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Updated: 37 min 8 sec ago

Gov. Cooper’s budget boosts educator pay, pre-K; phases out vouchers

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 13:19

Gov. Roy Cooper unveiled a $23.5 billion budget proposal Wednesday that includes sweeping investments in teacher pay, early childhood education, teacher scholarships and classroom support while, eventually, phasing out North Carolina’s controversial private school voucher program. “We are catching up with investments in education, all the way from birth through community colleges and universities,” Cooper ...

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Statement from Budget & Tax Center on Governor Cooper’s budget

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 11:26

Statement from Alexandra Sirota, Director, Budget & Tax Center Governor Cooper has laid out a vision that serves as a positive step toward a higher quality of life for more North Carolinians and communities while seeking to reclaim our national reputation as a state committed to building opportunities and an economy for all. Rather than ...

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State lawmakers now avoiding constituents like members of Congress? G.A. suddenly alters Wednesday start times on anti-gerrymandering lobby day

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 09:33

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but if it is, it’s certainly one heck of a fluky development. For several weeks now, anti-gerrymandering advocates have been planning and promoting a citizen “lobby day” at the North Carolina General Assembly for today. Like a lot of other organizations, the good government advocates are bringing a large group ...

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Charlotte Observer issues scathing takedown of “compromise” on HB2

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 07:16

Here’s the basic deal right now on the “repeal” of HB2 being pushed by conservatives at the General Assembly: Democrats have surrendered on the issue of equity for transgender people when it comes to restroom access. The “compromise” would preempt any such protections. They’ve also partially surrendered on the issue of discrimination against LGBTQ people, ...

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce redistricting reform bill to end gerrymandering

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 16:04

Lawmakers have taken the first step toward ending gerrymandering — introducing a bill that would take the politics out of redistricting. It’s not an unprecedented bill and there’s no guarantee it will actually make it to committee, but lawmakers present at a press conference Tuesday showed a commitment to getting it passed. “When we were in ...

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Immigrants, refugees will have a prime seat for Trump’s first address to Congress

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 13:18

Democrats are doing more than just voicing opposition to President Trump’s recent executive orders targeting refugees and undocumented immigrants. Several members of Congress will have immigrants as their guests this evening when Trump delivers his first address to the joint Congress. Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) will host Sil Ganzo, Executive Director of Charlotte based non-profit ...

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Lawmakers, advocates hold dueling press conferences on HB2 repeal

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 13:14

Democratic and Republican lawmakers, business and LGBT advocacy groups held dueling press conferences Tuesday as the struggle continues over a compromise to repeal the controversial House Bill 2. The press events came as pressure mounts to prevent the loss of a number of highly lucrative sporting events – including six years of NCAA championships – ...

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Yet another editorial urges NC Senate to drop partisan confirmation hearings scheme

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 11:03

In case you missed it this morning, another major newspaper editorial urged the North Carolina Senate to eighty-six its unprecedented, unconstitutional and transparently partisan scheme to force Governor Cooper’s cabinet secretaries run the gauntlet of confirmation hearings. Here’s the conclusion to the editorial entitled “Unnecessary fight” from today’s Greensboro News & Record: Republican Gov. Pat ...

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Another bad sign for equality opponents as Raleigh’s hockey team celebrates LGBTQ rights

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 08:33

There are a lot of hopeful signs these days when it comes to LGBTQ equality. There’s the ongoing positive trend in public attitudes across the globe — especially as you move down the age scale. There’s the growing list of one-time equality opponents who have publicly admitted the error of their ways. There’s the national ...

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Duke Energy says computer models don’t accurately represent the flow of groundwater contamination at Allen plant

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 16:45

For more than two years, Duke Energy has consistently reassured residents living near its unlined coal ash basins that contaminated groundwater flowed away from their drinking water wells. Computer modeling, the utility said, conducted by “some of the most experienced environmental engineering firms in the nation” proved it. However, new studies conducted last year by UNC-Charlotte and a Duke ...

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Three Reasons to Be Concerned about President Trump’s Announcement about the Federal Budget

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 16:01

Today, President Trump announced directions to federal agencies that suggest his plan for the federal budget will be deep cuts to non-defense discretionary spending to pay for significant increases in the country’s defense budget. President Trump suggested that he would seek a 10 percent increase in defense spending and find cuts to meet the estimated ...

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Under-reported loophole in HB2 “compromise” would establish huge, dangerous precedent for civil rights laws

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 14:42

Most of the debate thus far over proposed HB2 “compromise” legislation has centered around the section that would allow opponents of equality to demand local referenda on any human rights ordinances that cities might enact. There is good reason for this. As Gov. Cooper rightfully noted yesterday: “First, [such a provision] subjects the rights of ...

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Cooper asks court to kill or modify appointee subpoena

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 09:52

Gov. Roy Cooper asked a court late Friday to either kill a subpoena from the legislature that requires Larry Hall to testify at a confirmation hearing or modify the date on the document. Hall is Cooper’s pick to head the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, and he is currently serving in that capacity. ...

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Cooper stays calm and collected; says “no” to referenda on basic rights as opponents take the low road yet again

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 07:00

You’ve got to hand it to Gov. Roy Cooper. The man has the patience of Job and the always calm patience of of a Zen master. His opponents keep blowing their cool and firing ridiculous rhetorical stink bombs at him and the Guv just keeps chugging along; quietly and soberly rolling the boulder up the ...

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As senators subpoena Cooper cabinet pick, experts weigh legal options, potential outcomes

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 17:55

Larry Hall, a former legislator and Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to head the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has been subpoenaed by a Senate committee but he may not be legally obligated to appear. The Marine Corps veteran has become somewhat of a pawn in the political spectacle that is the power struggle between ...

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CBPP Reports: North Carolina and 49 Other States Would Be Harmed Under Current Proposals to Restructure Medicaid

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:32

Today, the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) released two reports on the impacts of Congressional Republicans’ recent plans to cap and cut Medicaid and end the expansion of that program to provide health care coverage for those who would otherwise not have it. The conclusions of both reports indicate that restructuring Medicaid under ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 14:30

1. Republicans target non-surgical abortions in latest move to restrict reproductive rights North Carolina Republican legislators appear to have found a new way to interfere with women’s reproductive rights – this time potentially eliminating the option of a non-invasive abortion for women during the first trimester of pregnancy. House Bill 62 would require doctors to ...

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This Week in Pollution: A big fine for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 14:20

For 24 of its 91 years in business, the Mt. Olive Pickle Company illegally discharged industrial storm water through a pipe that emptied onto Vine Street and flowed along Cucumber Boulevard. From there, an untold number of gallons — but over 24 years, it was likely in the millions — of untreated water continued to the corner of Relish and ...

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Two months after Rolesville High, Wake leaders want to rethink role of campus cops

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 13:23

Nearly two months after a video of a violent altercation between a school resource officer (SRO) and a Rolesville high schooler spurred outrage, a small panel of Wake County leaders urged a fundamental rethinking of on-campus cops’ role, as well as a greater investment in school counselors, nurses and mentors. Panel members—addressing an estimated 150 or ...

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Conservative hypocrisy front and center again on issue of state employees and job tenure

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:13

This morning’s big story in Raleigh’s News & Observer concerns the actions of Pat McCrory to make hundreds of political appointees into career state employees right before he left office. This is from reporter Colin Campbell’s story, “Before leaving office, McCrory protected 908 state jobs from political firings”: After McCrory took office in 2013 as ...

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