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Updated: 39 min 14 sec ago

State asks court to stay coal ash lawsuits as to most Duke Energy plants in North Carolina

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 09:49
In papers filed yesterday, the state through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources asked the court hearing the enforcement actions against Duke Energy to stay the proceedings with respect to ten of Duke’s 14 coal ash plants, saying that a delay would allow the department and Duke Energy to classify and prioritize the ten sites as ...

Another week, another stunning bit of hypocrisy from the McCrory administration

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 07:36
There are several contenders this week for most egregious recent example of conservative hypocrisy when it comes to the role and value of government. There’s the phenomenon of ultra-conservative lawmakers from rural areas (like state Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown) who deride government day after day and then, suddenly, when faced with a debate over ...

Leader of NC business coalition dedicated to improving public ed talks education vision

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:03
Citing a ‘crisis of mediocrity,’ when it comes to North Carolina’s educational outcomes, CEO and president of BEST NC Brenda Berg told attendees at a John Locke Foundation luncheon on Monday that her organization is working to set an education vision for the Tar Heel state. Working collaboratively with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, Berg said ...

Lawmakers agree on a spending amount, budget details yet to be resolved (video)

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:08
Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have agreed to a $21.735 billion budget for the current fiscal year. Governor Pat McCrory announced lawmakers settled on the amount this morning during a meeting at the Executive Mansion: “This agreement is the result of ongoing dialogue during the last several weeks. We remain committed ...

Six trends that highlight waning state support for public education

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:29
Amid major differences between the House and Senate respective budgets, public schools across the state wait to see what level of state support will be provided for public education. The final decision doesn’t just matter for the education of our children but the attractiveness of our communities and the long-term potential of our economy to ...

Former state Rep. LaRoque heads to prison today

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:06
Today’s the day for former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque to report to prison. LaRoque, 51, a former high-ranking Republican in the state legislature from Kinston, was sentenced to two years in federal prison in July, after pleading guilty to criminal charge in connection with the theft of $300,000 from a federally-funded non-profit. He is expected ...

Common Core: Big changes ahead?

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 10:23
Members of a panel tasked with reviewing and possibly replacing the controversial Common Core academic standards convened Monday to unveil their draft recommendations on how to restructure math and English language arts academic goals for grades K-12 in North Carolina. I couldn’t be there yesterday, but several media outlets covered the meeting. From the News & Observer: The Academic ...

State lawmakers extend budget deadline for second time

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 08:51
Last week state lawmakers extended the 2015-17 fiscal year budget negotiation deadline from August 14th to August 31st, which is 61 days after the original budget deadline of July 1st. House and Senate leadership need additional time to work on the final budget deal because they have not been able to iron out the stark ...

Sweepstakes industry corruption and NC politics: How bad is it?

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 08:50
RSVP today for next Tuesday’s Crucial Conversation luncheon: Sweepstakes industry corruption: How far does it go? What should be done? Featuring Bob Hall, Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina It’s been almost a decade since the efforts of a determined group of nonprofit watchdogs, led by Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Bob Hall, helped expose ...

State officials still failing basic test of decency is sterilization compensation mess

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 14:36
In case you missed it over the weekend, John Railey of the Winston-Salem Journal had another powerful article about the ongoing disaster that is the state of North Carolina’s failed response to its disastrous experiment with “eugenics” in the the last century. As you’re probably aware, the issue of thousands of North Carolinians being subjected ...

Citizen-Times: Lack of budget causing big headaches for WNC schools

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 11:10
“I feel like our kids are being held hostage by the General Assembly’s lack of a budget.” That’s the word from Yancey County Schools’ superintendent Tony Tipton, who says that lawmakers’ failure to reach a deal on a two year state budget means students haven’t been able to learn how to drive over the summer. ...

Senator Curtis wants to “starve government to death”

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 10:34
Senator David Curtis recently defended the misguided and misnamed Taxpayer Bill of Rights in a story in the Lincoln Times-News about the proposal that would limit state spending based on an arbitrary and inappropriate formula. Curtis thinks government is too big and that there’s only one way to address that. “The only way to shrink government ...

Scholar debunks myths about the Civil War and confederate monuments

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 08:18
I went on the radio talk show of conservative host Bill LuMaye in Raleigh on Friday and the subject quickly morphed into a debate about confederate monuments and the failure of state conservative leaders to live up to their promises about removing the confederate flag from state license plates. And although I think I hung ...

Several face fines for late state ethics forms , including two mayors and top official at John Locke Foundation

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 15:25
The N.C. Ethics Commission opted Friday to levy fines against 20 people serving on state boards who filed their annual statements of economic interest late. The forms, which required individuals to divulge the financial interests of themselves and family members living in their home, are supposed to be filed by April 15. The N.C. Ethics ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 15:00
1. Out of state money behind secret plan to fund charter takeover of NC’s worst performing schools Extensive behind-the-scenes work to develop proposal Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) may be the face of a plan to allow charter school operators to take over North Carolina’s worst performing schools, but he’s not the only Bryan with fingerprints ...

This is what a second grade classroom looks like without a dedicated teacher assistant

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 14:58
Do you remember Barbara Dell Carter? If you’re a regular reader of our blog you just might, because I’ve written about her for three years in a row now. That’s three years in a row (that I’ve observed) that teacher assistants —and education in general — have been in the cross hairs of the state budget ...

McCrory still opposed to sales tax plan and still unwilling to talk to reporters

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 13:35
Gov. Pat McCrory, who has never met a groundbreaking in Charlotte on a Friday that he didn’t like, was at another one today and didn’t feel much like answering questions from pesky reporters, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The former Charlotte mayor, while walking to his SUV to depart for another meeting, said he ...

NC’s unemployed could soon be required to step up their job hunt under bill advancing in House (video)

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 11:40
The NC House is one step away from passing a bill that would require unemployed workers to make five job inquiries a week (up from two) in order to receive jobless benefits. Rep. Julia Howard told House members Thursday the legislation was intended to get jobless individuals “in the habit” of looking for employment. But ...

Happy Birthday, Social Security!

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 11:15
Eighty years ago today, President Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act, creating one of our nation’s most important social programs. Since 1935, Social Security has kept millions of working Americans out of poverty, allowing them to live with dignity through the difficulties of old age or the loss of spouses and parents. Today, ...

Is this the silliest excuse yet pushed by conservative defenders of the General Assembly?

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 10:12
There are a lot of bad explanations that have been advanced to justify various acts of the state’s conservative political leadership in recent years. There’s been the “it’s all Bev’s Fault” excuse in which every problem in (and experienced by) state government — including the Great Recession and its aftermath — is attributed to former ...

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