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This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:10

1. Free speech policy, controversial conservative academic on the agenda for UNC Board of Governors meeting The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many recent controversies is expected to come to a crescendo, even as the next is cued up. The full board is ...

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UNC Board of Governors hosts conservative academic star, looks to emulate his program

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 14:56

  When the UNC Board of Governors hosted conservative Professor Robert George of Princeton Friday morning, it was quickly apparent the board has more than a passing interest in replicating his James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. How could they take his concept and up-size it to fit the much larger UNC system, ...

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Thousands of North Carolinians stand to lose from Step #2 of the Tax-plan

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:15

The Senate and the House in Congress have reached a deal for a tax plan that would give unnecessary tax cuts to the richest top 5 percent of Americans and most profitable corporations. This deal now clears the way for final votes next week. That this tax bill is full of tax games, roadblocks, and ...

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Why can’t General Assembly leadership stop lying about their unfunded class-size mandate?

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 09:30

On October 3rd, a group of parents rallied at the North Carolina Legislative Building to demand that General Assembly leadership repeal or responsibly fund the unfunded class-size mandate due to go into effect in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The rally drew a troubling response from Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the North Carolina ...

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Transcript: What retired Judge Don Stephens would have told senators about judicial reform

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:45

Retired Judge Don Stephens was prepared Wednesday to address the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting on behalf of Gov. Roy Cooper but was refused the chance to speak. Cooper appointed Stephens to express his views and the views of the judges on the bench about the consequences of judicial reform issues before ...

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Report: Home-schooling on the rise in North Carolina

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:43

North Carolina has one of the largest homeschool populations in the nation, according to a new Ed NC analysis.  The report comes amid marked jumps in the state’s homeschool population since 2003, coinciding with the growing visibility of the school choice movement in North Carolina. From Ed NC: In the 2016-2017 school year, an estimated 127,847 ...

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Vigils scheduled for this evening in Raleigh, Charlotte and Chapel Hill to commemorate 5th anniversary of Sandy Hook

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:26

As was highlighted in yesterday’s Policy Watch radio commentary, today marks the fifth anniversary of the dark and dreadful day in Newton, Connecticut during which gun violence took the lives of 26 innocent children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you’d like to stand with or support caring and thinking people committed to ...

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The best op-ed of the morning: Cardinal is what you get by privatizing mental health services

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 11:00

Be sure to check out a fantastic op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Durham clinical social worker Barbara Smith. In “Managed care failed, now rebuild N.C.’s mental health care system,” Smith does a great job of telling it like it is when it comes to North Carolina’s failed, decades-long privatization ...

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Task Force on Education Finance Reform meeting shows need for new approach

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:15

Yesterday marked the third meeting of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. The Task Force is charged with creating recommendations by October 2018 to overhaul the way North Carolina funds its public schools. It’s a big, important task. One would assume that the General Assembly would only embark on such an undertaking ...

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Democrats protest Senate committee meeting after GOP ‘silences’ Governor’s speaker

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:15

GOP lawmakers proved again Wednesday that when it comes to Gov. Roy Cooper, they aren’t afraid to flex their political muscle. Democratic lawmakers proved they have had enough. The Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting met Wednesday for the last time this year to hear from the Governor’s Office and a representative from ...

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Republican negotiators reach deal on tax plan

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:19

House and Senate Republicans reportedly have struck a deal that could see both chambers voting on the sweeping tax reform bill next week. As The Washington Post reports the agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: …would lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent beginning in 2018… The agreement would also lower the ...

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UNC Board of Governors holds final 2017 meeting Friday

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:05

A reminder: On Friday the UNC Board of Governors will hold a one-day meeting at the UNC Center for School Leadership Development, 140 Friday Center Drive in Chapel Hill. It’s the board’s last full meeting of the year – and it’s a big one. On the schedule: * An expected full board vote on the controversial ...

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NC Democrats file federal lawsuit to overturn GOP’s elimination of judicial primaries

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:30

Note: This story has been updated to reflect a response from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The North Carolina Democratic Party is fighting Republican lawmakers over the cancellation of next year’s judicial primary elections. The party filed an injunction in federal court yesterday against Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker ...

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GenX contamination in private wells never seems to end; 115 well owners now on bottled water

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:53

Thirty more households near the Chemours Fayetteville Works plant are receiving bottled water because their private drinking water wells tested above the state’s provisional health goal of 140 parts per trillion. The samples were collected from 101 wells over four weeks, Oct. 12 through Nov. 15. According to the NC Department of Environmental Quality, in ...

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Former NC redistricting consultant hired as interim director of Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 09:39

Kareem Crayton, who has served as a redistricting consultant to North Carolina Democrats, has been hired to serve as interim executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice beginning Jan. 1. Anita Earls, current executive director and founder of the organizations, is stepping down at the end of the year to run for a ...

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The Great Recession was a “wonderful blessing” and other bizarre takes from an oversight committee

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 07:30

Except for the people who benefit from others’ misery — Wall Street short-sellers, pyramid schemers and prosperity gospel profiteers — the Great Recession was difficult, painful, even life-altering. But not for Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Duplin County. The chairman of the Joint Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Dixon proclaimed yesterday afternoon that ...

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Experts conclude: New tax legislation is full of tax games, roadblocks, and glitches

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 17:09

As Congress continues to go against the will of the people by pushing a tax framework that most Americans are not in favor of, it is worth noting that a number of leading tax academics, practitioners, and analysts have issued a 35-page report describing various tax games, roadblocks and glitches in the tax legislation. According ...

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UPDATED: State Supreme Court Chief Justice recused from Board of Education, Mark Johnson case

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:47

Note: This story has been updated to reflect a response from the Administrative Office of the Courts. North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin has been recused from hearing a dispute about a transfer of power from the State Board of Education to Superintendent Mark Johnson. Martin’s wife, Kym Martin, is Executive Director of the ...

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Saine takes helm of national conservative group ALEC

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:00

The American Legislative Exchange Council has a new chairman – North Carolina Rep. Jason Saine. The corporate backed ALEC is a national conservative group that proposes model legislation for state legislators. The group’s model bills frequently make it to the N.C. legislature virtually unchanged. Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, begins his one year tenure as head ...

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Editorial blasts Berger and Moore over cynical response to prison tragedy

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:57

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the lead editorial in today’s Charlotte Observer — “Phil Berger and Tim Moore play politics in the face of tragedy.” In it, the authors rightfully blast the two legislative leaders for their convoluted attempt to deflect blame that ought rightfully to be directed their way ...

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