NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

USDA report: North Carolina has “critical” issues overseeing food stamps program

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 14:44
North Carolina’s food stamps program continues to face major problems in how it operates and monitors federal funds for low-income families struggling to get food on their tables, according to a recent report by federal officials. A strongly worded management evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  listed ...

Number of North Carolinians living in poverty remains high, income growth not widely shared

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:28
This is the first post of a blog series that will take a detailed look at the 2013 US Census poverty data released today. Poverty remained high in North Carolina last year, according to new Census Bureau data released today. The new data highlights that many people have not benefitted from the state’s weak economic ...

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest travels the state to promote “I Support Teachers” license plate campaign, teacher endowment fund

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:33
Lt. Governor Dan Forest kicked off a statewide media tour today in Raleigh to promote his “I Support Teachers” license plates — one part of his newly minted North Carolina Education Endowment fund that is aimed at increasing the salaries of the state’s highest performing public school teachers. “We need to have the best teachers ...

Editorial: With lost tax revenue and spending cuts, North Carolina on its way to becoming Alabama

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:28
As Governor Pat McCrory travels the state this week touting a billion dollar bond proposal for highway improvements and transit investments over the next 25 years, the Charlotte Observer reminds readers that the state is facing a serious revenue problem. The editorial board doesn’t hold back in Thursday’s column entitled: Become Alabama in 12 easy ...

What a concept! New transportation plan calls for public investment, forward thinking

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:28
There are too many details to be fleshed out and examined to provide a definitive assessment of Governor McCrory’s new proposed state transportation plan that he unveiled yesterday.  For instance, the summary talks about expanding mass transit and building new light rail — both encouraging signs — but it’s too early to say whether these ...

NAACP rightfully slams new voter suppression efforts

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:59
There’s been a lot of confusion about North Carolina’s confusing and complicated “Monster Voting Law” — much of it resulting from the fact many of the law’s numerous changes designed to make voting more difficult go into effect at different times. Of course, when your overall objective is to suppress voter turnout — especially amongst ...

DHHS Sec. Wos outlines new “flattened” structure for state Medicaid program

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00
North Carolina’s Health and Human Service Secretary Aldona Wos will be at the state legislature today, rolling out her plan to restructure the $18 billion state agency as well the state Medicaid program that provides healthcare for more than 1.5 million North Carolinians. Wos, in a 14-page letter addressed to the heads of the Joint ...

Scientist: Biology book used by would-be voucher schools mixes fundamentalist Christianity with inaccurate science

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:33
In case you missed it, be sure to check out the lead story this morning over on the main Policy Watch site by Prof. William Snider, head of the Neuroscience Center at the the UNC School of Medicine: “Will voucher students learn biology?”  If you read through the thoughtful, detailed and quite generous essay, you’ll ...

Profile in hate: Congressman Robert Pittenger’s homophobic blather

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:23
An editorial in this morning’s Charlotte Observer shines a light on the noxious views of North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger: Is it OK for a company to fire someone solely because he is gay? U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte thinks so. It’s one of “the freedoms we enjoy” as Americans, he says. Private employers ...

NC Common Core review commission finally assembled, to meet September 22

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:50
Final appointments have been made today to a North Carolina political commission tasked with reviewing the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—well past a September 1 deadline by which the commission was required by law to hold its first meeting. The first meeting will take place Monday, September 22. Governor Pat McCrory was one ...

Who’s up and who’s down in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race (Audio)

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:34
New polling data by American Insights shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan with a nine point lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis among likely voters this November. Elon University’s poll shows the race closer – with Hagan enjoying a 45 to 41 percent margin over Tillis, with nine percent of likely voters saying they would ...

Poverty rate still high, with safety-net offsetting some of the economic pain

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:19
Economic hardship persisted at high levels in the nation and North Carolina in 2013, according to new figures released today from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). The 2013 national poverty rate was 14.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2012 but still well-above pre-recession levels four years into the official economic recovery. There ...

Disturbing economic inequality news plus a stunning chart

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:45
The fallout from our nation’s decades-long effort to slash taxes on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations (and the public structures those taxes once provided) continues to spread. The Washington Post reports that the growing gap between the super rich and everyone else is directly and negatively impacting state government budgets: Income inequality is taking a toll ...

Today’s shocking child abuse statistic

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 08:23
WRAL.com has a featured story this morning about the state sponsored form of child abuse known as “corporal punishment.” You know — that’s the thing the state law prohibits prisoners and animals from being subjected to, but approves for children as an a tool of “education.” The issue is in the news again these days ...

The message behind McCrory’s lack of action on coal ash

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 15:12
There have been several noteworthy reactions to Governor Pat McCrory’s strange decision to simply let the General Assembly’s coal ash legislation become law without his signature last week. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger came this close to accusing the Governor of – yikes! – improper bias toward his longtime employer when he said the ...

Policy change means funding for new students no longer a guarantee for public schools

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:44
Each year public schools across the state experience changes in their student enrollment levels – some see an increase, others a decline, while enrollment in some schools remain steady. A policy change included in the budget approved by state lawmakers for the current fiscal year 2015 means schools experiencing growth in student enrollment are no ...

Two takes on Medicaid expansion

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:36
If you missed it over the weekend, there are two-must read stories on where North Carolina stands in expanding Medicaid. The Winston Salem Journal’s Richard Craver had a sit down interview with state DHHS Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos, in which Wos said she would “soon” be recommending expanding the state Medicaid program to Gov. Pat ...

Richard Burr’s one man blockade bucks hopeful trend in federal courts

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:21
Those looking for some good news from the nation’ capital — any good news — got a small dose over the weekend in this story in the New York Times about the Obama administration’s progress in restoring a measure of balance to the federal judiciary. As the Times reported, after five years and an important rule change ...

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 ...

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