NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

John Oliver takes aim at state lotteries, NC’s lottery gets its own put-down from comedian

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:18
Comedian John Oliver took on (and sunk) the idea that state lotteries responsibly and effectively fund public education, when he focused on state lotteries this weekend on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight.” North Carolina’s education lottery got a substantial mention (at the 11:30 minute mark) when Oliver pointed out North Carolina spends less per ...

Shocking post-election result: GOP support for “over-the-counter” contraceptives evaporates

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 10:17
As was explained at some length in this post earlier this year, there are several reasons that the support voiced during the 2014 campaign by Senator-elect Thom Tillis and other conservative candidates for access to “over-the-counter” contraceptives was a disingenuous batch of baloney cooked up by GOP campaign consultants. …the trick lies in the conservative ...

Editorial blasts McCrory team’s latest special favor for energy industry

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:14
In case you missed it over the weekend, be sure to check out this this editorial in the Wilmington Star News: “Special interests invited to drilling meeting but not public.” As the paper rightfully explains, the McCrory administration’s latest gaffe when it comes to protecting our environment was as offensive as it was familiar. The ...

The never-ending war on health care for struggling families

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 15:42
As we report below the US Supreme Court has decided to hear another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act. You can read the details of the lawsuit in our earlier post, but some context is important. This new fight focuses on subsidies extended to individuals and families earning less than 400 percent of the ...

TBJ: State’s tax incentive fund to recruit businesses almost dry

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:43
N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says the $22.5 million fund to recruit business to the state is nearly empty, with enough money left to cover one additional jobs project, according to the Triangle Business Journal. Decker was speaking to a group of commercial real estate developers at the Umstead Hotel in Cary when she made ...

Supreme Court takes the ACA subsidies case

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:11
The U.S. Supreme Court stepped back into the ring in the ongoing challenge to the viability of the Affordable Care Act today, agreeing to review the availability of tax credits under its provisions. The justices will review a decision out of the Fourth Circuit, King v. Burwell,  holding that such subsidies are available to health insurance purchasers on ...

Why GOP’s proposed ACA amendment would take things in precisely the wrong direction

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:00
The conservatives in Congress are already queuing up to offer proposals that would gut amend Obamacare. For instance, leaders McConnell and Boehner are already proposing to raise the threshold number of hours that employees must work per week from 30 to 40 in order to trigger the mandate that their employer provide coverage. As Paul ...

North Carolina-born federal prosecutor in line to be first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 11:29
President Obama is expected to nominate Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. Attorney General, replacing the resigning Eric Holder — according to this CNN  report. If confirmed by the Senate, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to serve in that position. Born in Greensboro, N.C., Lynch is currently the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of ...

Paths to the Supreme Court for same-sex marriage

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 10:33
Yesterday in a 2-1 decision the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio became the first federal appeals court to uphold a state ban on same-sex marriage. In doing so, it created the split among federal circuits needed to get a marriage equality case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices already considered a flurry ...

Oil and gas industry meets with its P.R. staff (i.e. DENR, the Guv)

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:12
The post-2014 election era in North Carolina government is not off to a terribly encouraging start. As Tyler Dukes and Cullen Browder of WRAL.com reported yesterday: Gov. Pat McCrory told a gathering of state and federal officials Thursday it was time to figure out what kind of oil and gas resources might lie off the ...

On pocketbook issues, voters favored progressive solutions on Tuesday

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 16:33
The powerful combination of history, an inexhaustible money machine and shameless gerrymandering produced impressive electoral victories for the Right in this week’s election, but it also remains a powerful truth that when you actually ask voters directly for their opinions on core pocketbook issues, they continue to favor progressive solutions. You’ve probably already heard about ...

Robinson will ask for a recount in Supreme Court race

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 14:28
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Mike Robinson will ask the state Board of Elections for a recount in his Supreme Court race against Justice Cheri Beasley. “Robinson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he intends to request a recount after the State Board of Elections certifies the election results,”  the Journal reported. (The Robinson campaign has ...

Wilmington-area charter schools in financial noncompliance for not giving salary information

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 13:14
A group of charter schools in the Southeastern part of the state will face disciplinary action if they don’t soon provide the salaries of school personnel hired by a private contractor to work in the schools. The State Board of Education voted Thursday to place the four schools run by Charter Day Schools, Inc. – ...

Performing same-sex marriages is a magistrate’s duty under the law, AOC Director tells GOP leader

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 11:40
State magistrates have a duty under state and federal law to perform same-sex marriages, despite religious convictions, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts John Smith told Senate President Phil Berger in a letter yesterday. In October, Berger and other GOP lawmakers had asked Smith to modify an earlier AOC memo requiring magistrates to perform ...

Lobbying sharks already circling in anticipation of GOP takeover in Congress

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 10:56
It’s one thing for progressive pundits and advocates to talk in generalities about what the election of Thom Tillis and his conservative colleagues to the U.S. Senate will mean in the policy world next year, but here’s a much more concrete and troubling example of what we have to look forward to. According to a ...

Prosperity Watch: Unemployment rate by race shows barriers to employment for all persist

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 09:34
This week’s Prosperity Watch uses newly available data from the Economic Policy Institute to shed light on the experience of unemployment for different groups in North Carolina.  While the state performs better than the nation by having a lower barrier to employment for African-American and Latino workers in particular, the unemployment rate for these groups ...

Follow-up: Members of British Parliament release report on inhumane treatment of farmworkers in NC

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
At a meeting held yesterday, two members of the British Parliament, Ian Lavery and James Sheridan, released their fact-finding report about the conditions of farmworkers working in North Carolina tobacco fields. The report, A Smokescreen for Slavery: Human Rights Abuses in UK Supply Chain, exposes a horrific list of human rights violations including child labor ...

Teacher turnover rate declines, but thousands still leaving

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 06:24
More than 13,500 teachers left their local school districts in the last year, according to figures presented to the State Board of Education on Wednesday. The teacher turnover rate averaged 14.12 percent statewide, down just slightly from 2012-13.  But some local districts saw an alarming level of teachers leaving the profession. Washington County saw more ...

A reminder of who the special interests are and what they’re after

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 16:03
The phenomenon of big special interests literally buying public officials via the obscene spectacle of modern elections has become so ingrained in our culture these days that nearly everyone has become numbed by and immune to the whole thing. It’s gotten to the point that when a political operative goes on TV to brag about ...

Voters’ rejection of local sales tax increase raises questions regarding public education in North Carolina

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:12
Voters in Mecklenburg, Guilford, and Rockingham counties each rejected a ballot initiative to increase its local sales tax by one-quarter cent. Under these referendums, consumers would have paid 25 cents in additional sales tax per $100 spent on goods and services subject to sales tax. The sales tax increase was expected to generate around $32 ...

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