NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

Editorial: Voucher supporters should revisit N.C.’s Constitution

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:34
If Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood’s ruling finding the state’s new school voucher program unconstitutional caught you off guard, it shouldn’t have. The editorial board for the Fayetteville Observer writes Hobgood’s decision was not only correct, it was the only ruling that should have been handed down from the bench. Here’s more from ...

Economic recovery marked by low-wage jobs, paying even less

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:43
A new analysis from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that the vast majority of jobs created since 2009 are now paying even less than before the economic recovery began. Today’s must-read story from Think Progress takes a closer look at this troubling trend: Some of the low-wage jobs that employ the most people ...

A clear and unmistakable ruling on school voucher scheme

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:32
The big story of the day is the decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood this morning that the private school voucher scheme passed by the General Assembly last year violates the state constitution and as Hobgood put it, The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer ...

Advocates: Coal ash bill makes some strides but ultimately falls short

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 07:22
One of the most knowledgeable environmental advocacy groups working on North Carolina’s coal ash dilemma — the state chapter of the Sierra Club — had mixed reviews for the new legislation approved by lawmakers yesterday: NC Sierra Club Response to Final Passage of S 729, Coal Ash Management Act The legislature today gave final approval ...

Coal Ash compromise heads to the Governor, lawmakers head home (video)

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 21:38
On the final day of the “short session” both the House and Senate gave approval to a compromise plan that sets the wheels in motion to begin cleaning-up North Carolina’s 33 unlined coal ash pits. Approval of the Coal Ash Management Act came 200 days after a major spill at a former Duke Energy power ...

North Carolina teacher launches effort to feed children in Ferguson, Mo.

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 14:16
A North Carolina teacher has started a crowd sourcing effort to raise money for food banks in the St. Louis area, after schools in Ferguson, Missouri closed as a result of the unrest following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by a police officer. Julianna Mendelsohn, who teaches at a school in Bahama ...

Supreme Court approves Duke Energy rate hike

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:43
As the General Assembly debates a coal ash bill that many say lets Duke Energy off the hook, the Supreme Court today approved a rate hike for Duke Energy customers. Justice Barbara Jackson wrote the opinion for the unanimous court, holding this: In this case we consider whether the order of the North Carolina Utilities ...

Governor names Court of Appeals Judge Bob Hunter to Supreme Court

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:46
Gov. Pat McCrory announced today that he’ll appoint current Court of Appeals Judge R.N. “Bob” Hunter, Jr. to fill Justice Mark Martin’s seat on the Supreme Court. Martin will take Chief Justice Sarah Parker’s spot on Sept. 1,  following her retirement. Hunter, who has served on the Court of Appeals since 2008, will take his seat ...

Changing fortunes of one-time NC Obamacare opponent explains why issue is fading fast for the right

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:29
Bloomberg News published a fascinating story yesterday (“Obamacare Losing Power as Campaign Weapon in Ad Battles”) about the gradual, but steady demise of the Affordable Care Act as a campaign issue for conservatives in the 2014 election. In illustrating the altered political landscape, the story features a North Carolina woman whose views have been changed ...

Advocates, experts: Coal ash compromise legislation falls short

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:25
People who know the score are not displaying a lot of enthusiasm about the coal ash bill that will be run through he House Rules Committee this morning. As the website Coal Ash Chronicles noted yesterday: “[C]losing” a coal ash pond and “cleaning up” a coal ash pond or spill … those are totally different ...

Controversial incentives bill falters; coal ash deal saved for last day (video)

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:12
House members rejected on Tuesday a multi-part bill to expand job incentives, while capping Wake County’s ability to raise local sales taxes. While House Speaker Thom Tillis and Governor Pat McCrory favored House Bill 1224, a bipartisan group of House members defeated the contentious measure. State senators had tied the passage of HB 1224 to ...

Still time to RSVP for Thursday’s luncheon on the Supreme Court

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 17:05
It looks like we’ll have a sizable crowd, but some seats still remain for Thursday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon: The State of the U.S. Supreme Court with Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress. Millhiser is the Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress and the Justice Editor for ...

Missing workers update: July 2014

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 15:15
Yesterday’s release of the latest labor market numbers for July 2014 continues to show a slow recovery of jobs in North Carolina. Job growth, while occurring, is insufficient to ensure that the state’s growing working age population has employment opportunities. North Carolina has still not replaced the nearly 300,000 jobs lost during the Great Recession. ...

Public’s first chance to comment on fracking rules comes Wednesday

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 14:16
It’s been more than two months since Governor Pat MCcrory signed into law legislation that clears the way for permits to be issued for fracking in North Carolina. Still, environmental groups and concerned citizens are expected to turn out in full force this week to comment on draft rules for future gas and oil exploration. ...

Former state Rep. LaRoque looking for money from Kinston non-profit he’s accused of stealing from

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:05
Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque wants back pay from the non-profit he founded – the same federally-funded group that prosecutors contend he stole $300,000 from while serving as its executive director. LaRoque, a Kinston Republican who resigned from the state legislature in July 2012 following his federal indictment, filed a breach of contract lawsuit in ...

New poll: North Carolinians back living wage standards, paid sick leave

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:24
A new poll out today finds North Carolinians of all political backgrounds favor raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing access to paid sick days and establishing local living wage ordinances. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, finds that 62 percent of North Carolina voters support a state law guaranteeing access to paid sick days. Even ...

Court’s refusal to stay monster voting law is headed to the Fourth Circuit

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:55
Students who challenged the state’s monster voting law in court have filed a notice of appeal of U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s August 8 ruling denying a stay of that law, pending the November elections. Their filing yesterday is here. Stay tuned for more.

Duke Energy havoc: The unaddressed coal ash crisis and McCrory’s ethics problems

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 06:41
This morning’s Weekly Briefing tries to bring readers up to date on the sad state of North Carolina’s coal ash debate and the surprising — and potentially tragic — lack of action by state leaders to confront Duke Energy and protect the public’s well-being. One important side story to the coal ash crisis that it ...

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 Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese said that while the state budget would allow Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to shift some money ...