NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Dix park success teaches some important lessons

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 11:00
Yesterday’s once-and-for-all, final approval of the Dorothea Dix campus land sale to the city of Raleigh ought to remind progressives of a couple of important facts about the state of modern politics. First is that there’s still lots of room for intentional public action in shaping the society we want to inhabit. Sure, the Dix ...

Today’s “must read”: The hard truth about NC’s new sea-level rise report

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 07:12
For anyone who cares about the North Carolina coast, there is a “must read” in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by one of the state’s top experts on coastal geology. As Dr. Rob Young explains in an essay entitled “That ‘more realistic’ sea-level report? Not good news for NC,” the notion that ...

Approach to unemployment insurance debt, a millstone for jobless workers, the economy

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 16:32
The announcement today that North Carolina has paid down its unemployment insurance debt to the federal government is just a first milestone in the path to a solvent system. It is one that has been achieved through a series of harmful cuts impacting jobless workers, their families and communities and an approach that will ultimately ...

McCrory’s Communications Director blasts NC Chamber

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 14:25
One of the more interesting quotes of the day came from Gov. McCrory’s Communications Director Josh Ellis in a story about the NC Chamber  siding with legislative leaders in their dispute with McCrory over appointments to key state boards and commissions. Ellis didn’t mince any words about the decision by the NC Chamber, a group ...

17 new charter schools poised for approval, as study questions growing racial imbalance (Audio)

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 13:35
The state Board of Education holds its monthly meeting in Greenville Wednesday where members are expected to discuss giving an additional 17 charter schools preliminary approval to open in 2016. This latest expansion comes on the heels of a new study by scholars at Duke University that finds that the rapid growth of charter schools ...

What the Right really has in mind for public education

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 11:53
If you still harbor any doubts about what the American far right has in mind when it comes to the future of public education, there’s a helpful reminder in Texas right now where ideologues are seriously advancing a new proposal to commence the process of doing away with it. As public schools champion Diane Ravitch ...

The real meaning of the First Amendment and religious freedom

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 08:10
Notwithstanding the recent efforts of a noisy minority on the American religious right to distort its real and historical meaning, “religious freedom” is a critically important American value that needs to be celebrated and strengthened. And happily, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina did just that yesterday when it ruled ...

Education experts, lawmakers address NC school leaders on issues of trust and empowerment

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 06:22
One out of eight teachers in this country is a bad one—and that’s because teachers have failed to safeguard their profession. So says the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess, an expert in education policy at the conservative think tank who spoke on Monday to a group of North Carolina school leaders at NC State’s Friday ...

King v. Burwell – what is North Carolina’s plan?

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 01:10
In January, over half of all those that participated in the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll were unaware of a Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell , that could greatly impact many states’ economic growth and public health. What has made the Affordable Care Act successful is that individuals are able to receive financial help to ...

Another legal challenge to General Assembly power-grabbing — this time from Clean Water for NC

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 12:42
Add the Mining & Energy Commission to the list of commissions whose recently expanded regulatory authority now serves as fodder for a lawsuit. As IndyWeek reports here, Clean Water for NC & residents of three separate counties filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging the regulatory authority over fracking that state lawmakers took away from local ...

New report finds more enforcement of basic labor protections for farmworkers is needed

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 12:11
Farmworker Justice released a report last week analyzing 8 years of USDOL’s enforcement data of laws protecting farmworkers.  It should come as no surprise that the report, “U.S. Department of Labor Enforcement in Agriculture: More Must be Done to Protect Farmworkers,” found high rates of violation of both the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage ...

Seven stories to have on your radar this week

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 12:07
# 1 – Stop HB465/Broken Promises Tour  – Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice NC and Progress NC Action kick off the Stop HB465 Tour with at least six opposition events planned this week. HB 465 would triple the already unnecessary waiting period, making it more difficult for women to access what is a safe and legal ...

Rep. Schaffer revives provision to allow handgun purchases without a criminal background check

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:41
Should anyone in North Carolina be able to buy a handgun without undergoing any criminal background check? Apparently Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer thinks so. The latest version of her bill to loosen North Carolina’s gun laws includes a provision that would repeal the requirement that handgun purchasers pass a background check. That provision was in the ...

Keep common-sense protections against abusive debt collectors

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:29
Opposition to abusive lending cuts across the political spectrum. In fact, it has been uniting people for thousands of years. In North Carolina, we have a proud bipartisan tradition of protecting consumers. As Rob Schofield wrote recently,  a 2009 consumer protection law that is one of the strongest in the country prevents some of the worst ...

Editorial: North Carolinians should be skeptical of the gains from offshore drilling

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 09:59
While Governor Pat McCrory prods the federal government not to impose a 50-mile buffer when it comes to exploring for oil and gas off the Carolina coast, the Wilmington Star-News reminds its readers what’s at risk if drilling were to occur closer to our shoreline: [McCrory] raises good points, and we’re aware that domestic production ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 15:30
1. Threatening consumers with court system spam Why thousands of average citizens could get dragged into court by controversial “debt buying” legislation If you thought that the ignominy of being sued for “bad debt” and all the fun things that come with it is a phenomenon that only afflicts poor people and/or those desperate or ...

More public dollars could be diverted from traditional schools to charter schools

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 14:36
Charter schools could soon receive more public funds thanks to a measure moving through the General Assembly that would siphon dollars away from traditional public schools to charters’ coffers. A provision in Senate bill 456 would not only force public school districts to share as much as an additional $11 million worth of their sales tax revenue ...

Day 232 of Gov. McCrory denying justice to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 12:08
Friday marks the 232nd day that Governor Pat McCrory has refused to grant a pardon of innocence to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, the two Robeson County men who both spent 31 years in prison for a rape and murder they did not commit. The two men, both mentally disabled and struggling to pay their bills, ...

ACLU-NC: Push for equality far from over, even after High Court rules in marriage case (video)

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 09:27
This weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, we sit down with the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina to discuss this week’s marriage equality case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Chris Brook offers his take on the arguments, the questions the justices asked, and what may follow when the opinion is ...

Abortion waiting period bill: Laughable if it weren’t so cruel and dangerous

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 07:38
Durham physicians David Grimes and Amy Bryant authored an excellent op-ed for this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer that aptly describes the new abortion waiting period bill recently adopted by the state House. This is from the essay; “These delays translate into increased risk and expense. No medical justification exists for these waiting periods, ...

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