NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Legislator: Last year’s tax cuts impacting ‘essential services’ (video)

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 15:23
State budget negotiations will spill over into next week as lawmakers remain at odds over Medicaid and the best approach for funding raises for teachers and state workers. Rep. Verla Insko believes legislative leaders may have a difficult time reaching a consensus after last year’s budget cut taxes “too much, too fast.”: “One of the ...

Breaking: Federal labor officials want same-sex couples in all states (and N.C.) covered by Federal Medical Leave Act

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 10:25
The federal Department of Labor announced today that it will move to include same-sex marriages under the Federal Medical Leave Act, a decision that will mean more legal protections for families in states like North Carolina that don’t currently recognize gay marriages. The rule change being sought by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez would ...

Tuition Equity: An Idea That Works For Everyone

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 09:37
In 20 states, undocumented students that graduate from an in-state high school can go to college for in-state tuition. Studies show that these states are reaping serious economic benefits — and a new report shows why it’s time for North Carolina to join them. Given the demographic and economic changes driving the state’s need for ...

Editorial: ‘Clumsy budgeting and absolutely bizarre plan’ to hike teacher pay

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 09:36
If you haven’t been closely following state budget negotiations this week, take time to read the News & Observer’s Friday editorial that explains the wide-gulf between the House and Senate spending plans and the ‘troubling hypocrisy’ that comes from trying to boost teacher pay with gambling proceeds. Here’s an excerpt: The House plan is hopelessly ...

Supports for young children and working parents take hit in both Senate and House budget proposals

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 08:26
Both the Senate and House Budget proposals leave much to be desired when it comes to ensuring that young children’s needs are supported and that they are in safe, enriching learning environments. Both proposals require cuts to four of North Carolina’s 16 child development agencies and fail to make up for lost ground in funding ...

House education committee rejects Senate version of Common Core repeal bill

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 07:29
On Thursday members of the House Education Committee, who were supposed to take up the Senate version of a bill that aims to repeal the Common Core State Standards, instead replaced its language with their own version of the bill that they had already passed earlier in the legislative session. Sen. Jerry Tillman, the bill’s sponsor, stood at ...

Where there’s a will, there’s a way when it comes to the state budget

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:23
Gov. McCrory’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 and respective budgets by the House and Senate include significant cost savings from closing and downsizing various correctional facilities. Savings from these changes total around $14.2 million in both the House and Senate budgets and $14.9 million in the Governor’s budget. Savings generated from these changes could ...

Waiting for Bostic?

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 15:18
As this post on SCOTUSblog reminds us, same-sex marriage cases are now pending in five federal appeals courts, including one in the Fourth Circuit, Bostic v. Schaefer, which was argued in Richmond in May. How the three-judge panel will rule in Bostic, which deals with Virginia’s same sex marriage law, is not clear cut, according to court-watchers.  From the ...

Helping Our 3rd Graders

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 14:21
There is no doubt that ensuring that 3rd graders read at grade level or above is a great goal. The recently revised Read to Achieve section of the Excellent Public Schools Act is North Carolina’s way to carry out that goal. Very much like other education policies that North Carolina has adopted (vouchers, repealing Common ...

Caring and Working

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 13:48
A bevy of reports released this week measure aspects of states’ “family friendly” policies show North Carolina has a lot of room for improvement to accommodate the new reality that most working adults are also being squeezed (or hugged) by caregiving responsibilities for their elders, their children, or both. The reports come ahead of the ...

In Medicaid “optional” service does not mean “unnecessary”

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 13:45
In a good conversation with Becki Gray yesterday on News 14 we discussed the different visions for Medicaid reform proposed in the respective budgets of the Governor, House, and Senate. In particular, Gray, who works for the John Locke Foundation, noted that the state has a “rich” benefits package in Medicaid because we offer many ...

Prosperity Watch: Not enough families earning enough to make ends meet

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:51
What does it really take to make ends meet in North Carolina? And how many families aren’t able to, despite working full-time? Find out in the latest issue of Prosperity Watch.

Moral Monday priorities cost $7 billion, $10 billion? Not so, BTC expert says

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:05
Defenders of the N.C. legislature’s conservative agenda have recently touted reports claiming that implementing the goals of the Moral Monday protest movement would cost anywhere from $7 to $10 billion, a sum of money that would mean a drastic rise in taxes. But that’s not the case, according to Alexandra Forter Sirota, the director of ...

Fast-tracking charter schools

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:00
Earlier this week, the Senate approved a bill that would create a fast-track process for successful charter schools wishing to replicate themselves and for charter chains wishing to expand their presence in the state. From the Charlotte Observer’s Ann Doss Helms: The charter bill sponsored by Sens. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, would require the ...

Final Commerce privatization bill still a bad deal for taxpayers

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 10:29
The unfortunate quest to privatize the state’s business recruitment and job creation efforts took a big step forward yesterday, when the Senate agreed to a House proposal creating a new nonprofit partnership to oversee much of the state’s economic development efforts. This misguided proposal is a bad deal for North Carolina taxpayers, businesses, and workers—schemes ...

Another day, another editorial against proposed car insurance rate scheme

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 09:53
Add the Charlotte Observer to the long and growing list of voices opposed to the disingenuous plan cooked up by a group of insurance companies to get out from under the consumer protection regulation overseen by the state Insurance Commissioner. As this editorial notes this morning: “Currently, auto insurance companies doing business in North Carolina ...

Rep. Dollar told lottery official to keep quiet about flawed House budget

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 09:09
The controversy about the House plan to cynically increase lottery sales to fund teacher pay hikes is getting more troubling every day. Saturday the News & Observer reported that lottery officials sent a memo to key legislative staffers before the House budget vote explaining that the lottery could not raise the amount  of money included in ...

House budget better than Senate on economic development, still falls short of what’s needed

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:22
As long as North Carolina’s overall job creation remains anemic and rural regions continue to lag behind the rest of the state, it will be critical to adequately invest in proven economic development strategies like increasing small business lending, supporting development in economically-distressed communities, and strengthening the nexus between cutting edge research and innovative industrial ...

Senate committee approves bill exempting some child care facilities from licensure

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:47
Lawmakers moved a bill forward Wednesday that would exempt some non-public schools offering before and after school child care from obtaining licensure. House Bill 712, which initially dealt with expert witness compensation, was stripped by Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) and replaced with language that primarily makes changes to the state’s disability voucher program. But the ...

Playing the numbers with teacher raises

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:32
State lawmakers haven’t decided if the N.C. Education Lottery will be able to double the number of ads it runs and then use proceeds from increased sales to pay for teacher raises. The House and Senate sides of the Republican-led legislature have stark differences in this year’s budget, and one of the biggest areas of ...