NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 19 min ago

Will conservatives provoke a constitutional crisis over the Supreme Court?

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 07:31

As several news media outlets are reporting this morning, a constitutional crisis is looming in Washington. It revolves around the comments of at least three conservative U.S. Senators — most recently including North Carolina’s Richard Burr — about the U.S. Supreme Court and the possibility that conservatives will attempt to block any nominees submitted by ...

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Climate change threatening coastal forests, including those in NC

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 16:57

The swamps, tidal forests and wetlands of coastal North Carolina are studded with the snags of bald cypress, swamp black gum and water tupelo trees. But climate change is threatening these woodlands, as rising seas push saltwater into freshwater wetlands and estuaries. A story published today by Yale Environment 360 says that saltwater intrusion is killing off ...

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Reidsville physician, scholarly reports, TV news segments show us again why NC policymakers need to close the coverage gap

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:52

Today is the first day of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. And while North Carolinians have reason to celebrate the increase in coverage for many adults and families, there are still as many as 500,000 Tar Heels who would gain coverage if state lawmakers decided to fully implement the ACA and close the coverage ...

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McCrory’s attorney argues for sovereign immunity in public records lawsuit appeal

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 14:30

An attorney for Gov. Pat McCrory argued Tuesday before a three-panel judge in the North Carolina Court of Appeals that a trial court should have dismissed an open records lawsuit because of sovereign immunity. The N.C. Justice Center, along with a number of media and non-profit coalition partners, filed the lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory in July ...

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One week to go: Top races a virtual tie in North Carolina

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 13:25

If you’ve ever thought one vote couldn’t make a difference, you might want to reconsider that this election year. The latest polling by Elon University finds that the presidential and gubernatorial races are simply too close to call, while the U.S. Senate contest favors Richard Burr, but remains within the margin of error. “North Carolina ...

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New report points to declining student growth in NC charter schools

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 11:03

The materials for this week’s North Carolina State Board of Education meeting include a new report on charter school performance, highlighting a potentially troubling trend in charter performance. The State Board established the Annual Charter Schools Update to set goals and measures for charter schools and “to annually monitor and track performance trends.”  The report ...

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Senator Burr reverses stance on Supreme Court vacancy

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 10:06

In case you missed it, North Carolina’s senior senator Richard Burr has changed his position on the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy that was created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Eight months ago, Burr said the slot should be filled by the new president — whoever is elected next week: “In this election year, ...

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Entire federal court of appeals will reconsider Rowan County prayer case

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 09:18

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will reconsider a case about the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ current prayer policy. The en banc review was granted in response to the ACLU of North Carolina asking the federal court to reconsider after a 2-1 ruling in September that reversed a U.S. District Court decision holding that the county’s state sponsored prayers ...

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Six years of conservative rule in NC: Reviewing the destructive impact

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 07:52

Last fall, the staff at NC Policy Watch produced a powerful report on some of the key impacts of conservative rule in North Carolina at the five-year mark called Altered State. Today, as this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing reminds us, the damage continues to mount: “A year after the release of Altered State, the policy ...

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A jowl-dropper: NC Pork Council woos investigative reporter Andy Curliss to be new CEO

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 14:29

This post has been updated to more accurately explain the timeline of Curliss’s internship at The N&O. Award-winning investigative reporter Andy Curliss was just an intern at The News & Observer the summer of 1995, before it won the Pulitzer Prize for its incisive examination of the state’s hog industry. That damning series, published in February 1995 by Pat ...

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Conference: North Carolina doesn’t have to wait for legislature to stop criminalizing teens as adults

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 14:00

There are more teens processed in the adult criminal system in North Carolina than the juvenile system. That may not come as a surprise to most, but what many officials don’t know is that they don’t have to wait for the state to raise the age to stop criminalizing 16- and 17-year-olds. The Youth Justice Project ...

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State official: Change in reporting style responsible for NC’s sudden drop in the teacher turnover rate

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 13:00

Last week, Policy Watch reported the news that teacher turnover had seemingly plunged in North Carolina’s latest “State of the Teaching Profession” report. But as a Department of Public Instruction official explained Monday, a change in how the report is calculated is more responsible for the drop than any major shift in the state’s policies ...

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Monday map time: The link between arsenic, Alzheimer’s disease, coal ash and poultry farms

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:11

  One billion years ago, volcanoes bulged from the landscape and hot lava coated the future towns of Monroe and Marshville, Waxhaw and Wingate in Union County. This region is known as the state’s “slate belt” — rocks formed by volcanoes. Where there is a slate belt, there is often naturally occurring arsenic. That arsenic can be sloughed into groundwater, where ...

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Get the real facts on North Carolina’s economy

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 11:52

Some would like to suggest that Governor McCrory’s election-year campaign slogan, “The Carolina Comeback,”  is a fact-based explanation of the current conditions on the ground in North Carolina. With the national economy growing, it makes sense that North Carolina leaders would try to take some of the credit for themselves, but there isn’t any credible ...

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Surprise! State employees receive last minute bonus during early voting

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 10:55

Here’s the latest entry in the “there’s nothing new under the sun, but this is till depressing as heck” department. A lot of state employees received the following notice last week (and we’re sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the election and the commencement of early voting): “Among the provisions of the 2016 ...

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North Carolina politicos remember Rep. Paul Luebke’s 25 years of public service

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 10:20

State Rep. Paul Luebke died from lymphoma Saturday at the age of 70. The Durham County Democrat served in the State House of Representatives since 1991. Here’s how many North Carolinians are remembering his legacy: “Representative Luebke was a dedicated servant whose long career in education and in the General Assembly reflected his undeniable passion ...

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The best editorials of the weekend

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 07:47

In the ongoing battle to get North Carolina elected leaders to think ahead when it comes to investing in public systems and structures, two editorials in particular were noteworthy over the weekend. The Wilmington Star News had yet another fine essay decrying the state’s heartless and self-destructive refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care ...

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North Carolina loses a great man

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 17:27

It will take all week — at least — to chronicle the many accomplishments and principled stands taken by Durham’s Paul Luebke during his many years of service to the state of North Carolina. Luebke was a lawmaker, a scholar and, above all, great and relentless champion of social, political and economic justice and a ...

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This week’s top five on NC Policy Watch

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 09:00

1. The courts or the legislature? The future of HB2 beyond November With less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 election, North Carolina House Bill 2 continues to be a contentious rallying point for the political left and right. But what is the future of the controversial law beyond election season? Is repeal possible, ...

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New report: Teacher turnover drops, but remains high in North Carolina

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 15:52

Teacher turnover has dropped in North Carolina, according to a new state report, but remains high in a state that has seen thousands of educators leave for employment in other states over the last decade. This year’s annual teacher workforce report pegs the state’s teacher attrition rate just higher than 9 percent. Compared to last ...

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