NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

The best editorial of the weekend

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 09:15
Yesterday’s lead editorial on WRAL.com gets it right when it comes to the vital importance of keeping North Carolina’s beaches completely and permanently public in light of a state Supreme Court case delving into the matter. Here’s the excellent conclusion: Support for assuring North Carolina’s beaches remain public has brought together about as diverse coalition ...

Labor Day 2016: The hard truth about the supposed “Carolina Comeback”

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 10:03
The North Carolina Budget and Tax  Center released the “State of Working North Carolina 2016” today and, as in recent years, the story it tells about the North Carolina economy is not an especially pretty one. The following is from the release that accompanied the report: Hard work is supposed to provide the income to ...

Labor Day 2016: Jewish community leader reflects on “Labor Sabbath”

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 08:00
The good people at Carolina Jews for Justice are promoting “Labor Sabbath” in anticipation of the Labor Day holiday on Monday. The following essay lifts up that effort. Jewish Community Leader Reflects on “Labor Sabbath” By Ari Naveh — Member, Carolina Jews for Justice As we celebrate this Labor Day, members of the Jewish community ...

Inside NC’s “monster” voting law

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 15:11
The Washington Post takes a deep dive into the creation of North Carolina’s “monster” voter ID law – which recently had a stake definitively put through its heart. The piece reconstructs the law’s origins from e-mails from and between North Carolina General Assembly members and their staffs, painting a pretty grim picture of just how ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 15:01
1. The bizarre and telling reaction of GOP leaders to non-gerrymandered districts If you are looking for confirmation that the current system of drawing districts for Congress and the General Assembly is ridiculously broken, legislative leaders unwittingly provided it this week with their bizarre and bitter reaction to congressional maps drawn as an exercise by ...

Bipartisan agreement to address persistent poverty

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:16
The persistence of poverty in certain regions and communities across the country and within North Carolina has long held back the broader economy from performing at full capacity and delivering the greatest benefit to the most people.  In North Carolina, there are still 10 counties where poverty rates have remained above 20 percent for more ...

Rainy day read: Trees chat with each other in underground conversations

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:32
This story out of Yale about how trees use underground networks of fungi to talk and share nutrients is remarkable. Ecologist Suzanne Simard says that trees even recognize and nurture their sapling offspring. And when a tree is old or sick, say from a lightning strike, or an invasion of ash borers or hemlock woolly adelgids, they bequeath their nutrients ...

Good government watchdogs call on State Board of Elections to do the right thing on early voting

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:03
In the aftermath of the recent court rulings striking down North Carolina’s “monster” voter suppression law and the subsequent efforts of the state GOP to promote “party line” decisions at local boards of election with respect to early voting hours, the good government watchdogs at Common Cause NC are calling on the State Board of ...

Tropical Storm Hermine reminds us why FEMA wants federally funded construction on higher ground

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 11:05
Go ahead, build on the lip of the shoreline, but don’t expect the feds to loan you any money for the project. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has proposed rules that would require homeowners and commercial construction companies that want federal funding to build on higher ground. With Tropical Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, the State of Emergency declared for 33 counties ...

Access to health care services promotes student success

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:32
This is the second of a Back to School blog series (see Part 1) that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2016-17 school year kicks off. Investing in school-based and school-linked health services would help ensure that students receive the physical and behavioral health care they need to reduce chronic absenteeism and ...

As usual, NC Department of Labor notably AWOL in new plan to target worker abuses

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 07:52
As reporter Mandy Locke explained in yesterday’s News & Observer, there is new and encouraging progress in the effort to combat worker “misclassification” in North Carolina. That’s the gentle term used to describe the practice whereby unscrupulous employers treat men and women who ought by law to be full-time employees as contractors, thereby denying them ...

If you love the heat, you’ll adore the Year 2090.

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 14:37
North Carolina is wilting. On 60 days — two-thirds of the summer — Raleigh-Durham International Airport recorded above-average temperatures, according to Weather Underground.  In the Triangle, 17 of those days have topped 95-plus. This summer is still cooler than  2010, when the airport set a record for the most days of 90 or above, and 2011, when records fell for ...

Meet the American College of Pediatricians

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 14:06
Yesterday we published a story about the state’s reliance on the vice president of the American College of Pediatricians for expert testimony in the lawsuit over HB2. The group’s name certainly makes them sound like an above-board and by-the-book group of physicians concerned with sound science. But scratch the surface and you find the group is ...

Latest A-F school report cards released, poverty continues to determine a school’s success

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 13:55
The state Board of Education released North Carolina’s Public School report cards for the 2015-16 year at its Thursday meeting. Almost one-third (32.7%) of schools earned an A or a B, while just under quarter were labelled with a D or an F. School Performance Grades are based on student achievement (80%) and growth (20%). ...

No “Carolina Comeback” here: New numbers show dozens of NC counties falling further behind

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 10:14
There’s still more news this week of the flawed and wildly uneven nature of the supposed “Carolina Comeback.” The July employment numbers are in and they continue to signal what experts are describing as a “soft” and unsatisfactory situation in numerous North Carolina counties. This is from economist, Dr. Patrick McHugh of the N.C. Budget ...

Well owners near coal ash ponds to receive permanent alternative water supply

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 09:20
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is notifying about 1,000 drinking-well owners who live within a half-mile of coal ash ponds that they will receive permanent water supplies, according to a news release. Many of these residents already have been on bottled water for nearly a year and a half. While state law the deadline requires ...

Cheers and jeers – North Carolina reacts to the Supreme Court’s refusal to reinstate voter ID

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 06:44
“North Carolina has been denied basic voting rights already granted to more than 30 other states to protect the integrity of one person, one vote through a common-sense voter ID law. Even without any support from our state’s attorney general, we were pleased that four justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, agreed with this right ...

U.S. Supreme Court rejects McCrory’s plea to reinstate much of voter suppression law

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 16:10
It looks like the November election will proceed without most of the 2013 voter suppression law in place. The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by Gov. Pat McCrory to stay the recent decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out much of the law. The Associated Press has a ...

Brad Ives named interim head of North Carolina Policy Collaboratory; Jeffrey Warren still a question mark

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 15:09
Coastal Review Online is reporting that Brad Ives, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Environmental Quality, will temporarily lead the controversial North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at UNC. Ives is also the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises. As NCPW reported in mid-August, Jeffrey Warren, the polarizing science advisor to Sen. Phil Berger, is a ...

Got something to say about the coal ash plan at Dan River? Tonight’s your chance.

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 13:45
State environmental officials will hold a public hearing on Duke Energy’s proposed wastewater permit for the Dan River Station this evening in Eden. As the Greensboro News & Record reports: Utility officials say that Duke needs the discharge permit to successfully close the ponds, excavate the ash that is submerged there and move it to ...

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