NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 3 min ago

Greensboro voters strike a blow against legislature’s attempted city council takeover

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 09:53
As readers will recall, one of the most contentious battles of the 2015 legislative session was the one that centered around Guilford County Senator Trudy Wade’s efforts to remake the Greensboro City Council without the approval of Greensboro voters. As this morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record points out, Wade’s effort received ...

Giant raises for UNC bosses are simply wrong

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 07:56
Be sure to check out this morning’s front page Progressive Voices commentary over on the main Policy Watch site by Appalachian State professor Michael Behrent. In it, Behrent decries the massive expansion in the number of highly paid university system administrators and calls on the chancellors of the various UNC campuses to return the fat ...

The modern American CEO model comes to UNC

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 15:35
With the UNC Board of Governors moving swiftly to commence running the university system “like a business” (i.e. with massive “CEO” salaries and a combination of perpetually stagnant compensation and aggressive outsourcing for just about all the rest of the employees), today seems like a good day to highlight a couple items from the world ...

The flawed thinking behind HB 765 and self-reporting pollution problems (video)

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 14:38
To understand why North Carolina environmental groups were so up in arms about this year’s Regulatory Reform Act, look no further than the latest problems plaguing Volkswagen. The German automaker has been accused of cheating for a second time on emission tests. The EPA charged Monday that “defeat device” software was used on higher-end cars ...

The sobering data for small towns in NC just keep on coming

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 11:53
The latest “Prosperity Watch” update from the folks at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center makes clear that if there is any kind of “Carolina Comeback,” it is pretty much bypassing our small towns: As of September 2015, 22 of the state’s 25 smaller cities and towns known as micropolitan areas continued to have more ...

Election day voting news

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 09:13
As voters in the state head to the polls today, parties in the federal voting rights cases are moving forward towards a trial on the remaining voter ID challenge, according to a report filed with the court yesterday. In late October, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied the state’s request to dismiss those claims on the grounds that recently enacted ...

North Carolina’s perpetually aggrieved governor

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 07:44
There have been a lot of troubling and ultimately destructive things about the governorship of Pat McCrory — perhaps most notably his willingness to approve or roll over in the face of any hard right, ideologically-driven proposal the General Assembly can concoct. If there’s a most aggravating thing, however, it has to be his posture ...

UNC Board of Governors gave chancellors raises of up to $70,000 in closed-door meeting

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 13:40
The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors raised the salaries for 12 of the system’s chancellors during a closed session meeting Friday, giving pay raises of 8 to 19 percent to the top campus administrators. The salary amounts were released publicly Monday, with the heads of the state’s two flagship campuses receiving $50,000 and $70,000 ...

New documentary asks who benefits from illegal immigration to the United States.

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:15
The Second Cooler, a film by Ellin Jimmerson and narrated by Martin Sheen, is a documentary about the struggle for migrant justice.  Although the film primarily focuses on Arizona, the issues it highlights are very relevant right here in North Carolina: anti-immigrant state policies, the abuses in the H-2B and H-2A guestworker programs, the lack ...

Right wing assails McCrory over prison contractor questions

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 10:04
North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse is loudly attacking the news media and “disgruntled former and current employees” for the story about Gov. McCrory’s involvement in helping a longtime friend and political donor obtain a state contract to provide prison maintenance services over the objections of top prison officials. Fire breathers on the ...

The takeaway from the for-profit schools debacle

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 07:33
Following on last week’s announcement of a $531 million judgment against the for-profit Corinthian College chain, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki has this post-mortem in which he notes the decline of other giants in that sector — most notably the University of Phoenix, which saw enrollment drop by half since 2010.  And as he adds, last week ...

One of the biggest, unanswered questions in the McCrory/prison contractor story

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 06:32
The biggest North Carolina political development over the weekend was the Saturday story in Raleigh’s News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer about Governor McCrory’s involvement in helping a longtime friend and political donor obtain a state contract to provide prison maintenance services over the objections of top prison officials. In case you somehow missed ...

UNC chancellors get pay bump, but public doesn’t get to know (for now) how much

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 15:46
The pay for several chancellors in the University of North Carolina is going up, but system officials aren’t yet saying by how much. The pay boost was authorized Friday during a two and a half-hour closed session of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors in Chapel Hill. The 32-member board did not take ...

This week’s top five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 15:30
1. Don’t limit democracy by limiting sessions It is not a surprise that proposals to limit the length of legislative sessions are making the rounds in Raleigh these days. A lot of people are still reeling from the contentious and grueling eight-and-half-month long session that ended September 30 and don’t want to go through that ...

Former UNC Board of Governors chair Fennebresque honored for leadership, after resigning

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 12:27
The University of North Carolina’s governing board honored its former chair Friday, who resigned earlier this week after considerable acrimony and criticism of his leadership during a search for the university system’s new president. The board unanimously approved a resolution during its monthly meeting acknowledging how John Fennebresque “led the board and the University through ...

A potential record Supreme Court term for the death penalty

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 11:04
The current U. S. Supreme Court term is barely a month old, but the justices have already heard argument in four death penalty cases — and will hear a fifth on Monday — making the term the most important for capital punishment issues in decades, legal experts say. The justices themselves fueled speculation near the end ...

This Halloween we’ve had enough of ACA ghost stories and scare tactics

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 09:26
Action NC policy and public affairs director Kevin Rogers has an opinion piece in the News & Observer arguing that the ACA is here to stay, so we should get down to the business of improving the law and fully implementing it in North Carolina. Open enrollment, he reminds us, starts November 1. Our state ...

Editorial: Introducing session limits for the General Assembly is a lousy idea

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 07:30
The Wilmington Star News editorial board echoes many of the arguments that Chris Fitzsimon articulated earlier this week in a fine editorial that dismisses the idea of placing artificial limits on sessions of the General Assembly. Here’s the Star News: “Few ordinary citizens can afford to take even 45 straight days off from work, even ...

Regulators and students alike win a big one in battle against predatory for-profit colleges

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 01:30
Federal regulators won an important battle in the war against predatory for-profit colleges this week when a federal judge in Illinois entered a $531 million judgment against the now bankrupt Corinthian Colleges chain, finding that the company deceived students about future career opportunities and violated unfair and deceptive practice prohibitions. The award came after Corinthian filed ...

Will Speaker Paul Ryan restore order to the House of Representatives?

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 15:26
Rep. Paul Ryan will serve as the next speaker of the House of Representatives, winning the vote of a majority of conservatives Thursday. Ryan succeeds outgoing speaker John Boehner, who will resign his seat and leave Congress at the end of this month. The Wisconsin Republican wants to rebuild unity in his party, and pledges ...

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