NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Pat McCrory’s last chance to do the right thing

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 07:00

As the North Carolina General Assembly hurtles forward with its stunning power play to seize numerous duties that Gov.-elect Cooper is scheduled to assume January 1, it’s increasingly clear that there’s only probably one person left who can conceivably do anything to stop it. That would be the current inhabitant of the Governor’s mansion, one ...

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NCGA Special Session Day 2: When the levee breaks

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 23:15

After a relatively uneventful first day of the North Carolina General Assembly’s special session…well, the levee broke. The GOP supermajority in the NCGA had been saying this week they didn’t intend to go beyond disaster relief in this session. So, having passed the disaster relief bill that prompted the extra session, the Republicans decided to ...

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General Assembly moves to dramatically limit new governor’s powers

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 21:51

The North Carolina General Assembly’s GOP majority moved to dramatically limit the powers of the governor’s office Wednesday as Democratic Governor-Elect Roy Cooper prepares to take office next month. House Bill 17, filed late Wednesday during a special session called without warning to Democratic lawmakers, is the widest ranging example. The bill would strip the ...

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Senate bill seeks to create new bipartisan Board of Elections agency, restore partisan court races, diminish power of NC Supreme Court

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 20:53

A bill filed by Senate Republicans on Wednesday night would take away the political advantage of having Governor-elect Roy Cooper appoint positions to the State Board of Elections by creating a new, bipartisan agency: the Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Board would consist of eight members; four Republicans and four Democrats appointed by ...

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The regulatory reform bill: Imperfect, but it could be worse

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 20:04

The good news about the Regulatory Reform Bill: There are no ominous “studies” about locating wind turbines near military bases, a precursor to a potential kibosh on the renewable energy resource. In fact, there is no mention of renewable energy at all, which means the portfolio standard passed in 2007 is safe — today. Whew. The ...

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Senate Republican files school bond bill; rewrite to come?

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 17:33

It remains to be seen whether a Wednesday filing by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican, can be taken at face value or—as North Carolina legislators have done in the past—is simply being used as a placeholder for other lawmaking. A Policy Watch phone call to Brown’s office was not immediately returned Wednesday ...

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House Democrats protest special session, “legislating in the dark”

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 16:31

The scene on the House floor today was an exercise in civil disobedience. Democrats, one by one, stood and officially defied the Republicans’ vote to hold an extra special session — a session whose agenda is known only to those holding the majority of political power. “I’m formally joining the protest,” each lawmaker announced, following the lead ...

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N.C. House Democrats protest constitutionality of new session

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 14:48

As the N.C. House opens the fourth special session of of 2016, Democratic representatives are lodging a constitutional protest against the session. Rep. Darren Jackson of Wake County lodged the protest, joined in by the rest of the House’s Democrats. His argument: The N.C. constitution states that when the House speaker receives the signatures necessary ...

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Raleigh lawmakers aren’t really tapping Rainy Day Fund for hurricane aid

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 14:12

For years we have watched as policymakers set aside funding for a Rainy Day despite pressing needs in communities.  We were told this conservative approach to budgeting would be important in times of crisis—natural or economic disasters—that put pressure on the state to make immediate investments when their ability to adjust the revenue side may ...

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Durham charter accused of granting improper diplomas pledges to “do better”

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 13:30

Per WRAL, the leaders of a Durham charter accused of granting at least 53 unearned diplomas are pledging to “do better.” The WRAL report comes after members of the State Board of Education agreed in a special conference call Monday to refer the bizarre case at Kestrel Heights School to the Durham district attorney for ...

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Special Session Day 2: Surprises! Another Special Session

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 12:10

Well, the first day of the North Carolina General Assembly’s special session passed without many surprises. But day two…not so much. The General Assembly will adjourn this session after passing the final disaster relief bill (the House reconvenes at 1 p.m.) and then go into another, previously unannounced special session. N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore ...

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Comprehensive coverage of surprise special session

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 12:00

On December 15, the NC House of Representatives convened a previously unannounced special session, directly following the planned hurricane relief session. In total, 28 bills were proposed; this controversial move sparked protest by Democratic legislators.

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Special legislative session threatens to descend into farce

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 10:46

One of the best protest signs from the 2013 Moral Monday demonstrations said something to this effect: “I can’t believe we still have to protest this [crap].” Such a sign would be more than apt today as the special “hurricane” session plods along and the most powerful political leaders in our state continue to casually ...

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Special session update: Progressives don’t need to apologize for defeating court-packing scheme

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 06:29

One of the latest developments in the through-the-looking-glass world that is the 2016 North Carolina General Assembly is the utterly absurd claim from various voices on the right that progressives are somehow blameworthy for preemptively protesting plans to pack the state Supreme Court with two additional justices. You see, once state lawmakers finally realized yesterday ...

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NCGA Special Session Day 1: Disaster relief, no big surprises (yet)

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 19:14

The first day of the North Carolina General Assembly’s special legislative session is in the books – and the biggest surprise may have been no big surprises. Yet. Crowds gathered to protest a rumored court packing scheme that was first floated among conservative policy groups and media back in November and has remained popular in some conservative circles ...

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Same court that struck down NC voter ID law upholds Virginia’s, notes difference in case facts

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 18:30

The same court that struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law just months ago ruled Tuesday to uphold Virginia’s law, though it is noted in the court document that the facts of the cases “are in no way” alike. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled in Lee v. Virginia Board of ...

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With a “sense of urgency,” lawmakers push disaster relief bill — without a timeline for fund disbursement

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 17:42

The vibe in the halls of the Legislative Building today ranged from angry — protesters chanted “shame” outside the Senate gallery — to anxious — as lobbyists, lawmakers, the media and the curious wondered what shenanigans the special session might hold. Courtpacking? Regulatory reform? Something more sinister? Gov. Pat McCrory had called the session so ...

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Disaster recovery bill a good start, but a sustained commitment is needed

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 14:45

State lawmakers have proposed providing $200.9 million in one-time state funds to assist with recovery and relief efforts resulting from Hurricane Matthew, wildfires in the Western part of the state, and Tropical Storms Julia and Hermine. A little over half of the relief aid comes from drawing down the state’s Savings Reserve Account, which has ...

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Senator: Court packing on everyone’s mind despite most still being ‘in the dark’ on potential legislation

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 12:40

The special legislative session is well under way, and while there still has been no official word on a GOP scheme to pack the state Supreme Court, it’s very much on people’s minds. Democratic leader, Sen. Dan Blue, from Wake County, held a press conference before the session started to call attention to the possibility of ...

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Young lawyer employed by N.C. House Speaker appointed district court judge

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 11:18

While the N.C. General Assembly was beginning its special session Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory announced a surprise appointment: Justin Brackett, a 29-year-old lawyer who passed the bar in 2012, works for the law office of N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore. Brackett just lost a very close election for one of North Carolina District Court Judge ...

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