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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
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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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BREAKING: Great news from D.C. as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues vitally important new rule

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 14:55

This just in from the regulators that Trump and his crowd hate at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today announced a new rule to ban companies from using mandatory arbitration clauses to deny groups of people their day in court. Many consumer financial products like credit cards and bank ...

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Important film on lives of African-American boys is back in the Triangle through this Thursday

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 13:00

In case you missed it during its first two sold-out shows earlier this month, the award-winning film, Raising Bertie returned to the Triangle over the weekend and will showing at the Chelsea Theater in Chapel Hill through Thursday the 13th. “Raising Bertie is a longitudinal documentary feature following three young African American boys over the ...

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As Congress returns to work, Senate health care bill faces uncertain future

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:46

Members of Congress return from their July 4th recess this week with no apparent head-way on the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act. If you missed it over the weekend on Policy Watch’s News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, Brendan Riley with the Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project explains in clear terms why Senate Majority Leader ...

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The best editorial of the weekend: NC’s full-time legislature

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 07:00

The General Assembly technically called it quits on the 2017 legislative session on June 30, but as Sunday’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record (“Legislature plans unhappy returns”) does a fine job of explaining, there’s likely to be a lot of dreary news in the weeks ahead as lawmakers do their best impression ...

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Cooper takes legal battle over state elections, ethics board to NC Supreme Court

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 15:55

Gov. Roy Cooper has taken his legal battle with legislative leaders over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Cooper asked last week that the court block the law creating the bipartisan Board, of which he has yet to appoint members to. The Governor’s spokesman, Ford Porter, told The ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 15:00

1. Is North Carolina stuck in an abusive relationship? Behavior of state leaders, state policy community raise warning flags The last seven years in North Carolina politics and policy have been extraordinary. In a very short period of time, a once moderate state has been transformed into a kind of laboratory for far right policies ...

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Charter takeovers of low-performing schools to start in 2018, News & Observer reports

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 13:30

Charter takeovers of a handful of low-performing schools in North Carolina are set to begin with the 2018-2019 school year, The News & Observer reports. The takeovers will be part of the former achievement school district, recently renamed the “Innovative School District” by state lawmakers. Cleared in 2016, the controversial plan would allow for-profit charter ...

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Illinois makes the right choice, expands EITC in new budget deal

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 13:09

The Illinois state legislature just passed a budget that includes an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion. From TCWF: “Under the agreement, which ends the state’s two-year budget impasse, the personal income tax rate for all Illinois workers will increase from 3.75 to 4.95 percent. Increasing the state’s EITC will help to mitigate the burden ...

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Fewer fish kills so far this season, but human negligence responsible for most deaths

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 12:06

H erbicides, fabric dye and wet concrete discharging into North Carolina lakes and creeks have killed 1,470 fish so far this year, the lowest number since at least 2012. But the season is still early. Most fish deaths, particularly in coastal estuaries and inland sounds, occur later in the season, when water temperatures rise, oxygen ...

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Federal three-judge panel poised to make decision in racial gerrymandering case

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 10:52

The three-judge panel overseeing North Carolina’s latest racial gerrymandering case has now heard from all parties involved and stands ready to make a decision on a timeline for new maps and whether or not there will be a special election. The court had asked parties in the case to file briefs addressing lingering issues in ...

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NC is home to the #1 worst city for opioid abuse – and four in the top 20

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 10:50

If you’ve been following our coverage of the opioid crisis in North Carolina and whether the state is properly funding a response, a new report from Castlight Health will interest you. The report uses current, anonymous health data from nearly a million people who use employer-based health insurance to map the 25 worst cities in ...

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Editorial: Cooper environmental veto should stand

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 08:15

A Fayetteville Observer editorial hits the nail on the head this morning with its call on state lawmakers to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto of the dreadful proposal that’s come to be known as the “garbage juice” bill. Here’s the Observer in “Leave the ‘garbage juice’ bill dead”: We have to wonder: Were our lawmakers celebrating ...

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Just how bad *is* the opioid epidemic?

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 15:52

This week we wrote about North Carolina’s response to the opioid epidemic in the recently passed state budget. While the budget did improve funding for the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System and funneled $10 million in federal grants to treatment services, it was well under what Gov. Roy Cooper called for in his suggested budget and only ...

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NC joins lawsuit against Betsy DeVos on behalf of student loan borrowers

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 13:03

It comes as no surprise that the the administration of the Prevaricator-in-Chief — a man who for whom ripping off college students was an important business practice prior to becoming president — would be doing his worst to stop those same students from getting out from under debilitating and often predatory loan debt. Last month, ...

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As EPA prepares to rescind the Waters of the US rule, state ag department has an extra $250K sitting around

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:14

H ouse lawmakers handed the state Department of Agriculture $250,000 to fight a legal battle that is all but moot. And now, unlike many cash-strapped agencies, the department has an extra quarter-million dollars that it needs to spend. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced late last week that he would rescind the Waters of the United ...

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