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 55 min ago

Special master in racial gerrymandering case releases first round of redrawn legislative districts

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:30

A special master appointed almost two weeks ago by a federal court to examine and potentially redraw parts of the state House and Senate maps released his proposed plan to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Stanford Law professor Nathaniel Persily’s maps redraw Senate districts in Cumberland, Hoke and Guilford counties and House districts in Sampson, Wayne, ...

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In a setback to Murphy-Brown, hog nuisance suits can go on, federal judge rules

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 13:00

This story is part of a larger series on the national pork industry that NC Policy Watch is co-publishing with Environmental Health News. The series, Peak Pig, begins at EHN today. On Wednesday, Policy Watch will examine the history of nuisance suits, plus swine waste-to energy technologies, and more. The 26 nuisance lawsuits against hog ...

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Local attorney gets big social media response with “MeAt14” hashtag

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:00

Can’t consent at 14. Not in Alabama. Not anywhere. #MeAt14 pic.twitter.com/AFUw1Ru4X2 — Catherine R L Lawson (@catlawson) November 10, 2017 When Raleigh attorney Catherine Lawson first posted a picture of her younger self with a hashtag to remind the world that 14-year-olds can’t consent to sex, she expected some response but nothing like the one ...

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Opposition to Silent Sam, surveillance of protest groups, continues to grow

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:02

If you’ve been following our coverage of the controversy over “Silent Sam,” the only Confederate monument on a UNC Campus, you’ll want to mark your calendar for a few things this week. On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. there will be a rally at the South Building on the UNC campus at Chapel Hill to demand ...

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The best editorial of the weekend demands action from Burr, Tillis

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 07:15

One can forgive the people of the Cape Fear region these days if they’re a little sensitive about chemical pollutants in the environment and the failure of public officials to protect human wellbeing as the ongoing GenX mess continues to play out. So, it is from a place of experience that editors of the Wilmington ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 14:00

1. An ominous evening for Republicans in North Carolina That loud sound you heard Tuesday night was Republicans in North Carolina gulping nervously as the election returns from across the state and across the country came in. In virtually every race that mattered, the Republicans lost and in many cases lost resoundingly.  National pundits were ...

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Why rushing major tax legislation is a bad idea

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:00

President Trump and Congressional leaders have unveiled a tax plan that both the Senate and House want to rush through the policy process so that the President can sign it into law around the holidays. The House tax bill was just unveiled last week, on November 2, yet the House will vote on the bill ...

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Courts Commission leadership changes hands; role of the body in judicial reform efforts unknown

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:30

Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake), a Raleigh attorney, has taken the helm of the North Carolina Courts Commission. The three-term lawmaker was first appointed to the committee in 2013 and has served as a member since then. He was appointed chair of the Commission on Oct. 18 by Gov. Roy Cooper and replaces Rep. Sarah Stevens ...

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DEQ confirms van der Vaart, Evan on “investigatory leave” — apparently with pay

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:15

The email was brief, just a sentence-long, and sent to the media shortly before 9 last night: “DEQ employees Donald van der Vaart and John Evans have been placed on investigatory leave.” The statement was attributed to NC Department Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan and came from the agency’s communications director, Jamie Kritzer. It was ...

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Chris Fitzsimon departing from NC Policy Watch after 13 remarkable years

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 07:19

After 13 years of amazing and visionary leadership, our dear friend and colleague, NC Policy Watch founder and Executive Director Chris Fitzsimon, is leaving the organization later this month. Yesterday, Rick Glazier, the executive director of the NC Justice Center — the parent organization of Policy Watch — issued the following statement: A note to ...

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Francis De Luca of Civitas loses argument against DEQ before Environmental Management Commission

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 15:07

In his attempt to undermine a deal brokered among the court, state and Chemours, Francis X. De Luca offered the Environmental Management Commission some weak legal sauce. De Luca, president of the conservative think tank Civitas, asked the EMC today to issue a declaratory ruling that ultimately could have voided a partial consent order between ...

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816,000 NC kids would be left out of GOP tax bill’s Child Tax Credit proposal due to low income

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 14:04

House Republican leaders highlight an increase in the maximum value of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) as their tax bill’s signature benefit for working families, but the provision completely excludes 354,000 children in North Carolina whose parents work in low-paying jobs, according to a new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and ...

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State, national educators say U.S. House tax plan would risk K-12 jobs, funding

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 13:07

State and national education leaders say a U.S. House tax proposal to nix much of the state and local tax deduction (SALT) would “blow a hole” in public school funding from state and local governments. Its just the latest criticism of ongoing tax wrangling in the nation’s capitol. Teachers are also fired up over a ...

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Women, progressives rule election day in Greensboro

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:12

  There were bigger, more expensive and more contentious local elections in Raleigh and Charlotte – but this week’s results in the state’s third largest city were historic on a number of levels. Greensboro voters elected their first openly gay member of the city council in Michelle Kennedy, one of a number of progressive first-time ...

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Noose found hanging at NC A&T/UNCG joint school

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:18

Disturbing news out of Greensboro Wednesday as a noose was found hanging at N.C. A&T and UNCG’s Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. From the story in weekly paper Triad City Beat: The discovery was made around 9:30 a.m. in an academic building, according to an incident report filed by NC A&T University Police. UNCG Police ...

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NC’s cheapskate General Assembly: Placing school children’s health and well-being at risk

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 06:55

WRAL News had has an important and infuriating story last night that’s worth your time today. It’s about the outrageous dearth of school nurses in North Carolina and the way the state has had to turn to lightly-trained clerical personnel to address the health needs of thousands of schoolchildren. If you didn’t know better, you’d ...

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Amazing numbers on gun violence on the anniversary of Trump’s election

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 16:54

It’s a remarkable fact to contemplate, but today marks the one-year anniversary of the election of the Great Prevaricator. The good news, of course, is the fact that the nation is still standing — at least sort of. The bad news is that the most important government on the planet remains under the control of ...

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House tax plan is off by over $700 billion, will add more to the U.S deficit than Trump-GOP want to admit

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 12:10

When the House released its Trump-GOP tax bill last week Americans found out that this proposed legislations would increase the U.S. deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next ten years. However, further analysis shows that after accounting for budget gimmicks and interest costs the real additional burden to the U.S. deficit is well over $2 ...

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Senate committee to meet first about judicial redistricting, not merit selection, two-year judicial terms

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 11:16

The agenda for the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting leaves out two key points Republicans have either recently discussed or threatened: merit selection and a proposed constitutional amendment to shorten all judges and justices terms to two years. The committee will meet for the first time today at 1 p.m. in room ...

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More encouraging electoral news: Maine votes overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 10:10

In case you missed it, yet another important piece of good news from last night’s elections came from the state of Maine. This is from an article in this morning’s New York Times: “Voters in Maine decided on Tuesday to expand access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, making the state the first in ...

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