NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

Why progressives must play hardball and not cave on the Gorsuch nomination

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:13

It’s not surprising that a lot of good and progressive people are inclined to cave in on the nomination of Donald Trump’s nomination of a hard right-wing judge named Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Especially for non-lawyers, Gorsuch can look and sound smart and respectable and, especially compared to the buffoon ...

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Undecided no longer – Senator Tillis will support DeVos as Education Secretary

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 21:18

There was a point Thursday when it appeared on social media that Senator Thom Tillis was on the fence about supporting Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Education Secretary. But hopes to shift Tillis to a “No” vote were dashed late this afternoon when the state’s junior Senator made it clear he would support Betsy DeVos, ...

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NC ACLU files public information request to find out more about enforcement of Trump’s travel ban

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 15:09

The ACLU of North Carolina filed a Freedom of Information Act request Thursday with the local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Atlanta to find out more about President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The organization said in a media release that it wants to “expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the ...

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Second LGBT legislator joins the NCGA

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 14:21

Debra Butler was chosen Wednesday to fill the seat vacated last week by former N.C. Rep. Susi Hamilton. Butler will become the second out LGBT member of the North Carolina General Assembly. From the story in the Star News in Wilmington: “Well, it is certainly a privilege and an honor,” said Butler, who was selected ...

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As new superintendent settles in, major departures in North Carolina’s public schools office

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:45

North Carolina public school leaders announced the departure Thursday of a pair of major administrative officials under former state Superintendent June Atkinson. The news comes as the newly-elected state superintendent, Republican Mark Johnson, settles into his role after defeating Atkinson in November. Included among the departing staff is retiring Deputy State Superintendent Rebecca Garland, a longtime ...

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US Fish and Wildlife revises plan for endangered red wolves, but Trump administration could foil it

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:22

Under pressure, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is updating its controversial red wolf recovery plan but scientists and  environmental groups are concerned that the Trump administration could doom the red wolf to extinction. There are only 30 to 45 endangered red wolves living in the wild in five counties in northeastern North Carolina, down from a ...

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State Superintendent Mark Johnson to begin listening tour in Winston-Salem

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:59

North Carolina’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Mark Johnson, is beginning his listening tour tomorrow in his home district of Winston-Salem. While he did not provide any additional details of his plans, the superintendent announced his first stop on the tour Thursday, weeks after he stated his goal of touring the state for the remainder ...

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National voting rights expert: Cooper and Stein should take steps to accept 4th circuit ruling

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:37

One of the nation’s preeminent voting rights experts, Prof. Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, authored an article on Slate this morning in which he calls on Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein to take a very specific and concrete step to improve voting rights throughout the nation. ...

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The opportunity to repeal HB2 is now fully available

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 07:13

Members of the North Carolina Senate could easily vote to repeal HB2, the state’s infamous, all-purpose LGBT discrimination bill, today if they had the slightest inclination to do so. The bill that would take such action was introduced yesterday. Here’s the full and simple text of Senate Bill 25: A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ...

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As Spellings advises DeVos, a leading charter school booster urges the Senate to reject Trump’s pick for Education Secretary

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 20:52

UNC system President Margaret Spellings, former Education Secretary under President George W. Bush, says she has confidence in Betsy DeVos to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Spellings told CBS This Morning that she has advised DeVos to travel the country and listen. “I expect her to listen a lot. This is the era of ...

The post As Spellings advises DeVos, a leading charter school booster urges the Senate to reject Trump’s pick for Education Secretary appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

State Board of Education considers relaxed charter regulations mandated by legislature

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 16:01

Members of the State Board of Education have little choice in the matter, but the board officially began consideration Wednesday of a pair of policies limiting charter school scrutiny and restricting the board’s power to shutter struggling charters. Both policies were necessitated by the approval of Republican-led legislation last year authored by staunch charter school ...

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Today in Trumpland: Dems boycott Pruitt nomination for EPA + UNC panel deals with political influence over enviro policy

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:52

Senate Democrats boycotted a final committee meeting on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt today, stalling a vote on the controversial attorney general of Oklahoma. In addition to his deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, as AG, Pruitt  sued the EPA more than a dozen times over what he considered federal overreach. And to be filed ...

The post Today in Trumpland: Dems boycott Pruitt nomination for EPA + UNC panel deals with political influence over enviro policy appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Meet another woman whose life the conservative Medicaid blockade is harming

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:25

Even though North Carolina’s uninsured rate has fallen to  11.6 percent as a result of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the state still gets an average-to-failing grade (a D+) when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and overall health and well-being. And while there are obviously lots of factors that contribute to this poor grade, ...

The post Meet another woman whose life the conservative Medicaid blockade is harming appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Recent executive actions and rhetoric could weaken North Carolina’s economy

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:00

Recent executive actions and words are likely to cost more lives than they save, and they are already eroding the United States’ standing as a bulwark for democracy and human rights. Beyond the social and political consequences, these decisions could have profound and long-lasting economic ramifications as well. As we documented in a report from 2015, ...

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NC DEQ Secretary Regan: “I want to create an open and inclusive agency”

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 09:00

Michael Regan hugs trees. But the presumptive secretary for the Department of Environmental Quality also shakes hands with business executives, who commonly chafe at the regulations that keep those trees standing. “There’s nothing wrong with hugging a tree,” Regan told a crowd of 150 North Carolina Chamber members on Tuesday. “But protecting the environment and a having a strong business ...

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Doormats no more: Responding to the “Democrats should play by the rules” argument on Gorsuch nomination

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 07:41

Some good and well-meaning people are arguing this morning that Democrats should once again, as they almost always do, compromise and play the role of responsible grown-ups with respect to Donald Trump’s nomination of right-wing judge, Neil Gorsuch. The honorable editorial writers at the Charlotte Observer make such a case this morning. They argue that ...

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No surprise: Trump picks right-winger for stolen Supreme Court nomination; Progressives must fight back

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 20:47

As expected, President Donald Trump has selected conservative federal judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created by the death of Antonin Scalia and the absurd and outrageous blockade of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, by the Senate throughout almost all of 2016. As noted below and in this ...

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NC Senate confirmations for Cooper appointments expected to take 6 weeks

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 17:44

The Senate confirmation process for eight of Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet appointees is expected to take about six weeks, though that schedule is malleable and legislators will move quicker if they can. “I should certainly hope that we can speed it up,” said Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender), who is chairman of the ...

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What you need to know about rumored Trump Supreme Court pick

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 16:14

There are unconfirmed reports this afternoon that Donald Trump will nominate federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court tonight at 8:00 p.m. As was argued in this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing, there are many good reasons why senators ought to reject any nominee at this point from our lawless and ...

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Report: LGBT protections granted by Obama to remain under Trump

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 12:57

The New York Times reports that workplace protections for LGBT people granted under President Barack Obama will remain in place under President Donald Trump. From the piece: In a statement issued in response to growing questions about whether Mr. Trump would reverse the Obama order, the White House said the president was proud to embrace ...

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