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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

After charter scandal, editorial demands greater charter oversight in North Carolina

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 14:55

In case you missed it, The News & Observer offered up a lacerating editorial this weekend on charter oversight in North Carolina following one particularly embarrassing story at a Durham charter. The story centers on Kestrel Heights School in Durham, and how charter leaders could have reportedly allowed at least 53 students to graduate without ...

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Bad housekeeping at the special session: Regulatory reforms that could ruin your holidays

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 13:43

“We got very close to an agreement on that thing” with the Senate. “I’ve heard discussion that we ought to put together that bill. There’s some housekeeping stuff like that that’s out there.” — State Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Hendersonville) on the controversial regulatory reform bill that could be resurrected in the special session. (The News & Observer, Dec. 10, 2016) ...

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Common Cause launches new ad campaign against court-packing scheme (Video)

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 09:21

The government watchdogs at Common Cause North Carolina are out with a new ad attacking the GOP court-packing scheme that appears to still be on the table for this week’s special session in Raleigh:

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The best editorial of the weekend

Mon, 12/12/2016 - 07:30

The best editorial of the past weekend comes from the Winston-Salem Journal which rightfully blasted one of the most noxious cancers currently afflicting the American body politic: fake news. As the Journal points out, the scourge of fake news presents an increasingly grave danger — a fact that was best illustrated by the recent mad ...

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State Supreme Court backs off controversial rule about appointing temporary replacements

Sat, 12/10/2016 - 09:45

Anne Blythe of Raleigh’s News & Observer reports this morning that the controversial rule issued by the state Supreme Court on Election Day has, happily, been rescinded. As readers will recall, the Court, weirdly and without warning, issued a strange and controversial rule on Election Day that purported to allow the Chief Justice to appoint ...

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Council of State members urge McCrory to keep special session to recovery topic

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 15:37

Council of State members are urging Gov. Pat McCrory to limit the purposes a special legislative session next week to aiding the recovery from the Hurricane Matthew and the western North Carolina wildfires only. Robert Stephens, general counsel to the Governor’s Office, sent an email to Council of State members Thursday asking for their advice ...

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The Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 14:30

1. McCrory the mayor who never figured out how to be governor Governor Pat McCrory finally conceded the 2016 election to Attorney General Roy Cooper on Monday, December 5 but he actually lost the race on March 23 when he signed the sweeping anti-LGBT law HB2. That not only created a firestorm of protest and ...

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State health plan to cover gender transition treatment, surgery

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 12:00

Starting next year, the health plan for teachers and other state employees will offer coverage of medically necessary treatment and surgery related to gender transition. The incoming state treasurer, Republican Dale Folwell, isn’t happy about it. But as the Madison Iszler from the News & Observer reports, the state doesn’t have much choice (for now). ...

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Revenge of the robber barons continues: Trump’s disastrous “anti-family, anti-worker, anti-jobs” pick for Labor Secretary

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 08:28

The disastrous line-up for the Trump junta just keeps getting worse and worse. Yesterday’s selection of fast food boss/reactionary plutocrat Andrew Puzder to head, of all things, the Department of Labor is the latest example. Reporter Deirdre Fulton has a nice, if depressing, summary of responses from worker advocates for the website Common Dreams that includes ...

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Committee set up by Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice: Don’t pack the court

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 14:38

The momentum in Raleigh appears to be building for transforming next week’s special legislative session on Hurricane Matthew into a genuine political hurricane. Rumors continue to persist inside the Raleigh beltline that lawmakers are increasingly likely to undertake one of the most blatant and misguided power grabs in state history by adding two new justices ...

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Duke Energy proposes providing permanent water to nearly 900 households

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 11:07

Amy Brown used 38 12-ounce bottles of water to fix Thanksgiving dinner. Brown, who lives less than 1,000 feet from Duke Energy’s Allen plant, has received bottled water for more than a year and half after she received a “Do Not Drink” order from state health officials. Her private well tested high for vanadium and hexavalent chromium, ...

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State advisory board pushes second chance for denied charters, speedier application timeline

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 11:00

It remains to be seen whether members of the State Board of Education will go along with it, but the Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) took the first steps Thursday in amending the state’s application process for prospective new charters. The policy recommendations unanimously approved by the charter board Thursday include the stipulation that, before ...

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We must not grow numb to Trump’s lies and misdeeds

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 07:58

It will get tempting in the weeks and months ahead to lose sight of the many specific lies and misdeeds emanating from the incoming Trump presidency — a collection of disturbed zealots and hapless ideologues that’s starting to look as if it might better be described as a junta than an administration. Even now, the ...

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After uproar, North Carolina charter board considers process revisions

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 17:30

This summer, charter backers were in an uproar after members of the State Board of Education (SBE) turned down 20 of a possible 28 prospective charter applications, including five that had been approved by the Charter School Advisory Board, an appointed panel that counsels the SBE on applications. It seemed a major shift in the ...

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Trump’s nominee for EPA chief Scott Pruitt: “Every Polluter’s Ally”

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 16:45

NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Donald van der Vaart didn’t get the phone call he had hoped for. But the United States — make that, the planet — had a worse day. President-elect Trump’s nominee for EPA chief is Scott Pruitt: attorney general of Oklahoma, fossil fuel enthusiast and climate change denier. And as ...

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Gubernatorial race post-mortems

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:27

The N.C. gubernatorial race finally came to an end this week – and the speculation as to how Pat McCrory became the only incumbent governor in the state to lose a re-election bid has been swirling ever since. In a piece for WRAL, Cullen Browder runs down the various factors – from HB2 and toll road ...

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How to become an AirKeeper for your neighborhood

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:00

The power to monitor the air can sit in the palm of your hand. Clean Air Carolina, a Charlotte-based nonprofit, has launched an AirKeeper program that deploys citizen scientists and sensors into neighborhoods, schools, even private back yards. Today, NCPW posted a story about how citizens are filling in the monitoring gaps created by a ...

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Former GOP Supreme Court Justice, lawyers group decry rumored court packing plan

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 14:00

Former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, a Republican who served on the court from 1995 through 2004 and later ran for Governor in the 2008 Republican primary, is making absolutely clear that he strongly opposes the rumored plan whereby GOP lawmakers would add two new justices to the court during next week’s special session ...

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Trump transition team notes McCrory’s experience with ‘education, job creation and energy modernization’

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:36

Gov. Pat McCrory arrived at the Trump Tower in New York City just after 10 a.m. today to meet with President-elect Donald Trump. In press briefing shortly after, Trump’s transition team said there was a very good rapport between the two, but gave no indication about what was on the agenda or what position McCrory could ...

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Stunning new data: Even partial repeal of Obamacare would cause nearly 30 million Americans to lose health insurance

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 10:25

Researchers at the Urban Institute have released some devastating data on the likely impact of the partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act now under consideration in Congress. Their conclusion: partial repeal via the budget reconciliation process would actually leave Americans much worse off than they were before the law was enacted. Here is a ...

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