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Updated: 2 hours 44 min ago

Another important Cooper v. Berger/Moore lawsuit is in court this morning

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:30

A three-judge panel today will hear a lawsuit similar to one they already decided a few months back that involves Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative leaders. Instead of appealing the judges’ findings that it was unconstitutional for lawmakers to merge the State Ethics Commission with the State Board of Elections, the Republican-led General Assembly wrote a ...

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Bill eliminating concealed carry gun permits moves forward

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 19:36

A bill making it legal for most people to carry concealed handguns without a permit took a crucial step closer to becoming law Wednesday. House Bill 476 would, with a few exceptions, remove the state’s requirement for a concealed carry permit, allowing anyone 18 or older who legally owns a gun to carry to conceal it ...

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Eastern NC is suffering

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 16:28

As North Carolina’s unemployment rate continues to decline, today’s local labor market data reveal an alarming trend for Eastern North Carolina. There are 20 counties in this region with unemployment rates at least a full percentage point higher than the state average (4.3%). While North Carolina, particularly urban counties, are experiencing a gradual recovery, rural ...

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Tillis abandons moderate pretenses; joins science deniers to endorse Trump’s climate policies

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 15:00

There have been a tiny handful of incidents since he went to Washington in 2015 in which North Carolina’s junior senator, Thom Tillis, seemed to at least hint that he might have some semblance of an inclination to stand up to the extremists on radical right. Early on in the outrageous blockade of Obama Supreme ...

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Sen. Cook complains about politics trumping science, then votes for leachate bill, backed by no science

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:24

The Senate agriculture and environment committee introduced a blizzard of last-minute, controversial amendments to a bill this morning — including one that state regulators had not even reviewed. The NC Department of Environmental Quality “still has issues with” the Senate version of House Bill 56, said Andy Miller, DEQ’s legislative director. One Senate amendment would strike ...

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Facing deportation, grandmother offered sanctuary by Greensboro church

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 09:11

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro is offering sanctuary to a grandmother facing deportation. Juana Luz Tobar Ortega of High Point is a mother of four and grandmother of two. She fled violence in Guatemala and moved to Asheboro in 1993. Her husband is a U.S. citizen. The Greensboro church’s leaders voted unanimously to offer ...

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Statement from Alexandra Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center on House Budget Proposal

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 09:05

North Carolina lawmakers should not have to choose between the House or Senate budget. Instead, they should choose to do what is right for our state. While the House has taken a more prudent approach by cutting taxes less than the Senate, there will still be unmet needs and missed opportunities across North Carolina as ...

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NC voting rights expert: Gerrymandering ruling important but not a watershed development

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 07:45

Still thinking about last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision about racial gerrymandering in North Carolina? Anita Earls, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, wrote a piece for SCOTUSblog analyzing the opinion, which she says “is not a watershed development in the theory of racial gerrymandering.” She explains that the two central legal questions in ...

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With $1.9 billion school bond pending, State Board of Education to talk looming K-12 construction needs

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 15:35

As we reported at Policy Watch two weeks ago, North Carolina lawmakers seem united behind a $1.9 billion school bond referendum bill, although members of the state’s top school board are expected to hammer home North Carolina’s massive school infrastructure demands this week. Members of the State Board of Education will hold their monthly meeting ...

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The good, the bad and missed opportunities in proposed House tax plan

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 14:07

Today, the House Finance committee favorably approved its proposed substitute version of a tax plan that the Senate Finance committee passed earlier this month. While continuing the trend of more tax cuts, one positive takeaway is that the House tax plan does not include more corporate or personal income tax cuts – unlike the Senate’s ...

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Rep. Dixon keeps hammering on leachate aerosolization, blames opponents for “trashy misinformation”

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 12:07

WasteExpo 2017, held earlier this month in New Orleans, is like the World’s Fair for landfill owners, trash haulers, recyclers and scientists, whose fields require them to study how to neutralize and contain what we discard and excrete. The three-day extravaganza featured a leachate management summit. Sponsored by the Raleigh-based Environmental Research & Education Foundation, ...

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Senator, faith community encourage legislators to ‘Raise the Age’

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 12:00

Sen. Tamara Barringer joined members of the faith community Tuesday morning to encourage the passage of legislation that would raise the age of juvenile prosecution from 16 and 17 years old to 18 years old. “I believe in second chances,” Barringer said. “I have fallen myself and picked myself up. Children need a second chance ...

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U.S. Supreme Court sends racial gerrymandering case back to highest state court ‘in light of’ decision last week

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 10:32

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Tuesday to send a racial gerrymandering case back to the state Supreme Court in light of a decision it made last week. Dickson v. Rucho is one of two racial gerrymandering cases that were left pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices last week decided Cooper v. Harris, formerly known as McCrory ...

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Editorials agree: Trump, Ryan & Co. responsible for faltering health insurance market

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 07:26

In case you missed it over the weekend, an editorial in the Charlotte Observer hit the nail on the head with its take on the latest proposed rate hike by North Carolina’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield. After explaining how the GOP is undermining current law and driving up uncertainty, the editorial put ...

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North Carolina to lose $306 million in federal grant funding for important programs under proposed budget

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:36

North Carolina would lose $306 million in discretionary grant funding under President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018. This would represent a cut of 10.3 percent compared to the 2017 budget. Furthermore, analysis shows that 9 important programs that help North Carolinians thrive across the state would be completely eliminated and 14 other programs would see ...

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ICYMI: Cooper files lawsuit against legislative leaders over Court of Appeals reduction, Industrial Commission appointments

Sun, 05/28/2017 - 10:00

The power struggle between Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative leaders continued Friday when he filed another lawsuit accusing them of writing laws that impede on his powers. The 42-page lawsuit challenges House Bill 239, a measure passed into law that reduces the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12. Cooper vetoed the bill but ...

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Report: “Budgets” a top 5 issue for cities, particularly 98% of all towns in North Carolina (and why Trump’s budget could bankrupt them)

Sat, 05/27/2017 - 05:30

President Trump and the NC Senate have already proposed drastic budgets that would hurt millions of low and middle-income households across the country and here in North Carolina. If all politics is local, it is important to listen to what cities and towns have to say. The 2017 State of the Cities report released this ...

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President Trump’s budget does not add up ($2 trillion math error)

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 18:00

President Trump’s proposed budget was unveiled earlier this week and it includes a $2 trillion math mistake. According to the proposed budget, “a comprehensive overhaul to our tax code will boost economic growth and investment”, and assumes an aggressive 3 percent growth in the economy. This of course differs significantly from the Congressional Budget Office ...

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Senate committee beats up on stream buffers and plastic bag ban

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 15:30

Stream buffers: Dens of iniquity, sanctums of misdeeds, loci of vice. Members of the Senate Agriculture/ Environment Committee this week on buffers and the plastic bag ban, while trying to sneak a coastal development provision through the gatekeepers. The committee discussed HB 56, Amend Environmental Laws, a potpourri of legislation that survived crossover. Sen. Andy Wells, ...

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Trump budget goes after vulnerable children and families. Sad!

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 15:00

President Trump vowed to support working families by beefing up crucial supports like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). In an unsurprising twist, Trump has reneged on that promise and proposed slashing the EITC and CTC by $40 billion. Instead of supporting working families, he’s proposing raising taxes on the ...

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