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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

One month till moral marchers return to Raleigh

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 08:30
Valentine’s Day 2015, February 14, will be especially memorable this year. This is from the good fols at the NAACP and HKonJ coalition: On this Valentine’s Day, bring your sweetheart to Raleigh and JOIN THE LARGEST LOVE AND JUSTICE MOVEMENT SINCE SELMA! We will show our LOVE for JUSTICE! We LOVE justice in Education; We ...

To kick off 2015 NCGA, Berger, Moore stay the course on paying beginning teachers more

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 05:07
Asked if he planned to change his approach to paying North Carolina’s veteran teachers by offering them better pay raises during this legislative session than what he had originally sketched out for them in 2014, Senate leader Phil Berger stuck with his game plan on the opening day of the 2015 General Assembly on Wednesday. ...

NC lawmakers seek Supreme Court review of state same-sex marriage ban

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 05:05
Earlier this week, State Senate President Phil Berger and former House Speaker Thom Tillis filed a petition for review at the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn the October decisions by federal district court judges in North Carolina rejecting the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The federal court rulings followed the July decision by the ...

Legislative leaders see “no good case” for Medicaid expansion this session (video)

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 22:06
Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore made it clear on day one of the 2015 legislative session that they were not in favor of Medicaid expansion this year. Sen. Berger told reporters his position has not changed. “There is in my view no good case that can be made that Medicaid expansion ...

Republicans take their first swing at Obama by voting to block his immigration initiatives

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 15:32
Today, Republicans in the U.S. House passed legislation that would reverse the immigration policies put in place by President Obama through executive action. The new legislation would terminate the temporary stay on deportation announced by Obama in November, a change that would have negative consequences for over six million immigrants. The legislation was voted on ...

North Carolina’s unfair tax system highlighted in new report

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:08
The latest Who Pays? report released today by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) takes a look at the fairness of state tax systems. For North Carolina, the lowest income North Carolinians pay over 70 percent more in state and local taxes as a share of their income compared to the state’s wealthiest residents, ...

Could Senators try to scuttle McCrory’s Dix park deal? (w/audio)

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:33
One day after Governor Pat McCrory announced the state would sell the Dorothea Dix campus to Raleigh, at least two state Senators voiced reservations about the deal. Mitchell County Senator Ralph Hise told WRAL-TV the $52 million transaction was “on the lower end” of what would be acceptable. Senator Louis Pate told the Raleigh News ...

Full marriage equality: How much longer?

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 10:44
Regular NC Policy Watch contributor Charles Beem weighs in this morning with is thoughts on the painfully slow process of finalizing America’s embrace of marriage equality. The waiting game: Marriage equality and the Supreme Court By Dr. Charles Beem It has been nearly three months since the triumph of marriage equality in North Carolina, and ...

Former state Rep. LaRoque gets closed-door hearing on motions to drop criminal charges

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 09:47
Steven LaRoque, the former Kinston state lawmaker facing federal charges of stealing from two federally-funded non-profits he ran, will find out this week if a judge agrees the dozen criminal charges in the case should be thrown out. A pre-trial motions hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow at the federal courthouse in Greenville, will be ...

Common Core replacement co-chairs offer different visions about their mission

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 09:04
The Academic Standards Review Commission – that’s the state commission charged with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards – meets again this Friday. With the commission now adequately funded, members should be able to begin hearing from experts and assessing what benchmarks students should master. But whether the commission decides to tweak the ...

Education update is this morning’s “must read” on the first day of 2015 legislative session

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 08:00
If you care at all about the actions of the  North Carolina General Assembly, your “must read” for this morning on the first day of the 2015 legislative session should be this excellent overview of what’s on the table and at stake in the world of public education by NC Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner. ...

Did GOP shoot itself in the foot by repealing voter preregistration for teens?

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 15:12
Sometimes, one has to admit that the forces of the universe are possessed of a wicked sense of humor. Witness this story in today’s Washington Post and the new study on which it is based. According to both, preregistering teens to vote so that they become eligible upon turning 18 does in fact increase participation ...

Bill to rebuke Utilities Commission over windfall to companies: Not soup yet

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 14:09
As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported this morning, a study committee at the General Assembly appears to be in the process of advancing a legislative proposal for the 2015 session that would reverse a controversial Utilities Commission decision from last fall that provided a windfall to big utility companies. As I explained in the Weekly ...

Big changes in state environmental agency, with two assistant secretaries out

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 13:00
The new head of North Carolina’s environmental and natural resources agency has shaken things up in the state agency in his first month on the job, and replaced two top deputies this week. Donald van der Vaart, a longtime DENR employee selected to lead the agency last month by Gov. Pat McCrory, replaced two of ...

Another new Charlotte charter school on the brink of closure

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:06
Yes, you read the headline right: Charlotte faces another crisis as its third charter school in less than a year –Entrepreneur High School — faces potential closure thanks to low enrollment and financial woes. The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Dunn has the run down on what’s happening at Entrepreneur. Here’s the takeaway: The school has only $14 remaining ...

Conservative response to Obama’s community college proposal shows how far the national debate has regressed

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 08:05
There was once a time in the United States (and not that long ago) in which the idea of guaranteeing every American the opportunity to obtain a free public education all the way through college was a widely — even universally — shared  dream. In the mid-20th Century, states throughout the country worked hard to ...

With an eye towards equity, Durham sets model for the region by coordinating transit and affordable housing plans

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 15:36
Durham’s Joint City-County planning Committee spent last Wednesday morning hearing from city experts on the state of affordable housing near planned transit stations. As efforts to enhance mobility move forward, Durham officials want to be prepared for not only the benefits that new transit investments bring but the challenges as well. As such, they have ...

What’s it costing states to fight same-sex marriage?

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 15:36
As same-sex marriage bans continue to fall in the courts, states on the losing side of the battle are finding themselves on the hook for attorneys’ fees incurred by proponents of marriage equality, to the tune of more than $800,000 thus far, according to Zoe Tillman in this National Law Journal post. And requests for ...

NC charter school operator sues former superintendent for defamation

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 14:40
Charter school operator Baker Mitchell Jr. filed a defamation lawsuit last week against the former Brunswick County superintendent, claiming Mitchell’s reputation was tarnished by statements critical of his business interests in charter schools and public charter schools in general. Mitchell is a founder of Charter Day School in Leland and his company Roger Bacon Academies ...

State and City of Raleigh reach agreement on 307-acre Dix park deal

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 12:31
Governor Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced Monday that the state and municipal leaders have tentatively agreed to a deal that would sell the Dorothea Dix property to the City of Raleigh. “This agreement allows the creation of a destination park in our state capital,  protects state taxpayers and continues to honor the ...

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