NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Is “Choose Life” now the message of the state of North Carolina?

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 15:50
In an order released today, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Berger v. ACLU holding that the state’s “Choose Life” license plate constituted unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, and sent the case back to the appeals court for a ruling consistent with the high court’s recent decision in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Texas. In Walker the ...

State budget debate presents false choices

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 15:15
With lawmakers set to hammer out a final state budget, North Carolinians are hearing a lot of misleading claims about the inability to afford important investments in the state’s economic future. Unmentioned is that the state’s constrained finances – at a time when the economy is improving – stem from the decision to sharply cut ...

The U.S. Supreme Court wraps up its term

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 13:49
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the last of its opinions this morning, closing out a term that saw several blockbuster cases go down to the wire. Below, in the order in which opinions were released starting last Thursday, are brief recaps of some of the court’s landmark decisions. Fair Housing  In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ...

Local districts stress need for teaching assistants as budget debate draws out

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:53
Look for lawmakers to pass a continuing resolution this week to keep state government operating until the House and Senate can agree on the state’s 2015-2017 budget. One issue that educators are watching closely is how lawmakers will fund teaching assistants in the final spending bill. As the Sanford Herald reported over the weekend, local ...

Affirmative action heads back to the Supreme Court

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:41
In a case with implications for admissions policies at UNC-Chapel Hill, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review for a second time admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin. The high court first reviewed the case filed by Abigail Fisher, a white student denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin allegedly because ...

Editorial blasts plan to cut health coverage for state retirees

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 07:20
The story broken by NC Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner (i.e. one of the reporters unwelcome at Gov. Pat McCrory events) about the Senate’s secretive plan to cut health insurance benefits for future state retirees is the subject of the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer. Here’s the N&O: “Now, the ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 14:55
1. Senate pushes to eliminate health retirement benefits for North Carolina’s teachers and state retirees Buried deep in the Senate budget proposal that lawmakers passed last week is a provision that would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees who are hired after January 1, 2016. “This puts the state at a ...

Responses to marriage ruling run the gamut

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 12:07
While equality advocates are universally celebrating today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, critics have issued mixed responses. Not surprisingly, Equality NC hailed the decision: “Chris Sgro, Equality NC’s executive director, called this ‘a historic day’ for the United States and the state of North Carolina.’Today’s ruling granting loving, same-sex couples the freedom to marry across our ...

Breaking news: U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 10:15
In a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in an opinion released today. Written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court held that marriage is a fundamental right under the 14th amendment. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, ...

Editorials: No more excuses for McCrory in wake of Obamacare decision

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 08:33
As Adam Linker noted yesterday in the post below, there are no more excuses now for Gov. McCrory: “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled — again — that the structure of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, it is time to move forward with making the law work better in our state. The first, ...

New report reveals negative impact of legislative changes to child care policy and a better path forward

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 16:23
One of the most pressing concerns for any working family with children in North Carolina is to figure out a child care arrangement for children that allows parents to work and provide for their family, and allows children to learn and grow in a safe and stimulating setting when not in parental care. This is ...

It’s time for a plan to cover 500,000 North Carolinians

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 15:59
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled — again — that the structure of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, it is time to move forward with making the law work better in our state. The first, and most important, step is accepting federal funds to extend the benefits of affordable health insurance coverage to 500,000 ...

N.C. Policy Watch reporters blocked from McCrory press events

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 15:25
Education reporter Lindsay Wagner was kicked out of a North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) annual meeting today, a press event listed on McCrory’s public schedule that was sent out to media outlets, including N.C. Policy Watch. When pressed for an explanation, a representative who appears to be from NCBCE — which operates under ...

High court sustains use of critical tool in fair housing cases

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:53
With a nod to the role the Fair Housing Act has played in reducing segregation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that housing discrimination cases can proceed in court upon a showing that a challenged practice disproportionately affects minorities, rejecting the argument that such cases turn upon proof of discriminatory intent and handing an important ...

Stop-gap spending measure expected before new fiscal year begins next week

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:21
State legislators are expected to pass a stop-gap measure today to address the expiration of the current spending plan, which runs through June 30 or next Tuesday. The measure, known formally as a Continuing Resolution, would allow North Carolina to avoid a shutdown and keep state government operating. The measure would give the leadership in ...

Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court upholds subsidies for eligible purchasers on all health care exchanges

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 10:34
In a 6-3 decision released today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the availability of subsidies to health insurance purchasers on both state exchanges and the federal exchange, affirming the Fourth Circuit’s decision in King v. Burwell. “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts ...

Senate leaders dodge questions about proposal to end retirement health care for future teachers & state employees

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 09:47
The News & Observer reports that when faced with questions about why the Senate included a provision in its budget proposal that would end retirement health care for future teachers and state employees, some Senate leaders wouldn’t talk. Sen. Tom Apodaca, who chairs the Pensions, Retirement and Aging Committee, said he couldn’t comment on the ...

Editorial: “Death penalty and the pursuit of it can border on being crimes in themselves”

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 09:44
In case you missed it, the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer does a fine job of summarizing the new and disturbing report from the good people at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation: “On Trial for Their Lives: The Hidden Costs of Wrongful Capital prosecutions in North Carolina.” As ...

UNC Board of Governor member arrested, facing assault charge (from N&O)

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 14:42
A member of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors is facing an assault charge related to a May domestic violence incident, the News & Observer is reporting. Doyle Parrish, who heads the Summit Hospitality Group and was appointed by the state legislature to the university governing board in 2013, was charged with a ...

King v. Burwell: What will it mean for NC?

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 13:37
While many of us are anxiously waiting for the Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell, a recent poll shows that 44-percent of people still don’t know much about the case. The King v. Burwell ruling will determine the legality of health insurance subsidies for states using the federal marketplace. If the Supreme Court rules ...

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