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N.C. conservatives calling for violent opposition to Islam

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 06:42

If you missed it this weekend, you need to read this story from Triad City Beat about a group of “tea partiers, patriot groups and other conservative activists” whose recent meeting included discussions of “killing the hell out of” Muslims and “taking people out.” Jordan Green attended the meeting Thursday night in Kernersville. From his ...

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Kansas’ Republican-Controlled Legislature Votes to Raise Revenue, Responsibly Address Brownback’s Failed Tax Cut Experiment

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 09:08

Here is a little hope on Saturday morning for North Carolina as we enter a budget debate that should have learned the lessons of failed tax cut experiments by now. Yesterday, the Kansas legislature voted to raise revenue to address another year of budget shortfalls.  Since the failed tax experiment began in 2012, Kansas has seen ...

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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:02

1. Hopeful lessons from Saturday’s Moral March (and one important way in which progressives are screwing up) This past Saturday’s 11th annual HKonJ-Moral March on Raleigh was by any estimation, a rousing success. At a point in time in which caring and thinking people are being inundated with multiple calls to action on a daily ...

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Conservative group urges Betsy DeVos to dismantle federal education department

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:00

We’re still awaiting details on new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ plans for the nation’s public schools, but a report from The Washington Post this week is sure to fire up public education advocates already anxious about the new secretary. According to the Post‘s Emma Brown, a conservative policy organization with deep ties to DeVos and ...

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Over objections from EPA employees, environmental advocates, scientists, U.S. Senate confirms Scott Pruitt as agency chief

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:15

No amount of concern that Scott Pruitt is too friendly with the fossil fuel industry, that he has improperly withheld 3,000 emails about his business dealings with coal, oil and natural gas companies; that he has said climate change is a hoax; that hundreds of rank-and-file EPA employees oppose him; that he is blithely unaware of pollution’s harm to the ...

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Is North Carolina going to break its promise to retired state employees?

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:54

Unless you’re a fiscal policy wonk (don’t be ashamed if you are), you may not know that North Carolina needs to figure out how to keep a more than $25 billion promise. House Bill 24 and Senate Bill 22 would create a committee to study options for covering the future cost of paying for the ...

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Editorials: Legislature should ditch proposal to cap state income tax

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 07:46

Things over at the  General Assembly are just starting to warm up, but editorials in two of the state’s leading newspapers are already pouring cold water on one major conservative policy proposal: a constitutional amendment to cap the state income tax rate at 5.5%. This is from the lead editorial in this morning’s edition of ...

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Display of solidarity at “Day Without Immigrants” protest in Raleigh

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 18:00

Respect. Fear. Concern. Love. Solidarity. Those were just some of the reasons hundreds of people gathered Thursday in Moore Square for the nationwide protest “Day Without Immigrants.” The protest encouraged immigrants to skip work and school and to stop shopping for the day to show their value to the American economy. José Terrazos, of Henderson, ...

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Photos from “Day Without Immigrants” protest at Moore Square

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 15:00

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at Moore Square for a “Day Without Immigrants” nationwide protest. Immigrants across the country were encouraged to skip work and school and to not shop to show how essential they are to the American economy. Many businesses across the Triangle also closed to show solidarity with workers and customers.

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Message to Trump administration: Protect our care; don’t weaken the Marketplace

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 14:29

You don’t have to be low-income or uninsured to grasp how challenging and complex the modern world of health care and health insurance has become. Even in my role as a fully insured professional who works in the field every day as an advocate, I wrestle with the challenges the system presents — especially when ...

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Success stories in affordable housing, minimum housing standards

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 13:41

Worth your time today: This column by Susan Ladd of the News & Record in Greensboro that looks at too-seldom celebrated success in the movement for affordable housing and strengthening minimum housing standards. The story centers on efforts by the Center for Community Progress, Greensboro Housing Coalition and the city’s Minimum Housing Standards Coalition to ...

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Fix to school funding crunch advances through N.C. House

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:33

North Carolina House lawmakers unanimously backed draft legislation intended to allay an imminent K-3 class size dilemma for public schools Thursday, despite criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. House Bill 13 will offer local school districts flexibility over their average and maximum classroom sizes in the early grades, weeks before public school leaders say a ...

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Editorials blast Berger for his obstruction of HB2 repeal, Cooper compromise

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 06:58

Two more major newspapers point out the absurdity of Senate leader Phil Berger’s disingenuous stance on HB2 repeal this morning. The Charlotte Observer tells it like it is with this observation: “Goodbye, NCAA. Goodbye, ACC. Goodbye from Phil Berger, who keeps whispering, ‘Hush.’ Sen. Berger and other Republican leaders on Tuesday made clear that they ...

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Under fire, Trump pick for Secretary of Labor withdraws

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:23

President Trump suffered his first defeat on confirming his cabinet this afternoon when his pick for the US Department Labor, fast food magnate Andy Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration following weeks of rising controversy over his background.  Puzder has come under increasing fire for his questionable labor practices, his failure to properly withhold taxes ...

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Middle-aged, stuck in the coverage gap and still years away from Medicare

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 13:30

Seventeen percent of adults stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap are between the ages of 55 and 64 years and many have worked most or all of their adult lives. What’s more, 56 percent of adults in the gap are currently working. Unfortunately, when there are economic downturns, some hard working individuals lose their jobs. ...

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Much ado about nothing: DEQ Sec’y Michael Regan has potential conflicts of interest; so did John Skvarla

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:39

Before Republican lawmakers get lathered up over State Ethics Commission findings that Michael Regan, nominee for NC DEQ Secretary has “potential for a conflict of interest,” they should re-read history.  The commission made the same findings in 2013 for former NC DEQ Secretary John Skvarla, nominated by Gov. Pat McCrory. ABC11 reported the findings about Regan today. Unlike Skvarla, though, Regan ...

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In Wilson, media shut out of FERC public listening session on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:49

Just 15 minutes after the doors opened last night, the auditorium at Forest Hills Middle School — a public school — in Wilson was beginning to fill with people. But the “public” listening session about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline wasn’t really public. And only select people could listen. Hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ...

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Phil Berger’s idea of an HB2 “compromise”

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 09:10

North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger appears to have rejected Governor Roy Cooper’s latest effort at a compromise on HB2. Despite Cooper’s offer of an actually enforceable bathroom safety law plus a requirement that local officials give a month’s notice before moving to enact any kind of non-discrimination ordinances (two provisions that both the Human ...

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N.C. Supreme Court grants Cooper’s request to halt Elections Board, Ethics Commission merge

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 07:30

The State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission merger has once again been put on hold, this time by the North Carolina’s highest court. The state Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of a Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a lower court’s preliminary injunction on the first part of Senate Bill 4. Gov. Roy ...

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Lawmakers seek to stash revenue away for a rainy day when NC needs an umbrella today

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 15:42

Policymakers seek to make changes to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Two companion bills – House Bill 7 (HB 7) and Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) – have been introduced that would alter how deposits are made into the fund and that would place restrictions on the ability of policymakers to use the fund. A ...

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