NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

Editorial: Pro-fracking forces are ignoring voices they don’t want to hear

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:07
This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer tells it like it is with respect to the state’s pro-fracking forces and a little thing called “science.” As the N&O explains, compelling evidence on the dangers of fracking from experts at Duke University is being summarily ignored by the Mining and Energy Commission because it ...

Schools rely on sharing, older materials as textbook funding dwindles

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:16
Confusion over teacher pay and the loss of teaching assistants are not the only troubling stories making headlines as the new school year is set to begin. The Asheville Citizen Times reports today that a reduction in state funding for textbooks will force many Buncombe County students this fall to share their books, or rely ...

Today’s amazing inequality graphic

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 17:07
The good people at and the online publication Too Much do a great job each week of documenting America’s one-sided class warfare and the fast-mushrooming gap between the haves and have nots. If you’re not already a subscriber to their updates, click here to get signed up. The graphic at left was featured in ...

Social Security at 79: New report highlights benefits for North Carolinians

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 14:51
This week marks the 79th anniversary of Social Security, and the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans is marking the occasion with a new report on the economic impact of those benefits in our state. Here are ten quick facts from that report, Social Security Works for North Carolina. • Social Security provided benefits to ...

Scotland County Schools will cut TAs’ hours to save jobs

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:13
Members of the Scotland County Schools Board of Education voted on Monday to cut teacher assistants’ hours to 88 percent for the upcoming school year as a way to save jobs while coping with state budget reductions. To keep teacher assistants working 100 percent of the time, the county would have to deplete a large ...

ICYMI: The freedom to marry in North Carolina: Now what? (Full Video)

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 10:22
For those who missed last week’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina, the full program is now available online. Please watch and then share – The freedom to marry in North Carolina: Now what?

RSVP today for next week’s luncheon on the Supreme Court

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 09:37
Seats are going fast for next week’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation – “The state of the U.S. Supreme Court with Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress.” Where do things stand in the after math of the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision? What’s is on the Supreme Court docket for the fall? What can ...

Editorial: Ditch letter grades for schools permanently

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 08:14
If there’s one giant mistake that both Democrats and Republicans have made down through the years when it comes to improving North Carolina’s public schools it’s the repeated attempts to impose gimmicks and quick fixes. Rather than simply giving the experts the resources they need, standing back and pointing in the desired direction, politicians of ...

Gov. McCrory working behind the scenes to fix education budget he signed last week

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 18:19
Gov. Pat McCrory’s office is working with local school superintendents to come up with a fix for two hotly contested budget provisions lawmakers just enacted that would stop funding public schools on the basis of enrollment growth and cut funds to teacher assistants, according to a Lee County Schools superintendent and a lobbyist for the ...

Gov. McCrory could attract funds and friends by expanding health coverage

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 14:15
A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute shows the financial folly of rejecting Medicaid expansion. Currently 24 states are refusing federal funds to cover more of the uninsured, although that number is quickly dwindling as more governors and legislators get approval to implement state-specific expansion plans. If North Carolina does ...

A rare bit of good news for the environment

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 13:14
This just in from the good folks the the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club: For Immediate Release North Carolina Moves One Step Closer to Offshore Wind Development WILMINGTON – Earlier today, the US Department of the Interior announced that it has defined three Wind Energy Areas off the coast of North Carolina which ...

Rowan-Salisbury Schools facing loss of teacher assistants

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 10:17
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is trying to figure out how to handle a 22 percent cut to their teacher assistant funding stream. The budget cut to TAs slices more than one way — in Rowan-Salisbury schools, many elementary school TAs double as school bus drivers (see my recent story about how TAs across the state also serve as bus drivers).  ...

A regional look still shows cuts to unemployment insurance didn’t improve employment outlook for NC

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:16
One of the fundamental claims made about North Carolina’s cuts to unemployment insurance payments was that such a policy change would create a greater incentive for jobless workers to take available jobs and employment in the state would rise as a result. The Economic Policy Institute posted a great graphic once again demonstrating that there ...

Editorial: State must halt slide in support for higher ed

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 08:11
In case you missed it over the weekend, the Greensboro News & Record posted a good editorial on North Carolina’s gradually declining commitment to its colleges and universities. As the editorial rightly noted, the state has been reduced to charging higher tuition of some students in order to generate funds to subsidize tuition for those ...

Federal judge: New voting law applies in November elections

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 07:58
In a 125-page decision released at 5 p.m. on Friday,  U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder ruled that the upcoming November elections will go forward under provisions of the new voting law enacted by the General Assembly in 2013. For North Carolina voters, that means for this election cycle, there will be no same-day registration, ...

The crazy arguments pro-discrimination forces apparently want A.G. Cooper to make

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 16:44
At yesterday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon on the future of marriage equality, Chris Brook, the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, made it pretty clear what he intends to argue in federal court when he next gets the opportunity in the organization’s challenges to North Carolina’s marriage discrimination ...

Plans afoot to impeach Attorney General Roy Cooper?

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:20
State Sen. Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico) told those attending the inaugural meeting of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party yesterday that the top leadership in both GOP-controlled branches of the legislature are working to remove Attorney General Roy Cooper from office, according to this report in the Carolina Coast. Citing Cooper’s announcement in late July that his office would ...

NC NAACP, Latino and Immigrant Advocacy Groups Condemn Governor’s Misinformation Campaign about refugee children

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 09:52
The North Carolina NAACP, the Forward Together Moral Movement and Latino rights organizations in North Carolina will stand together Friday afternoon to challenge Gov. Pat McCrory for pandering to racial fears in statements about Central American children fleeing violence at home and coming to the United States. McCrory claimed his recent remarks are motivated by ...

Huge hidden change to education funding to cause big problems for local school districts

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 09:35
Voices of concern are growing louder as more and more individuals and institutions directly impacted by the new state budget signed by Gov. McCrory yesterday come to grasp what is actually in the 260 page document. As reported in the post immediately below and in this story by Sarah Ovaska on Wednesday, the list of ...

Last minute “technical corrections” bill includes anti-consumer giveaway to manufactured housing industry

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:10
As previously reported here, here and numerous other places, this year’s “technical corrections” bill at the General Assembly was and is an especially egregious example of secret legislative sausage making at its worst. The bill is chock-full of substantive (i.e. a lot more than “technical”) changes to the law – many of which were never ...