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Updated: 2 hours 24 min ago

In settlement with environmental groups, DEQ changes complaint process about swine farms

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 07:30

The NC Department of Environmental Quality says it will be more transparent about how it handles citizens complaints against industrialized livestock farms, including those that have been cited for violations as the result of those complaints. DEQ is implementing the new complaint investigation process as part of a settlement agreement with several environmental groups and ...

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How NC’s Congressional delegation voted on the GOP’s sweeping tax-cut bill

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 22:58

Members of the U.S. House on Tuesday pushed through (227-203) the Republican’s sweeping plan to rewrite the nation’s tax laws. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) says the final GOP-Trump tax bill would provide most of its benefits to high-income households and foreign investors while raising taxes on many low- and middle-income Americans. ...

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Significant new job announcement from Cooper targets hard hit county

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 16:21

If there’s anything that North Carolina governors of both political parties love to churn out, it’s announcements of new business openings and expansions. During the tenure of Pat McCrory, there were times when the governor’s office would issue press releases with respect to essentially any new business his staff could identify — even those that ...

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From Masterpiece cakeshop to the Muslim travel ban – the ACLU weighs in on civil rights in the era of Donald Trump (podcast)

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:00

If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to listen to our interview with David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Cole recently joined us in studio to discuss the landmark case before the US Supreme Court that pits marriage equality against religious freedom. Cole also weighs in on ...

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Legislators file witness list for court hearing over special master’s proposed redistricting

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 11:00

Legislative defendants in a racial gerrymandering case are planning on calling at least four witnesses to testify in a hearing over a special master’s redistricting proposal. They’ve also asked to call rebuttal witnesses “if the need arises,” according to the court document filed Friday. The hearing in North Carolina v. Covington will be at 9:30 ...

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Op-Ed: New North Carolina grading system to hit home for some schools

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 09:30

A new Op-Ed in The Charlotte Observer takes on North Carolina’s reformed school performance grading system, a much-lambasted system of assessing schools that’s frequently a topic of concern for state lawmakers. Chiefly, the opinion column from a former public school administrator warns parents that some schools may now find themselves graded an “F” school, and ...

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Raleigh residents headed to Washington D.C. to ask for clean DREAM Act

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 07:45

More than 50 individuals from Raleigh will get on a bus tomorrow to Washington D.C. to fight for a clean DREAM Act with less risk for deportation of individuals in the immigrant community. The Trump Administration announced Sept. 5 that it would end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected nearly 800,000 young ...

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A look at the conservative origins of the UNC Board of Governors’ “model” for a new academic center

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 15:52

If your interest was piqued by the UNC Board of Governors’ reception of Professor Robert George last week – and their affection for his conservative James Madison program at Princeton – you may want to read up on the program, its funders and the movement to create more conservative centers across the country. A good ...

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Top 10 class-size chaos talking points

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:23

The General Assembly returns to Raleigh on Wednesday, January 10. Public school advocates across the state will be pressing for leadership to bring an end to the class-size chaos inflicted upon North Carolina school districts via the General Assembly’s unfunded class-size mandate. As most readers know, the General Assembly has passed a law requiring school districts to ...

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GOP judicial changes: Trouble in paradise?

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:15

House Rules Chairman David Lewis (R-Harnett) said last week that lawmakers may not reach an agreement to pass any judicial reforms in January, according to a WRAL story. Lawmakers will meet for a special session Jan. 10, at which time they were expected to take up both judicial reform and constitutional amendments, including a new ...

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Did Thomas Farr mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee? Calls mount for full explanation

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:19

The editorial page of the Washington Post is calling for another look at Thomas Farr, the controversial right-wing Raleigh lawyer nominated by Donald Trump to serve a lifetime appointment as federal judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District. In yesterday’s editorial (“The Senate is rushing through Trump’s judicial nominees. These embarrassments prove it.”) the Post lists ...

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We knew GOP tax plan supporters were dishonest, but this is embarrassing

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 07:00

A lot of people are probably aware that it’s a favored tactic of the corporate right to buy off and manufacture “grass roots” support for their lobbying efforts, but it still never ceases to amaze whenever one actually confronts the fakery in real life. For the latest ridiculous example, check out a pair of recent ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:10

1. Free speech policy, controversial conservative academic on the agenda for UNC Board of Governors meeting The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many recent controversies is expected to come to a crescendo, even as the next is cued up. The full board is ...

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UNC Board of Governors hosts conservative academic star, looks to emulate his program

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 14:56

  When the UNC Board of Governors hosted conservative Professor Robert George of Princeton Friday morning, it was quickly apparent the board has more than a passing interest in replicating his James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. How could they take his concept and up-size it to fit the much larger UNC system, ...

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Thousands of North Carolinians stand to lose from Step #2 of the Tax-plan

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:15

The Senate and the House in Congress have reached a deal for a tax plan that would give unnecessary tax cuts to the richest top 5 percent of Americans and most profitable corporations. This deal now clears the way for final votes next week. That this tax bill is full of tax games, roadblocks, and ...

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Why can’t General Assembly leadership stop lying about their unfunded class-size mandate?

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:30

On October 3rd, a group of parents rallied at the North Carolina Legislative Building to demand that General Assembly leadership repeal or responsibly fund the unfunded class-size mandate due to go into effect in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The rally drew a troubling response from Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the North Carolina ...

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Transcript: What retired Judge Don Stephens would have told senators about judicial reform

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:45

Retired Judge Don Stephens was prepared Wednesday to address the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting on behalf of Gov. Roy Cooper but was refused the chance to speak. Cooper appointed Stephens to express his views and the views of the judges on the bench about the consequences of judicial reform issues before ...

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Report: Home-schooling on the rise in North Carolina

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:43

North Carolina has one of the largest homeschool populations in the nation, according to a new Ed NC analysis.  The report comes amid marked jumps in the state’s homeschool population since 2003, coinciding with the growing visibility of the school choice movement in North Carolina. From Ed NC: In the 2016-2017 school year, an estimated 127,847 ...

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Vigils scheduled for this evening in Raleigh, Charlotte and Chapel Hill to commemorate 5th anniversary of Sandy Hook

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:26

As was highlighted in yesterday’s Policy Watch radio commentary, today marks the fifth anniversary of the dark and dreadful day in Newton, Connecticut during which gun violence took the lives of 26 innocent children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you’d like to stand with or support caring and thinking people committed to ...

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The best op-ed of the morning: Cardinal is what you get by privatizing mental health services

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 11:00

Be sure to check out a fantastic op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Durham clinical social worker Barbara Smith. In “Managed care failed, now rebuild N.C.’s mental health care system,” Smith does a great job of telling it like it is when it comes to North Carolina’s failed, decades-long privatization ...

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