NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Thanks, Obamacare, for this amazing graph!

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 07:43
Here’s a a good way to start the new week: Consider this remarkable graph on the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act — an imperfect law that conservatives have done everything in their power to undermine — especially in states like North Carolina. Indeed, if Gov. pat McCrory and the General Assembly had not decided ...

North Carolina remembers Rodney Ellis, a champion for public education (w/ video)

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 17:08
NC Policy Watch was deeply saddened to learn of Saturday’s untimely passing of Rodney Ellis, the former president of the NC Association of Educators. Ellis was a tireless advocate for North Carolina’s 95,000 teachers and a frequent critic of legislative policies that diverted money from the state’s public school classrooms. Last September, Ellis sat down ...

NC DEQ asks EPA to dismiss civil rights complaint over hog farms

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 16:37
State environmental  regulators have asked the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights to reject a complaint alleging large hog farms disproportionately harm minority communities. EarthJustice and the UNC Center for Civil Rights, on behalf of the NC Environmental Justice Network, REACH and the Waterkeeper Alliance, filed the complaint this year. It echoes a similar one the groups ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 14:20
1. NC Board of Elections cools voting plan controversy in marathon meeting Given the controversy leading up to Thursday’s State Board of Elections meeting, many were predicting a bit of a mess. And for good reason. First, a federal court invalidated large parts of NC election laws rewritten in 2013, including the cutting of early ...

Highlights – and low moments – from a 12 hour NC Board of Elections meeting

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 13:28
Thursday’s 12-hour NC Board of Elections meeting may be the longest on record – a few members stood around exhausted and a bit loopy after it was over, speculating. It was, without question, one of the most bizarre. The board had quite a task ahead of them. They had to thread the needle of complying ...

More maddening hypocrisy on hunger from the Guv’s office

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 11:08
Another day, another pious pronouncement from a powerful North Carolina politician about a terrible social ill that his own policies help to make worse on a daily basis. The latest (and recurring) issue: hunger. Yesterday, the Governor’s office released a statement in which it said the Gov. McCrory and his wife would be observing “Hunger ...

Just let the people vote, for Pete’s sake; SBOE actions are no panacea

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 08:31
Yesterday’s actions by the State Board of Elections to expand voting opportunities in some, but not all, North Carolina counties in this fall’s election (see Joe Killian’s thorough story below) were, on the whole, better than had been feared. To its credit, the Board did not simply adopt the outrageous voter suppression recommendations of Republican ...

NC Board of Elections cools voting plan controversy in marathon meeting

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 18:58
Given the controversy leading up to Thursday’s State Board of Elections meeting, many were predicting a bit of a mess. And for good reason. First, a federal court invalidated large parts of NC election laws rewritten in 2013, including the cutting of early voting down to 10 days. Then, as county election boards across the ...

Needed: Deeds to match the Governor’s words on mental health and substance abuse

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 12:04
September is a time in which government and nonprofit advocates hold up many health awareness issues, ranging from childhood obesity awareness to healthy aging. Recently, September was named “North Carolina National Recovery Month.” Unfortunately, this latter action appears to be mostly symbolic rather than substantive. While a signed proclamation by Gov. Pat McCrory is a ...

McCrory vs. the NC Chamber: One of them is not telling the truth (Video)

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 10:02
In case you missed it last night there was some big news on the HB2 front. In a speech in Winston-Salem yesterday, Gov. Pat McCrory claimed that the state’s highest profile business lobby group, the North Carolina Chamber, helped write the state’s all-purpose LGBT discrimination law. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch ...

Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 08:00
Copy of the lawsuit challenging HB2

Thankfully, the Right surrenders on another “culture war” issue

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 07:08
In case you missed it, there was some encouraging news from the good people at NC Child yesterday. Once again, after stubbornly holding out for decades, the Right is on the verge finally giving way on an important issue of the culture wars — corporal punishment.: Corporal Punishment Disappearing from the NC Public Education Landscape ...

Back to school: A competitive pay plan for North Carolina teachers

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 15:31
This is the third of a Back to School blog series (see Part 1 and Part 2) that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2016-17 school year kicks off. Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum understand that teachers are the most important classroom factor when it comes to improving student performance.  ...

Fracking wells closed, pipelines opposed: A tough week for natural gas

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 12:30
During one of the peaks of the North Carolina legislative fracking wars in 2015, then-state Rep. Mike Hager made a glib, yet telling remark about an amendment he was trying to force through: “Have you ever known me to regret anything?” according to a WRAL report at the time. Hager might not have regrets about fracking, but Oklahoma likely does. The state ...

National LGBT commentator skewers McCrory’s claim that HB2 is “irrelevant”

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 10:51
It’s increasingly difficult to keep up with the various and conflicting claims Gov. Pat McCrory is making about HB2. One day, he’s defending the state’s all-purpose LGBT discrimination law as “common sense” and an effort to guarantee “bathroom safety” and the next he’s characterizing the law as “irrelevant” because of federal lawsuits and actions taken ...

Editorial: Panel of judges maps the way to nonpartisan redistricting

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 07:29
The lead editorial in this morning’s Fayetteville Observer has some on-the-money praise for the recent efforts of a panel of retired judges (working with the nonprofit watchdog, Common Cause) to bring forth a nonpartisan congressional redistricting map for North Carolina. Here’s the conclusion: “Encouraged by years of court decisions affirming that it’s OK to draw ...

Afternoon map time: Bee kills in North Carolina

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 15:49
The bees are bummed. First, a new study shows that their habitats are threatened by the biofuels industry, which demands more land for corn and soybeans rather than pollinator-friendly plants. Corn, according to the study, which was cited by The Washington Post, is a poor forage crop for honeybees. Plus, corn and soybeans are often treated with pesticides, ...

North Carolina takes step forward in addressing worker misclassification

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 15:09
Workers in North Carolina received some welcome news last week – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the NC Industrial Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor that should make it easier for both agencies to investigate cases of employee misclassification. The term misclassification refers to workers whose employers have incorrectly treated them ...

Gov. McCrory berates federal government over Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 12:28
Gov. Pat McCrory, who rarely misses an opportunity to accuse the federal government of overreach, is now targeting the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over regulations on a national wildlife refuge. Yesterday McCrory and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured Tyrrell and Washington counties, where Tropical Storm Hermine dumped five to 10 inches ...

State of Working North Carolina: The Recovery’s Limited Reach (audio)

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 12:02
If you missed it over the holiday weekend, be sure to check out the Budget & Tax Center’s annual look at how workers are faring in our state. This year’s report is titled the “State of Working North Carolina 2016: Don’t call it a comeback.” NC Policy Watch sat down with BTC economic analyst Patrick ...