NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

EPA provides update on Dan River, environmentalists press for an end to unsafe coal ash storage (video)

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 16:16

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency hold a community briefing in Eden this evening, providing residents with the latest information on water quality following the massive coal ash spill into the Dan River.

Tonight’s meeting comes just hours after John …

Coal ash situation still about as clear as mud after DENR Secretary’s meandering press event

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 15:14

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla presided over an hour-long press conference today in which he and some of his staff tried to put the best possible face on the ongoing Duke Energy coal ash … Read More...

The immigrant reality that the xenophobes don’t want you to see (Video)

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:00

Americans have been so inundated and conditioned by the anti-immigrant propaganda of nativists and the fearful that even many people of good will have forgotten just how downright normal most immigrants really are. Fortunately, the good folks at Uniting NCRead More...

US Attorney expanding coal ash investigation

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:07

Subpoenas released today by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resouces show that the U.S. Attorney in Raleigh is expanding its criminal investigation of the coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River plant to include spills at other … Read More...

Prosperity Watch: Hard work not paying off for single moms

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 10:43

In another sign of an economy that is leaving too many people behind, the share of low-income working families headed by single women is on the rise, suggesting that hard work just isn’t paying off for single mothers–especially African American … Read More...

Where to find the money to clean up Duke’s coal ash dumps

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:30

A story in this morning’s Charlotte Observer makes the answer pretty obvious:

Duke Energy hit its 2013 earnings target on the strength of its merger with Progress Energy, higher customer rates and a strong finish to the year.



New trial for former N.C. Rep. LaRoque

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 15:22

Former state lawmaker Stephen LaRoque will get another chance to convince an Eastern North Carolina jury he did not steal $300,000 from a federally-funded economic development group he ran.

Federal agents believe he used the money for personal extravagances like … Read More...

HEALTH CARE CONVERSATION: Join the Health Access Coalition in Marion March 3rd

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 15:00

Join the NC Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition in Marion for an educational forum and community conversation on the Affordable Care Act, the online marketplace and the Medicaid expansion.

Adam Linker, Nicole Dozier and I will be there to discuss … Read More...

Debunking the pro-voucher spin

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 14:36

If you haven’t already done so, check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File in which Chris highlights the most recent cynical efforts of anti-government crusaders to cloak their efforts to dismantle public education behind a protective phalanx of poor … Read More...

Lunch Links: Military families and food stamps, Inequality for All, and a postmodern jukebox classic

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:56

As you sit down to lunch today, here some food for thought: Military families’ reliance on food stamps hit a record high last year.

Think Progress reports that food stamp spending by servicemen and women exceeded $100 million in 2013:… Read More...

Seats going fast for next week’s coal ash discussion

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 11:39

Don’t get shut out of next week’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation — “Duke’s Dan River coal ash disaster: What happened? How big is the problem? What’s next?” The event will feature two of the state’s leading experts … Read More...

Skvarla tries to have it both ways

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 09:00

Raleigh’s News & Observer reports this morning that North Carolina DENR Secretary John Skvarla “bristled” yesterday at questions about his agency’s relationship with Duke Energy and the non-clean-up of coal ash ponds and dumps that the two parties have … Read More...

Last year’s tax cuts undermine new state economic development plan

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 08:00

Earlier this month, the North Carolina Economic Development Board released a new strategic plan for creating jobs and growing the state’s economy over the next decade. The plan listed a number of admirable and important policy goals, including supporting innovation … Read More...

Voucher lawsuits move forward

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:06

In a packed courtroom this morning, Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood ruled that challenges to the state’s school voucher program, dubbed the “Opportunity Scholarship Program,”  could move forward toward trial.

The program, which was adopted as part of the … Read More...

DHHS to close three offices for at-risk babies and toddlers, eliminating 173 jobs

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 15:51

The state health agency plans to close three Eastern North Carolina offices that provide services for developmentally disabled infants and toddlers, a move that will eliminate an estimated 170 state jobs by July.

Documents obtained by N.C. Policy Watch show …

Safe and healthy communities help create attractive quality of life in North Carolina

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 13:10

North Carolina is known for having an appealing quality of life, with communities across the state offering a great place to raise a family and operate a business. Safe and healthy communities play an important role in contributing to this … Read More...

Monday lunch links

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 12:28

North Carolina’s recent wintry weather has helped give rise to a lot of pent up activity this week. Tonight at 7:00 pm for instance, is an excellent event at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies entitled “Organizing the South: Read More...

No Evidence for a Carolina Comeback

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 11:25

In case your News & Observer didn’t arrive at your doorstep or got buried in the snow last Thursday, be sure to check out John Quinterno and Dean Baker’s take on the false claims about a Carolina Comeback.  In … Read More...

Married schoolteacher couple sends powerful letter to Gov. McCrory

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:48

After Gov. Pat McCrory and state legislative leaders announced their pay raise plan for new and less-experienced teachers last week, a pair of veteran teachers from Davie County (who also happen to be married) felt compelled to respond. Here is … Read More...

Editorial: The buying of the N.C. Supreme Court

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 09:10

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Charlotte Observer featured an excellent (if sobering) editorial about how the end of public financing and the massive of influx of dark money is transforming the North Carolina Supreme Court into … Read More...