NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Breaking: Bonner Bridge case heading back to court

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 13:02
The dispute over the Bonner Bridge project is heading back to the district court, after a unanimous panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held today that the lower court had failed to consider certain requirements relating to the protection of wildlife refuge land — here, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras ...

The voter fraud bait-and-switch

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 11:39
Election law expert Justin Levitt has this must-read post today in the Washington Post about the lack of credible voter fraud incidents that a photo ID could have prevented. Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, has been tracking such incidents since 2008 and reports that out of billions of votes cast ...

New report: Solar power growing fast but NC could do much, much more

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 11:01
The good people at Environment North Carolina have released a new report on the state of solar power (“Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013″) and the news is both good and bad for North Carolina. First, the good — North Carolina is in the Top ...

Teacher assistants already being cut, while McCrory plans to proudly sign a budget that preserves TA positions

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 10:06
Governor Pat McCrory has said repeatedly he plans to sign the 2014 budget passed last week–and with pride, thanks in part to the fact that it preserves teacher assistant positions, which are particularly important to him. But on the ground, we’re already seeing local school districts cutting teacher assistants positions as they are faced with ...

Editorial: Teacher pay plan ‘a confusing mess’

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 08:51
Almost a week after House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced a budget deal, there is still a tremendous amount of confusion over how much of a raise teachers can expect this fall. Governor Pat McCrory blamed that uncertainty Tuesday on the NC Association of Educators: The editorial board of ...

Last chance to RSVP for tomorrow’s luncheon on the future of marriage equality

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 08:44
If there’s a more significant positive policy change looming on the horizon in North Carolina than the potential near-term arrival of marriage equality, it’s hard to say what that would be. So, when might it happen? What has to happen first? Don’t miss the chance to learn the answers to these and other similar questions ...

Federal government website directly refutes McCrory’s claims about refugee kids

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 16:16
In a rambling press conference today, Gov. Pat McCrory made a number of rather remarkable claims about the settlement of several hundred Central American child refugees in North Carolina. During the event — read a summary and watch the full video by clicking here — the Governor claimed that the state knows virtually nothing about ...

Veteran journalist explains North Carolina’s new, “limited vision” budget

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 14:41
Veteran Raleigh journalist and political observer Steve Ford is out with a new and convincing look at the new state budget (i.e. the one the Governor said he’d sign before he actually got around to the business of reading it). It’s a full-length read but, as is always the case with Steve’s takes, definitely worth ...

Will feds overrule NC lawmakers and regulators on keeping fracking chemicals secret?

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:54
The ongoing and fairly remarkable debate over whether the oil and gas industry can prevent the public (and even emergency first responders) from knowing the names of the chemicals that go into the toxic stews that are injected underground in the controversial process known as fracking may be taking a promising  turn. Though Gov. McCrory, ...

Will same-sex marriages soon be fully and officially recognized in NC?

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 09:07
Is such a momentous and historic victory really on the foreseeable horizon? Don’t miss your chance to learn the answers to this and other related related questions this Thursday August 7 at a very special NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon. The freedom to marry in North Carolina: Now what? Featuring Chris Brook, Legal Director ...

McCrory now reading budget AFTER deciding to sign it

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 07:33
Governor Pat McCrory called reporters to his office Friday afternoon and with his cabinet standing dutifully behind him proclaimed that he will be proud to sign the budget passed by the House and Senate. In case you are wondering when the signing ceremony will take place, a Monday Associated Press story reported that it will happen ...

Business incentives that are a real leap of faith: State of Kentucky to help pay for Noah’s Ark

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 14:46
The Christian organization Answers in Genesis, known for its rigorous campaigning against “secular evolutionists” through young earth creationist propaganda, has been struggling financially over the years to raise enough funds to build its $150 million Noah’s Ark theme park. But thankfully Kentucky, one of the few states that can apparently compete with North Carolina when it ...

Will Gov. McCrory veto a bill that makes charter schools less transparent and fails to protect LGBT students?

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 13:05
Last week, I wrote about a bill that the General Assembly passed that would allow private, for-profit charter school management companies to keep their employees’ salaries secret, even though they are paid with public funds. That bill, SB 793, or ‘Charter School Modifications,’ also ended up with no protections for LGBT students at charter schools, ...

Courts continue to reject admitting privileges requirement for abortion providers

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:04
For the second time in days, a federal judge has ruled as unconstitutional state provisions requiring doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The decision in Alabama by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson follows a 2-1 decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29, rejecting a similar ...

Don’t miss this Thursday’s luncheon on what’s next in the marriage equality fight

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 11:25
NC Policy Watch, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina are proud to announce a very special Crucial Conversation — The freedom to marry in North Carolina: Now what? Click here to register Featuring Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation; Jen Jones, Director of Communications and Outreach ...

Running government like a business…that’s going under

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 08:45
The right-wingers in charge at the North Carolina General Assembly made much of their desire to “run government like business” upon assuming power a few years ago and it’s clear now that they have succeeded. The only problem is that the business in question is probably Lehman Brothers or maybe Enron. Editorials in this weekend’s ...

Statement from Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center, on the final budget

Sat, 08/02/2014 - 12:23
The NC House gave final approval (66-44) Saturday to a $21.1 Billion state budget. The measure now heads to Gov. McCrory, who said on Friday he would be proud to sign it. The Director of the NC Budget & Tax Center says the plan places our state on an unsustainable path. Here’s the full statement ...

Tennessee will shutter virtual school run by K12, Inc., for-profit company seeking to set up in North Carolina

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 16:27
Tennessee’s education commissioner has ordered the closure of a struggling K12, Inc.-operated online school, as lawmakers here at home debate a budget proposal that could pave the way for K12 to finally set up shop in North Carolina. Tennessee Virtual Academy began operating in 2011 and struggled to produce positive academic results from the get ...

UNC system puts brakes on using tuition revenue for need-based aid

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 14:36
North Carolina’s public universities can’t keep turning to tuition revenues to fund need-based aid for lower-income students, a move could lessen how much aid is available for coming classes and lead some to take on more student loans. The university system’s Board of Governors unanimously passed a four-year tuition proposal Friday that puts a 15 ...

$500 raise a “slap in the face” for school bus drivers, teacher assistants and other public school employees

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 14:19
Bettina Vinson has driven a school bus in Wake County for 17 years, and when she learned that after years of frozen pay she would receive a $500 raise according to the budget proposal state legislators are debating now in Raleigh, she was shocked. “It was like a slap in the face,” said Vinson. Lawmakers ...

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