC must invest in Main Street businesses to promote community economic development

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 14:45
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in the “Raising the Bar” — a new series of essays and blog posts authored by North Carolina nonprofit leaders highlighting ways in which North Carolina public investments are falling short and where and how they can be improved.   The past few years have brought a major ...

UNC Board of Governors meeting Thursday (at a private Charlotte law firm) to discuss replacing Tom Ross

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 12:19
A subcommittee of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors meets in Charlotte tomorrow to talk about the search for a new president of the 17-campus higher education system. The board’s presidential search nominating committee is holding a public meeting at the McGuire Woods law firm in Charlotte, where UNC Board Chairman John Fennebresque ...

Despite the headlines, McCrory signed bill to raise gas tax and punish struggling homeowners

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:48
There a lot of headlines today about the lower gas tax in North Carolina as a result of legislation passed this week by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory. And it’s technically true. The state gas tax went down today by one and a half cents. One conservative advocate took ...

More newspapers weigh in against so-called “religious freedom” bills

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:42
It’s looking more and more like the the pro-discrimination bills in the North Carolina General Assembly masquerading as “religious freedom” proposals are — thank goodness — going nowhere. This morning, you can add the Greensboro News & Record and the Winston-Salem Journal to the list of major news outlets issuing condemnations. Here’s the N&R in ...

Raising the Bar: North Carolina needs a budget debate focused on building an economy that works for all

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 14:15
North Carolina can have quality schools, accessible health care, a sound transportation system, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods—all of the things necessary to strengthen the economy and grow a strong middle class. We just have to make the choice to build this infrastructure of opportunity. In recent years, state policymakers have undercut the effectiveness of ...

Why ‘clarifying’ the Religious Freedom legislation may not be enough

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 13:55
If you’ve been following the uproar and backlash over Indiana’s religious freedom law, you’ll want to read these two articles: First, civil rights icon Julian Bond thoughtfully explains why these ‘religious discrimination’ bills cropping up across the nation (including North Carolina) have nothing to do with religion. From Dr. Bond’s op-ed: These religious refusal proposals ...

Supreme Court rules GPS tracking of sex offenders may be unconstitutional

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 13:39
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina’s highest court must re-examine a sex offender’s case to determine whether a law requiring him to wear a GPS tracking bracelet for life is constitutional. Torrey Dale Grady was convicted of a second-degree sex offense in 1997 and then of taking indecent liberties with a ...

Latino advocates praise tuition equality legislation

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:33
A bill that would granted in state tuition status to any student who has attended high school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation is earning the praise of Latino advocates. Senate Bill 463, introduced by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Concord) last week, would make higher education  more affordable for ...

Troubled homeowners lose out again in gas tax compromise

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:37
Here’s an issue from the current state policy debate that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention in recent days: the General Assembly’s new plan to tax homeowners who manage to get some of their debt forgiven in order to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. Under the new gas tax compromise brokered by the House ...

Bill would require all UNC professors to teach heavy course load

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 09:08
Senator Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) filed a bill last week that would require all UNC professors to teach no fewer than four courses a semester. It’s a move that, McInnis says, is an effort to make sure classes are not taught primarily by student assistants — but some are concerned it could hamper research and development at ...

Apple CEO decries “religious freedom” proposal; McCrory appears to do likewise

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 07:18
The growing disconnect between the last gaspers in the far right anti-equality movement and the modern global business community is on full display this week. Today, Raleigh’s News & Observer ran an editorial by Apple CEO Tim Cook that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post in which Cook blasted the nation’s soon-to-dissipate wave of state discrimination ...

History student examines parallels between General Assembly’s Wake and Guilford power grabs and NC’s dark past

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 14:12
Micah Khater, a previous contributor to N.C. Policy Watch and a Caldwell Fellow in the University Honors Program at N.C. State University majoring in History and French, recently authored the following interesting essay on the efforts of state lawmakers to impose new electoral maps in Wake and Guilford Counties: Echoes of North Carolina’s dark past ...

Fewer employed workers, lower wage jobs: why NC’s recovery is cause for concern (video)

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 13:28
Seven years after the Great Recession began, North Carolina’s recovery has been largely been limited to urban areas of the state. A new report by the NC Budget & Tax Center finds that wages and salaries have also been remarkably flat. For a better understanding of North Carolina’s lackluster economy, be sure to read Chris ...

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