NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 21 min 27 sec ago

Today’s three ‘must read’ education stories

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 15:29
For those with election fatigue – yes,  there is more going on this week than the mid-term races. Here are three stories that have North Carolina educators buzzing: The Superintendent of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system announced Monday that he will resign from the post this Thursday to  spend more time with his family, catching ...

Candidates in today’s election must either be for this or have a commitment to ending it

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 14:15
The maddening data on wealth inequality in America have now gotten so ridiculously out of hand that the headline for this post really does sum up what ought to be the single, defining issue in today’s election. For confirmation, check out the following amazing graphic from the good people at

Voters have a right to language assistance

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 13:01
As ballots are cast all over the state today, it is important to remind voters and poll workers about Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act which allows voters to get language assistance at the polls. The relevant North Carolina statute states that any registered voter who has trouble reading is allowed to be assisted ...

Hypocrisy alert: Pope group criticizes mail-in voting for enabling fraud

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 12:09
This morning’s top “you can’t make this stuff up” entry from the folks on Right Wing Avenue has to be this post from “The Locker Room” blog. In it, the author slams mail-in voting as part of a nefarious liberal plot to promote fraud and end the secret ballot. Mind you, these claims come from ...

Also on the ballot – NC voters to decide on the right to waive jury trial (audio)

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 11:15
With so much attention on North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, many voters may be surprised that on the back on the ballot they have a chance to decide whether they want to amend the state’s constitution. The proposal would allow individuals charged with a felony to waive their right to a trial by jury in ...

Groups working to combat voter suppression today

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 10:10
Caring and thinking North Carolinians should utter a word of thanks today to some dedicated advocates and activists working to make sure that all who wish to vote can do so. Of particular note are: 1) The legal experts at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, which is hosting a national voter protection hotline today. ...

Long lines at your polling place? Thank the right-wing Monster Voting Law

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 08:26
If you encountered a frustratingly long line at your polling place this morning (or do so later today), you can thank the current General Assembly and governor for the frustration.  There are lots of reasons that North Carolina’s new “Monster Voting Law” is making voting more difficult in our state and thereby discouraging participation, but ...

Latest “State of the South” report documents a divided region

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 14:39
Recently, the good people at Durham-based nonprofit known as MDC, released the group’s most recent “State of the South” report. For those interested in looking behind the headlines to get a feel for exactly what’s going on in the region, it’s an important “must read.” This year’s report, which carries the impressive title “Building an ...

Minimum wage increases remain hugely popular

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 12:44
Here’s an issue that North Carolina conservatives are no doubt delighted isn’t on the ballot in the Old North State tomorrow (other than through the positions of the candidates): the minimum wage. Steve Greenhouse of the New York Times explains in this article entitled “In State Voting on Minimum Wage, Even Critics Sound Like Supporters”: ...

Missing Workers Update: September 2014

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 10:42
The official unemployment rate ticked down in September slightly to 6.7 percent but if you count the number of workers missing from the labor force–those who would be looking for work if employment opportunities were stronger–that rate would be 12.8 percent. As Patrick Conway, an economist at UNC Chapel Hill, shared in the News & ...

Medicaid was not “broken” and McCrory and Wos haven’t “fixed” it

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 08:49
In case you missed it over the weekend Ned Barnett of Raleigh’s News & Observer had an on-the-money column about the latest  bizarre claim from the McCrory administration that we can now expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act because they have “fixed” what was a “broken” system. As Barnett notes: “It’s good news that ...

The coincidence of Duke Energy’s big contribution to economic development nonprofit

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 07:19
It’s probably just a coincidence that the biggest donor to the state’s new sketchy economic development nonprofit is Duke Energy that ponied up $200,000 to help the nonprofit meet its first year goal of $250,000 in private contributions. That donation surely has nothing to do with the state’s ongoing battle over regulation of the company’s ...

NC ranked one of the worst states for Latinas in the gender pay gap

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 14:43
In North Carolina, Latina women earn 46.3 cents to every dollar earned by a white male, according to analysis released by the National Women’s Law Center. The analysis, based on newly released Census data, ranked North Carolina in the top ten states with the smallest wage gap between men and women but found that NC ...

Lincoln County voters fight for hours at early voting sites

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 12:22
By all accounts, the battle to keep an early voting site open at Appalachian State University has been a success.   Early voting there continues to be strong, with 2155 votes cast as of yesterday. But other small victories in the war against voting rights have occurred elsewhere throughout the state. Take Lincoln County, for example. ...

5 Takeaways from Census’ new poverty and inequality data for North Carolina

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:02
Below are the five key findings from the Budget and Tax Center’s analysis of the new 2013 poverty and income data from the US Bureau of the Census. The state is making no progress towards eliminating poverty. North Carolina’s high poverty rate (17.9 percent) remained statistically unchanged in 2013. This means that there has been ...

NC teacher accused of making racist comments, telling students that killing black people on bucket list

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:00
A Camden County teacher was briefly suspended  following accusations she told several of her high school students she’d like to kill black residents. Cynthia Ramsey, a math teacher at Camden County High School, is accused of telling a group of students that “if she only had 10 days to live that she would kill all ...

Early voting outpaces 2010 levels

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:22
With early voting drawing to a close on Saturday, the number of people voting in person and taking advantage of the convenience of early voting is approaching 700,000. Associated Press’ Gary Robertson reports: State Board of Elections data show nearly 690,000 people had cast ballots from the start of early voting Oct. 23 through Wednesday ...

Medicaid expansion? Real conservative bosses still offer little hope

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 09:05
The talk about Medicaid expansion for North Carolina in 2015 from political leaders without much power to do anything about it continues. Gov. McCrory and his HHS Secretary keep talking about expansion as does, rather amusingly, lame duck Speaker/U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis. Obviously, expansion would be a terrific thing and is horrifically overdue as ...

Sticker shock – 42,000 Blue Cross customers sent incorrect insurance renewal rates

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:56
If you received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield this week quoting individual insurance rates for 2015, it might be worth checking those numbers twice. About 42,000 BCBSNC individuals received letters this week containing incorrect amounts. In some cases, customers saw their costs increase more than 100 percent. Blue Cross is inviting customers to ...

Workers facing tougher times at the N.C. Industrial Commission?

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 14:06
The Independent, the alternative weekly newspaper in the Triangle, had an interesting piece this week about changes the N.C. Industrial Commission has faced under Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration. The Industrial Commission serves as the decision-makers in workers compensation disputes and has become more hostile to injured workers and more friendly to business interests with matters ...