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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

Today’s must read: Fitzsimon decries the nation’s outrageous inaction in providing freedom from gun violence

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:30
Don’t miss today’s Fitzsimon File and its scathing review of America’s absurd inaction to curb the availability of mass killing machines. After running through part of the seemingly endless list of American mass shootings and the ridiculous claims of Second Amendment absolutists that their “freedom” is somehow endangered by modest gun safety laws, Chris concludes ...

Editorial: Orlando presents social conservatives with new opportunity to retreat from anti-gay rhetoric

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 07:01
Will Orlando cause the religious right in America to rethink its destructive and dehumanizing attitudes and policies toward LGBT people? Be sure to check out the lead editorial in this morning’s Charlotte Observer — “Will Orlando help us to see our common humanity?” for its discussion of the issue. Here is an excerpt: “In life, ...

North Carolina educators march to protest public school cuts, Gov. Pat McCrory

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 14:10
A group affiliated with the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), a Raleigh-based teacher lobbying group, is marching 23 miles overnight tonight to protest public school cuts and the policy decisions of Gov. Pat McCrory, The News & Observer reports. The group, which backs McCrory’s Democratic challenger, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, issued a blistering critique of ...

Senate tax measure would increase costs, hurt N.C. communities

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 11:28
North Carolina Senators are pushing to make changes to the state constitution, and, in doing so, would sacrifice things we need to help ensure that communities across the state thrive. The proposal, Senate Bill 817, would change the state’s constitution to prevent the rate of the state income tax from ever going up. This would ...

Environmental advocates respond to legislature’s latest destructive deregulation bill

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 09:30
The war being waged on North Carolina’s increasingly fragile natural environment by the state elected leaders continues apace. The latest destructive “regulatory reform” bill passed the state Senate last night. Amazingly, it would end the state’s electronics recycling program. This is from the good people ta the NC Chapter of the Sierra Club: NC Sierra ...

Connecticut congressman rightfully decries “smug, self-empowering” moments of silence for shooting victims

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 06:22
Here’s something America could actually use more of in its battle against the suicidal gun madness that grips the nation: politicians who are willing to rock the boat to push for change. As Kira Lerner of Think Progress reports, Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut appears to be on to something in that effort: After the ...

State Senate to consider pair of key education bills, including dual high school math sequences, tonight

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 16:59
The N.C. Senate is expected to consider a pair of key education bills when it convenes Monday night. According to the chamber’s calendar, legislators will consider a controversial Senate rewrite of House Bill 657, originally authored to study tuition at UNC universities, that orders public high schools to offer students the choice of newly-integrated math courses ...

AARP North Carolina weighs in against putting spending limits in state constitution

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 16:53
AARP North Carolina today weighed in against a constitutional amendment arbitrarily limiting state spending. The proposal, misnamed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR),  passed the Senate last year even though several states have rejected a similar plan that would make it all but impossible for future lawmakers to make important investments in education, human services, ...

After GOP-led redistricting, major turnover expected on Wake County school board

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:21
Republican-led redistricting in Wake County could yield a GOP majority on the governing board for North Carolina’s largest school system, The News & Observer reports. As the paper’s T. Keung Hui notes, a 2013, GOP-backed overhaul of school board voting in Wake means at least four of the board’s nine members won’t be returning after elections ...

Columnist: Bigoted and small-minded are on the wrong side of history

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:30
In case you missed it, there was a great and hopeful essay in Sunday’s Fayetteville Observer by physician J. Wayne Riggins that ought to be a “must read” for caring and and thinking people everywhere — particularly in light of yesterday’s horror in Orlando. The central message: we haven’t yet overcome ignorance and bigotry, but ...

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence: Three things you can do in response to Orlando

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 07:01
In response to this weekend’s horror in Orlando, the good people at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence have distributed a brief memo that spells out three things you can do in response: “Communities across the country are reeling from the shootings that claimed 50 lives in Orlando early yesterday morning. A gunman with an AR-15 ...

Deadliest mass-shooting in US underscores need for stronger, saner gun policies (full video)

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 11:15
As we learn more about the tragic events unfolding in Orlando, we are posting the full video of this week’s Crucial Conversation on lessons learned one year after the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, South Carolina. NC Policy Watch would like to thank State Senator Floyd McKissick, Rev. Kylon Middleton, and Rev. ...

Read fine print: How the state Senate spends federal the dollars in its budget

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 15:05
When state lawmakers put together a budget proposal, they decide how to spend state dollars on the public investments that help children, families, and communities thrive. These are things like public education, public health and safety, and transportation services and programs. Lawmakers also allocate federal aid that is passed to the state in the form ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 14:00
1. The increasingly intense effort to dismantle public education Long after this session of the General Assembly has adjourned it will be remembered for more than just the specter of discrimination that hung over the proceedings thanks to the sweeping anti-LGBT law HB2 that was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory a month before ...

More “clarity” adds to tax shift taking place in North Carolina

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 13:50
North Carolinians are paying more in sales taxes than they did a few years ago. Lower income North Carolinians continue to pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes compared to the wealthy. This is a result of state leaders’ deliberate efforts to create a state tax system that relies much ...

HB2 update: NC asks federal court to keep anti-transgender provisions of law in effect

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 12:32
As rumors circulate about a deal to repeal part of HB2, the state is doubling down on its defense of and commitment to the discriminatory law. This is just in from the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina: In court documents filed yesterday, North Carolina and the University of North Carolina system argue ...

Today’s must read: NC’s cruel and counterproductive policies toward immigrant kids

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 10:27
Be sure to take a few minutes today to read Burgetta Eplin Wheeler’s excellent essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer about North Carolina’s knuckle-headed policies toward immigrant children looking to attend college. As Wheeler explains in “Stomping on the dreams of deserving students,” North Carolina remains part of a shrinking group of states that require ...

Federal Court of Appeals: No absolute right to carry concealed weapons; NC lawmaker proposes amendment to guarantee right

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 08:17
The Second Amendment to the Constitution affords Americans no guaranteed right to carry concealed weapons. So ruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, yesterday in a lengthy and well-reasoned 7-4 opinion. Mark Joseph Stern of Slate magazine reports: On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Constitution does not grant ...

Parents, school leaders, legislators push to block controversial charter funding bill

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 14:54
House Bill 539 began innocuously enough last year, taking up public access to school playgrounds, Sherrie Cannoy points out. Cannoy, a parent with a daughter in the Randolph County public school system, notes it’s this version that passed the N.C. House unanimously last year. The dramatically Senate-revamped version that landed in the House Education Committee Thursday bore ...

Read the fine print—Key policy choices in the Senate budget

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:44
The state budget includes more than just spending decisions on crucial public investments such as education, public health, safety, and transportation. It also includes policy decisions—known as special provisions—that in many cases “follow the money” to clarify how state agencies should use state funds and federal aid. In other cases, the budget includes policy decisions ...

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