NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Walton family spends big on school vouchers in North Carolina

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 09:16

The Walton Family Foundation, known for supporting vouchers, charters, and other school privatization initiatives across the country, paid $710,000 to NC-based school voucher advocacy group Parents for Educational Freedom NC (PEFNC) in 2013, an increase of more than $100,000 over … Read More...

Editorial: McCutcheon decision compunds the Citizens United disaster

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:22

This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right on the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest campaign finance decision in favor of big money:

“Voting 5-4 along ideological lines, the high court said in McCutcheon v. FEC that


Court of Appeals denies request to block stay of school voucher program

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 16:37

The state Court of Appeals today denied the request by parents who intervened in the school voucher case to delay a stay of the program entered by Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood in February — a request which, if granted, would … Read More...

North Carolinians make up a large share of people in Medicaid coverage gap

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 15:29

This chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows where people who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap live. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, nearly 80 percent of the individuals and families shut out of expansion reside in the South. Let’s take … Read More...

Economist: Why NC’s unemployment rate looks better than it really is (video)

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 14:17

Acclaimed economist Dean Baker says it’s quite simple to explain why North Carolina’s jobless rate has fallen over the last year:

“It’s very clear, people dropped out of the labor market,” explained Baker in a recent Raleigh interview.

Baker joined …

Stanley Furniture plant shutting down, 400 to lose jobs in WNC county with state’s highest unemployment

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 13:31

Stanley Furniture announced yesterday it was shutting down its Robbinsville plant, a move that will mean the loss of 400 jobs in a county with the state’s highest unemployment rate.

Robbinsville is the county seat for Graham County, a sparsely … Read More...

Sharply divided Supreme Court strikes down 2-year aggregate on campaign contributions

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 10:30

Holding true to their inclinations revealed at oral argument and splitting along party lines in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that 2-year aggregate limits on campaign contributions are invalid under … Read More...

Getting back to full employment

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 09:08

This morning the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in collaboration with leaders in the field of economics launched a push for a full employment agenda in America.  At the current moment when five years into the recovery there … Read More...

Editorial: GOP lawmakers should not be allowed to hide communications regarding voter suppression law

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:59

Today’s Winston-Salem Journal makes clear one again what advocates for open government have been saying for a long time: state lawmakers ought to be allowed behind absurd claims of privacy and immunity when it comes to the records of their … Read More...

Did DHHS clear food stamps backlog in time? Wos thinks so (with USDA letter)

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:26

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement Tuesday saying it believed the agency “reasonably achieved” a deadline to clear the state’s backlog of pending food stamp cases.

N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos  wrote … Read More...

New Report: Black, Latino, American-Indian children face greater barriers to achieving success

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:42

A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation explores the intersection of race and opportunity and finds that in North Carolina, children who are white or Asian are in a better positioned for success than black, Latino and American … Read More...

Exxon officials admit need for climate change action…just not by them

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:32

The latest outrage in the climate change wars comes, not surprisingly and appropriately enough, from Exxon. Think Progress has this story entitled “Exxon is behind the landmark climate report you didn’t hear about”:

Climate change is already impacting all


Understanding the ACA’s huge, late-game surge

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:25

In case you missed it, the business page of the Los Angeles Times ran a fascinating article yesterday entitled “Obamacare numbers coming in huge: Here’s a guide to GOP excuse-making.” As the article notes:

“Against all odds and


The chorus is growing: Where’s Burr’s blue slip?

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 16:36

The New York Times wasn’t the only news outlet today — Day 285 of the Burr “blue slip” watch —  to chastise U.S. Sen. Richard Burr for obstructing the judicial nomination process and refusing to return the traditional “blue slip” … Read More...

The Guv’s embarrassing jobs creation press release

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 15:50

Don’t get us wrong; it’s almost always great whenever a new employer is creating jobs in North Carolina. And the phenomenon of politicians claiming credit for job creation is nothing new; everyone likes good news and wants to be around … Read More...

Guilford County DSS director out, state expecting to meet deadline to clear food stamps backlog

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 14:32

The head of Guilford County’s social services department announced his resignation Monday, days after a previously unknown backlog of 8,000 food stamp recertification cases was discovered Wednesday.

Robert Williams resigned following a meeting Monday, according to the Greensboro News & Read More...

Lunch Links: ACA enrollment swells, WSJ questions NC ‘comeback’, and a Moral Monday focus on coal ash (video)

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 12:25

Hope you ate your Wheaties this morning! This is going to be a busy Monday – so try to keep up!

First, today is the final day for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.  Chris Fitzsimon’s Monday numbers columnRead More...

McCrory’s teacher pay ideas met with skepticism in Statesville

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:24

Statesville’s Record & Landmark reports that when McCrory presented his ideas for teacher pay last week to those attending the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner, local education officials in attendance weren’t too keen on his handiwork.



NY Times blasts Burr’s judicial blockade, calls for reform

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 09:15

In case you missed it, the New York Times editorialized this morning against Richard Burr’s ongoing and inexplicable one-man filibuster of federal judicial nominee Jennifer May-Parker and called for the U.S. Senate to reform its archaic “blue slip” process that … Read More...

NC General Assembly’s Anti-ACA Hearing: A jibe at Sandra Fluke

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 09:15

Chris Conover — the expert called by the NC General Assembly this month as the main witness for the anti-Affordable Care Act committee (convened for some reason four years after passage of the health law) — had  other digs in … Read More...