NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

Lobbyist “rankings”: A grim annual ritual

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:20
The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research is a fine and venerable organization that has done many great services to the state. Moreover, its commitment to sober and thorough research in which the focus is on getting things right more than getting them fast is a welcome departure from the norm in today’s hyper-fast-paced ...

Could renewable energy soon be reaching a tipping point?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 08:26
A giant Swiss investment  bank thinks so. As the good folks at Think Progress point out in this story, the bank, UBS, has issued a new report in which it concludes that Europe may soon be approaching the point at which “large-scale, centralized electricity generation from fossil fuels could be a thing of the past.” The ...

NC Court of Appeals rejects state’s emergency request to allow school voucher funds to flow

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 15:49
The N.C. Court of Appeals rejected an emergency request by the state’s Attorney General and parents to allow taxpayer-funded school vouchers, ruled unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge last week, to be disbursed to private schools while a higher court decides on the fate of the program. Last Thursday, state Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood found the ...

Back to school series – What is happening in our public schools?

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 15:02
For most North Carolina public school students, the bell chimed and they will start the school year. The students will return to school this academic year after a summer break where public education discussions seemed to dominate the legislative session, the courtroom and the news. Here of a few of questions that North Carolina public school ...

UPDATED: Common Core review commission still without appointees as deadline looms

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 13:38
***See update below*** An academic standards review commission tasked with reviewing the Common Core State Standards and deciding whether or not to recommend keeping them in place here in North Carolina must hold its first meeting no later than September 1—but legislative leaders have yet to announce appointments to that commission, and time is running ...

Four reasons 2013 tax plan likely main driver of revenue shortfall

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 13:32
It hasn’t taken long for the costly tax plan passed last year to replace grandiose promises with an unfortunate reality. State officials recently confirmed that the 2013 tax plan passed by state policymakers will cost at least $200 million more each year than initially projected, with a price tag of at least $5.3 billion over ...

McCrory says he will sign bill he believes is unconstitutional; seems to contradict previous approval of anti-choice legislation

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:52
In case you missed it over the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory told an interviewer that he plans to sign the coal ash clean-up bill even though he believes that part of it is unconstitutional. This is from a story on WRAL.com: McCrory said the bill’s creation of an independent coal ash oversight commission, appointed by ...

Numerous editorials praise voucher decision

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:51
The Charlotte Observer: In striking down the state’s new school voucher law on Thursday, N.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood laid out a cogent, compelling constitutional case against the bad law. “Beyond a reasonable doubt…,” he said from the bench, “the Opportunity Scholarship program funds a system of private schools from taxpayer dollars as an ...

Is help on redistricting coming from the U.S. Supreme Court?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:20
As the case challenging North Carolina’s 2011 redistricting plan languishes in state Supreme Court, two similar cases out of Alabama that may bear directly on the legality of our state maps are set for argument in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, parties are challenging the legality of ...

Tracking the Cuts: Jackson County drains $500,000 out of savings for its public schools; Rowan-Salisbury lays off 46 employees

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:32
The Macon County News reports that Jackson County will have to dip into $500,000 of its general fund balance in order to pay for teacher positions, teacher pay raises and teacher assistants, thanks to a state budget that disinvests in public education for another year in a row. In addition to county support, Jackson County has taken ...

Parties fast-tracking appeal of voting rights decision

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:29
The League of Women Voters and other groups and individuals challenging the state’s new voting law in federal court today appealed a lower court ruling rendering the law effective for the November elections. They’ll ask the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the matter with a view towards a quick ruling. “We will be seeking expedited review ...

Federal judge: Discrimination suit against DMV can continue

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:39
There have been several important court decisions of late so you may have missed an important one that came out this week. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle denied the state’s motion to dismiss an important lawsuit challenging discriminatory practices by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles in the treatment of people ...

With second hearing on drilling rules set for Friday, new worries about fracking fluid

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 09:35
This afternoon, the state Mining and Energy Commission will hold the second of four public hearings on proposed rules for regulating oil and gas development in North Carolina. The hearing at the Wicker Center in Sanford comes amid new worries about the  waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. Think Progress reports on new research that ...

Another futile waste of time and money in combating rising sea levels

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 08:41
The latest story comes from New York but it might has well be Florida or North Carolina. Once again, politicians (this time led by New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo) are opting for the politically expedient “quick fix” that will make everyone feel good for a few moments but do nothing to address the long-term scientific ...

Editorial: Voucher supporters should revisit N.C.’s Constitution

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:34
If Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood’s ruling finding the state’s new school voucher program unconstitutional caught you off guard, it shouldn’t have. The editorial board for the Fayetteville Observer writes Hobgood’s decision was not only correct, it was the only ruling that should have been handed down from the bench. Here’s more from ...

Economic recovery marked by low-wage jobs, paying even less

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:43
A new analysis from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that the vast majority of jobs created since 2009 are now paying even less than before the economic recovery began. Today’s must-read story from Think Progress takes a closer look at this troubling trend: Some of the low-wage jobs that employ the most people ...

A clear and unmistakable ruling on school voucher scheme

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:32
The big story of the day is the decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood this morning that the private school voucher scheme passed by the General Assembly last year violates the state constitution and as Hobgood put it, The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer ...

Advocates: Coal ash bill makes some strides but ultimately falls short

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 07:22
One of the most knowledgeable environmental advocacy groups working on North Carolina’s coal ash dilemma — the state chapter of the Sierra Club — had mixed reviews for the new legislation approved by lawmakers yesterday: NC Sierra Club Response to Final Passage of S 729, Coal Ash Management Act The legislature today gave final approval ...

Coal Ash compromise heads to the Governor, lawmakers head home (video)

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 21:38
On the final day of the “short session” both the House and Senate gave approval to a compromise plan that sets the wheels in motion to begin cleaning-up North Carolina’s 33 unlined coal ash pits. Approval of the Coal Ash Management Act came 200 days after a major spill at a former Duke Energy power ...

North Carolina teacher launches effort to feed children in Ferguson, Mo.

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 14:16
A North Carolina teacher has started a crowd sourcing effort to raise money for food banks in the St. Louis area, after schools in Ferguson, Missouri closed as a result of the unrest following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by a police officer. Julianna Mendelsohn, who teaches at a school in Bahama ...

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