NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 3 min ago

State Board of Education questions charter takeovers

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 16:10
Faced with stiff deadlines in forcing charter takeovers of a few low-performing schools next year, members of the North Carolina State Board of Education on Wednesday described the reform as a somewhat avant-garde approach. “This is truly an edgy idea,” said board member Olivia Holmes Oxendine. “I don’t say that in a pejorative way. It’s ...

Powerful new report documents the demise of NC environmental protection laws

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 13:58
In case you missed it all of the hubbub surrounding the roiling controversy over the McCrory administration’s decision to overrule state toxicologist Ken Rudo over the safety of drinking water from wells located near Duke coal ash dumps, the good folks at the Southern Environmental Law Center released a new report last week that’s worth ...

Prosperity Watch: SNAP (food stamps) caseloads declining quickly

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:11
The latest issue of Prosperity Watch takes a look at the trend in SNAP caseloads between January and April of this year. We selected this period because it covers the time in which 23 of the state’s 100 counties began cutting people off SNAP after re-imposing the three-month time limit in January. We found that ...

McCrory administration repudiates state toxicologist over coal ash drinking water

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:50
When Gov. Pat McCrory decided to repudiate the state’s veteran toxicologist, Ken Rudo, about coal ash — one of the most controversial issues facing North Carolina — he didn’t do it himself. Instead, he sent his chief of staff, Thomas Stith, to do the difficult work. In a late-night press conference designed only for the ...

“Values” crusader exposed in confrontation with reporters over HB2

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:34
In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out reporter Jordan Green’s story in Triad City Beat chronicling the bizarre impromptu press conference that N.C. Values Coalition Executive Director and all-purpose right-wing social agenda crusader Tami Fitzgerald had on Monday with some members of the media after the federal court hearing on HB2. ...

Why Roy Cooper need not always defend the state in court

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 15:37
The issue of whether attorneys general (and, in particular, North Carolina A.G. Roy Cooper – pictured at left) must always defend the state when its laws are challenged in court is not a new one. In fact, former N.C. Policy Watch Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey delved in to the issue in some depth ...

Education takes the back burner in presidential spotlight

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 13:00
On Monday, Education Week offered a thorough analysis of K-12’s role in this year’s bristling presidential campaign.  According to that report, that role is somewhat nonexistent in a campaign dominated by debates over guns, terrorism and the economy. From Education Week: Is K-12 education poised to catch fire in the policy debates leading up to ...

North Carolina, the ne’er do-well state, immune from Voting Rights formula, but not court scrutiny

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:56
April 4, 2013, was a fateful day in North Carolina voting history. On that Thursday, GOP legislators Tim Moore, Tom Murry, Harry Warren and Ruth Samuelson filed an election reform bill designed to disenfranchise African-American — and by extension — Democratic voters. How could the lawmakers lose? They held a Republican majority, backed by a newly elected Republican governor. Meanwhile in Alabama, a ...

Homecare workers in every North Carolina county earn too little to make ends meet

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:39
Home healthcare workers are earning wages that pay far below what it takes to make ends meet across every county in North Carolina, according to a new brief from the Workers’ Rights Project. This wage gap is weakening the overall economy and damaging the quality of long-term care seniors receive in their homes. Direct homecare ...

Editorial: Good riddance to “blatantly racist” voter suppression law

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 07:55
This morning’s editorial in the Fayetteville Observer provides a nice summary of where things stand on the state’s omnibus voter ID/voter suppression law and why the Court of Appeals did the right thing in striking it down last Friday: “A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the state’s ...

ACLU speaks after today’s HB2 hearing in federal court

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 15:33
Just in from the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina at the conclusion of today’s HB2 hearing in Winston-Salem: A federal court today heard oral argument on a motion seeking an immediate halt to provisions of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the law that mandates discrimination against transgender people in single-sex facilities, among ...

Powerful and poignant words from an NC death row inmate

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:00
This post appeared last week on the website the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. It’s definitely worth your time. Speaking from the grave: Writings from inside death row By Kristin Collins The people on death row may be more isolated from the world than any other humans on earth. When we sentence ...

Damning emails once again underscore McCrory administration’s failures on coal ash pollution

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 11:48
If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to check out the latest story from Winston-Salem Journal reporter Bertrand Gutiérrez (“State toxicologist: Claim that NC well water was safe was ‘scientifically untrue'”) on the ongoing controversy concerning wells contaminated by Duke coal ash chemicals. As was explained in a May edition of the N.C. ...

“Striving for unity in our community”: Triangle area to host town hall on race relations tonight

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 09:30
WTVD-ABC 11 will be hosting a “digital town hall” tonight in Durham  that figures to be worth everyone’s while. It will feature an array of community leaders (including NC Justice Center Executive Director Rick Glazier) seeking to grapple with the issue of race relations. This is from the announcement on Facebook: “Racial tension is sweeping ...

Editorial: List of NC laws struck down as unconstitutional continues to grow

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 07:21
Last Friday’s welcome decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the state’s “Monster Voting Law” as unconstitutional was, of course, just the latest in a series of such rulings for North Carolina. In fact, as a new Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial points out this morning, the scoreboard now reads: Constitution 6 — ...

As #WageWeek winds down, local efforts stand out

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 17:45
This piece was written by Workers’ Rights Project volunteer Jhari Derr-Hill. This #WageWeek marks nine years since the last time the federal government voted to raise the minimum wage. Much of the country is just waking up to the fact that it is untenable to expect anyone to be contented working for poverty wages, no matter ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 15:07
1. Leading coastal scientist resigns from key state panel in protest It wasn’t just the political controversy over sea-level rise. Or the Coastal Resources Commission’s defense of a sea-level rise report. Or state environmental officials, who are allowing 21 eight-bedroom houses to be built on ecologically sensitive and flood-prone land on Sunset Beach. No, “it ...

BREAKING: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down NC’s Monster Voting law (Updated)

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 12:44
There are 83 pages to wade through — click here to do it yourself — but one thing is clear from the ruling today issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals: North Carolina’s “monster” voter suppression law has been struck down. These are the final two paragraphs of the court’s opinion: “It is beyond ...

At a weird meeting, Gov. McCrory warns ag board about “environmental extremists”

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 11:15
This week’s agriculture board should have been a snooze. Instead, it was a doozy. On the agenda were two ceremonial items: Governor Pat McCrory would sign the farm bill and Associate Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby would swear in new board members. And then, the board would delve into a mind-numbing discussion of ag rules, including those on pen-raised ...

HB2 editorial: McCrory refuses to accept “responsibility he so richly deserves”

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 08:30
In case you missed it yesterday, the Virginian-Pilot, which serves as the newspaper of record for much of northeastern North Carolina, published a comprehensive editorial yesterday that condemn HB2 and Gov. McCrory’s ongoing performance with respect to the matter. Here are a couple of excerpts: After detailing the NBA’s recent decision to make good on ...

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