NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

A small sign of hope: Charles Koch admits CO2 is warming the planet

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 10:32
Looking for something at least a tiny bit hopeful to mull over during a period in which hopeful news seems to be at a minimum? Here’s something: Charles Koch — yes, that Charles Koch — admits that CO2 is warming the planet. Koch grudgingly told the Washington Post’s Matea Gold in a recent interview that ...

‘Flat out angry’ Buncombe Co. cuts teacher assistants hours as state budget talks languish

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 09:23
With no end to state budget negotiations in sight, the Buncombe County School Board is taking matters into their own hands and preparing for a year that includes less funding for teaching assistants. The Board voted this week to reduced the hours of about 200 TAs from eight hours a day to seven hours a ...

ALEC-inspired constitutional amendments would guarantee no more meaningful raises for teachers…ever

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 09:10
The Senate is up to its Medieval medicine routine again. Seeing that its “patient,” the state of North Carolina, continues to struggle, the Senate leaders are calling for — you can’t make this up — more leeches and another good bloodletting. That’s the only way to characterize the terrible proposal unveiled and blasted through a ...

The longest serving member of the NC legislature reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (video)

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 15:46
Rep. Mickey Michaux, the longest-serving member of the North Carolina General Assembly, took to the floor Thursday to reflect on the importance of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago today. Click below to hear Michaux remarks and then visit Policy Watch’s main site to read Sharon McCloskey’s piece, The Voting Rights ...

Foley affair aftermath: Watchdog group calls on prosecutors to investigate gambling industry ties to state leaders

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 15:42
The good government watchdog group Democracy North Carolina called today on government prosecutors to investigate the connections between the controversial “sweepstakes” industry, its lobbyists and Governor McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. According to the letter delivered to U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker and Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman ...

Senate “Competes” bill goes from bad to worse

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 15:00
As the ongoing budget stalemate continues in the General Assembly, the Senate offered up this morning its latest version of the “NC Competes” bill, the mis-named economic development package that will likely do very little to make North Carolina genuinely competitive for private investment and job creation in the global economy. Like previous renditions of ...

The President’s call to action on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 14:27
As the Voting Rights Act turns 50 and in the face of renewed efforts across the country to restrict voting, President Barack Obama called on Congress today to restore the Act to its fullest, saying that we need “to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.” The President recalled the incident on the ...

Latest proposal in budget debate would lock in harmful policy choices

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 13:11
The Senate Finance Committee this morning voted to approve SB 607 which included a number of proposals that would make the state’s current economic challenges worse and undermine the foundations of a strong economy. This included an amendment to the constitution to cap the income tax at 5% and another undemocratic amendment creating a flawed formula-based ...

More stunning hypocrisy from Senate on the sales tax

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:08
Among numerous other dramatic and heretofore unpublicized changes, the Senate unveiled another version of its plan to shift sales tax revenues away from urban counties toward poorer rural counties this morning. And while parties can legitimately debate the wisdom of various sales tax apportionment methods, the underlying premise of the legislation — that adequate tax ...

Chief reaction to Wos departure: Relief

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 07:10
Gov. McCrory may have shed a few tears yesterday over the departure of his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wos, but the chief reaction across the state — both within government and without — was relief and a strong feeling of “what took so you long? This morning’s editorial pages tell the story: ...

Senate tries to opt NC out of Clean Power Plan; advocates respond

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 16:41
Politics trumped common sense again today as the North Carolina Senate passed legislation that purports to prevent the state from complying with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — even though the state is well-positioned to do so. Click here to read attorney and veteran regulator Robin Smith’s explanation as to why this action simply ...

Federal appeals court says Texas voter ID law violates Voting Rights Act

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:41
A unanimous panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Texas’ voter ID law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, finding that the law had a discriminatory impact on minorities. Election law expert Rick Hasen, who has analysis in progress here, calls the ruling on Section 2 grounds a ‘big win” for ...

McCrory gives tearful goodbye to HHS Secretary Aldona Wos, who had rocky tenure at state health agency (video)

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:28
Aldona Wos, a wealthy Greensboro physician stepped down from her position as North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Secretary, the second member of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration to leave in the last week. McCrory, in tears at times, called her the best secretary the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has ever had, and ...

More groups call for McCrory to veto death penalty secrecy bill

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 12:03
A day after conservatives delivered a letter calling on Gov. McCrory to veto legislation that would jump start executions in North Carolina and shroud them in secrecy, a coalition of human rights groups has spoken up as well. RALEIGH – A coalition of human rights groups is urging Gov. Pat McCrory to veto a bill ...

Mothers Sisters Daughters Wives

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 10:30
Senate Republicans failed yesterday in their attempt to strip Planned Parenthood of more than $500 million in federal funding — a move prompted by videos released by anti-abortion activists purportedly showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the illegal sale of body parts from aborted fetuses. (Planned Parenthood has denied that the activity takes place and said the videos are edited and ...

New NC Medicaid surplus more than enough to pay state costs of expansion through 2020

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 06:37
For years now, poor and working North Carolinians who would benefit greatly from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act have been held hostage as Governor McCrory procrastinated and offered excuses. First, the Guv claimed that the Medicaid system itself was “broken” and in need of repair before it could be expanded. Then, he claimed ...

Conservative group urges McCrory to veto death penalty secrecy bill

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 16:44
The following statement was released this afternoon by the group NC Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty: NC Conservatives Concerned Urges Governor McCrory to Veto Bill Eliminating Transparency in Executions For Immediate Release August 4, 2015 Contact: Ballard Everett (919) 272-0297 North Carolina Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (NC CCADP) urges Governor Pat McCrory ...

Of the pardoned Wilmington 10, only six get compensation

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 14:32
In a ruling that can only be described as cold and literal, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ruled today that the estates of four of the ten defendants wrongfully convicted for burning down a grocery store in Wilmington in 1971 amidst school desegregation violence there were not entitled to compensation under the state’s ...

House votes against Senate’s proposal to move Office of Charter Schools out of DPI

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 13:45
Citing feelings that “DPI was never in love with charter schools,” last month Senator Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) gutted a House bill penned by Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) and used it to put forth his own bid to move the Office of Charter Schools out of the Department of Public Instruction and to the State Board of Education. ...

Former McCrory cabinet secretary surfaces as “humane” big game hunter

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 12:00
[This post has been updated with the photo that appears at the bottom.] CBS ran a story last night on the national evening news on the ongoing reaction to the poaching death of a lion known as Cecil in Zimbabwe. The story prominently featured a veteran pursuer of African big game from the United States ...

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