NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Ineffective health policy + Loss of federal money = Millions of North Carolinians worse off over time

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 08:00

This week, House Republicans in Congress produced a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which has been in place since 2010. The proposed bill is called the American Health Care Act. An analysis of this proposed bill to drastically restructure health care in the United States can be summarized using the ...

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Worth Tracking: Doctors, hospitals, and health industry groups are opposing the proposed Health Care Act

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 16:07

Earlier this week House Republicans in Congress produced a bill called the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It is important for all Americans, regardless of political party, to know that many professional medical groups and industry stakeholders have expressed publicly that they have serious concerns about the newly ...

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This Week in Pollution: DEQ, enviro commission still squabbling with EPA over impaired waters list

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 15:04

The Environmental Management Commission squeezed its denunciation of an EPA decision from six pages into two, but the message to the feds remained the same: You’re wrong. For several months, the EMC, in concert with the NC Department of Environmental Quality, have been squabbling with the EPA over the scientifically sound way to determine if a body of water ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 14:48

1. Unaccountable school vouchers at a crossroads Unless things change soon, North Carolina taxpayers will be on the hook for at least $145 million a year for a voucher scheme that funds private, mostly religious schools with no idea about what the schools teach or how most of the students are doing academically, not to ...

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NC Policy Watch captures six awards from NC Press Association

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 14:29

NC Policy Watch won six awards this year from the N.C. Press Association for journalism and commentary published in 2016. The awards included a 1st place award for Rob Schofield in the serious columns category and a 1st place for Billy Ball for his education reporting. Ball also won a 2nd place award for his ...

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AG Stein to US Supreme Court: GOP lawmakers cannot step in, defend Monster voting law

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:35

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday that should (if justice prevails) help move us another step closer to the final demise of North Carolina’s disastrous 2013 voter ID/voter suppression statute that’s also not so affectionately known as the “Monster Voting Law.” In the brief, Stein forcefully ...

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‘Dangerous’ constitutional amendment proposal would limit state’s ability to thrive (video)

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:49

Coming up this weekend on NC Policy Watch’s News & Views, we hear from NC Budget & Tax Center director Alexandra Sirota on Senate Bill 75, a constitutional amendment proposal that would seriously limit our state’s ability to build thriving communities. SB 75, which could be voted on on the floor Tuesday, locks in an ...

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Editorial: Lawmakers’ latest power grab is “infantile,” “abuse of power,” “insult to the people they represent”

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 08:16

This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer is a blistering takedown of the General Assembly’s latest outrageous assault on the basic structures of North Carolina government. This is from “GOP tries to further limit Cooper with changes in judicial appointments”: If they could, Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly would likely take ...

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House Republicans, Democrats face off over changes to judiciary

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 16:16

House lawmakers passed three bills Thursday that will greatly affect the judiciary. The courts had no say in the matters. “We didn’t consult with the courts; we are the policy makers,” said Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly), who is a sponsor of each of the three bills. House Bill 239 would reduce the size of the current ...

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponents demand federal regulators “rescind and revise” “inadequate” environmental report

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 15:30

Three citizens groups opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have filed a motion demanding that federal regulators rescind the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Only after substantial revisions, such as including significant pieces of missing information, should the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reissue the DEIS. Friends of Nelson, Wild Virginia and Heartwood filed the motion with FERC today. The 1,000-page ...

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Senate Republicans move to address lagging school principal pay, infrastructure

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 15:17

Powerful Senate Republicans are moving to address a pair of looming issues for North Carolina public schools: principal pay and the state’s aging school facilities. Acknowledging well-covered troubles in both categories, a trio of GOP senators—Jerry Tillman, Ralph Hise and Harry Brown—filed draft legislation Thursday diverting millions in state lottery funds to both issues. Among ...

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“Vital Action” rally to repeal HB2 today

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 14:34

A number of LGBTQ advocacy groups will hold a rally at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to call for a full repeal of HB2. Equality NC, the North Carolina Association of Educators and the Human Rights Campaign will be joined by transgender activist Candis Cox on the Morgan Street side of the Old State Capitol in downtown ...

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Tax Cap Amendment Would Lock In Tax Cuts for Wealthy & Profitable Corporations

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:05

Yesterday the Senate Finance committee voted to move forward a bill that would amend the state Constitution to cap the income tax rate at the low and arbitrary rate of 5.5 percent. The bill will ensure that the tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations since 2013 will remain permanent. It will lock in ...

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N.C. House expected to vote today to reduce Court of Appeals judges, take appointment power from Cooper

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 10:45

In another display of power grabbing, the N.C. House will take up three bills today that would reduce the size of the state’s appellate court and take away judicial appointments from Gov. Roy Cooper. The bills were passed in a House judiciary committee Wednesday in a 7-6 vote along party lines. Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) introduced ...

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Unauthorized immigrants v. millionaires: Remarkable numbers on who pays more in taxes

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 07:06

The next time your immigrant-bashing relative or neighbor lays a line on you about those “mooching, good-for-nothing ‘illegals,'” take a moment to inform him or her of the powerful facts in the chart and text below. As the good folks at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy explained ...

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Op-Ed: Legislature should act on looming class size crisis for North Carolina schools

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 16:30

In November, Policy Watch reported on an imminent class size headache for North Carolina public schools that could force districts across the state to mull cutting arts and physical education courses at the elementary level. Now, with the momentum behind a bipartisan resolution to the state’s class-size problem seemingly waning in the state Senate, an op-ed ...

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Bipartisan lawmakers announce bill to raise the age of juveniles prosecuted as adults

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 15:54

The time is now. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates and officials gathered Wednesday morning to introduce a bill that would raise the juvenile age of prosecution in the adult criminal system. North Carolina currently is one of only two states that prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. “North Carolina must not be last,” said Judge Marion ...

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Older adults, Trump supporters worry about the Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:37

If you’re wondering how you might fare under the Republican’s plan to replace Obamacare, be sure to read today’s story in The New York Times. The piece profiles two North Carolinians who are concerned the tax credits will be insufficient to cover the comprehensive care they need. Here’s an excerpt from the story by reporters ...

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Two new “must reads” on the death penalty (Video)

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:41

Kristin Collins of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation has two new “must read” posts on the Center for Alternatives to the Death Penalty blog. The first highlights the outrageous story of Duane Buck — a man whom the state of Texas has been trying to execute for two decades even though his original death ...

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GOP introduces bills to roll back renewable energy standard, repeal plastic bag ban

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 09:42

In 10,000 years, archaeologists will excavate our landfills and ask one another, “What was the deal with the 21st century obsession with plastic bags?” The environmental bane –500 billion used worldwide each year — litter the roadsides, tree branches and, most important for the Outer Banks, the beach and the sea. Turtles and other marine ...

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