NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago

N&O fact-checkers critique one argument for achievement school districts

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 13:41
As we’ve reported here in the past, conservative groups in North Carolina are mobilized behind achievement school districts, be it a relatively unknown Oklahoma outfit with ties to ALEC or more well-known right-wing organizations like American for Prosperity (AFP). This weekend, fact-checkers at The News & Observer took the time to examine at least one ...

Expert: Supreme Court about to issue the most important abortion ruling in a quarter century

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:06
What is about bills labeled “HB2”?  In Texas, state lawmakers approved an “HB2” a while back that would all but end the right to a safe, legal abortion for Texas women. Now the eight justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on that law. As Ian Millhiser of Think Progress explains, it will ...

Carolina comeback or comedown? Don’t miss tomorrow’s Crucial Conversation luncheon

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 08:45
Some seats still remain for tomorrow’s special Crucial Conversation luncheon: Carolina comeback or comedown? A look at how we should measure success in the North Carolina economy Featuring Professor Dirk Philipsen of Duke University Register here Is the North Carolina economy improving or stagnant? Are we in the midst of a “Carolina Comeback” as Governor ...

Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 06:20
Moral Monday – In the wake of the June 12th mass shooting in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 others wounded, the NC NAACP and Forward Together Movement will hold a Mass Moral Monday Vigil for Love, Justice and Equality against Hate and Discrimination. “We cannot let hate have the first, last or ...

WARNing: Mass layoffs threaten local economies when state pulls back

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 16:22
The latest announcement that Freightliner will lay off an additional 800 jobs is just the latest in a series of announcements this year that companies are laying off workers. More than 7,000 mass layoffs have already been announced in 2016 and will take place over the course of the year. Whether temporary or permanent, they ...

Anti-refugee rhetoric reveals a lack of faith in America

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 15:33
In a gross display of political opportunism, some politicians seized on the tragedy in Orlando to launch new attacks on America’s long tradition of offering refuge to families fleeing persecution abroad. This kind of loose talk should be named for what it is: weak and un-American. A new report reminds us that many refugees embody ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 15:31
  1. Federal complaint says new N.C. policy harms poor children with special needs To JoAnna Barnes, it’s the biggest education story you’ve never heard of in North Carolina. Barnes, a Triangle attorney and president of the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of N.C., says the state’s education leaders have, for about a year, been devising ...

N.C. lawmakers intervene in Union County school funding battle

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 13:12
North Carolina lawmakers may have set a new precedent for handling the all-too-common squabbles between local school boards and county commissioners over cash, and not everyone is going to be happy about it. As the N.C. Insider reports today, legislators in the state House gave their approval to a rather narrow bill Thursday that specifically forbids the board ...

Late session environmental changes “an unfortunate way to do business”

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:49
With the legislative session winding down, legislators are moving quickly on a regulatory reform bill that could have a big impact on the state’s environment. House Bill 593, simply titled “Amend Environmental and Other Laws,” covers a lot of ground — everything from prohibiting certain stormwater control measures, to changing stream water mitigation requirements, to ...

This morning’s “must reads” on America’s gun violence crisis

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 07:03
Here are two hopeful reads to start your Friday regarding the United States’ absurd, NRA-constructed gun violence crisis: #1 is this morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer – “Let’s get logical about guns.” After pointing out that Democrats have made minor headway in pushing for a couple of small but important expansions of federal ...

The top 1 percent earned almost 18 times more than everyone else in N.C. in 2013

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 15:32
While most North Carolinians have dealt with stagnant or declining real incomes, the top 1 percent saw their incomes increase substantially during the current recovery, according to a new report, Income inequality in the US by state, metropolitan area, and county, published by EPI. The last decade in North Carolina has been the most unequal since the 1930s. ...

Senate approves controversial bill clearing the way for two high school math tracks

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 14:22
As expected, the N.C. Senate voted Thursday morning to approve controversial legislation that would direct North Carolina high schools to give students the option of two math tracks—one offering the traditional, separated math courses and the other combining statistics, algebra and geometry into one integrated course. House Bill 657 originally dealt with tuition rates at ...

New report on virtual charter schools a good reminder of weakness of North Carolina’s model

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 13:30
This morning, three charter advocacy organizations – the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now (50CAN), and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers – released a report calling for tighter oversight of virtual charter schools.  The report, responding to the overwhelmingly poor performance of students in virtual charter schools, ...

Teachers, NAACP blast legislature and Gov. McCrory over school funding

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:45
“This group here and that man there need somewhere else to live.” When he said it, Donald Dunn, former president of the N.C. Parent Teacher Association, pointed at the legislature and in the direction of the governor’s mansion, respectively, setting off cheers all around. Dunn was one of just a handful of educators and civil rights leaders who gathered on the front ...

Don’t miss next Tuesday’s luncheon on the true state of North Carolina’s economy

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 09:30
Seats are going fast — don’t miss next Tuesday’s very special N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon: Carolina comeback or comedown? A look at how we should measure success in the North Carolina economy Featuring Professor Dirk Philipsen of Duke University Register here Is the North Carolina economy improving or stagnant? Are we in the ...

Editorial: Senate’s latest income tax scheme is a “horrible idea”

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 06:53
The lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer puts it simply, plainly and accurately this morning: the state Senate’s new scheme to cap state income taxes — a plan the folks at Progress NC rightfully have labeled the “Millionaire Protection Act” — is a horrible idea. Here’s the N&O: “State Senate Republicans are rather like ...

State leaders’ so-called tax reform can’t be trusted

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 15:23
State leaders continue to talk out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to their supposed tax reform efforts. In one breath, lawmakers attempt to scold the decision to temporarily increase the sales tax rate in the wake of the Great Recession, which caused revenue collections to plummet. In the very next breath, ...

Colorado: a preview of North Carolina’s education future?

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 11:05
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee passed SB 817, advancing a bill that proposes to amend the State Constitution by permanently capping the personal income tax rate at 5.5 percent.  While SB 817 is not exactly the same as Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), it shares the goal of seeking to severely limit ...

Senate refuses to hear NC Treasurer’s concerns over proposed ballot initiative

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:51
NC Treasurer Janet Cowell is concerned that efforts to cap the state income tax. Imposing a rate ceiling could cost North Carolina losing its excellent bond rating, making it more expensive for the state to issue debt. The Treasurer outlined concerns over Senate Bill 817 in a letter to legislative leaders (posted below), but the ...

Today’s must read: Fitzsimon decries the nation’s outrageous inaction in providing freedom from gun violence

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:30
Don’t miss today’s Fitzsimon File and its scathing review of America’s absurd inaction to curb the availability of mass killing machines. After running through part of the seemingly endless list of American mass shootings and the ridiculous claims of Second Amendment absolutists that their “freedom” is somehow endangered by modest gun safety laws, Chris concludes ...

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