NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Group alleging racial imbalances sues Johnston County Schools for records

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 15:22
We’ve reported in the past on a group organizing to combat what they call increasing segregation in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Now, before the weekend break, we received a fascinating snapshot of a similar debate over alleged racial imbalances in school demographics in rural Johnston County.  According to Friday’s News & Observer: A group pushing for academic improvement in Smithfield-Selma schools is ...

Elon Poll: Trump easily tops GOP rivals, but not Clinton or Sanders

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 14:29
The latest polling data shows solid support in North Carolina for Donald Trump with less than a month to go before the March 15th primary. The Elon University poll finds Republican registered voters and Independents who describe themselves as leaning Republican favor Trump over all other candidates vying to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. The ...

McCrory takes the low road yet again; targets transgender North Carolinians for discrimination

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 12:54
Public attitudes on a lot of important social issues have moved in a progressive direction in recent years — sometimes at an encouragingly rapid clip. This progress has been especially noteworthy in the realm of LGBT equality, where hundreds of prominent politicians and public figures have embraced the 21st Century and abandoned their formerly bigoted ...

ICYMI North Carolina ranks high for states with declining middle class

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 10:46
Last week, USA Today highlighted new analysis of Census data identifying where the middle class is dying across the country due to the failure of wages to grow for this group.  The analysis looks at income earned before taxes of those households in the third quintile, the middle 20 percent of earners in each state. North Carolina ...

The best op-ed of the weekend: NC’s disastrous lab experiment gone awry

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 07:15
In case you missed it, there was a great op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer over the weekend by Kevin Rogers of the group Action NC. In it Rogers explores the disastrous folly of North Carolina’s three-year-old experiment with a decimated unemployment insurance system. After documenting some of the destruction the changes have inflicted on ...

SCOTUS refuses to stay order requiring new congressional districts

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 07:34
Just hours after state lawmakers had approved new congressional voting districts yesterday, as required after a three-judge federal panel found the 2011 maps to be unconstitutional radical gerrymanders, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to step into the lawsuit challenging those districts and refused to block enforcement of the panel’s order. The state’s application to the ...

House committee on achievement school districts rescheduled to fit in ASD researcher Gary Henry

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 16:51
We reported last month that Gary Henry—an education researcher from Vanderbilt University who led one of the nation’s first studies of achievement school districts—had not been invited to address North Carolina’s select legislative committee on the school reform model. Apparently, that is no longer the case. The office of Rep. Rob Bryan, the Republican from ...

Right-wing website questions whether congressional map machinations are designed to help Phil Berger, Jr.

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 12:05
There are many reasons to take the often-venomous claims made on the right-wing website known as the Daily Haymaker with a large grain of salt. That said, the person behind it — a fellow named Brant Clifton — clearly has connections inside the House and Senate Republican caucuses at the General Assembly and is more ...

Story shines light on disturbingly cozy relationships in General Assembly

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 08:39
In case you missed it, be sure to check out the story in Raleigh’s News & Observer about the cozy relationship between House Speaker Tim Moore and a pair of his former House colleagues who have gone on to prominent government jobs. This is from the story: “Two former state lawmakers got an unusual payday ...

Lawmakers okay new congressional map, propose new primary date, reject non-partisan redistricting (video)

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 21:56
Legislative leaders hope to wrap-up a rare special session Friday by approving a new congressional district map and a plan that would move the election date for those races to June 7th, rather than the March 15th primary. (**The proposed June primary date would only apply to the congressional seats. The Governor’s race, the U.S. ...

BREAKING: Court of Appeals panel to reject scheme for judicial retention elections

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 17:14
According to multiple social media posts and a story by Mark Binker at WRAL.com, a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals has indicated that it will strike down the new scheme for retention elections for state Supreme Court justices. This decision is a major defeat for yet another of the controversial electoral changes ...

Reports: Solar power from big box store roofs could power seven million homes

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 15:00
Sometimes the answers to big problems are staring you right in the face. A powerful new report from the good folks at Environment North Carolina provides a classic example. This news release explains: Report: Big-box stores could save big, reduce pollution by going solar Raleigh, NC- Big-box stores, grocery chains, and shopping centers in North ...

Feds say they’ll be watching states’ adoption of updated national education law

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 13:45
As we’ve reported in the past, the states are expecting to assume more autonomy over their practices, particularly in how they evaluate teacher and student performance, following last year’s federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The law, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress,  is a response to widespread criticism that the nation’s previous education law, No ...

Duke’s $2.8 billion in profits would clean up a lot of coal ash

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 10:15
News item from today’s Charlotte Observer: “Duke Energy reported 2015 earnings Thursday of $2.8 billion on $23.5 billion in revenue, well up from the previous year but below analysts’ expectations. The year’s net income was compared to about $1.9 billion in profit and $23.9 billion in revenue in 2014. Duke reported earning $4.05 a share ...

Expert: New map is just the latest byproduct of NC’s “disastrous and disorganized” system

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 07:14
If you want to understand how absurd North Carolina’s gerrymandering debacle has gotten check out a pair of news articles. As Think Progress reported here, House redistricting boss David Lewis publicly admitted that the new maps are a political gerrymander: “Our intent is to use the political data we have to our partisan advantage,” Rep. ...

After new charter opens, western N.C. county votes to close an elementary

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 14:37
As expected, members of the Haywood County Schools Board of Education followed through on their proposal to close an elementary school Tuesday night. Board members cited a handful of factors in the decision, including the recent opening of a new charter school in the area, tightening funding from the state legislature and declining enrollment in ...

Debunking Medicaid expansion misperceptions

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 14:06
Despite reports from states that Medicaid expansion has had health and fiscal benefits, North Carolina remains in the minority along with 18 other states that have failed to close the coverage gap. Unfortunately, there is still a sentiment that people have to prove that they are deserving of health care coverage, instead of noting how ...

Editorial: State Supreme Court should bust tenure-busting law for teachers

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 13:17
The Fayetteville Observer gets it right with an editorial blasting the anti-teacher law that would transform all state educators into, in effect, “temps.” The law, which stands as one of the real signature “achievements” of conservative rule in North Carolina these past five years, is now before the state Supreme Court. Here’s the Observer: “The ...

Thom Tillis’ disingenuous “opposition” to the obstruction of an Obama Supreme Court nominee

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 10:03
It looks like the advice of political pros has begun to sink in with national GOP leaders and they’re starting to back off slightly from their absurd “no way, no how” stance when it comes to considering an Obama Supreme Court nominee in 2016. How else to explain the fact that they’ve allowed a junior, ...

Now, General Assembly leaders are just messing with us

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 07:39
There’s something that’s just irresistible to some politicians about playing the role of bully. Maybe there’s some Freudian explanation traceable to schoolyard abuses of years gone by, but whatever the psychological explanations, it’s clear that North Carolina Republican lawmakers are just messing with us now because they can. Having manufactured a crisis by drawing racially ...

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