NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

Let’s see the climate change deniers deny this

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 08:38
Like their intellectual predecessors who for so long denied the dangers of tobacco smoke, the creativity of climate change deniers in manufacturing excuses and red herring-filled critiques of common sense public regulations knows few bounds. At some point, however, the evidence simply becomes so overwhelming that reasonable people simply stop listening to the denials. Let’s ...

Two charter school hopefuls part ways with troubled Florida management company

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:57
Two charter schools hoping to open up shop in North Carolina in 2016 have abandoned partnering with a troubled management company that had planned to operate the schools, according to the News & Observer. The questions surrounding Newpoint Education Partners [a Florida-based education management company] caused the State Board of Education earlier this month to refer Pine Springs ...

House Majority Leader too busy to consider McCrory’s bond proposal

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:02
Governor Pat McCrory continues to struggle to earn the respect of state legislative leaders. The latest evidence that the folks on Jones Street aren’t too worried about what the governor thinks comes from House Majority Leader Mike Hager in an AP story about why McCrory’s bond proposals are floundering in the House and Senate. “With ...

New report, video document lives destroyed and money wasted by NC’s broken death penalty

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 10:27
From the good people at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation “Death penalty advocates say executions are needed to puni:sh a small handful of the “worst of the worst” criminals. However, a new report from the Center for Death Penalty Litigation finds that the death penalty in North Carolina is being used broadly and indiscriminately, ...

Expert: NC’s special ed funding is inadequate and inequitable

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 07:43
In the aftermath of last week’s unveiling of the dreadful North Carolina Senate budget proposal, this morning’s “must read” is an op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by children’s advocate Jason Langberg. In it, Langberg explains why North Carolina’s system of allocating funds to educate children with special needs is already ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 15:35
1. NC Senate unveils education budget that guts teacher assistants, rewards less experienced teachers Senate proposes cutting more than 8,500* teacher assistant positions Senate leaders unveiled portions of a 2015-17 budget proposal Monday that gives teachers an average four percent pay raise and lowers class sizes in the early grades— but much like last year’s ...

Senate budget ends health retirement benefits for future teachers and state employees

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 12:19
A few short lines in the 2015-17 Senate budget would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016. “This will negatively impact the state’s ability to recruit good, qualified folks,” said Richard Rogers, executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association. “In the future, I don’t see folks ...

Democracy NC on back-up provisions for the Voter ID requirement

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 12:19
“Huge” and “unexpected” – that is how Democracy NC is describing the move by the NC legislature to modify the state’s voter ID law on Thursday. The election modification now allows  voters without photo ID to cast provisional ballots. The voter would need to complete a reasonable impediment declaration, detailing why they could not present ...

A budget compromise by July 1st? Some say Labor Day more likely

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 10:59
It appears both House and Senate leaders are in no hurry to to hammer out the differences in their respective budget plans. House Speaker Tim Moore is already talking about a continuing resolution that could last well into the summer. Here’s what Moore told reporters for the Raleigh News & Observer: “The issue will be ...

Education Reform Funding In Massachusetts: Recognizing the Connection between Education and Economic Development

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 09:14
This is a guest blog post from Luc Schuster, Deputy Director with the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. This blog post synthesizes and updates information in a longer MassBudget’s factsheet on Education Reform in Massachusetts, available online HERE. Motivated by growing concerns that our schools were not serving all students well, especially those in high-poverty ...

Editorial writers: A call for action on gun access, mental health following Charleston church shooting

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 08:04
Understandably, most editorials this Friday are devoted to helping us come to terms with the senseless shootings at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Eugene Robinson writes for The Washington Post: I wish we could better address issues of mental health, too. Perhaps it should be easier for concerned family ...

North Carolina’s elected officials respond to the Charleston church shooting

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:26
From former state Senator Malcolm Graham whose sister Cynthia Hurd was among the victims: “My sister, Ms. Cynthia Marie Graham-Hurd, was a victim of the senseless hate crime at Emanuel AME Church. It is unimaginable that she would walk into church and not return. “But that’s who she was – a woman of faith. This ...

UNC Board of Governors moving ahead with search for new president, releases “leadership statement”

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:25
Want to know what the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors is looking for in its next leader? Here’s the 46-page leadership statement (scroll down to read) adopted Thursday by a board subcommittee that spells out what qualifications, qualities and values are desired for whoever replaces outgoing UNC President Tom Ross. The statement was ...

Trending today on Jones Street – #NCGA budget talks and the #CharlestonShooting

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 12:50
The two stories trending on Twitter this afternoon are the Senate’s passage of their $21.5 billion state spending plan, and the arrest of Dylann Storm Roof, the suspect in the tragic Charleston church shooting. Here are some of the leading tweets on both stories: #ncga Senate gives final approval to their budget plan 32-15. Heads ...

Orange County school teacher, assistant principal quit following controversy over reading a gay-themed story in class

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 11:07
A teacher and assistant principal at Orange County’s Efland-Cheeks Elementary School have resigned their positions following an uproar over the teacher’s decision to read a gay-themed fairy tale to his third grade students in an effort to put a stop to bullying in his school. From the News & Observer: Omar Currie and Meg Goodhand ...

Comparison chart: House budget reinvests more than the Senate budget but both plans fail to fully restore previous cuts

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 09:51
The state Senate is set to take a third and final vote on its two-year spending plan today, nearly a month after the House approved its budget. Next, each chamber will select respective leaders to negotiate in “conference” to iron out differences between the two budget proposals. The final budget agreement will head back to ...

Pain and tragedy in Charleston

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 09:19
“This tragedy that we’re addressing right now is undescribable,” Charleston’s police chief said at a news conference. “No one in this community will ever forget this night. And as a result of that, and because of the pain, and because of the hurt that this individual has caused this community, this entire community, the law enforcement ...

National Economy, Stock Market Drive Better than Expected Income Tax Collections Not Tax Cuts

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 07:58
Both House and Senate budget writers did the right thing by putting the $400 million projected surplus this year towards reserves.  This is important because North Carolina’s revenue collection surprise in April was largely the result of national trends that saw strong performance in capital gains income, a likely one time event. The challenge, of ...

Hartsell case a reminder of the shockingly inadequate funding for the State Board of Elections

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 06:39
The unanimous decision by the State Board of Elections to turn over the investigation of Sen. Fletcher Hartsell’s campaign finances to state and federal prosecutors came after a three year probe by board officials. The WRAL story about the case provides the reason why the case took so long and what the investigations are so rare. ...

Controversial gun bill clears the House, heads to the Senate (video)

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 22:50
After hours of heated debate over two days, the NC House gave final approval (78-37) Wednesday to a sweeping bill that amends various firearm laws. Several of the more controversial measures of House Bill 562 did not make it into the final version approved by the House. Specifically, supporters of the bill removed a provision ...

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