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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 48 min 37 sec ago

Judge helping with caseload of unfilled judicial vacancy in eastern NC set to retire at end of March

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 15:47

There was already a judicial emergency in the federal courts in eastern North Carolina, but things just got a little more dire. Judge James C. Fox submitted his letter of resignation Monday to the Federal Bar. He was one of three senior judges helping to manage the heavy caseload of a judicial vacancy in the U.S. District Court. ...

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House Republican compares economic losses of abbreviated school summer breaks to HB2

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 13:03

House Bill 389, a bipartisan measure that would test school calendar flexibility for up to 20 counties in North Carolina, may not include Rep. Frank Iler‘s Brunswick County district. But the coastal North Carolina Republican is still fired up over the state House Education Committee‘s approval Tuesday of a proposed pilot program that would assess the ...

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ICYMI: Mecklenburg District judges speak out against lawmakers’ effort to subdivide court districts

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:32

District Court judges in Mecklenburg County held a press conference before court earlier this week to speak out against Senate Bill 306. The bill was introduced earlier this month and seeks to subdivide Mecklenburg County District Courts to mirror Superior Courts. It is sponsored by Mecklenburg Republicans, Sen. Jeff Tarte and Sen. Dan Bishop. WBTV ...

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Taking the fun out of Superfund: What’s at stake when Trump and Company gut the EPA

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 11:29

In the mountains, near the Pisgah Forest, and small-town neighborhoods. In cities, like Raleigh, and military bases, such as Camp Lejeune. Throughout North Carolina,  39 Superfund sites are polluted with dry cleaning solvents, mining tailings, wood preservatives and chemicals that have long been outlawed such as DDT and PCBs. These sites are in varying stages of clean ...

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NC House OKs concealed guns on church-school property, outside of school operating hours (video)

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 08:45

Legislation that would allow parishioners to carry concealed weapons to church services held on school property outside of school hours passed the state House 82-34 Monday evening. Rep. Rena Turner, the key sponsor of House Bill 174, said the bill was requested by churchgoers who felt vulnerable after the 2015 shooting at the Mother Emanuel ...

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New report: Clean energy employment leaving fossil fuels in the dust

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 07:58

As some conservative North Carolina lawmakers plot yet again to scuttle planned expansions of wind energy in the eastern part of the state, there’s new evidence that they are ignoring the obvious — namely, that clean, sustainable energy is the name of the game and it’s time to leave fossil fuels behind. This is from ...

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N.C. House lawmakers to take up school calendar flexibility Tuesday

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 16:53

Given the spate of local bills filed this session intended to grant school districts greater flexibility in crafting their own calendars, it’s worth noting members of a key state House of Representatives committee are expected to take up a study of the impacts of such calendar flexibility Tuesday morning. Members of the House Education Committee ...

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AP reports $3.76 billion in lost business by 2028 over HB2; Cooper responds

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 15:34

The Associated Press unveiled a hefty price tag Monday for how much House Bill 2 will cost North Carolina — $3.76 billion in lost business by the end of 2028. The AP’s analysis was compiled through interviews and public records requests and “represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost ...

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Home state editorial: SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch is “perfectly qualified but fatally flawed”

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 13:00

There’s a fine editorial today in the Aurora, Colorado Sentinel on the nomination of Coloradan Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. In it, the authors offer a powerful takedown of Gorsuch’s extreme views on religious freedom, which were best evidenced in his actions in the infamous Hobby Lobby case. Here’s a powerful ...

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Six things to have on your radar this week

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:00

Equal Rights Amendment – Legislators and members of organizations supporting women’s rights will gather at the Legislative Building in Raleigh this afternoon to call upon the leadership of the House and Senate to prioritize action on bills (HB 102 and SB 85) that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. The ...

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DEQ Secretary Michael Regan signals he will fight for environmental justice

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:15

While caterers released the aroma of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans from a fleet of steaming pans, Michael Regan sat a table designated “reserved,”  and reviewed his lunchtime speech. “The truth is, we’ve got work to do,” read part of the first page. “We have a special obligation to the underserved and underrepresented.” Regan, who ...

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Rep. Joe John talks judicial, legislative experience in midst of partisan battles over the courts

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 09:00

When House lawmakers passed a bill to reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12, Rep. Joe John was crushed. The Wake County Democrat spent a quarter of a century in the courts; he’s worked as a legal-aid attorney, a prosecutor and has served on the bench as a District Court judge, Superior ...

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 07:18

There’s so much to criticize in state and federal government these days that picking top editorials is always a tough chore. This weekend’s best, however, comes from the Greensboro News & Record. The subject: a new proposal from North Carolina lawmakers to harass immigrants and local government that might want to help them. Here are ...

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Chris Brook of the ACLU of NC speaks about HB2 litigation

Sat, 03/25/2017 - 08:00

At this past Thursday’s Crucial Conversation (“One year later: What now for HB2?”)  multiple audience members asked ACLU of NC legal director Chris Brook for his take on the impact of the Trump administration on HB2, as well as the broader question of what the fight over HB2 means for LGBTQ rights more generally. “There’s ...

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This week’s top five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 16:00

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch  1. School choice supporters tout questionable data on charters Charter schools in North Carolina are becomingly increasingly white and affluent. Those are two of the overriding conclusions derived from recent analysis of the state’s charter population by a variety of stakeholders. But a new set of numbers ...

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North Carolina not creating enough jobs to keep up with demands of working-age population

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:00

There’s more sobering news today on the state economy that conservative lawmakers are constantly (and, as it turns out, erroneously) touting as some kind of incredible success story. The bottom line: North Carolina continues to under-perform much of the rest of the nation in the post-Great Recession national recovery. This is new from the experts ...

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Congress changes Trumpcare in dead of night to allow insurers to cap coverage and deny care

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:05

Shortly before 11 PM last night, the Republican House of Representatives amended their Trumpcare bill. Following the House’s delay of a planned floor vote on the American Health Care Act yesterday, Republican leadership made the change to persuade hardline conservatives in the Freedom Caucus to vote for the bill. Zachary Tracer from Bloomberg explains how this ...

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UNC Center for Civil Rights sets the record straight in response to Board of Governors’ attack

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 07:00

As was explained in this post late last month, conservative members of the UNC Board of Governors are seeking to muzzle and cripple the Center for Civil Rights that’s a part of the UNC School of Law at Chapel Hill. This week the Center staff shared a detailed response to the BOG with NC Policy ...

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With legislative fix to class size crisis stalling, teacher advocates say thousands of jobs at stake

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 16:44

An estimated 4,500 teachers across the state may lose their jobs next school year if members of the N.C. General Assembly don’t act on a legislative fix to the state’s looming class size, N.C. Association of Educators President Mark Jewell said Thursday. “Many of our state public school teachers are on edge about whether or ...

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Legislature overrides veto, joins seven other states in making partisan judicial elections law

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 16:15

Superior and District Court judicial candidates will now be identified on the ballot with an R or D by their name. The Republican-led General Assembly voted to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 100. The House voted along party lines to override the veto yesterday and the Senate voted today. Ford Porter, ...

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