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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Dominion, Duke try to sweeten Atlantic Coast Pipeline deal with butterflies and bees

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 14:32

Faced with tenacious public opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the project’s owners are trying an old tactic: greenwashing. Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have announced  that they will plant new habitats for butterflies, bees and other pollinator insects on up to 750 acres along the route of the proposed pipeline, including in Eastern North Carolina. The ...

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Lunch & Listen: The fate of the UNC Center for Civil Rights hangs in the balance (audio)

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:29

This Friday the UNC Board of Governors is expected to take action on a proposal banning the UNC Center for Civil Rights from litigating cases and representing future clients. Ted Shaw, the director of the Center, recently joined NC Policy Watch to discuss who is behind this proposal and why the ban is a wrongheaded ...

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General Assembly prepares to waste $150k on new study that’s already been done

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:10

As countless observers have noted recently, there’s nothing like a good natural disaster to make socialists out of conservative, anti-government politicians. If you doubt this, check out the spectacle of hypocritical Texas politicians like Ted Cruz demanding hurricane relief dollars for their state after having opposed similar relief appropriations for those impacted by recent past ...

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NC teacher to state superintendent: If you’re serious about “American Dream,” speak up for DACA kids

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 06:47

Veteran Forsyth County schoolteacher and defender of public education Stuart Egan had a fine post yesterday in which he calls out state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson for all of his recent pronouncements about the importance of allowing our students to pursue the “American Dream.” As Egan points out, if Johnson is at all ...

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Critics pounce on North Carolina’s new plan for high-stakes testing

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 16:30

Critics are swarming around North Carolina’s draft plan for complying with the nation’s new education law, The News & Observer reports. The controversy centers chiefly around standardized testing, following years of complaints from education reformers of “over-testing” in K-12 schools. Granted greater flexibility over accountability measures in the new Every Student Succeeds Plan (ESSA)—Congress’ 2015 ...

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DEQ files suit against Chemours, says it will suspend company’s wastewater permit unless demands are met

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 15:32

The NC Department of Environmental Quality and state justice department officials filed a civil complaint against Chemours in Bladen County Court today, asking a judge to force the company to stop discharging all perfluoronated chemicals from its Fayetteville plant into the Cape Fear River. Attorneys with the NC Department of Justice are representing the state in ...

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Know how close you live to a Superfund site before Hurricane Irma heads toward North Carolina

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:19

The path of Hurricane Irma through the Deep South and Southeast is still uncertain, but North Carolinians living near any of the state’s 39 Superfund sites should be cautious if flooding damages those highly contaminated areas. Irma is expected to hit Florida on Sunday; forecasters are predicting the storm will then turn north and head ...

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Scathing condemnation pours in for Trump’s latest disastrous decision attacking young immigrants

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:45

Ho hum — another week, another disastrous decision from the Trump administration to punish good people with cruel and inhumane public policy. Here are some reactions to the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program that has allowed 800,000+ young immigrant kids to come out of the shadows and contribute mightily to American and ...

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Editorial: NC’s congressional delegation must unite to keep DACA

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:25

This morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com gets it absolutely right in calling on lawmakers of both major parties to resist Donald Trump’s latest disastrous idea — ending the DACA program for young immigrants. As the editorial notes: “This isn’t a fight most seasoned congressional Republicans are itching to take on – and rightly ...

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Lunch & Listen: The state of work and wages this Labor Day (audio)

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 10:00

Whether you have this Monday off or are putting in a few hours at the office, be sure to make time to listen to our recent interview with MaryBe McMillan of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. McMillan discusses worker misclassification, wages, and the need for more employees to be able to negotiate for better working ...

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Labor Day fact: SNAP helps 1 in 9 NC workers put food on the table

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 09:00

For many working North Carolinians, their wages alone are not enough to make ends meet. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is a critical tool many working families rely on in order to put food on the table. According to new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priority, ...

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BREAKING: Cooper pleased with initial Supreme Court order in critical elections board dispute with Berger and Moore

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 21:18

Just four days after the parties argued their cases before the state Supreme Court in the critically important dispute over control of the state and local elections boards, the justices handed Governor Roy Cooper a preliminary victory late Friday. Cooper’s challenge to the legislature’s takeover of elections boards was dismissed by a three-judge panel in ...

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Swine farm discharges waste into Trent River; DEQ investigating

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 18:02

An unknown amount of wastewater from a swine farm near the town of Comfort has spilled into the Trent River in Jones County, the NC Department of Environmental Quality announced late this afternoon. As a result, state officials are advising kayakers and boaters to avoid the Trent River downstream, particularly at the Chinqapin Chapel Road. ...

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State Board of Education to talk charter takeover model next week

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:30

Members of the State Board of Education will consider multiple policies next week governing a controversial program that would allow charter operators to assume control over selected low-performing schools. North Carolina lawmakers approved the program last year, citing an urgent need for reforms in some of the state’s most struggling schools, although critics pointed to ...

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This week’s top five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:00

1. Chemours discharging other chemicals besides GenX in Cape Fear River; EPA releases data to DEQ today As the House was winding down its debate on controversial legislation regarding GenX funding, federal and state environmental officials publicly released disturbing new data about other chemicals from the Chemours plant entering the Cape Fear River and downstream ...

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Lawmaker behind effort to impeach Secretary of State Elaine Marshall resigns

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:02

As readers will recall, one of the most bizarre and outrageous actions of the 2017 General Assembly was the utterly nonsensical attempt to initiate impeachment proceedings against North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. The effort was driven by a conservative eastern North Carolina lawmaker named Chris Millis. Today, Millis announced that he will resign ...

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The hypocrisy of House Bill 56, the junk drawer of environmental laws

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:11

The final day of the legislative session felt like the end of high season at the beach. The Senate had already adjourned for the next month, so by 9:30 a.m., the halls were largely empty, with even a light footstep creating an echo. The sergeants-at-arms, their faces placid, looked more bored than usual. Most of the ...

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New report: How NC sentenced two innocent men to death

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:13

One of the few bright spots on the North Carolina public policy landscape in recent years has been the ongoing hiatus in the application of  the death penalty. It’s been 11 years since the state of North Carolina executed anyone and, happily and not surprisingly, the murder rate has actually declined. In 2007, there were ...

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Gerrymandering at its ridiculous worst in “accommodation” for Dem senator

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 06:35

The lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer is on the money this morning in blasting one of the latest absurd redistricting moves of the North Carolina General Assembly — this one, ironically, carried out by Republicans to “accommodate” a Democratic senator. In “Gerrymandering puts the wrong interest first,” the editorial writers explain how Republican mapmakers ...

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Update: DEQ Sec’y Regan says “all legal options” could be used on Chemours

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 14:54

NCPW reported on the EPA findings earlier today. Read the story and check back for updates. During a media call today, NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said the state could subpoena Chemours’s company health and scientific studies on the unregulated compounds it’s discharging into the Cape Fear River. While that data is ...

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