NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 15:04

1. Worried about environmental damage, Pleasant Garden residents gear up to fight a proposed granite mine Gerald Hall stood in his farm field, where the collards nearly reached his knees. On about three and a half acres between them, Hall and one of his brothers grow myriad greens, like Swiss chard and kale, and in ...

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UNC Board of Governors discuss hiring own employees

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 14:02

The second day of the UNC Board of Governors’ meetings in Chapel Hill was fairly tame Friday. A long day of committee meetings Thursday and the desire to adjourn and begin the weekend seemed to keep members from lingering too long on any one report or discussion. But the seeds of the recently contentious board’s ...

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With Robeson elementary mulling closure, N.C.’s Innovative School District left with no schools to take over?

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 13:56

The Robeson County elementary school tapped for North Carolina’s controversial Innovative School District (ISD) is likely to close, the county’s school board chair tells Policy Watch, potentially leaving the state’s new charter takeover program without a school to take over in its first year. “The state has failed us,” said Peggy Wilkins-Chavis, chairwoman of the ...

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Conservative business leaders to UNC Board of Governors: Let Spellings do her job

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:34

It seems hard to imagine, but UNC president Margaret Spellings — a conservative Republican who served as U.S. Education Secretary under President George W. Bush and often raised the ire of progressives in that position — is not enough of a true believer for many of the hard right ideologues who are increasingly dominant on ...

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This morning’s “must read” editorial

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 08:29

Be sure to check out this morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer, which is based in large measure on the reporting of Policy Watch’s award-winning Environmental Reporter, Lisa Sorg. As Sorg reported earlier this week, North Carolina’s latest proposed animal waste rules — an area already poorly regulated — pose numerous potential problems ...

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GOP mum after special master appointment in racial gerrymandering case

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 18:00

Social media was buzzing yesterday with reactions from everyone but GOP lawmakers after a federal three-judge panel appointed a special master to review and potentially redraw some state House and Senate districts. The panel announced its intention last week to appoint Stanford Law professor Nathaniel Persily as special master in North Carolina v. Covington but ...

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UNC Speech policy takes final steps to passage

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:09

A controversial university speech policy took a crucial step toward becoming a reality Thursday, passing the UNC Board of Governors’ committee on governance unanimously. The committee on governance met in Chapel Hill Thursday, part of the the first of two full-day meetings for the full board. The policy will need to be reviewed and passed ...

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Statement on the House tax bill from the Director of the Budget & Tax Center

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 14:15

Statement on the House tax bill from Alexandra Sirota, the Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center: “In North Carolina, we have seen how this approach to tax cuts plays out. Some people end up paying more, and everyone loses from diminished investment in their community and an ...

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State Board of Education members miffed by charter takeover district’s slow roll-out

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:52

State Board of Education members on Thursday approved the recommendation to launch a controversial charter takeover district with a struggling Robeson County elementary next year, but multiple members expressed frustration that the program would begin with just one school in 2018-2019. “It isn’t the reform model I envisioned,” said Olivia Holmes Oxendine, a state board ...

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Despite Trump ‘sabotage’ efforts, financial help is available for North Carolinians signing up for Affordable Care Act coverage (video)

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:00

Millions of people across the country and in North Carolina now have the chance to sign up for health care coverage again as the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act opened this week. But thanks to the Trump Administration, this year’s enrollment period lasts only half as long as previous years. Trump has also ...

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Worried about environmental damage, Pleasant Garden residents gear up to fight a proposed granite mine

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 09:54

  Gerald Hall stood in his farm field, where the collards nearly reached his knees. On about three and a half acres between them, Hall and one of his brothers grow myriad greens, like Swiss chard and kale, and in the summer, warm-weather crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, all headed to restaurant and local ...

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U.S. defense industry very concerned with Trump-GOP tax plan, which adds to the deficit

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 09:29

House congressional leaders are expected to release their tax plan today, Nov. 2 – a day after it was originally scheduled to come out. This is the tax bill that President Trump has been promoting and that analysis has shown will primarily benefit the wealthiest 1 percent in America and will cause the U.S. deficit ...

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Editorial: Federal judges right to dismiss GOP redistricting pleas

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 08:00

As Policy Watch reporter Melissa Boughton reported late last night, the three judges overseeing an end to racial gerrymandering in North Carolina legislative maps have dismissed the latest absurd pleas of Republican lawmakers that they should be provided with yet another opportunity to redraw the districts they have kept illegal and unconstitutional for seven years. ...

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Federal court officially appoints special master over legislative objections in racial gerrymandering case

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 22:19

A federal three-judge panel has overridden legislative leaders’ objection to a special master and officially appointed him to further review and possibly redraw state House and Senate districts to remedy unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The panel announced last week that they would appoint Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily to assist them in the case and ...

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Paul Coble misses deadline to award contract for controversial wind energy/military maps,

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 16:16

Maps have rarely been the legislature’s forte. And now a controversial contract to map potential interference between wind farms and military training exercises won’t be awarded by the law’s deadline — today. Paul Coble, director of the Legislative Services Office, is in charge of issuing the contract, worth $150,000, as laid out in House Bill ...

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UNC employees sound off on free speech policy

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 16:00

As a controversial UNC system speech policy continues to take shape, the UNC Employee Forum met Wednesday to voice their concerns. The forum, held at the Chapel Hill campus’ Sonja H. Stone Center for Black Culture and History, came ahead of the Thursday and Friday meetings of the full board at which they will discuss ...

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Economic experts slay arguments for tax cuts

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:12

Economists with the Economic Policy Institute recently released a concise but well-resourced guide that responds to some major questions that often arise when policymakers turn to tax cuts to solve our economic challenges. Here’s the report’s bottom line answer to the question of whether tax cuts should be a priority for policymakers: “Tax cuts provide ...

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The death penalty poll question they never ask

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:25

[Cross-posted from the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty blog] Last week’s Gallup poll showed us that Americans’ support for the death penalty continues to erode. Fifty-five percent said they are in favor of executing people, the lowest number in 45 years. That’s down from a high of 80 percent in the mid-1990s. ...

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Covington plaintiffs: Legislature should not get another opportunity to redraw districts

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 07:30

The plaintiffs in a racial gerrymandering case told a federal court Tuesday that lawmakers should not get another crack at redrawing districts that could still be unconstitutional. A three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina last week appointed a special master to help review and potentially redraw nine ...

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3-judge panel explains decision to dismiss Cooper lawsuit over Board of Elections, Ethics

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 20:09

The superior court panel that dismissed Gov. Roy Cooper’s second lawsuit over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement said in an order released Tuesday that it lacked jurisdiction because of the political nature of the case. “When assessing a challenge to the constitutionality of legislation, this court’s duty is to determine whether the ...

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