NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 10 min ago

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

7 hours 24 min ago
1. Effort to “right-size” the UNC system in the works  | Significant changes may be on the horizon for the state’s higher education network, as the University of North Carolina’s governing board considers “right-sizing” the 17-campus system. “The model should be much smaller than it is,” UNC Board of Governor member Harry Smith Jr. said ...

Consumer/environmental advocates debunk Duke Energy’s anti-solar power claims

10 hours 58 min ago
In case you missed it, the good folks at NC WARN are out with a new issue brief that takes Duke Energy to task for its latest efforts to derail the widespread deployment of solar power. As the release that accompanied the brief notes: “The Duke claim…is that, as more customers put solar panels on ...

Governor’s proposed funding for court system comes up short

12 hours 41 min ago
No cuts, but no $30 million either. That sums up the news for the state’s judicial system per Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed 2015-2017 budget released yesterday. The additional $16 million the governor would give the courts “for essential services” is a far cry from the $30 million Chief Justice Mark Martin asked for just a day earlier as ...

UNC system would trim another $26 million under Governor’s budget (video)

12 hours 42 min ago
The University of North Carolina system has a new directive: Cut $26 million from the budget. Lee Roberts, Governor McCrory’s budget director, told reporters Thursday the reduction in the governor’s 2015-17 recommended budget amounts to just small part of the university’s total budget and could be done “without any impact on students.” UNC President Tom ...

The hard reality of governing modifies a Tea Partier

13 hours 14 min ago
In case you missed it earlier this week, Raleigh’s News & Observer is featuring Chris Fitzsimon’s excellent column from earlier in the week under the headline “In NC, a Republican lawmaker finds room to rethink.” In it, Chris highlights the recent comments of conservative GOP state representative Bob Setinburg who, amazingly enough, stood up in ...

Senate Redistricting Committee launches predictable power grabs in Wake, Guilford

16 hours 23 min ago
Well, that didn’t take long. When Democrats swept the Wake County Board of Commissioners in last fall’s election, more than one wag opined that it wouldn’t take long before the GOP-dominated General Assembly would find a way to abolish the Board. Things haven’t gone that far…yet. But as we’ve found out in the last 48 ...

Proposed budget shows how Governor McCrory turns blind eye to self-inflicted revenue constraints

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 16:30
This morning, Governor McCrory released his two-year plan to invest in education, health care, public safety and other priorities that are essential for economic opportunity and quality of life. He spoke of a “new paradigm” for state budgeting. A new paradigm indeed, one that abandons many of the practices that served North Carolina well in ...

Governor’s budget props up beginning teachers, emphasizes ‘flexibility’

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 14:13
Governor Pat McCrory unveiled his recommended $21.5 billion budget Thursday, which continues his promise to boost beginning teacher salaries up to a minimum $35,000 a year but does not provide significant increases for veteran teachers and makes yet another cut to the state’s university system. “We’re changing the basic paradigm of how we evaluate and distribute our limited ...

Pope-Civitas keynote speaker doubles down on his bizarre views of human sexuality

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 13:15
For those of you that may be wondering who in the heck this strange would-be GOP presidential candidate named Ben Carson is — you know, the troubled soul who claimed this week that prison turns people gay and then issued a non-apology apology for the absurd statement — rest easy as you’ll get your chance ...

Statement on the Governor’s Budget from Alexandra Sirota, Budget & Tax Center Director

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 12:18
The “tough choices” Governor McCrory says he made in his just-released budget proposal were self-inflicted. They come from tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations, meaning there is too little left to invest in education and other building blocks of a strong economy. Also troubling is the Governor’s use of changes to ...

McCrory administration’s war on environmental protection continues

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:45
It should probably come as no surprise when a state elects a governor who’s spent most of his adult life in the employ of one of the planet’s biggest polluters and he fails to make environmental protection a top priority. That said, there is something disturbing and notably blatant about the way the McCrory administration ...

“Religious freedom” bill may not leave enough magistrates to perform marriages

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 07:13
Yesterday afternoon, members of the public were given an opportunity to share their thoughts on Senate Bill 2 before the House Judiciary I Committee. The bill, which would permit magistrates and registers of deeds to recuse themselves from performing same-sex marriages due to their religious beliefs, has been hotly contested since it was first introduced ...

In State of the Judiciary speech, Martin lauds the work of the courts and asks for support

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 16:36
In the first “State of the Judiciary” speech given to the General Assembly since 2001, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin invoked the Magna Carta, introduced lawmakers to the judiciary’s work during challenging economic times and urged them to appreciate the need for better funding in order to ensure the integrity of the state’s ...

The state of the courts is not good

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 15:02
There’ll be few surprises when Chief Justice Mark Martin appears before the General Assembly this afternoon to give his “State of the Judiciary” speech. He’s made several media appearances these past few weeks to talk about how neglected and overlooked the courts have been when it comes to funding, and as the new leader of the ...

A formula for failure

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:53
Some legislators want to severely limit the resources the state can invest in schools and other needs and are considering arbitrary formulas to guide those decisions, even though we are already doing less with less. State investments as a share of the economy would be $3.2 billion higher if North Carolina caught up to 2008 ...

A welcome breath of fresh air on Jones Street

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:00
There’s not a whole lot of encouraging news emanating from the North Carolina General Assembly these days. Today at 12:30, for example, a House Judiciary committee took up legislation to allow some public servants to refuse to perform their sworn duties when it comes to marrying same-sex couples. So, it was especially encouraging this morning ...

Trending Wednesday on Jones Street – #stopSB2, #endCitizensUnited, and #HistoricPreservation

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:53
Legislation that would allow magistrates to discriminate against same sex couples, a renewed push to end dark money in the political process, and a bi-partisan effort to save the historic preservation tax credit mark our top stories of the day: #ncga House committee to debate #SB2, bill allowing magistrates to opt out of same-sex marriage, ...

Low wages are a choice

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:17
In a piece released on Monday, Paul Krugman reflected on the decision by Walmart to raise the minimum wage of its workers. He notes that this will likely lead to many more companies following suit. Indeed TJ Maxx-Marshalls has already signaled that it will do the same for its workers this year. More than moving ...

Follow the Supreme Court arguments in the Obamacare case

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:32
The U.S. Supreme Court gets a second shot at the Affordable Care Act this morning, with arguments set to start any minute in King v. Burwell. If you were hoping to catch the arguments via live stream, well, you can’t. That’s because the nation’s highest court still does not allow cameras in the courtroom. A ...

Rep. Fisher: Magistrates recusal bill ‘opens the door wide’ to discrimination (Audio)

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:56
Senate Bill 2 – Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies – will be before the House Judiciary Committee later this afternoon. The legislation would allow North Carolina magistrates to opt out of gay marriages, if they hold a ‘sincere religious’ objection. Editorial writers have called the legislation “a silly maneuver” that allows sworn public officials to ...

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