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North Carolina’s invisible Labor Commissioner

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 08:23
It’s no secret that North Carolina state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has been doing the bidding of the state’s employer community for years. If there’s an important issue impacting the well-being of the state’s workers, you can always rest assured that Berry will either be: a) defending/making excuses  for employers or b) AWOL. This latter ...

Governor McCrory rejects calls for special session

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:10
Governor Pat McCrory issued a video press release Friday afternoon announcing his decision not to call the Legislature back for a special session. “It would be counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on. And after a lengthy ...

News item: Major new Obamacare changes proposed (parody alert)

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 13:51
President proposes heath care expansion financed by rich liberals, people of color and immigrants Conservative leaders skeptical that tax plan is sufficiently targeted WASHINGTON - In an effort to break the logjam that has kept millions of Americans in numerous states from fully participating in all aspects of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama announced ...

ICYMI: Senate rejects proposed amendment to overturn Citizens United

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 11:21
The U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected (54 – 42) a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. (The measure needed 60 votes to advance.) S.J.RES.19 very simply would have granted Congress and the states the power to “regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents in federal and state ...

Fixing NC’s misclassification problem

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:42
Check out the News and Observer’s extensively documented series, Contract to Cheat, on the obstacles faced by workers who are misclassified, and how they are being failed by the government agencies that are supposed to protect them.  The Justice Center released a report on wage theft, which includes misclassification, in 2013. State leaders are, at last, vowing ...

Good news and a sobering reminder

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 09:13
We’ll take good news where we can find it these days and this one from yesterday’s Raleigh News & Observer certainly seems worth celebrating. Conservative anti-death penalty group active in NC A North Carolina chapter of a national network of conservatives that wants to put the brakes on — if not outright abolish — the ...

Must reads: Who’s buying the Senate and what we ought to do to stop it

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 16:56
As North Carolina endures the absurd, never-ending ad blitz of a U.S. Senate campaign, here are two quick, must reads that explain: 1) just how far out of hand the wholesale sell-off of our democracy to the top 1% has gotten and 2) what we ought to be doing about it. Number One is a ...

Court of Appeals denies temporary stay in voucher case

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 15:26
The spigot of taxpayer-funds flowing to private schools under the state’s recently-enacted school voucher program remains closed as the Court of Appeals yesterday denied a second request by parents and other voucher proponents for emergency relief. Those parents and proponents — including Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger — have been trying to have ...

Same-sex marriage petitions up for early review at the Supreme Court

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:58
The U.S. Supreme Court will take a look at seven same-sex marriage petitions for review on September 29 as the justices get ready for the new term, according to Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog: In order of their filing at the Court, these are the cases:  Herbert v. Kitchen (Utah), Smith v. Bishop (Oklahoma), Rainey v. Bostic (Virginia), Schaefer ...

New analysis points to another reason for growing ACA popularity: More freedom

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:42
Finding irony and contradictions in the arguments espoused by Obamacare haters is not a difficult thing to do. Heck, one of the nation’s most powerful opponents of the new law is trying to force its repeal even as he embraces its remarkably positive impact in his home state! That said, a new issue brief from ...

Got something to say about fracking? Final public hearing on tap this Friday

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 08:06
Members of the NC Mining and Energy Commission can expect a full house Friday when they hold their fourth and final public hearing on proposed draft fracking rules in Cullowhee. Three previous hearings in Raleigh, Sanford, and Wentworth drew hundreds of North Carolinians wanting to have their say about the state’s guidelines to drill for ...

Editorial: Save Hofmann Forest

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 07:07
This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right in critiquing N.C. State’s proposal to sell tens of thousands of acres of forest in eastern North Carolina to developers. While crediting the university with scaling back its original plan to sell of the whole thing for bulldozing purposes, the editorial rightfully notes ...

New report lists actual names of hundreds disenfranchised during May primary by new NC voting laws

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 14:25
The good people at Democracy North Carolina released a new and detailed report today that documents the negative impact that North Carolina’s new “monster voting law” has already had on voter participation. The report actually provides the names, hometowns and zip codes of 454 voters who were denied the right to vote in the May ...

Charlotte-based hospital system announces cuts, lack of Medicaid expansion by N.C. General Assembly partly to blame

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:51
The Charlotte Observer had an article yesterday about the nonprofit public hospital system Carolinas Health Care cutting $110 million from its budget next year, largely in management positions that are currently vacant. The large hospital system cited the need for cuts as stemming from decisions by both North Carolina and South Carolina politicians to turn ...

The need for a stronger response to college sexual assaults

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:46
If there’s anything good coming out of the sickening situation involving former NFL running back Ray Rice in recent days, it’s the growing national chorus that much more must be done to end the scandal that is this nation’s record when it comes to violence against women. Along these same lines and in case you ...

McCrory votes “present” on coal ash bill

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 09:10
It was just a few years ago that opponents of then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama were howling at the notion that he had voted “present” on multiple occasions while a state legislator in Illinois (something that’s permitted for lawmakers in the Land of Lincoln but not  in most states — North Carolina included). The ...

DHHS Sec. defends no-bid contract, says agency is stronger (video)

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 23:16
Dr. Aldona Wos defended her agency’s decision to award a $6.8 million, no-bid contract to a Washington, D.C. firm to help the state agency better organize its Medicaid finance office. Wos credited the outside consultants at Alvarez and Marsal with helping improve the predictability of the Medicaid program, which has been plagued for years with ...

Breaking: Fourth Circuit to hear expedited appeal of voting rights decision

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:20
In an order issued today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite an appeal of a lower court’s refusal to block voting law changes from taking effect this November, and has scheduled argument on that appeal for September 25 in Charlotte. That lower court refusal came in the form of  a 125-page ...

Medicaid needs to stay with DHHS, Sec. Aldona Wos says

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:02
The head of North Carolina’s troubled health and human services department told lawmakers Tuesday that moving the Medicaid program out from under her purview to a stand-alone agency would “be against common sense.” “Absolutely not,” said N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos in a response to a question about whether moving the $13 ...

Which of these sources do YOU trust when it comes to the future of the planet?

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:53
To call the global discussion over climate change a “debate” is actually quite generous. It’s kind of  like describing the interactions that one has with one’s first grader over the value of an early bedtime or a cupcakes-only diet as a “debate.” Yeah, it’s true that there are two different “sides” with strongly held views, ...

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