NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Death penalty dealt another blow by Innocence Commission

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 15:42
How many times is a North Carolinian previously convicted of murder going to have to be found to be innocent before it’s universally acknowledged that the death penalty is a hopeless relic of a bygone age? Let’s hope today’s unanimous recommendation by the state Innocence Inquiry Commission that Willie Henderson Womble was wrongfully convicted 38 ...

Moving to extremes on voting rights

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:31
Check out this new report by Pro Publica on what’s happened to voting rights across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. It’s the visual that gets you. Two maps, showing the movement of voting laws across the ...

NC Budget Magnifying Glass: Senate budget makes huge cuts to school nurses despite historical underfunding and clear research

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:17
This is the first post of a Budget and Tax Center blog series on public services and programs that face cuts in the budget process or have been underfunded in past years.  There would be 70 fewer school nurses in North Carolina’s public education program under the Senate budget, even though the statewide average nurse-to-student ...

Choosing life? Moral Monday speaker calls out double standard

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:00
Yesterday at the Moral Monday rally on Halifax Mall behind the state Legislative Building, one speaker did an especially good job of pointing out the double standard of many “pro-life” politicians. Leslie Boyd, a person familiar to NC Policy Watch readers, explained that when she was advised to have an abortion because her unborn son had ...

Patent trolls in the House

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:07
Patent trolls are on the House calendar today as lawmakers consider a new law designed to protect North Carolina companies from abusive patent litigation. The wrong sought to be righted by the “Abusive Patent Assertions Act” is the perceived shakedown of legitimate business by so-called “patent assertion entities” — “patent trolls,”  in the vernacular. Defense attorneys ...

New special report: McCrory’s “jobs czar” has questionable background

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:09
If there’s one news story about North Carolina state government that you don’t want to miss this morning it’s NC Policy Watch reporter Sarah Ovaska’s new investigative report on the McCrory administration’s “jobs czar,” Richard Lindenmuth. As Ovaska reports, the man charged with overseeing the privatization of the state’s business recruiting efforts (something that former ...

Medicaid expansion: The issue that won’t go away

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 07:41
Medicaid — the absurd failure to expand it at federal expense for a half-million low-income North Carolinians and the state Senate’s latest remarkable proposal to slash the program still further– remains front and center in the state policy debate these days. Moral Monday protesters highlighted the issue last night and the real life stories of ...

Moral Monday protesters denounce Senate budget ‘shell game’

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 21:24
Moral Monday demonstrators came to Raleigh this week to protest fracking and the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. That didn’t stop them however from weighing in on the Senate’s budget plan, which includes major cuts to health and human service programs and further reductions in education spending to fund teacher pay raises this year.  Click ...

NC Senate backs away from proposal to close Elizabeth City State as thousands rally to support HBCUs

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:13
Members of the state Senate, who passed their $21.2 Billion budget over the weekend, apparently had second thoughts about a proposal that could have spelled the end for Elizabeth City State University. The original State Senate Bill 744 included a two-line provision to “study the feasibility of dissolving any constituent institution whose fall full-time equivalent ...

NC leaders praise new carbon pollution standards

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:23
From the good people at Environment NC: “Raleigh, NC – Today, a broad cross section of community and elected leaders joined Environment North Carolina to praise the newly announced federal carbon pollution limits for power plants, the leading cause of climate change. Members from the medical, faith, and business communities all the lauded public health ...

Pay at N.C. charter schools often below already-low public school salaries

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 13:53
Charter schools in the Charlotte area tend to pay teachers less than if they worked for traditional public schools, while the administrators of the privately-run schools make similar salaries to what public school principals earn. The Charlotte Observer, in an article published Saturday, analyzed salary information from 22 charter schools in Mecklenburg County, a request ...

5 things you don’t want to miss this week on Jones Street (video)

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:06
Moral Monday resumes – The North Carolina NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement return to Raleigh this afternoon standing up for environmental and health justice. The Moral Monday Rally and Action begins at 5:00 p.m. on Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly. Look for plenty of reaction tonight to the Senate’s budget proposal that ...

NC Senate Budget: The devil’s in the details

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:01
The North Carolina Senate passed their budget just past mid-night, in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The Senate budget puts into clear perspective the high price ordinary North Carolinians will have to pay for last year’s tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations. Despite progress in some areas, the proposal leaves ...

Consciousness is Power

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 09:31
Only days after the passing of Civil Rights icon Maya Angelou, another elder, one of my personal heroines, Yuri Kochiyama, passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Rest in power, and thank you both for your legacy and inspiration. From the Reappropriate blog: Yuri Kochiyama was a radical activist who believed, first and foremost, ...

Editorial decries fracking bill, highlights opposition of GOP lawmaker/engineer

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 08:10
The  editorial page of the Wilmington Star-News joins the long and growing list of opponents to the fast-track fracking bill approved by the General Assembly last week. Among other things, the paper notes the opposition of conservative Republican lawmaker Rick Catlin of New Hanover County: “Republican Rep. Rick Catlin voted against the bill, as did ...

Senate budget sets up Medicaid showdown

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 23:10
Since assuming office Gov. McCrory has throttled the theme that Medicaid is broken and must be reformed. He began by offering a radical proposal of dismantling our current system and selling it off to private insurance plans. He has since backed away from that idea and now wants a more modest expansion of what currently ...

Rushed amendment complicates air quality challenges

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 16:06
Here’s the problem with hurrying bills, especially poorly drafted ones, through passage into law — something we’re witnessing right now with major legislation being pushed at breakneck speed with little consideration and debate. Sometimes that one word, sentence or paragraph inserted into an existing statutory framework for the benefit of a lawmaker’s constituent, client or favored industry ...

Absurd Senate budget process heralds arrival of legislative silly season

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 15:27
We’re just a couple of weeks into the 2014 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, but the annual legislative silly season has already commenced. Not familiar with silly season? That’s the time of year in which legislative leaders force their members to work all kinds of silly, late night hours in order to limit ...

Follow the money: How the Senate pays for its 2015 fiscal year budget proposal

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 15:04
On Wednesday evening, the North Carolina Senate unveiled its $21.16 billion budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year that begins in June 2014 and ends in July 2015. The Senate leadership decided to put the budget on a fast track to approval, bypassing the appropriations subcommittee process and scheduling the final debate to begin today ...

Top eight education cuts in the Senate budget proposal

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:14
Perhaps more aptly named the “worst eight,” here are, well, eight cuts to education that Senate GOP leaders want to make in the name of raising teachers’ salaries. 1. Career Status (aka Teacher Tenure) While this one may not have a dollar value (?), for many educators it’s a priceless job protection that is not a ...

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