NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 44 min ago

OSHA actions, OSHA inactions

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 13:52
The US Department of Labor announced yesterday that information about injuries and illnesses suffered by employees in certain high hazard industries will now be made publicly available, analogizing this to the requirement that restaurant safety grades be posted where the public can see them.  The increased transparency is welcome news for worker safety advocates in ...

In national teacher pay rankings, North Carolina inches up to 41st

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 11:55
While lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly pitch numbers over teacher pay, the National Education Association released its latest sobering report of pay rankings today, with North Carolina continuing to linger among the lowest-paying states in the nation. The report, which combines analysis of last year’s pay and projections for the state this academic year, is a ...

Editorial: “No excuse” for Richard Burr’s blockade of Judge Timmons-Goodson

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 10:00
There have now been dozens of editorials and op-eds in recent months and years calling on Richard Burr to end his absurd blockade of President Obama’s attempts to fill a decade-old vacancy on the federal bench in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Today, it’s the Winston-Salem Journal with a reprint of an editorial that the ...

McCrory and other HB2 defenders: Inadvertently driving progress

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 07:56
Maybe North Carolinians who believe in combating discrimination and advancing the causes of tolerance and modernity should stop worrying so much about the muddled and ineffective efforts of Gov. Pat McCrory and other defenders of HB2. After all, the more of a stink McCrory and company make, the faster the nation seems to progress. As ...

Federal money safe for now in #HB2 dispute, corporate America may be less patient (video)

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 19:28
The Obama administration clarified Thursday that it would not cut off federal funding to North Carolina while the legal wrangling over a controversial LGBT law plays out in the courts. On Monday U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department would seek a court order to overturn House Bill 2 that stipulates transgender ...

Initial review of the state House leadership’s Health and Human Services Budget

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 16:54
Budget subcommittees are meeting today to go over their respective proposals for the upcoming 2017 Fiscal year. House leadership is not expected to release their full budget, tax, and compensation package until next week. Health and Human Services This area of funding aims to ensure that the state’s young citizens thrive early, older adults and ...

House K-12 education budget reflects impact of prioritizing tax cuts over reinvestment

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 16:30
North Carolina’s education needs are once again going unmet in the public schools budget proposed by House leaders for the upcoming fiscal year because tax cuts for the wealthy have taken priority over reinvestment. Beyond funding that will likely be included in a final budget for teacher pay increases, the public schools budget includes a ...

House’s higher education budget proposal offers no relief for students

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 16:04
Budget subcommittees are meeting today to go over their respective proposals for the upcoming 2017 Fiscal year. House leadership is not expected to release their full budget, tax, and compensation package until next week. Here are key highlights from the House’s proposed budget on higher education: Community College System Consists of 58 community colleges across ...

Proposed House education budget cuts $27 million for reducing first-grade class sizes, reallocates most to literacy coaches

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 15:37
N.C. House leaders in a key budget committee gave their approval Thursday to a report on the chamber’s draft of the state education budget, a document that, overall, allocates an additional  $12.9 million in K-12 spending, but, notably, also axes about $27 million intended to reduce first-grade class sizes by adding additional teachers. The report presented Thursday ...

Justice and public safety budget proposed by House doesn’t address unmet needs

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 14:44
The revised Justice and Public Safety budget proposed by House leadership for the upcoming fiscal year entails a 0.29 percent, or $5.3 million, increase to the original JPS budget passed by state lawmakers last year. Despite many unmet needs in North Carolina such as re-entry services for ex-offenders returning into local communities, this bare-bones budget ...

House releases pieces of FY2017: Overview of the Transportation Budget proposal

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 11:41
House budget leaders are beginning to release pieces of their budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1st. Budget subcommittees are meeting today to go over their respective proposals, with the opportunity for subcommittee members to put forward amendments. House leadership is not expected to release their full budget and tax package ...

HB 2 threatens over 20,000 jobs if federal funds for higher education are lost

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:19
In refusing to reconsider HB 2, state leaders have endangered billions of dollars in federal funds that pay for services like education, transportation, public safety here in North Carolina. Based on figures currently available, roughly $1.4 billion dollars appears to be at risk for just the UNC and community college systems. While it is too ...

HB2 economic impact soars

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 08:30
In case you missed it yesterday afternoon in the Charlotte Observer, there are new data on the soaring cost of HB2 to North Carolina. “North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 could cost the state almost $5 billion a year, according to a report Wednesday from the Williams Institute, a UCLA School of Law think tank ...

ICYMI: Constitutional law Professor Michael Gerhardt on the Merrick Garland nomination and its implications for the U.S. Supreme Court (Full video)

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 05:00
It’s been well over a month now since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. To date, however, Senate Republicans (including Richard Burr and Thom Tillis) have remained adamant that Garland’s nomination will not even ...

The long and hidden tentacles of HB2

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 13:52
In case you missed it this morning, be sure to check out the fine essay by Prof. Nichola Lowe of the City and Regional Planning Department at UNC Chapel Hill about some of the less well-reported and understood provisions of HB2 — North Carolina’s new all-purpose discrimination law. As Lowe explains: “House Bill 2 goes ...

Public school teacher to McCrory, legislators: We need respect not “rewards”

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 11:17
Occasional NC Policy Watch contributor and Forsyth County schoolteacher Stuart Egan has a fine new blog post about the sudden interest shown by Gov. McCrory and state legislators in providing teachers with an election year pay raise. We’re happy to cross-post it here: In a recent news story in the Lumberton paper The Robesonian (“McCrory: ...

HB2 continues to confuse, divide conservatives: Burr rebukes McCrory

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 08:02
When HB2 was passed in March, it was conservatives who were united and progressives who were divided over the issue in North Carolina. As many will recall, the law was passed with several Democratic votes in the state House. Now, less than two months later, things have changed dramatically. While progressives have come together in ...

Caught in the middle, UNC system hopes to protect federal funding in HB2 dispute (video)

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 03:06
UNC system President Margaret Spellings made it clear Tuesday the she did not want to lose federal funding and hoped a resolution could be found to the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit over House Bill 2. DOJ sued the UNC system and the state of North Carolina on Monday,  alleging that the law signed by ...

Federal spending matters to North Carolina’s bottom line

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 15:24
Governor McCrory and legislative leaders have failed to acknowledge the critical role that federal investments play in North Carolina, as shown in their shortsighted response to the letter from the U.S. Department of Justice that notified the state that repeal of House Bill 2 was required to keep the state in compliance with the U.S. ...

A report on Gov. McCrory’s long, contentious relationship with the LGBTQ community

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 11:10
This week, with pressure mounting on Gov. Pat McCrory and leaders in the N.C. General Assembly over federal intervention on House Bill 2—anti-LGBTQ legislation that could threaten billions in federal funding for North Carolina schools and universities—the governor talked about his opposition to discrimination. “Our nation is one nation. Especially when it comes to fighting discrimination, ...

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