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Updated: 37 min 57 sec ago

Encouraging crack in the facade: GOP lawmaker proposes Medicaid expansion for NC

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 07:05

The bill is inadequate. It bears some resemblances to “Pence-care” — the watered down Medicaid expansion law that the nation’s embarrassingly hypocritical Vice President ushered in while serving as Governor of Indiana. And yet, House Bill 662 is an enormously hopeful development in the slow but sure process of North Carolina conservatives realizing that they ...

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Learn the facts that proponents of more tax cuts often ignore

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 09:00

As the Senate passed yet another round of tax cuts (which would largely go to wealthy people and companies), proponents tried to claim that past tax slashing has fixed our economic wagon. Not so fast. Hard numbers and lived experience tell us that several years of tax cuts have not addressed North Carolina’s most pressing ...

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Crucial Conversation breakfast – Immigration policy in the era of Trump – April 18

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 07:00

Join us as NC Policy Watch presents a special Crucial Conversation breakfast: Immigration policy in the era of Trump: Where do things stand in North Carolina? What is the reality “on the ground”? How can caring and thinking people speak out and push back? Register here The presidency of Barack Obama was no picnic for ...

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This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 16:00

1. School officials preparing to fire thousands of specialty teachers in order to meet K-3 classroom mandate Welborn, a Republican member of the Guilford County Board of Education, says her district—the third largest in the state—will need to find an additional $16.6 million and 242 new teaching positions to meet the state’s legislative mandate to ...

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ACLU asks NC educational institutions how they will protect LGBT community if NCAA plays venue

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 14:30

If the NCAA is going to host an event at a North Carolina educational institution, the ACLU wants that venue to prove how officials intend to guarantee a nondiscriminatory environment for LGBT people. The NCAA announced this week that they would consider venues in North Carolina for NCAA championship host sites in response to the ...

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Governor names last two cabinet secretaries

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 14:04

Gov. Roy Cooper named his final two cabinet secretaries Friday, announcing his choices to lead the department of Revenue and Information Technology. Ron Penny, who has been serving as acting secretary at Revenue since January, was named to the position permanently. Penny, a graduate of N.C. A&T and UNC School of Law, had his first ...

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N.C. legislature inches closer to school calendar reform

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 13:36

After more than a decade of bickering over the public school calendar’s start and end times, North Carolina legislators moved closer Thursday to enlisting a pilot program that would research the impacts of shortened summer breaks on student performance. House lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly approved House Bill 389. The bill, as explained in this March Policy ...

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Judge Fox: DEQ acted improperly in allowing coal ash to be buried in unmined land in Chatham County

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 12:00

A fter two years, North Carolinians now know the legal distinction between a mine and a landfill. That makes all the difference to residents of Chatham and Lee counties, where millions of tons of coal ash from Duke Energy are being stored in both abandoned mines and new, gigantic holes in the ground. In a judicial order issued March ...

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N.C. churches, religious groups target Boy Scouts as they open to LGBT scouts

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 11:04

Boy Scout Troop 169 in Mooresville, N.C. will soon be looking for a new home. After a decade with the Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as its home base, the group was recently told it was being ousted. The reason? The Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to accept transgender scouts. Pastor Andrew Shoger told ...

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Editorial: The Gorsuch debacle spirals to a disastrous conclusion

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 10:11

Raleigh’s News & Observer does a fine job this morning of exploring and explaining the depths to which yesterday’s detonation of “the nuclear option” by U.S. Senate Republicans in order to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court takes our politics. After exposing the utter absurdity of the refusal to confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick ...

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Senate bill would exacerbate growing charter school funding advantage

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 08:02

General Assembly leaders have resuscitated an unnecessary and divisive battle between public schools. SB 658 revives what has become an annual tradition on Jones Street: pitting charter schools against traditional schools in a clash for funding. The battle in question concerns how local funding is shared between traditional public schools and charter schools. SB 658 ...

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A bill by any other name: House passes another elections, ethics merge measure

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 18:49

Republican House lawmakers passed a bill Thursday evening that would merge the State Elections Board and State Ethics Commission, despite a court’s ruling a few weeks ago that the move was unconstitutional. Senate Bill 68, which is actually titled Student Attendance/Page Program Recognition (lawmakers amended it Monday to fast-track approval), passed 68 to 42. Democrats protested that ...

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Vote on hog “nuisance” lawsuits happened so fast, some lawmakers’ heads were spinning

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 17:31

I n his next career, House Speaker Tim Moore should become a magician. On Thursday afternoon, a procedural sleight of hand wound up fast-tracking a controversial — and possibly unconstitutional — agriculture bill through its second reading. House Bill 467 would limit the amount of damages plaintiffs could receive in litigation against hog farms. Under the ...

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In fight over charter dollars, Senate GOP seeks to transfer powers to county commissioners

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 16:36

As noted on Policy Watch many times, school choice and traditional school advocates have been bickering—in and out of a courtroom—over charters’ share of state funding for the better part of a decade. Charter schools often accuse local school districts of shortchanging them, despite state laws that require traditional school systems shuttle per-pupil state dollars along ...

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Durham judge hopes to take voices of the people to General Assembly as new lawmaker

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 16:05

Durham County Chief District Judge Marcia Morey became unemployed as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. It didn’t last long. The General Assembly officially appointed her today to fill the late Rep. Paul Luebke’s seat in the House and she will be sworn at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Durham County Courthouse. Her first day at the legislature will ...

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Five major ways that the Trump budget would hurt rural North Carolina

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 15:09

If your budget is a reflection of your priorities, it’s clear that President Trump does not prioritize the well-being of rural North Carolina and connecting more people to opportunity. 1. The plan cuts 21% of USDA, which is critical to rural North Carolina. Trump’s plan proposes a cut of more than 21 percent to the USDA—a ...

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Do General Assembly policymakers know everything they need to know about education policy?

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 13:14

If meeting agendas are any indication, General Assembly leaders apparently think they know everything they need to know about education policy.  The General Assembly has effectively dismantled the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee (Ed Oversight) in recent years, and this year they’ve made unprecedented changes to the joint meetings of the House and Senate Education ...

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With class size bill stalled, job losses announced in Guilford County Schools

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:29

With a state House-approved fix to North Carolina’s imminent class size controversy seemingly stalled in the N.C. Senate, it’s worth noting that promised job losses have begun in one of the state’s largest school systems. Fox8 News in High Point is reporting that 50 teacher assistants are being laid off in Guilford County Schools, with promises of more ...

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Not a misprint: Congressman McHenry now defending key component of Obamacare

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 10:37

In case you missed it this morning, there was a very significant development in the national healthcare debate when North Carolina congressman Patrick McHenry — as staunch right-winger and the chief deputy majority whip for House Republicans — conceded the value of a key component of Obamacare (and even mentioned his own family’s experience in ...

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Editorial: Time to lay bare the truth of GOP bullying

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 05:57

The Charlotte Observer has taken the unusual step of publishing a dissenting editorial from one of its editorial board members and it is a good one. In it, Interim Associate Editor Isaac Bailey does a fine job of explaining why Democrats should filibuster Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: “I get why others, such ...

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