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Updated: 51 min 42 sec ago

Bill increasing UNC professors’ course loads will get more study (Audio)

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 17:10
A controversial Senate bill that would have sharply increased the workload of UNC professors was reworked before being unexpectedly shipped off to a study commission on Tuesday. Senate Bill 593 originally would have required all UNC professors to teach no fewer than four courses a semester. Teaching less than eight courses a year would see ...

New report: “Medicaid expansion is producing large gains in health coverage and saving states money”

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 16:42
The wonks at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are out with a new and powerful report today on the increasingly-evident benefits of Medicaid expansion. Here’s the lead: “In the short time since states have been able to expand Medicaid to low-income adults under health reform, a clear divide has emerged between states that ...

Lawmakers tell state Supreme Court no need to hurry in redistricting case

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 14:23
In papers filed with the state Supreme Court yesterday, lawmakers told the justices there was no reason to expedite proceedings in the North Carolina redistricting case, Dickson v. Rucho, sent back here last week by the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not within the time frame that challengers to the state’s redistricting plan want. That ...

Senate bill would require teaching all NC schoolchildren conservative foreign policy principles

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 13:53
[This post has been updated] No, that headline is not a typo. The Senate Education Committee passed a bill this afternoon with less than two minutes of discussion that would require the following items to be taught in American history classes in the state: Constitutional limitations on government power to tax and spend and prompt ...

Bill to improve A-F school grading formula moves forward

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 12:33
Lawmakers moved a bill Tuesday that would improve the formula for how the state’s schools are now awarded A-F letter grades to make them more reflective of how a school helps its students grow academically over time. There are a number of bills floating around the General Assembly that would change how schools receive letter grades ...

Same-sex marriage arguments getting underway at Supreme Court

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 10:02
Starting at 10 a.m. , the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing two-and-a-half hours of argument in the cases challenging state bans on same-sex marriage. Since no cameras or other audio/video equipment is allowed in the courtroom, there will be no live feed of the argument. The Court is, however, expediting the release of the taped ...

Advocates for workplace health and safety to observe Worker Memorial Day today

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 09:29
Today is Worker Memorial Day, a day to honor workers who have died on the job. The recent construction accidents in Raleigh are stark reminders of why this day matters. Worker advocates will gather at 10:30 at 7 W. Lenoir Street in Raleigh, the site where 3 workers died, and will walk to the NC ...

Death, profits on the agenda this morning in House Judiciary committee

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:36
It should be quite a session when the House Judiciary I Committee gathers this morning at 8:30 in the state Legislative Building. Among the four bills on the agenda for the one-hour meeting: A proposal (sponsored by Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer — the sponsor of last week’s anti-abortion legislation) that would further relax the state’s already ...

Loretta Lynch: We will restore trust and faith in the criminal justice system (video)

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 20:46
North Carolina native Loretta Lynch was formally sworn in Monday as the 83rd U.S. Attorney General. Lynch is the first African-American woman to serve in this role. To hear some of her remarks, click below.

Veteran educator speaks out from experience against bill to make student assaults on teachers a felony

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 15:59
When Charlotte native and veteran teacher Scott Yamanashi saw NC Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner’s recent news story (“Lawmakers move bill that would make it a felony offense for a student to assault a teacher”), he felt compelled to speak out. It turns out that Mr. Yamanashi has extensive direct experience in the area. Not ...

Day 228 of Gov. McCrory denying justice to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 15:08
Monday marks the 228th day that Governor Pat McCrory has refused to grant a pardon of innocence to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, the two Robeson County men who both spent 31 years in prison for a rape and murder they did not commit. McCollum and Brown, both mentally disabled, were freed September 4 of last ...

Busy week at General Assembly poised to get off to lousy start with environmental bills

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 11:52
This Thursday is “Crossover Day” at the General Assembly — a self-imposed deadline used by lawmakers to weed out some of the hundreds of bills that have been introduced so far this year. Without going into the details, it’s enough to note that the crossover deadline will make for a busy week of sausage grinding ...

From bobcats, to raw milk to religious freedom – look for a frenetic week at the General Assembly

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 11:10
It’s crossover week at the legislature – that time during the session that bills that don’t have an impact on spending must pass through one chamber or the other  to remain alive for consideration this year. That means you can expect long hours and a flurry of activity this week on Jones Street. Here’s just ...

Obama administration loses its way on “Trans-Pacific Partnership”

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 07:27
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank is a “hit and miss” columnist who who frequently comes off as the worst kind of D.C. insider, but his latest column on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the plan to “fast track” approval, which is featured in the morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer, is on the money. ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 16:15
1. A stark reminder that the far-right still rules in Raleigh Just when you think there’s a glimmer of hope that the flood of reactionary ideas in the General Assembly is finally slowing down and the abuse of the democratic process is waning comes a stark reminder otherwise, that folks running things in Raleigh are ...

WaPo: Eight things teachers want you to know about them

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 15:41
Just as I was getting ready to begin a weekend of fun with my kids and even look forward to a bit of relaxation here and there, I read this blog entry (see below) by Lee Ann Meredith, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher, which was reposted by the Washington Post with permission. And then I remembered ...

Politico story: Attorney General Loretta Lynch still overcoming North Carolina-based obstacles

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 13:33
The national news site Politico has a new and interesting story that shines additional light on the new U.S. Attorney General, Greensboro native Loretta Lynch. The story is entitled “What made Loretta Lynch’s father see red,” and it features several candid comments from the A.G.’s father, 83-year-old Lorenzo Lynch) about his daughter’s rise and the ...

RSVP today for May 14 Defenders of Justice Awards

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 11:10
Don’t miss out on the 17th Annual Defenders of Justice Awards When: Thursday, May 14, 2015,  6:00-9:00 p.m. Where: William and Ida Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Drive in Chapel Hill Each year, the North Carolina Justice Center presents its Defender of Justice Awards to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in ...

“Ag gag” bill still poses many troubling questions

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 09:02
The North Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday with the misleadingly simple title of “Property Protection Act.” The bill has also come to be referred to as the “ag gag” bill because it is widely understood to be targeted at silencing those who would record and publicize disturbing images or sounds from facilities used to ...

The bravest speech of the legislative session

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:26
The NC House passed legislation Thursday tripling the state’s mandatory waiting period for women seeking abortion care to 72 hours. Rep. Tricia Cotham shared her own story of a physician-assisted miscarriage, as she told the chamber that politicians have no place inserting themselves in a deeply personal decision between a woman and her doctor. Click ...