NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

Subscribe to NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse feed
Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

When conservatism turns to paranoia: Rand Paul channels his inner John Birch

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 07:56
In the mid-20th Century, conservatives fulminated about the “monstrous commie plot” of water fluoridation. Today, sadly, there appears to be a modern day equivalent of this imaginary bogeyman. According to a rather disturbing story in this morning’s Charlotte Observer, Kentucky Senator and presidential wannabe Rand Paul has endorsed the dangerous idea that childhood vaccinations should ...

Civil rights groups, education scholars join fight challenging North Carolina’s school voucher law

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 23:10
Civil rights groups as well as a long list of academic scholars have joined the fight to end the state’s new school voucher law, which allows families to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools over which the state exercises almost no oversight. The opponents of school vouchers, who filed amicus briefs with ...

ICYMI: Reporter Mandy Locke on wage theft and the “misclassification” of workers by employers (full video)

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 15:34
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with Mandy Locke, investigative reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer, that full program on worker misclassification is now available online. Locke was joined by Raleigh businessman Doug Burton, President and Owner of Whitman Masonry. Burton is one of the numerous North Carolina employers ...

Huckabee’s gay bashing hits a new low

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 15:00
If crazy ol’ Keith Olbermann was still hosting is MSNBC news and commentary show these days, you can bet that former Arkansas Governor-turned-semi-permanent-Presidential-candidate Mike Huckabee would be a strong contender for the today’s “Worst Person in the World” award. As Associated Press reported yesterday via WRAL.com: “Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday said being ...

Calm before the storm at the U.S. Supreme Court

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 11:41
Things at the U.S. Supreme Court may seem a bit quiet right now, with conferences and oral arguments not scheduled to start up again until later in the month, but don’t let that lull you into a sense of calm. Once the justices reconvene, all hell could break loose, with same-sex marriage, Obamacare, lethal injection and redistricting among ...

Yet another editorial pans offshore drilling proposal

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 08:56
Yet another in a growing list of editorial pages has weighed in against the Obama/Tillis/McCrory plan to open up the coastline of North Carolina to offshore oil and gas drilling. This morning it’s Raleigh’s News & Observer. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “President Obama’s motivation for supporting offshore drilling is complicated. The clearest reason appears to ...

Cartoonists skewer “religious freedom” bill

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 06:00
In case you missed it over on the main site, here is John Cole’s excellent cartoon for February 2. It obviously speaks for itself. And if such images exposing the state leadership’s strange obsession with who people love appeal, be sure to check out Dwayne Powell’s cartoon this morning in Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled: ...

A-F school grades are coming

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 16:29
Next week, the Department of Public Instruction will release for the first time letter grades for each school in North Carolina. The letter grades will largely represent how well a school’s students performed on standardized tests at one given time (that will be 80 percent of the grade), and, to a lesser degree, how much students’ performance ...

Forty years of evidence about EITC effectiveness is a terrible thing to waste

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:18
Forty years ago, President Gerald Ford signed into law a tax policy that would support working families earning low-wages. That policy, the Earned Income Tax Credit, would later be expanded under President Ronald Reagan. Today, it has proven to be a powerful anti-poverty tool supporting the economic security of more than 30 million Americans in ...

Celebrate Fred Korematsu

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:43
Today should be a national holiday. No, not because of EITC Awareness, although the post below this one highlights that important issue as well. Because of Fred Korematsu, who was born on this day 96 years ago. Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif., but his U.S. citizenship didn’t keep him from being arrested for refusing ...

Happy EITC Awareness Day… to those fortunate enough to live in states that haven’t eliminated this vital credit

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:29
Today marks a little known “holiday”: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. The IRS-led national event is intended – as the title implies – to spread awareness about this modest but vital tax credit and make sure that all qualified workers receive it. The day is as much about educating people as to what ...

Boosting morale at DENR … with collector coins

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 08:36
When the former Secretary for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources sought a way to boost employee’s morale last summer, his agency ordered up several hundred commemorative coins engraved with both his and the agency’s name. The environmental agency spent $1530 in June buying 500 coins engraved with former DENR Secretary John Skvarla’s ...

Jim Crow 2.0: Berger’s “religious freedom” bill

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 07:56
Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd does a great job of skewering state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s ridiculous “religious freedom” for magistrates legislation today in this essay. “It’s appalling that the first order of business for our state legislature would be to reinstate Jim Crow. Or should we call it James Crow? ...

Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville in trouble for shorting workers’ pay

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 15:55
A chain of Mexican restaurants with a Jacksonville location is paying more than $50,000 in back wages to employees, after federal authorities discovered some workers weren’t receiving minimum wage. Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurants, a small chain with one location near the Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, was not paying dishwashers and cooks at the federal ...

“Second” legislative session allows legislative leaders to evade rules on raising money from lobbyists

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 15:23
It’s been déjà vu all over again this week in Raleigh. Two weeks ago, right before what seemed at the time to be the one and only “first” day of the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers crammed in some last minute fundraising just hours before the session began. The details of all this are a smidge ...

Busiest man in the N.C. Senate?

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 12:33
Longtime lobbyist Paula Wolf rounded up how many pies state Sen. Tom Apodaca has his fingers in over on her blog, Paulatics. Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican who has been in the Senate for 12 years, is known for his off-the-cuff comments as well as influence in the state legislature. Wolf, who until recently had worked ...

Luncheon will explore school voucher case, preview Supreme Court argument

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 09:55
Mark your calendar for the next N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon on Tuesday, February 10: “The constitutional challenge to school vouchers: Where do things stand? What happens next?” Click here to register For the time being, school vouchers have come to North Carolina. Thanks to the state’s conservative political leadership, several million dollars in ...

From last rites to life support: New study confirms weakness of NC’s economic “recovery”

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:19
As it has at the national level, North Carolina’s official unemployment rate continues to fall. And while there’s certainly some good news there, numerous analysts continue to explain why this recovery is especially tepid and shallow for a huge proportion of North Carolinians (and why the trickledown economic policies pursued by state leaders continue to ...

Junior Senator sets the record straight on controversial “religious freedom” bill (video)

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:11
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger made good on his promise Wednesday to file legislation that would allow magistrates to refuse to perform marriages for same sex couples. Senate Bill 2 states: Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based upon any sincerely held religious objection. Senator ...

UPDATE: Legislative briefing on “religious freedom” bill postponed

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:00
The closed-door meeting to discuss the new “religious freedom” bill has been postponed, according to an email sent out by the North Carolina Values Coalition. The organization claims that they received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the meeting and have had to reschedule out of concern that the facility could not accommodate the crowd. Unfortunately, ...

Pages