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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Expert: NC voter suppression law will be revived if Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:33

In case you missed it the other day, U.S. Supreme Court expert Ian Millhiser posted another damning and sobering assessment of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. His first finding: if Gorsuch had been on the court last year, North Carolina’s “monster” voter suppression law would be in full force. This is from his ...

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Governor Cooper’s teacher pay plan explained

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 16:49

As WRAL.com reported this afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a new teacher pay plan  today that seeks to get North Carolina to the national average in five years: Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday that his proposed budget will include 5 percent raises for public school teachers in each of the next two years and laid ...

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Reporter’s notebook: People, places and the potential harm of Atlantic Coast Pipeline (with video)

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 16:15

When some asks me how I settled on becoming an environmental reporter, I reply that I had no choice. I grew up in a 19-acre woods in rural Indiana, where my mother, an amateur naturalist, and I raised spring peepers to our ears, handled garter snakes, and without hesitation crawled on our bellies, wielding magnifying glasses ...

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Charlotte-Meck teacher: Schools must address fear that anti-immigrant policies are provoking in kids

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 14:45

In case you missed it, there was a fine op-ed in the Charlotte Observer last Thursday by a local public school teacher on the disastrous impact that the nation’s recent anti-immigrant turn is having a lot of innocent children.  The essay — “4 things CMS should do right now to help immigrant students” was written ...

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Story on anti-Muslim meeting highlights Dan Forest’s controversial connections as he prepares to challenge Cooper in 2020

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 13:41

As Joe Killian’s blog post from earlier this morning highlights, Greensboro journalist Jordan Green had a disturbing story over the weekend about a group of troubled Triad-area conservatives who recently gathered to discuss their passionate — even violent — opposition to Islam. At the public meeting, attendees discussed, among other things, a supposed surreptitious plot ...

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Is this the most illogical/dishonest defense of HB2 yet?

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 07:00

Confronting the passion with which some on the religious right cling to HB2 — a law that is taking on the status of a virtual holy icon in some circles — is always something of a through-the-looking glass experience. The notion that an utterly illogical and unenforceable law designed to respond to a non-existent problem ...

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N.C. conservatives calling for violent opposition to Islam

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 06:42

If you missed it this weekend, you need to read this story from Triad City Beat about a group of “tea partiers, patriot groups and other conservative activists” whose recent meeting included discussions of “killing the hell out of” Muslims and “taking people out.” Jordan Green attended the meeting Thursday night in Kernersville. From his ...

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Kansas’ Republican-Controlled Legislature Votes to Raise Revenue, Responsibly Address Brownback’s Failed Tax Cut Experiment

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 09:08

Here is a little hope on Saturday morning for North Carolina as we enter a budget debate that should have learned the lessons of failed tax cut experiments by now. Yesterday, the Kansas legislature voted to raise revenue to address another year of budget shortfalls.  Since the failed tax experiment began in 2012, Kansas has seen ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:02

1. Hopeful lessons from Saturday’s Moral March (and one important way in which progressives are screwing up) This past Saturday’s 11th annual HKonJ-Moral March on Raleigh was by any estimation, a rousing success. At a point in time in which caring and thinking people are being inundated with multiple calls to action on a daily ...

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Conservative group urges Betsy DeVos to dismantle federal education department

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:00

We’re still awaiting details on new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ plans for the nation’s public schools, but a report from The Washington Post this week is sure to fire up public education advocates already anxious about the new secretary. According to the Post‘s Emma Brown, a conservative policy organization with deep ties to DeVos and ...

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Over objections from EPA employees, environmental advocates, scientists, U.S. Senate confirms Scott Pruitt as agency chief

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:15

No amount of concern that Scott Pruitt is too friendly with the fossil fuel industry, that he has improperly withheld 3,000 emails about his business dealings with coal, oil and natural gas companies; that he has said climate change is a hoax; that hundreds of rank-and-file EPA employees oppose him; that he is blithely unaware of pollution’s harm to the ...

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Is North Carolina going to break its promise to retired state employees?

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:54

Unless you’re a fiscal policy wonk (don’t be ashamed if you are), you may not know that North Carolina needs to figure out how to keep a more than $25 billion promise. House Bill 24 and Senate Bill 22 would create a committee to study options for covering the future cost of paying for the ...

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Editorials: Legislature should ditch proposal to cap state income tax

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 07:46

Things over at the  General Assembly are just starting to warm up, but editorials in two of the state’s leading newspapers are already pouring cold water on one major conservative policy proposal: a constitutional amendment to cap the state income tax rate at 5.5%. This is from the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of ...

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Display of solidarity at “Day Without Immigrants” protest in Raleigh

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:00

Respect. Fear. Concern. Love. Solidarity. Those were just some of the reasons hundreds of people gathered Thursday in Moore Square for the nationwide protest “Day Without Immigrants.” The protest encouraged immigrants to skip work and school and to stop shopping for the day to show their value to the American economy. José Terrazos, of Henderson, ...

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Photos from “Day Without Immigrants” protest at Moore Square

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 15:00

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at Moore Square for a “Day Without Immigrants” nationwide protest. Immigrants across the country were encouraged to skip work and school and to not shop to show how essential they are to the American economy. Many businesses across the Triangle also closed to show solidarity with workers and customers.

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Message to Trump administration: Protect our care; don’t weaken the Marketplace

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 14:29

You don’t have to be low-income or uninsured to grasp how challenging and complex the modern world of health care and health insurance has become. Even in my role as a fully insured professional who works in the field every day as an advocate, I wrestle with the challenges the system presents — especially when ...

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Success stories in affordable housing, minimum housing standards

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 13:41

Worth your time today: This column by Susan Ladd of the News & Record in Greensboro that looks at too-seldom celebrated success in the movement for affordable housing and strengthening minimum housing standards. The story centers on efforts by the Center for Community Progress, Greensboro Housing Coalition and the city’s Minimum Housing Standards Coalition to ...

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Fix to school funding crunch advances through N.C. House

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:33

North Carolina House lawmakers unanimously backed draft legislation intended to allay an imminent K-3 class size dilemma for public schools Thursday, despite criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. House Bill 13 will offer local school districts flexibility over their average and maximum classroom sizes in the early grades, weeks before public school leaders say a ...

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Editorials blast Berger for his obstruction of HB2 repeal, Cooper compromise

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 06:58

Two more major newspapers point out the absurdity of Senate leader Phil Berger’s disingenuous stance on HB2 repeal this morning. The Charlotte Observer tells it like it is with this observation: “Goodbye, NCAA. Goodbye, ACC. Goodbye from Phil Berger, who keeps whispering, ‘Hush.’ Sen. Berger and other Republican leaders on Tuesday made clear that they ...

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Under fire, Trump pick for Secretary of Labor withdraws

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:23

President Trump suffered his first defeat on confirming his cabinet this afternoon when his pick for the US Department Labor, fast food magnate Andy Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration following weeks of rising controversy over his background.  Puzder has come under increasing fire for his questionable labor practices, his failure to properly withhold taxes ...

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