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 39 min ago

U.S. Supreme Court: NC’s law banning sex offenders from social media unprecedented, unconstitutional

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:05

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a General Assembly statute that they said “impermissibly restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment.” In Packingham v. North Carolina, Lester Gerard Parkingham Jr., a registered sex offender in the state, was charged after Durham police found a Facebook page he created. He was convicted ...

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Statement: This budget deal is not worthy of North Carolinians

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:54

Statement on the budget deal from Alexandra F. Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center: The final budget that state lawmakers will vote on in the coming days reflects missed opportunities for North Carolina.  By pursuing more tax cuts even as states like Kansas have reversed course ...

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Wake commissioners’ budget falls about $24 million short of school system’s request

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:12

Wake County commissioners—facing pressure to fill in a public school funding shortfall they blame on state lawmakers—approved a $5 million increase to the county manager’s proposed school budget Monday. The increase, taken from the county’s sales tax revenues and school capital funds, brings the county’s total public school funding increase to about $21 million in ...

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Progressives: GOP Budget deal represents another missed opportunity

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 06:57

Republican legislative leaders announced last night that they have agreed to a final agreement on a new state budget that would commence July 1. As usual, neither Governor Cooper nor Democratic members of the legislature were invited to participate in the negotiations, though ,of, course, the Governor can veto the bill. Not surprisingly, given the ...

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Lawmakers announce agreement to ‘Raise the Age’ in final budget beginning December 2019

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 18:17

Starting in December 2019, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanors and some felonies will no longer be charged as adults in the criminal justice system. The language in the final budget bill has not yet been released, but legislators announced their agreement at a press conference Monday evening. If the final budget is approved, North ...

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Court of Appeals denies Cooper’s latest bid to stop already merged ethics, elections board

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 15:30

Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest effort to stop the merging of the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission failed, as the state Court of Appeals denied his request for a temporary stay pending his appeal of the new law. The order, like many court orders in this case, does not state why the court ...

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Concealed carry, crime, Texas and N.C.

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 15:00

With the North Carolina legislature considering a bill to do away with permits for carrying concealed handguns under most circumstances, it’s worth looking at one of the central claims of its proponents. Namely, that concealed carry may deter crime by making criminals unsure who may have a gun and be ready to defend themselves and ...

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“This request is a disaster”: House committee grills EPA’s Scott Pruitt over Trump budget

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 12:48

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a largely hostile House Appropriations Committee last week, which over two hours, grilled him over an anemic agency budget, proposed by President Trump. “This budget request is a disaster,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York). Trump’s budget reduces overall funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by a third — $2.4 billion — ...

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With budget compromise pending, Governor’s School waits for news

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:30

In case you missed, The News & Observer provided a look this weekend into Governor’s School as it reopened for summer session in the midst of great uncertainty over its future.  House and Senate lawmakers are expected to announce their state budget compromise Monday, and it remains to be seen whether a Senate proposal to ...

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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take on partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin case that could set standards across country

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:00

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it would hear a partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin that has the potential to affect about one-third of the maps drawn for Congress and state legislatures across the country. It’s a case North Carolinians are keeping a close eye on, since a similar court battle is brewing ...

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Waiting for a budget, revisiting competing priorities

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 10:23

Rep. Chuck McGrady tweeted on Sunday he expects the legislature’s compromise budget won’t be online until later this evening. Until then, here’s a quick look at the competing proposals from NC Policy Watch’s new media director Nelle Dunlap. While the state spending package often ends up somewhere in the middle –it’s interesting to revisit the ...

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The two best editorials of the weekend

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 08:13

Poisoned water and poisonous healthcare policy were featured in two of the weekend’s best editorials. Number One comes from the Wilmington Star News. In “CFPUA, Give Us the Answers Right Now,” the authors demand an immediate series of answers regarding the public health crisis that surrounds the region’s poisoned water supply: “Each answer we get ...

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New boss, same as the old boss: Document trail shows convolutions of Woodlake dam ownership

Sun, 06/18/2017 - 13:02

    This is the second of a two-part story. The first installation ran Thursday. T he sales pitch is accurate: Woodlake Country Club and Resort development is exclusive. Visitors check in with a guard to enter the first gate. They use a code, which changes daily, to enter a second gate that leads to hundreds ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 16:30

1. GOP pulling out all the stops to maintain its unconstitutionally elected majority Legislative leaders are scrambling for their political lives after the conservative U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the legislative districts they drew to lock in the power they gained in the 2010 election were unconstitutional because they were racially gerrymandered. They are desperately ...

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GOP’s health plan secrecy and Medicaid per-capita caps should raise alarms in NC

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 15:36

As Americans we should always expect a transparent and open government. An open government strengthens our democracy and promotes accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in government. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has continued to promote secrecy when it comes to its draft legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, the New York Times covered this topic ...

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Temporary economic slowdown or signs of worse to come?

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 15:00

The state and national economies continued to grow in May, but there are signs that economic momentum may be waning. Job growth through the first five months of 2017 was slower than in same period for either of the last two years, North Carolina has largely stopped making progress in bringing people back into the ...

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If we care about our children, why do we lunch shame?

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:07

Have you ever watched an 11-year-old, short a dollar, pleading with the cafeteria worker to “please let me pay you back” in order to avoid the embarrassment of handing back over his hot meal? I have. And it’s heartbreaking. This school year, a Buncombe County elementary school made headlines when a student was threatened with ...

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Bad “Workforce Development Week” news: Trump administration order threatens quality apprenticeships for NC workers

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 13:57

The Trump administration is closing out national “Workforce Development Week” with an executive order that undermines quality apprenticeships across the country. Apprenticeships are a growing workforce development strategy that combine education and paid on-the-job training in specialized trades. The Obama administration committed to growing a skilled workforce by investing $265 million in apprenticeship programs with ...

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Even with coal ash amendments, House Bill 374 takes an unsavory turn for transparency

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:40

  In its original incarnation, House Bill 374 was relatively innocuous. It regulated ZipLines and established rules for the storage and public disclosure of hazardous chemicals. But that was in April. Now it’s June, time for lawmakers to dust off dormant or placeholder bills and quietly embellish them with often pernicious language. Exhibit A: The new ...

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Gov. Cooper petitions state Court of Appeals to stop elections, ethics merger

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:39

After a three-judge panel denied his request yesterday, Gov. Roy Cooper filed a petition and motion asking the state Court of Appeals to temporarily prevent the merging of the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission. Cooper sued legislative leaders over Senate Bill 68, arguing that the structure of the new board created under ...

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