NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

NC House gives $1 million to lobby group that pays E.D. more than Governor McCrory

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:55
A lot of people are justifiably outraged at the House budget provision that gives $1 million (and delegates public duties) to the conservative school privatization lobby group, Parents for Educational Freedom of North Carolina (PEFNC). As Rep. Rick Glazier — who tried to amend the budget to shift the money to fund teacher assistants — ...

Has confrontational senator finally gone too far?

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 08:35
At some point, you’d think it would have to catch up with Senator Bob Rucho. The quick-tempered Charlotte lawmaker who once resigned (temporarily as it turned out) as chair of the Senate Finance Committee in a huff and who infamously tweeted in December 2013 “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the ...

Paying for Tax Cuts, with Interest

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 19:10
Deep in the weeds of the House budget is a provision that would authorize the state to issue just shy of $300 million in new debt to pay for five large projects. Each of these projects (listed below) has merit, but this proposal raises two important questions: 1) Why do we have to issue debt ...

More leadership changes at state Department of Health and Human Services

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 15:12
When state lawmakers get ready to tackle Medicaid reform this year, they’ll be working with a new state Medicaid Director. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos announced Thursday that Robin Gary Cummings will step down from the post in June to become the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Dr. Cummings,  who assumed the ...

Private Christian school receiving $100,000+ in publicly funded school vouchers accused of knowingly hiring registered sex offender

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 15:00
A private Christian school in Fayetteville that has received more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded school vouchers is now the subject of a criminal investigation into allegations that the head of school knowingly allowed a registered sex offender to work on campus. No criminal charges have been filed in relation to the case. The offender, whose ...

Raleigh Keeps North Carolinians in a College Crunch

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:39
This post was written by Michael C. Behrent, associate professor of history, Appalachian State University and is part of the Raise the Bar series featuring expert views on the North Carolina budget debate. Is our state government doing all that it can to offer North Carolinians the affordable, high quality education they need to secure ...

Slashing court budgets hurts the state’s bottom line

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:27
A new study released today by the North Carolina Bar Association shows that the state court system generated more than $460 million in direct economic impact and supported more than 6,000 jobs here last year. “The study reveals what we have known all along – our courts have an enormous impact on our economy and ...

The tipping point on the demise of the death penalty?

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 12:23
The momentum for abolition continues to build. Yesterday, the legislature of the red state of Nebraska voted overwhelmingly to abolish the death penalty and today, arch-conservative hero George Will told us why it was a good idea: “The conservative case against capital punishment, which 32 states have, is threefold. First, the power to inflict death ...

On day #252, another voice demands justice for McCollum and Brown

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:35
The failure of Governor Pat McCrory to grant pardons to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown after more than eight months now borders on the farcical. The editorial page of the Fayetteville Observer is the latest to weigh in with an exceedingly polite editorial entitled “Unjustly convicted, these men deserve justice.” Here is the conclusion: “Eight months ...

Where the House budget comes up short (video)

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 08:13
The state House convenes at 10:00am Thursday where members are expected to debate dozens of amendments before voting on their version of the state budget. On the plus side, the $22.1 billion spending plan includes a two percent pay raise for all teachers, with starting salaries for the state’s newest teachers rising to $35,000 a ...

New polling numbers offer encouragement on marriage equality, pot and guns

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 06:55
One of the nation’s most respected pollsters — Tom Jensen of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling — is out with some new and encouraging results from the state of Washington that seem likely to be a harbinger for for the nation. The bottom line: New laws legalizing marijuana, same sex marriage and toughening gun control are ...

Rep. Pittman: leading the fight against Common Core—and Marxism

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 16:44
Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) is leading the fight in the General Assembly against the Common Core State Standards—or, as he characterizes them, a “part of the Marxist attack on America to destroy us from within that has been going on since before I was born.” In an email response to a concerned citizen, who emailed ...

Say what? Pope-Civitas chair inadvertently makes case for end to “pay to play” politics

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 14:20
You have to hand it to the massively oblivious Bob Luddy. One of the state’s leading hard right, fat cat political funders probably thought he was showing what a principled guy he is when he penned this letter promising Republican lawmakers a cutoff in campaign funds because he dislikes the House budget proposal. What he ...

Teachers of the year say poverty & family stress biggest barriers to academic success

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:50
The nation’s top teachers say family stress and poverty are their students’ biggest hurdles when it comes to learning in the classroom, according to a survey released Wednesday. Jennifer Dorman, Maine’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, told The Washington Post that helping her students cope with these outside-of-the-classroom barriers to academic success is the most important part of ...

More local governments back Medicaid expansion

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:04
In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly rejected new federal funds to expand health insurance coverage in the state, but that hasn’t stopped local governments from urging the Governor and legislators to change course. Counties such as Mecklenburg and Durham have passed Medicaid expansion resolutions as have cities like Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Even Sen. Phil Berger’s ...

Five things missing from the House budget

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 11:10
As an exercise in reflecting the state’s priorities, the House budget falls short. North Carolinians know that ensuring our children’s education is of the highest quality, that our communities can thrive and that our public services—from courts to transportation to environmental inspections—are effective and efficient means committing to fund those things together. The House budget, ...

Fracking temporarily halted in fight over commission appointment power

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:13
A Wake County Superior Court judge effectively halted fracking in the state for the time being when he stayed proceedings in a constitutional challenge to the state’s Mining and Energy Commission brought by a local conservation group and landowner. The stay continues while the appeal of a separate case challenging commission appointment powers — McCrory v. ...

Why the proposed House budget is inadequate in one simple graphic

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 09:49
If you want to understand why North Carolina continues to struggle to fund the basic public services that provide a framework for a middle class society, check out the following graphic. As it demonstrates, even with the much ballyhooed bumps in spending contained in the House budget proposal, the state would still be spending less ...

Middle school teacher explains why poverty is what ails public ed

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 07:48
In case you missed it over the weekend, a middle school teacher from Forsyth County named Stuart Egan had a fine op-ed in the Winston-Salem Journal in which he debunked the myth that flawed teachers are somehow the biggest problem facing our public schools. As Egan explained: “Earlier this year, The Washington Post published a ...

Advocates for workers, humane treatment of animals decry “Ag gag” bill

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 15:54
State lawmakers sent the so-called “Ag gag” bill on to Governor McCrory today. As was explained at some length in this space a few weeks ago, this troubling proposal is targeted at activists who have exposed horrific abuses of animals in agricultural facilities but it raises other concerns that go beyond those circumstances: “Crafting a ...

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