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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 2 hours 11 min ago

FIRE, ACLU both express concerns about direction of UNC system “free speech” policy

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 15:30

It didn’t come as a surprise to many that the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern with a new a policy to “restore and preserve free speech” on UNC campuses. The policy, prompted by a nationwide conservative movement, is being crafted by the GOP-dominated UNC Board of Governors, leading civil liberties advocates to worry it may ...

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Superior Court panel’s response to Supreme Court in elections, ethics merge due soon

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 14:30

The deadline is fast approaching for a three-judge Superior Court panel to respond a request made by the state Supreme Court to provide further details in a battle between the Governor and the legislature over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Supreme Court ordered Sept. 1 that the Superior Court panel explain ...

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N.C. charter school leader hosts Dan Forest fundraiser attended by controversial evangelical minister

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 13:36

Tony Helton, one of North Carolina’s most influential charter school leaders, hosted a July fundraiser at his home for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest that was reportedly attended by an evangelical minister whose Rutherford County church has been accused of covering up sexual molestation and violent attempts to “purify” members of its congregation. Policy Watch confirmed ...

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A third of 110 private drinking water wells near Chemours tested high for GenX

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 11:14

NC Policy Watch has more coverage of yesterday’s meeting of the House Select Committee on River Quality. An assisting living home on Tranquility Road. Nine residences in one subdivision and three in another. Sampling from September show the extent — so far — of GenX contamination in private drinking water wells near the Chemours plant. ...

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Want a better economy? Make sure wealthy residents pay their fair share

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 09:23

States that require wealthy residents to reinvest in their communities did better over the past decade, according to a new report from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. States that collect more income taxes from wealthy people generally outperformed their peers that chose to give their most fortunate residents a comparative pass on supporting ...

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Dan Forest: Making nice with frightening religious extremists

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 08:26

In case you missed it, Raleigh’s News & Observer has yet another extremely troubling story about North Carolina’s Lt. Governor, Dan Forest. This is from “Leader of church at center of scandal attends fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Forest” by reporter Paul A. Specht: “A photo provided to The News & Observer shows Republican Lt. Gov. ...

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Federal court appoints special master in racial gerrymandering case to review, possibly redraw districts

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 13:31

A federal three-judge panel has ordered that a special master review and possibly redraw two state Senate and seven state House districts in a recent racial gerrymandering case. In an order released Thursday afternoon, the panel wrote that their review of lawmakers’ remedial maps in North Carolina v. Covington and subsequent objections and argument led ...

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Editorial: “Public outrage” required to get legislative leaders to act on GenX pollution

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 10:24

The lead editorial in today’s edition of the Wilmington Star News does a fine job once again of calling out the shameful inaction of state legislative leaders in addressing the GenX water pollution crisis. After laying out more details of what appears to be a growing public health emergency, the editorial concludes this way: “But ...

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Texas abortion case highlights the dystopian world Trump and his religious right allies would implement

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 07:47

In case you missed it in recent days and weeks, be sure to catch up on the Kafkaesque nightmare that the Trump administration inflicted on a 17 year old in Texas in service of its fanatical and misogynistic anti-abortion crusade. As a fine Washington Post editorial — reprinted yesterday in the Greenville Daily Reflector — ...

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Pipeline builders’ group starts “incident database” to track protests

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 16:30

An organization that supplies the energy industry with equipment and machinery is tracking protests against oil and gas pipeline projects, including those that are peaceful demonstrations. Energy Builders lists 18 incidents over the past year in which protesters were arrested. Some of those incidents involved vandalism to heavy machinery and pipelines under construction, but those ...

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Burr, Tillis: We’re with the big money lenders — not consumers and military families

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 15:51

As was reported in this space earlier today, one of the most direct and egregious new examples of Trumpism at work in undermining the well-being of average Americans came to the fore late last night when 50 Republican U.S. Senators voted with Vice President Mike Pence to elevate the interests of giant Wall Street corporations ...

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Lunch & Listen: NC Conservation Network sounds off on water safety, DEQ funding (Audio)

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:30

If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to take a few minutes today and listen to Grady McCallie with the NC Conservation Network discuss the need for more state funding at DEQ to fully investigate elevated levels of GenX and other emerging contaminants in our water. McCallie explains in clear terms why it ...

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Chief Justice labels GOP plan to shorten judicial terms a disruption of justice

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 10:05

Add Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin to the list of critics who oppose a proposed Constitutional amendment that would reduce all of North Carolina judges’ terms to two years and force them to run for reelection next year. As the Associated Press reports: The head of North Carolina’s court system is against a proposal ...

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While you were sleeping, the U.S. Senate voted to take away your consumer rights

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 07:31

It sure is good to see that how the Trumpists are “draining the swamp” of all those high-powered special interests in Washington. As Ian Millhiser of Think Progress reports, the latest slimy act of conservative leaders in Washington will lessen the rights of tens of millions of American consumers. This is from a new article ...

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DEQ won’t suspend Chemours’ wastewater discharge permit, but company faces class-action lawsuit

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:40

Based on water quality monitoring results at the Chemours plant, state environmental regulators announced today it won’t suspend the company’s wastewater discharge permit into the Cape Fear River. However, the permit renewal is still under review, and the state could still revoke the permit should the company again release perfluorinated compounds such as GenX and Nafion ...

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Florida investigation: Private schools pull in $1 billion in public funds with little oversight

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 16:15

In a story that’s sure to only galvanize critics of North Carolina’s fast-expanding private school voucher program, a recent and extensive Orlando Sentinel investigation takes on Florida’s oversight of its own private school scholarship system. According to that report, Florida private schools are pulling in roughly $1 billion in taxpayer-funded scholarships with lax oversight from the ...

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UNC Board of Governors committees meet this week – still no word on official membership

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:39

If you’ve been following our recent coverage of the UNC Board of Governors, mark your calendars for two meetings on Wednesday. The first meeting of the board’s Subcommittee on Laboratory Schools will be held Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the Spangler Building, 910 Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill. The board’s full committee on ...

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Must-see documentary on rising sea levels on North Carolina’s coast premieres tonight

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:25

Scientists predict about a three-foot rise in sea level along North Carolina’s coast by the year 2100. But coastal dwellers have already seen increased erosion and more frequent flooding. Tonight WRAL-TV will air its latest documentary “Sea Change” further examining what sea level rise will mean for coastal communities in the not-to-distant future. Documentary producer ...

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Berger appoints mostly GOP committee to look at judicial reform, redistricting

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:22

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, whose chief of staff has been pushing a “merit” judicial section plan, has named a majority Republican committee to review judicial reform and redistricting. Senators Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) and Warren Daniel (R-Burke) are co-chairs of the select committee on judicial reform and redistricting. They are two of 10 Republican ...

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UNC Board of Governors hears push-back on tuition cut proposal

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:00

During Monday’s tour of Fayetteville State University, members of the UNC Board of Governors heard push-back on a tuition-cut proposal floated at its meeting last month. The Fayetteville Observer reported FSU Chancellor James Anderson took the opportunity of board members’ visit to address the issue: Last year, FSU pulled out of that effort to cut ...

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