NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Another day, another humiliation for the Governor

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 08:05
At some point, it’s got to rankle Pat McCrory. The man has been Governor of the state and, effectively, the head of a party with huge legislative majorities for nearly two years now, but when it comes to making laws and policies, he might as well be, well, the Mayor of Charlotte. Lest anyone think ...

Common Core replacement commission: Show us the money!

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:56
The state commission charged with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards seems to be losing some of its momentum. Meeting for the third time since their appointment, commission members acknowledged Monday that without a dedicated budget it would be near impossible to bring in experts and accurately assess what benchmarks students should master. ...

This statistic on gun violence floored me

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:27
Last year nearly 18,000 people died in the world from terrorism. This was a record high. That figure includes all deaths by explosives along with every other means terrorists use to commit violence. This statistic also includes the entire world population of 7 billion people. It tracks violence in war zones, failed states and other troubled ...

Data tools for policymaking: The Opportunity Index

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:10
Facts matter in policymaking. A growing number of data tools are available to help inform policymakers and the public of local conditions and trends so that policies to respond can be data-driven and achieve better, efficient results.  The latest tool is the Opportunity Index released annually by the Opportunity Nation and Measure of America.  This ...

This is what conservative deregulation looks like up close and personal

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:38
Conservative politicians whose campaigns are funded by corporate interests love to talk about the “genius of the market” and “clamping down on burdensome business regulations.” And while there are no doubt many important virtues associated with both of those concepts, here’s what the genius of the market and business deregulation produce much too often in ...

The lowdown on NC’s new fracking rules

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:09
As you may have heard, North Carolina’s Mining and Energy Commission held the last in a series of meetings last Friday during which they considered public feedback on the draft fracking rules. Despite having received over 200,000 public comments over the last few months, the Commission only made a few little changes to the rules. ...

Disastrous 2013 tax cuts continue to undermine, damage public services

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 08:08
It seems like a long time ago, but it was just the beginning of last year that North Carolina’s newly-elected governor promised state “tax reform” that would be “revenue neutral.” In other words, while the Guv was promising tax cuts, he was also calling for tax modernization that would enhance revenues in other areas — ...

Concerns rise about a looming shortage of NC public school teachers (video)

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:34
If you missed last week’s Fitzsimon File on North Carolina’s looming teacher shortage, make time this week to listen to Policy Watch’s recent radio interview with Keith Poston, executive director of the Public School Forum.  Poston discusses North Carolina’s troubling teacher turnover rate and how to retain our best educators. For a preview of Poston’s ...

Petition drive launched to save life of schizophrenic death row inmate

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:45
It’s tragically absurd that people have been forced to resort to this, but the family, friends and advocates helping Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti have launched a petition drive to help promote his effort to gain clemency. The following description of Mr. Panetti’s situation comes from the good folks at the Texas Defender Service: ...

UNC sued for use of race in admissions

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 11:24
Edward Blum must have found his plaintiffs. Blum is the retired stockbroker who, with the financial backing of several conservative donors, has been pumping named plaintiffs into some recent high-profile civil rights challenges that have landed before the U.S. Supreme Court — namely, the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case and the Shelby County ...

Greensboro veteran dies from injuries following hotel attack

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:49
The man found in a Greensboro hotel beaten and with burns on over 50 percent of his body has died from his injuries. Stephen Patrick White, 46, died Saturday from the burns and injuries he sustained Nov. 9, when police believe Garry Gupton, 26, attacked White in a hotel room, according to QNotes, a Charlotte-based ...

Beasley – Robinson Supreme Court race goes to a recount

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:25
Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, who challenged sitting Justice Cheri Beasley for her seat on the state Supreme Court, has asked the state Board of Elections for a recount of the votes cast in that race, according to the board’s public information office, Josh Lawson. The latest posted results from the SBOE show Beasley ahead by ...

Prof speaks out: Time to fight back against attacks on higher ed

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 08:48
In case you missed it over the weekend, ECU English professor Robert Siegel made a compelling case in Raleigh’s News & Observer for a more energetic resistance from the higher education community against the sustained attack being waged by the state’s conservative political leadership. In particular, Siegel faults UNC administrators — saying they’ve “confused access ...

Sen. Soucek sees marriage equality as “special right”

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 07:18
Sen. Dan Soucek seems to think that allowing same-sex couples to get married is not about equality, but is giving them special rights—whatever that means. Here’s what Soucek told the Avery Journal over the weekend. “I think the most disturbing thing about this is how it’s being stretched to not give some people fair privileges, ...

Ethics forms will be online in 2015, with personal contact information withheld

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 15:47
The State Ethics Commission will put a searchable database of economic interest forms back online in 2015, though without including the personal contact information of filers. The Commission voted Friday to approve an amended version of the form – which doesn’t include home address and contact information – which will be made available  in 2015 ...

NC Unemployment Insurance Debt Paid Down by Workers

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:39
North Carolina’s unemployment insurance debt is being paid down, but a little recognized fact is that it is workers who have contributed the most towards its repayment not employers. The debt itself was a result of the historic job loss of the Great Recession and the tax cuts that were provided to employers during good ...

Seats going fast for next week’s election look-back, December’s anniversary event

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:19
Tickets are going fast for two upcoming NC Policy Watch events that you won’t want to miss. First is next week’s election post mortem Crucial Conversation: “What happened? Why? What now?” featuring Chris Fitzsimon, Dan Blue III, Tom Jensen and Carol Teal. Here are the details: When: Wednesday, November 19, at noon — Box lunches ...

Study shows high percentage of Hispanic children in NC are uninsured

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 09:21
As enrollment begins again, on Saturday, for Affordable Care Act health insurance, it is crucial to note that an important population—children—are still often uninsured. More than five million children in the United States lack any form of health insurance. In North Carolina, this is particularly a problem within the Hispanic population. The state ranks among ...

Berger and Tillis: Governor’s lawsuit ‘costly’ and ‘ignores history’

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 22:38
Governor Pat McCrory and two of his predecessors have filed suit against the General Assembly, arguing that their creation of various commissions usurps the authority of the governor’s office and violates the separation of powers clause in the North Carolina Constitution. “These commissions make government less accountable to the will of the people. Citizens and ...

Charter Day School relents, turns over salary data to the state

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 16:43
A group of Wilmington-area charter schools has given up on its fight to keep secret the salary information of its employees. On Thursday, Charter Day turned over the data requested more than a month ago by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, allowing the management company to be removed from “financial probationary status” which had ...

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