NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 23 min ago

As N.C. Senate preps budget, teachers make the case for more K-12 funding

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 15:45

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. And with news out of Raleigh suggesting North Carolina’s state Senate leaders intend to follow through on their pledge to release their budget plans in the early part of this week, some of the state’s top K-12 leaders are making their case again for a far greater investment in public schools ...

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DEQ appeals Judge Fox’s ruling on Brickhaven mine, coal ash

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 14:58

The state appellate court will determine the difference between a mine and a landfill, now that the NC Department of Environmental Quality has appealed a previous decision restricting where coal ash can be buried. NC DEQ filed a notice of appeal last Friday, seeking a second opinion to  Chatham County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox’s ruling in late March that ...

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This week: What you need to know, where you need to be to follow environmental issues

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:03

  The Magic 8 Ball’s messages are hard to read this week in that we know a) there will be an attempt to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the hog nuisance lawsuit bill. But when that will happen, well stay tuned. Likewise, we policy wonks are eagerly awaiting the unwrapping of the Senate budget as if it ...

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As Senate rolls out budget, state employees make the case for better pay, benefits

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 11:12

Work on the state budget kicks into high gear this week as the NC Senate unveils its version of the budget. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced last week the budget would be unveiled by Tuesday with floor votes occurring Thursday and Friday. Ahead of the release, state employees are hoping a $580.5 million ...

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Two paragraphs that sum up Trump’s attitude toward protecting the environment

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 10:47

The first two paragraphs of a New York Times story today sum up perfectly the approach the Trump Administration is taking towards protecting—or rather not protecting—the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 08:28

As the Senate unveils its take on the state budget this week, the good folks at the Fayetteville Observer got it right yesterday with an editorial calling on legislative leaders to back off of their destructive obsession with tax cuts. As the authors noted: “It shouldn’t be at all painful for the members of the ...

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Last week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 05:00

1. How NC’s Congressional delegation voted on repealing the Affordable Care Act Members of the U.S. House narrowly (217-213) pushed through the Republican plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. While critics of Obamacare praised the bill’s quick passage, the latest version came without any analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget ...

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Despite concessions, no end in sight to dispute between DPI Superintendent, State Board of Education

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 15:00

Despite a State Board of Education vote Thursday that turned over control of a key leadership position in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to Superintendent Mark Johnson, there’s no sign this week that the board’s chilly relationship with the new superintendent has turned a corner. “It’s part of considering the overall relationship with the ...

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Analysis: GOP health care bill will exacerbate budgetary challenges to all states and local governments

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 14:23

As reported yesterday, members of the U.S. House narrowly (217-213) pushed through the Republican plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The latest version came without any analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. One of the major implications of this bill is the fact that it shifts financial burdens of uncompensated care ...

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Gov. Cooper vetoes hog nuisance bill; new court documents show fecal bacteria from hogs on homes

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:31

Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed House Bill 467, which would sharply curb the rights of private property owners to sue hog farmers in so-called nuisance lawsuits.The bill had passed the House 68-47, and the Senate 74-42. The measure would restrict the amount of compensatory damages people could recover if they win nuisance lawsuits. The amount is ...

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North Carolina’s “Magistrate Recusal” Law to be heard in federal court next week

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:08

Next Thursday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia will hear arguments in Ansley v. Warren, the federal lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 2. SB2, passed two years ago, allows North Carolina magistrates who do not believe in marriage equality to opt out of their judicial oath to uphold the United States Constitution. Ansley ...

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General Assembly must still provide $293 million in teacher money to settle class-size debate

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 07:55

On April 27th, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill 13, bringing a temporary reprieve to North Carolina’s great class-size debate. The bill delayed the unfunded class-size requirements by one year, preserving elementary school students’ access to “enhancement courses” such as art, music, technology, and physical education for the 2017-18 school year. ...

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How NC’s Congressional delegation voted on repealing the Affordable Care Act

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 22:32

Members of the U.S. House narrowly (217-213) pushed through the Republican plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. While critics of Obamacare praised the bill’s quick passage, the latest version came without any analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The North Carolina delegation split along party lines, with the exception ...

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Health advocates, doctors, individuals with pre-existing conditions decry “TrumpDon’tCare”

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 16:38

In the aftermath of today’s vote in the U.S. House to repeal the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with what critics are rightly calling “TrumpDon’tCare,” health advocates, physicians and average North Carolinians who would be impacted by the change braved a rainstorm to address the media this afternoon at the state Capitol Building. Nicole ...

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Jose Charles case in Greensboro latest NC police/community flash point

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 16:00

If you haven’t been following the case of Jose Charles in Greensboro, it’s time to start paying attention. The story of the altercation between a 16-year-old Charles and police goes back to last year’s July 4th celebrations in downtown Greensboro. From a story in Greensboro’s News & Record: Charles was 15 when he was arrested ...

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Let’s talk more about the bad idea of spraying garbage juice all over communities of color

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 15:30

T he thought of being misted with landfill leachate gives new meaning to the term “eau de toilette.” But that’s what could be legalized under the “Allow Aerosolization of Leachate” bill, HB 576. Earlier this week, NCPW reported on the measure, which would allow landfill owners to spray liquid from these lined dumps into the air — without ...

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With lawsuit pending, State Board of Education taps top staffer, delegates another to Superintendent Mark Johnson

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 14:45

With a lawsuit pending over the hiring and firing powers of N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, the State Board of Education is re-assigning at least one top administrative role under Johnson’s authority. But that move came moments before officials on the state’s top K-12 panel tapped a second-in-command at the Department of Public ...

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Trump’s new order: More political freedom for churches; religion back on table to deny birth control

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 14:01

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to prevent people of faith from being “targeted, bullied or silenced.” The order expands religious organizations’ ability to become involved with politics and endorse political candidates, previously limited under what’s known as the Johnson Amendment, and enables private employers to use religion as a pretext to deny reproductive ...

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Federal Budget: The good, the bad, and the 10 major state and local grants that would be cut the most this year

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:00

It is expected that House and Senate leaders in Congress will push through a federal omnibus spending package this week before a government shutdown deadline Friday evening. If passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, the legislation would keep the federal government running for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year, which ends on ...

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Rep. Jimmy Dixon, recipient of free federal money, accuses clean energy of taking corporate welfare

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:45

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, the mastermind behind at least 10 anti-environmental bills this session, has targeted renewable energy as his ennemi du jour. He’s particularly incensed by tax credits and other subsidies for wind and solar. This is from his Facebook page: It is an insult to our agriculture and farming heritage to continue to call ...

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