NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

Fat raises (in exchange for tenure rights) vs. frozen pay – NC teachers face a difficult choice – (video)

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:21
K-12 teachers hoping for a raise this year were given a choice in the Senate’s budget: exchange career status protections for a sizable raise in the fall, or get used to frozen pay. Education reporter Lindsay Wagner has a complete run down of the Senate’s budget plan on NC Policy Watch’s main site today. And ...

“Lawmakers break their pledges”: Advocates respond to fracking bill

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 09:29
This is from a statement released yesterday by the good people at the Environmental Defense Fund: “The NC House is poised to approve S 786, the fracking bill, despite previous assurances to citizens to protect air and water quality and delay voting to issue permits until safety regulations are in place. It is premature for ...

Rally to stop fracking today at noon

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 07:49
Clean Water for North Carolina and other environmental activists will be at the legislature at noon today protesting the expected approval of legislation in the state House that would allow for hydraulic fracturing in 2015.  The House gave tentative approval to Senate Bill 786 on Wednesday. Here’s more on Thursday’s mid-day rally: What: Rally to ...

Charlotte Observer: Senate budget forces unfair choice on teachers

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 06:50
This morning’s editorial in the Charlotte Observer gets yesterday’s state Senate proposal on teacher pay and the “choice” it would offer teachers on the matter just about right: “The plan, announced by Senate leader Phil Berger, would boost teacher pay by an average of 11 percent – the largest increase in N.C. history, Berger says. ...

ICYMI: MSNBC focuses on NC’s push to amend the U.S. Constitution

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 20:28
If you missed Sarah Ovaska’s story this week on House Resolution 1206, don’t miss tonight’s PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton. Sharpton and NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon discuss why a group of Republican lawmakers in North Carolina is so worried about “abuses of power by the federal government”  they are now calling for a convention of ...

Introduction of fracking is not “energy modernization”

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 16:24
It was the administration of President George W. Bush that attempted to mask a giveaway to big timber corporations by plastering the label “Healthy Forests Initiative” on the whole scam. Now, in keeping with that proud tradition of deception in the cause of lifting up environmental degradation and corporate profits, North Carolina legislative leaders are ...

Today at the NCGA: lawmakers move toward a fix for Read to Achieve law

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 14:45
While the big buzz today at the legislature is about the Senate’s education proposal (I’ll have more on that tomorrow morning), Senate lawmakers also took action today on implementing some key changes to the state’s Read to Achieve law. Enacted in 2012 as part of Sen. Phil Berger’s Excellent Public Schools Act, the Read to Achieve law was ...

Weak job growth slows down recovery across many North Carolina metros

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 13:40
An important measure of a positive jobs report is whether progress is being made in creating enough jobs to recover all the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession. By this measure, however, today’s jobs report from the Division of Employment Security reveals that too many of the state’s metro areas are falling behind. ...

Senate takes secrecy to new level

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 12:47
As Chris Fitzsimon noted this morning, the lack of sunlight and opportunity for public input on a new round of tax cuts currently under construction in the state Senate is truly outrageous. Now there’s more news on the black hole that is the Senate in this story by Mark Binker at WRAL.com entitled: “Crucial legislation ...

Renowned poet, civil rights activist Maya Angelou dies in Winston-Salem

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 10:04
Sad news in Winston-Salem today, as the death of poet Maya Angelou was reported. Angelou, 86, a professor at Wake Forest University, died at her Winston-Salem home, according to WGHP (Fox 8) in High Point. From the Fox 8 story: Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning. Angelou’s ...

The math doesn’t add up with proposed tax law change

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 09:49
Yesterday evening, members of the Senate Finance Committee gathered to consider a modified version of House Bill 1050 (HB 1050) which includes repealing the local privilege tax. A repeated claim by proponents of the tax repeal is that additional revenue from the local sales tax – resulting from the tax plan passed last year – ...

Senate to propose a “divide and conquer” budget?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 08:49
It was North Carolina Thom Tillis who infamously described his political plan for North Carolina as an effort to “divide and conquer” those who opposed the conservative move to repeal much of the progress of the 2oth Century, but this morning it sounds like it will be Tillis’ frequent political nemesis, Senate leader Phil Berger, ...

Senate leaders would rather not hear from you

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 07:04
The WRAL story about the Senate Finance Committee approving another round of tax cuts includes an exchange which summarizes this legislative session so far and the disdain the folks running the General Assembly seem to have for the people they represent. The committee was considering legislation that among other things would cost cities and towns ...

Tax law change further reduces revenue for investment in local communities

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 17:05
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to convene at 7 PM tonight to consider a modified version of House Bill 1050 (HB 1050), which includes a provision that would restrict the ability of local governments to manage their budgets and public investments in their respective communities. One provision, among many, within HB 1050 would repeal ...

A “redo” for the Constitution? Some N.C. lawmakers hope so

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 16:35
Among the bills filed at the state legislature today was a resolution that would put North Carolina on a small list of states seeking to reconvene the Constitutional Convention of the States. Yes, that Constitutional Convention. The last time they met was back in 1787. The North Carolina resolution (click here to read) is part ...

Coming-up this evening at the legislature…

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:56
The NC House goes into session at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, you’ll find the chamber’s daily calendar here. Legislation that would exempt possums from North Carolina wildlife laws for eight days out of the year will be back before the  House this evening. House Bill 1131 is intended to preserve Clay County’s New Year’s Eve ...

Tax revenues still lower than where they were six years ago

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:43
From poverty to job creation, North Carolina has been slow to bounce back from the Great Recession on the economic front. The storyline is much the same when it comes to tax collections. North Carolina’s tax revenues at the end of 2013 were lower than its previous peak that occured just prior to the economic ...

Five Thirty Eight: Cutting off Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefits Hasn’t Pushed People Back to Work

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:32
Last week, the folks at five thirty eight, a non-partisan website dedicated to statistically robust analyses of social, political and economic phenomena led by Nate Silver, released an analysis of claims that unemployment insurance cuts at the national level have been good for the country’s economy and jobless workers. The claims sound eerily familiar to ...

Lawmakers consider more cuts to school bus transportation budget

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 13:20
Members of the House Education Committee considered legislation today that would further reduce funds for school buses in the state, even though local school districts have already dealt with significant cuts to school bus budgets during the past several years. If passed, House Bill 1040 would save the state $19 million in recurring funds over the years, in ...

Hiding the hogs

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 12:32
State senators Andrew Brock, Stan Bingham and Brent Jackson want to keep the locations of piles of dead pigs secret — so much so that they’ve introduced legislation which, if passed, would remove state aerial photographs and GPS coordinates of swine farms from “public records” designation. The impetus for their bill,  SB 762, is the alleged misuse ...

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