NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 1 hour 45 min ago

General Assembly’s class-size “fix” a mixed bag

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 17:08

This afternoon, the General Assembly has finally revealed its plan for addressing the unfunded class-size mandate. As a reminder, under current law, General Assembly members are requiring school districts dramatically reduce class sizes in grades K-3 in the next school year, but have failed to provide the necessary funding. To meet the unfunded mandate, districts ...

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Hybrid bill includes revision of Ethics, Elections merge

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 15:51

The North Carolina Supreme Court recently struck down a General Assembly law merging the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission, and lawmakers are trying to pass a fix before heading back to the lower court. House Bill 90 addresses education issues, Atlanta Coast Pipeline funds and the Cooper v. Berger decision from the Supreme ...

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House, Senate leadership push plan to ease North Carolina class size crisis

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 14:05

State House and Senate leaders in the N.C. General Assembly say they have a plan for easing North Carolina’s class-size tumult. Senate and House K-12 leaders announced details at a press conference Thursday afternoon, rolling out a four-year, phase-in plan for the deal and $61 million in recurring funding for “enhancement” teachers—arts, music, world language ...

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South Carolina article highlights issues with legislative judicial appointment

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:58

The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, published a story yesterday about lawmakers considering a change in the practice of spouses or other family members tied to legislators getting judgeships and other state posts. South Carolina is one of two states where legislators elect judges. North Carolina is considering a form of judicial merit selection ...

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Senators trade barbs over funding bill directing DEQ to spend $2.4 million on “busy work”

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 09:53

At a public forum earlier this month, a man from Bladen County asked state environmental and health officials a direct and desperate question: “Are we guinea pigs?” he pleaded. “I don’t want to die from GenX.” One could not blame him, his neighbors and the thousands of residents downstream in Brunswick and New Hanover counties ...

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Supreme Court evaluating who has power over public schools — Board of Education or Mark Johnson

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 07:00

Determining who prevails in the power struggle between the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction Superintendent will boil down to semantics. The state Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 17, a GOP measure that transferred power from the Board to Superintendent Mark Johnson, ...

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North Carolina redistricting litigation: What the heck is going on?

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:41

Less than 24 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked some of a special master’s districts from being implemented, plaintiffs in a similar racial gerrymandering case have asked a state court to get involved. And a little more than an hour after the new challenge was announced, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) called a press conference ...

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Higher Education, LGBTQ groups oppose PROSPER Act

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 16:14

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is one of a number of Republicans in Congress pushing the PROSPER Act, which they call “higher education’s long overdue reform.” But a number of prominent higher education voices and LGBTQ groups are pushing back on the act, saying it will further restrict access to higher education and could make it ...

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December 2017 local labor market release: A closer look at the Sandhills

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 14:40

Amid rosy data showing that 98 counties had unemployment levels lower in 2017 than in 2016 there is plenty of evidence that many North Carolinians are still hurting. Over the broader period since the start of the Great Recession, 57 counties still have fewer employed workers than at that time, and 27 counties have unemployment ...

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Superintendent Mark Johnson on controversial teacher pay comment: Phrasing was “less than stellar”

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 14:40

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson says his “less-than-stellar phrasing” when addressing teacher pay at a Raleigh conference last month spurred a “fierce partisan backlash focused only on teacher pay.” Johnson addressed the controversy—in which he reportedly referred to $35,000 in teacher pay as “good money” for some educators—in an op-ed for The News ...

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Rates of deep poverty are rising in NC and and across the nation

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 12:29

Just over seven percent of North Carolina households live in deep poverty, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. Deep poverty is defined as households living with incomes at or below 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or less than $12,300 per year for a family of four. This amounts to a little more ...

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NC Twittersphere responds to U.S. Supreme Court ruling re: special master

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 08:00

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a split order Tuesday evening: Some of a court-appointed special master’s legislative districts can be used in this year’s elections and some can’t, at least temporarily. Voters, elected officials and experts took to social media right away to express their reactions. Here are a few of the highlights: My statement ...

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Today: NC Supreme Court to hear Board of Education, Superintendent power struggle

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 07:00

The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear a dispute today between the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Mark Johnson. The Board sued Mark Johnson after the legislature transferred its power to the newly-elected Republican. Arguments today will center on the constitutionality of that measure, House Bill 17. Even though Johnson ...

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Senate Ag, Natural Resources Committee recommending $2.4 million for DEQ to address emerging contaminants

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 03:31

The Senate, under scrutiny for failing to even confer or debate a GenX bill that unanimously passed the House, has now come up with its own version, including substantive changes.. The proposed committee substitute will be introduced at the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Room 1127/1028 of the Legislative ...

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US Supreme Court: Some special master districts stand, some stayed

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 19:33

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow some of a special master’s legislative districts to stand for this year’s elections but blocked some pending lawmakers’ appeal. The case is North Carolina v. Covington, which involves racial gerrymandering. The following House districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties were blocked: 36, 37, 40, 41 and 105. Those districts ...

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Supreme Court will not expedite NC partisan gerrymandering case

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 14:47

The U.S. Supreme Court will not expedite North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering case, which means voters will likely participate in the upcoming election under the map that a federal court ruled unconstitutional. The high court already granted lawmakers’ request to block the lower court’s order forcing them to redraw the congressional map before this year’s election. ...

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Trump unlikely to extend DACA deadline

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 14:13

The White House is showing no signs of extending a deadline for the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Washington Post reports: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said Tuesday that President Trump is not expected to extend a March 5 deadline for when legal protection and work permits ...

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The top reason for attending this Saturday’s Moral March on Raleigh

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:53

There are a lot of good reasons to attend this Saturday’s HKonJ “People’s  Assembly” / Moral March on Raleigh — the dreadful state of American and North Carolina politics, the crucial importance of staying engaged and connected to the fight for justice, the chance to hear an inspiring messages from lots of great speakers, including ...

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Voters weigh in on ballot box access, democracy

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 08:00

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently came to Raleigh to discuss voter access. Several people attended and spoke during the public comment period at the day-long event. NC Policy Watched asked a few folks they thought voter access meant to a democracy. “It seems to me like it’s a very basic right – one ...

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SCOTUS denies stay in Pennsylvania partisan gerrymandering case

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 14:17

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied a stay request Monday in a Pennsylvania partisan gerrymandering case, which means lawmakers there have 10 days to redraw congressional maps. The denial comes less than a month after the court stayed an order requiring North Carolina lawmakers to redraw congressional maps after a lower court found they ...

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