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Updated: 2 hours 17 min ago

Virginia plaintiffs ask Supreme Court to deny stay in same-sex marriage case

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 16:56
Plaintiffs in the Virginia marriage equality case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the request for a stay of the 4th Circuit decision rejecting that state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. As reported previously, attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban had asked the U.S. ...

Tracking the Cuts: Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Randolph County schools forced to eliminate jobs

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 15:57
Members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education approved a budget last week that eliminates 22 teacher assistant positions, thanks to a $911,000 budget shortfall handed down by state lawmakers. According to chapelboro.com: Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese said that while the state budget would allow Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to shift some money ...

Justice Mark Martin to replace retiring Chief Justice Sarah Parker

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 14:56
As expected, Gov. Pat McCrory today announced that he will appoint sitting Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin to serve as Chief Justice effective September 1, 2014, replacing the retiring chief, Sarah Parker. Martin is the court’s Senior Associate Justice, elected to a seat there in 1998 at the age of 35. He previously served on the ...

How much special interest cash have NC politicians piled up? This much…

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:40
Just in from the watchdogs at Democracy NC (click here to read the entire report): State Legislators Pile Up $8 Million for Campaigns; Incumbent Advantage Will Grow with PACs’ “Gratitude Money” A review of financial reports by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina shows that state legislators running for reelection have stockpiled more than $8 ...

North Carolina’s unemployment up slightly, as state sheds thousands of jobs

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:58
North Carolina had 20,000 fewer people working in July than the previous month, as the state’s unemployment ticked up slightly to 6.5 percent. The July jobs report that came out Monday morning (click here to read) puts the state’s unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, much lower than the 8.1 percent unemployment the state experienced a ...

Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:17
1. Lawmakers inch toward adjournment - This afternoon at 4:30 p.m. the House Rules committee will take up House Bill 1224, legislation that ties together a sales tax and economic development measure to a budget fix that would fund teaching assistant positions for the 2014-15 school year. Incentives and the TA budget fix are the ...

New report: Failure to expand Medicaid will cost NC $51 billion

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 08:43
The negative impact of the failure of state leaders to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is becoming truly gigantic. As the Asheville Citizen-Times reported over the weekend: North Carolina will miss $51 billion in federal payments over the next decade unless lawmakers expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new report. Hospitals in ...

House to return Monday, not in November (video)

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 20:40
Try as the might, the NC House was unable to wrap-up the short session on Friday. Legislators in that chamber will return for two days next week, in which they hope to conclude their work for the remainder of the year and adjourn. House Speaker Thom Tillis announced late Friday that the body does not ...

Ethics Commission member makes questionable comment about Governor’s stock disclosure

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:31
Here’s a fascinating and disturbing, if not terribly surprising, sidebar to the story that has erupted in recent days around Governor McCrory’s failure to disclose his Duke Energy holdings: one of McCrory’s own appointees to the State Ethics Commission (the group that would likely review the Governor’s behavior in the matter) appears to have made ...

Request for stay of 4th Circuit same-sex marriage decision now at the Supreme Court

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:18
Attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban asked the U.S. Supreme Court last night to stay implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s decision, in Bostic v. Schaefer, striking down that ban as unconstitutional. Per SCOTUSBLOG, that decision will go into effect at 9 a.m. next Thursday absent intervention by the high ...

Surprise! Last minute “regulatory reform” bill includes polluter wish list

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:44
[Updated: The Senate adopted the conference committee report as its first act this morning]. As state lawmakers prepare to gather this morning for what could be the final day of the 2013-14 General Assembly, it should come as no surprise that one of the final acts is likely to be the enactment of a polluter ...

What could be better that one adjournment resolution? Try three!

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:10
You read that right. The Senate actually passed three unique adjournment resolutions Thursday evening that would allow: lawmakers to wrap-up this session and head home for the year (House Joint Resolution 1276) lawmakers to return November 17th to consider Medicaid reform  (House Joint Resolution 182) lawmakers to head home now, but return November 17th to ...

Is this finally THE day?

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 08:07
You know…the day that North Carolinians can finally say adieu to the 170 members of the 2013-14 General Assembly? As has almost always been the case with the current crop of state lawmakers, the signals are mixed and confusing. News reports this morning indicate that even as legislative leaders  look for ways to append a ...

McCrory: Leaving teacher assistant positions vacant is not a budget cut

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 14:51
Following a presentation today to educators and advocates at an NC Chamber of Commerce event, Gov. Pat McCrory told reporters that if local school districts do not hire people to fill vacant teacher assistant positions, then that action can’t be characterized as a result of a budget cut to TAs handed down by state lawmakers. ...

Enviro advocates call for review after DENR staffers engineer backdoor disapproval of pollution rule

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 13:52
Advocates at the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation have formally called on the state Environmental Management Commission to conduct a review of questionable circumstances surrounding the demise of rules designed to prevent water pollution. According to a letter from the groups that was delivered to the Commission yesterday, ...

Teacher pay raises: The real price comes into sharper focus

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:13
The verdict on the confusing new pay structure enacted by the General Assembly and the Governor’s office continues to draw, at best, mixed reviews. As Raleigh’s News & Observer noted — somewhat charitably — last week: Once again, the inexperience of Republican leaders is showing. Their teacher pay plan does address the need to pay ...

As marriage equality victory nears, another battle looms

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 07:29
Michael Biesecker of AP has a wonderfully heartwarming story this morning that’s available in several news outlets about one of the couples leading the legal fight for marriage equality in North Carolina. Pearl Berlin and Lennie Gerber have been together for 48 years and the notion that they might taste victory in the near future ...

Another hidden gem: Troubling new law on drones slipped into the state budget bill

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 15:53
As Sarah Ovaska reported this morning in her story on some of the hidden gems in this year’s state budget bill, North Carolina now has – with virtually no meaningful public discussion — a new and flawed law on the use of those cute little aerial spying machines known as “drones.” Unmanned aircraft, also known ...

No permanent pay raises for assistant principals in state budget

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 13:35
Many assistant principals in the state will go without pay raises this year – even as the teachers and other school staff working in their schools do. The N.C. legislature responded to widespread discontent over North Carolina’s low teacher pay this year by including pay raises for teachers in their $21.1 billion budget. Republican legislative ...

Fourth Circuit denies request for stay in same-sex marriage case

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 13:00
The Fourth Circuit today denied a request by parties defending Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban to stay the court’s ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer pending a petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 28 the court held that the Virginia law was unconstitutional and entered judgement on that date. The ruling is scheduled to ...

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