NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

State government shutdown ahead? Budget office gets ready for possibility

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 11:04
A memorandum from the state budget office issued earlier this month asks state agencies to let them know what’s essential and what’s not, in the event a budget stalemate leads to a government shutdown. The July 14 memorandum (scroll down to read) asks agencies to go through their operations, and report back about public safety ...

Time for public health action

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 11:00
After reading this fact sheet from the American Public Health Association (APHA), it is apparent that NC policymakers need to take action in order to improve our state’s public health. If our state legislators were assigned a grade for how they are investing in NC’s public health, it would not be a passing grade. The ...

McCrory points finger at legislature in ongoing Confederate flag dispute

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 10:37
As activists step-up their pressure on Governor Pat McCrory to end the sale of specialty license plates bearing the Confederate flag, the governor wants citizens to know he’d like to end the practice, but simply can’t. McCrory’s press office released the following statement late Thursday: “The governor has made it clear he wants to end ...

Consumer advocates to feds: Don’t legalize payday lending in states like NC

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 07:00
Federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are moving ahead with the development of rules to regulate the predatory payday lending industry and this is excellent news for vulnerable consumers in dozens of states. One sizable potential problem with the effort, however, involves states like North Carolina that have already had the good sense ...

Federal court blocks Greensboro redistricting plan

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 20:41
Following a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles has preliminarily blocked implementation of the Greensboro redistricting plan rammed though the General Assembly in early July. That plan would have fundamentally changed the city’s form of government and shifted its city council voting lines — overpopulating minority districts and pitting incumbents there against each other ...

Praise, condemnation for NC Supreme Court ruling upholding school voucher program

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 20:36
In a 4-3 decision, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state’s school voucher program is constitutional. The ruling brought immediate reaction on both sides of the issue. From voucher supporters: “I came to office promising to defend and expand educational opportunities for all children and all families regardless of circumstance. Today’s decision by ...

State’s highest court upholds school voucher program despite lack of accountability and standards

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 20:11
In a 4-3 decision that defies principles of accountability to taxpayers and students alike, the elected Republican justices of the state Supreme Court today upheld a school voucher program that allows taxpayer dollars to fund tuition for private schools having virtually no obligation to provide North Carolina students with even a basic education. Chief Justice Mark Martin, ...

Breaking news: N.C Supreme Court rules in school voucher case, vouchers allowed

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 16:05
The N.C. Supreme Court ruled that public dollars can be used for vouchers that allow low-income children to attend private schools in North Carolina, in a ruling released late Thursday afternoon. That will mean that funding will continue for the voucher program this upcoming school year. In the 55-page opinion released late Thursday afternoon, N.C. ...

North Carolinians > ALEC

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 14:35
As a one-time civics teacher, my job was to explain to 8th graders how our government works. On one level, it was simple: people vote for leaders who will represent them. The leaders make decisions on their behalf. But, of course, that wasn’t the whole story. I usually stumbled through the part about politics and ...

Several GOP lawmakers in San Diego for ALEC conference, with state footing bill for some

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 13:02
With a state budget nearly a month overdue, several Republican lawmakers headed to California this week to attend a conference with close ties to some of the nation’s largest corporations. At least three of the lawmakers will have their $700 registration costs for the American Legislative Exchange Council and a $104 per diem paid for ...

Death on the agenda at the NC Senate today

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 09:25
There’s good news and bad news from the North Carolina Senate today. The good news is that this is the last day for Senate committees to meet during the 2015 session. Senators will undoubtedly bend this rule in the days to come, but as a general matter, the official end of committees is a good ...

President announces rules to protect servicemen and women from loan sharks

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 06:36
Looking for something to restore your faith in our government? Then check out the new rules adopted yesterday by the Obama administration to clamp down on predatory lenders who take advantage of American servicemen and women. The new Department of Defense rules, which were announced Tuesday by the President in a speech to the Veterans ...

Local school boards may lose ability to sue county commissions over funding

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 16:07
If local school boards need a way to hold county commissions accountable when it comes to providing sufficient local funds for schools, they may soon lose a key feather in their hats — the ability to sue. Senate lawmakers passed an amended House bill Wednesday that strips local school boards of their ability to sue ...

House rejects Senate’s anti-environmental reg reform bill, sets-up conference committee (video)

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 15:45
It’s not just the state budget and Medicaid reform where legislators are at odds. On Wednesday the NC House voted overwhelmingly to reject the Senate’s latest version of a sweeping regulatory reform bill. House Bill 765, which began as a one-page bill about gravel hauling, was transformed by the Senate into a 58-page measure that ...

More #WageWeek: Advocates promote quality wages for caregivers, quality care for seniors (video)

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 12:22
As #WageWeek continues to celebrate local and state efforts to improve wages across the country, a growing campaign for quality wages for home healthcare workers and quality care for seniors launched in Raleigh on Monday at a Crucial Conversation event hosted by NC Policy Watch. Workers, legislators, and advocates spoke movingly at the event about ...

More on Koch group’s dishonest attack on renewable energy

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 10:38
Here are a few more details on the latest outrageous and inaccurate broadside launched by the North Carolina chapter of the Koch brothers-funded group known as Americans for Prosperity. As was explained in this space yesterday, AFP made the absurd claim that North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard —  a modest law designed to help ...

Wilmington City Council votes unanimously to oppose McCrory’s offshore oil drilling plan

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 07:52
Not that the powers that be in Raleigh appear terribly concerned about what the majority of people living along the North Carolina coast think, but another coastal community has spoken up loudly and clearly against Governor Pat McCrory’s wrongheaded decision to proceed with offshore oil exploration. This is from the lead article in this morning’s ...

Bill requiring physicals for all students advances

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:12
North Carolina law currently requires only kindergarteners to get physicals in order to enroll in public schools — but a bill moving through the General Assembly could soon require health assessments for all newly enrolled students in grades K-12, and failure to do so could mean some kids miss out on classroom instruction. Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) introduced the ...

Economic recovery is bypassing Tar Heel children and keeping child poverty high, new report finds

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 15:20
North Carolina is losing ground on key economic indicators such as child poverty and family economic security. A new report from NC Child  paints a bleak picture of how children are suffering from the fallout of an economy that is downright broken for many North Carolina families, as well as state lawmakers’ recent policy decisions. ...

N.C. Policy Watch (through N.C. Justice Center) and media groups suing McCrory over public record issues

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 14:39
The N.C. Justice Center, along with a number of media and non-profit coalition partners, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory today, accusing his office and administration of not fully complying with the state’s public records law. The lawsuit was filed in Wake County Superior Court. The N.C. Justice Center, an anti-poverty non-profit, filed the ...

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