NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 21 min 14 sec ago

One year anniversary of unemployment insurance changes, harm to jobless workers compounded

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:57
Beginning today, jobless workers in North Carolina can access fewer weeks of unemployment insurance despite a continued lack of jobs and the persistence of long-term unemployment. This is the direct result of a provision in HB4, the unemployment insurance overhaul bill that went into effect last July 1st. The provision establishes a sliding scale for ...

Baker Mitchell’s for-profit groups reap big rewards from charter schools he founded

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:47
The Wilmington StarNews reports that Baker Mitchell’s Roger Bacon Academy, the for-profit education management organization that oversees four charter schools Mitchell founded in eastern North Carolina, as well as another company that leases school equipment and supplies both take in considerable sums of money from leasing land, buildings, equipment and supplies to Mitchell’s schools. For the 2013-14 school ...

Pope group lauds university enrollment decline; cites “too much partying and sex”

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:07
We’ve known for a long time that the chief mission of the Pope Center for Higher Education is to undermine and dismantle North Carolina’s system of universities and community colleges. As reported in this space on numerous occasions, the group puts out almost-daily missives calling for higher education to be privatized, more expensive and more ...

Expert: Fracking in NC likely to produce little gas, lots of destruction

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:31
If you want to understand why the potential for fracking to be a success in North Carolina (either for our economy or our environment) is very, very small, be sure to check out Professor Rob Jackson’s op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer. His prediction: A very low economic impact driven my ...

Gay rights advocates call on McCrory to revisit executive order

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 22:39
Equality NC is calling on Governor Pat McCrory to revisit an executive order he signed Monday that requires equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment ‘without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.’ LGBT advocates say that the governor’s order referred to several specific classifications yet ...

N.C. Tracks has a birthday, while DHHS celebrates with video praising troubled system

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:00
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released a cheerful video this afternoon touting the supposed successes of the state’s new Medicaid billing system that delayed payments for thousands of medical providers for months over the last year. The nearly 4-minute video produced by state employees includes interviews set to upbeat instrumental music with ...

Thank goodness we’re not in Kansas

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 16:24
A recent Washington Post story confirms once more that the anti-taxes, anti-government policies of the conservative leaders running Kansas continue to backfire. “Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last month to tout the success of his economic program, particularly several rounds of income tax cuts amounting to ...

Extend the deadline for eugenics victims

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 14:27
As Chris Fitzsimon made clear in this morning’s “Monday Numbers,” there is simply no good reason for the state of North Carolina to shut off applications for compensation to surviving eugenics victims. Having made people wait decades, what is the point of limiting the possibility for recovery for people — especially since so many of ...

Hobby Lobby wins and women’s health loses at Supreme Court

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:56
The US Supreme Court decided today that “closely held” corporations that object to contraceptives on religious grounds can deny this preventive coverage to female employees. There will be a great deal of constitutional banter on this opinion but, not being a constitutional scholar, I will make a few practical points. First, when HHS wrote this popular ...

What Hagan and Tillis are saying about today’s Supreme Court rulings

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:45
Monday’s Supreme Court rulings on contraceptive coverage for women and public sector unions are predictably bringing very different reactions from U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, her Republican challenger. Hagan released a statement calling the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell ruling ‘shameful’: “I am extremely disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision. It is shameful that ...

Hobby Lobby: The best eight lines from Justice Ginsburg’s dissent

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:21
As reported in numerous places — click here for Ian Millhiser’s quick take at the for the Center for American Progress — the widely-dreaded Hobby Lobby decision came down today from the U.S. Supreme Court. In response, the good folks at Mother Jones posted the following article. On Monday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned a blistering ...

Five must read stories to start your work week

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:44
Supreme Court Deals Sharp Blow To Public Sector Unions  Session stalemate no help to Tillis campaign Yes, if You Cut Taxes, You Get Less Tax Revenue (and why NC should pay attention) Third health insurer to enter NC exchange for 2015 Bacon Academy management company earns millions from schools  

Editorials condemn amendment allowing charter school secrecy on salaries

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:00
In case you missed it over the weekend, the Wilmington StarNews had another good editorial concerning the efforts of some of the state’s public charter schools to keep the salaries they pay secret and en effort by lawmakers to approve of the secrecy. “The public has a right to know who works for its government ...

Consensus on the Supreme Court?

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 14:23
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court will wrap up its term with decisions expected in two remaining cases. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., the justices will decide whether the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate unconstitutionally impinges upon the company’s religious freedom. (Read more about the case here.) In Harris v. Quinn, the justices will decide whether home ...

Don’t visit the failures of high-stakes testing on special needs children

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 13:18
This week, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan announced that the Department of Education will require states to make a comparisons between students with special needs and their counterparts who have not been so-identified. In the past, the United States Department of Education only asked that schools districts follow timelines and procedures by ensuring that correct ...

Prosperity Watch: State sees boom in ultra-low-wage jobs

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:35
We keep hearing that North Carolina’s economy is turning around. But while it’s true that we’re slowly making progress in replacing the jobs lost during the Great Recession, the bad news is that the overwhelming majority of these new jobs just don’t pay enough to make ends meet. In fact, many don’t pay enough to ...

Most voting discrimination is local

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:28
Deserved or not,  Jasper, Texas — population 7600 —  has become known to those living in other regions of the country as a hot bed of racist activity. It was in Jasper in 1998 that three white men chained a black man, 49-year-old James Byrd, Jr., to the rear bumper of a pick-up truck and dragged his ...

A life well-lived: RIP Cy King

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:46
We lost Cy King this week. As Anne Blythe of Raleigh’s News & Observer reported in this excellent story yesterday, the veteran progressive activist passed away on Wednesday after a brief illness at age 92. Would that we could all look back at the end of our days on a life so well and richly ...

Monday deadline looms for eugenics compensation

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:32
Monday marks the deadline for victims of North Carolina’s eugenics program to apply for compensation. Some 7500 men and women were involuntarily sterilized in North Carolina between 1929 and 1974 under the authority of the state Eugenics Board.  It’s estimated fewer than 2,000 of those individuals are still alive. Last year lawmakers set aside $10 ...

Charter school discrimination vote highlights absurdity of voucher law

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 09:00
The North Carolina House voted yesterday to amend the state charter schools law to bar discrimination against children “with respect to any category protected under the United State Constitution or under federal law applicable to the states.” While the language was drawn hastily in the aftermath of Rep. Paul Stam’s embarrassing homophobic rant of the ...