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Updated: 52 min 55 sec ago

CBO on President Trump’s Budget: Proposed policies lack details, drastic budget cuts won’t solve debt issue

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 18:30

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its first analysis of President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget and it is worth noting that CBO could not provide a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the proposed policies in the President’s budget because many of them do not contain the details necessary to assess those effects. Throughout ...

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Trump taps local GOP attorney to fill long-time federal judicial vacancy in eastern NC

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:15

President Donald Trump announced today that he plans to nominate local GOP attorney Thomas Farr to fill the nation’s longest running federal judicial vacancy, located in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The federal judgeship has been vacant for over 11 years and long been referred to as a judicial ...

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DEQ, DHHS at loggerheads again, still bickering over drinking water risks of hexavalent chromium

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:28

  P eople living near Duke Energy coal plants — Roxboro, Mayo and Belew’s Creek, in particular — don’t know whom or what to believe. In 2015, state health officials said their drinking water was unsafe because of contamination from hexavalent chromium in their wells. Months later, top state health and environmental officials, even Gov. ...

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Disappointing: Cooper signs bill that unfairly targets farmworkers

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 13:12

One supposes that Gov. Roy Cooper feels he has to pick his battles carefully these days given the hard realities at the General Assembly, where Republicans hold “veto proof” majorities in both the House and the Senate.  That said, the Guv’s decision today to approve farm legislation that, among other things, unfairly targets farmworkers and ...

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Latest data: NC will not come close to 2020 health objectives; legislature’s policy failures implicated

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:37

One of North Carolina’s goals is “to be one of the healthiest states in the nation.” However, the reality is that our state is not on track to reach this goal anytime soon. Every 10 years since 1990, North Carolina has set decennial health objectives with the goal of making North Carolina a healthier state. ...

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Campaign contributions from high-cost lenders: N&O story helps connect the dots to bill on Cooper’s desk

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:57

As was explained in Tuesday’s edition of the Weekly Briefing, one of the worst bills to emerge from the waning hours of the 2017 legislative session was a proposal from the often predatory consumer finance loan industry to allow it to pack more high interest loans with virtually worthless credit insurance. “Though industry lobbyists claim ...

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Former GOP supreme court justice and candidate for governor rips General Assembly

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:26

In case you missed it, one of North Carolina’s best known Republican politicians has had it with his fellow GOP’ers who preside over the General Assembly. In a scathing op-ed in the Charlotte Observer, former Republican Supreme Court justice and gubernatorial candidate Bob Orr lambastes the legislature for its many acts of malfeasance during the ...

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Déjà vu: Controversy over safe drinking water, coal ash, prompts DEQ to appoint science panel

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 21:02

T he NC Department of Environmental Quality, facing criticism over its new performance standards for contaminants in drinking water, said today that Secretary Michael Regan will convene a science advisory board to make recommendations on those levels based on new health data. Last Friday, DEQ announced these standards for levels of hexavalent chromium (also known ...

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Author of “Democracy in Chains” to headline July 26 luncheon

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 14:42

NC Policy Watch presents a special Crucial Conversation luncheon: Prof. Nancy MacLean on her provocative new book, “Democracy in Chains”  Click here to register. Prof. Nancy MacLean of Duke University is an award-winning scholar of the twentieth-century U.S., whose new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, has ...

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Editorial: “Second chance” bill on Guv’s desk is an important step forward

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 11:17

The Wilson Times had a fine recent editorial — reprinted today in the Greenville Daily Reflector — about the important bipartisan bill that was passed by state lawmakers this session (and currently awaits Governor Cooper’s signature) to reform and update state expunction laws for ex-criminal offenders. Here is an excerpt. “A bipartisan group of state ...

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NC NAACP asks for independent redistricting process, special elections in racial gerrymandering case

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 09:00

The North Carolina NAACP filed a motion in the state’s recent racial gerrymandering case asking for the three-judge panel to assign an independent entity to redraw the unconstitutional maps and to order special elections this year. The group’s proposed amicus curiae brief (the document must be approved by the court) also asks the court to prevent ...

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Trump ‘conspiracy of dunces’ comes into sharper focus

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 07:36

This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer, “Donald Trump, Jr. provides a smoking gun,” is exactly right when it describes the latest developments in the absurd Trump saga this way: “The president’s son released emails Tuesday (seemingly in an effort to undercut a pending release by The New York Times) that show he met ...

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Judging by today’s event, protesters are starting to get to Tillis

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 15:35

It’s dumb mistake that almost all elected officials succumb to at one time or another, but with a relatively experienced politician like Thom Tillis, you think he’d already know better. Unfortunately, it looks like North Carolina’s junior senator will have to learn his lesson the hard way. And that lesson? Don’t disrespect your constituents. Oh, ...

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New budget a roadmap full of potholes and an unclear destination

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 15:29

A new BTC report highlights how the new two-year budget passed by state lawmakers continues to choose austerity and failed trickle-down economics over broadly shared prosperity. House and Senate leadership garnered the needed votes to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the budget, resulting in approval of the budget. Under the budget, total state spending for ...

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Editorial: More funding needed in opioid crisis battle

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 15:00

A News & Observer editorial this week praised recent work by Gov. Roy Cooper and the legislature to battle the opioid epidemic – a nationwide problem of which a number of North Carolina cities are some of the saddest examples. But the editorial went on to say that more money and attention are needed – ...

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Lawyers’ Committee, ACLU sues Election Integrity Commission over lack of transparency

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 14:31

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law plans to use every tool in its arsenal to stop the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The organization filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Commission for its failure to operate in a transparent manner under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The lawsuit was filed after the ...

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New analysis: N.C. and U.S. growing more diverse; General Assembly isn’t keeping up

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:59

The latest “Prosperity Watch” report from the the N. C Budget and Tax Center offers some interesting data on North Carolina’s growing diversity and the failure of the make-up of state elected leaders to mirror that trend. A review of our state’s demographics shows North Carolina is a growing and diverse state. This is great ...

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Growing Tillis protests come to Raleigh again today

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:10

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis — whose support in opinion polls has now sunk to 29% in the aftermath of his recent feckless statement that he would support any GOP health care bill that could get 51 votes — will be the target for yet another protest today. Resistance movement leaders will be gathering outside ...

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Legislators to three-judge panel: General Assembly leadership, not Attorney General, speaks for NC

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 16:41

Legislative defendants in a recent racial gerrymandering case filed a court document today that argues the General Assembly speaks for the state of North Carolina, not the Attorney General. The North Carolina v. Covington document was filed in response to the Attorney General’s position statement that his office represents the state and the State Board ...

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Columnist: Cutting teacher benefits won’t help North Carolina’s teacher recruiting problem

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 15:30

Chopping retiree health benefits for future teachers won’t allay North Carolina’s monumental plunge in teacher recruiting, a guest columnist in The Asheville Citizen-Times wrote this weekend. The column—authored by Lindsay Wagner of the progressive A.J. Fletcher Foundation—takes up state lawmakers’ move this year to do away with benefits while simultaneously lobbing multiple ideas to shore up ...

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