NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

Trump’s proposed $4.4 billion budget increase for Veterans Affairs is critically needed in North Carolina

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 16:30

President Trump, after slashing the budgets for 15 major agencies (e.g., Agriculture, Labor, Health & Human Services, Commerce, Education, Housing, Transportation, EPA, etc.) and completely eliminating funding for 19 other agencies, has proposed increasing the VA budget by $4.4 billion. In other words, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the very ...

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State House OKs temporary fix to class size crisis, now bound for Roy Cooper

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 16:16

After months of warnings that thousands of teaching jobs were at stake, North Carolina state lawmakers have approved a one-year respite on K-3 class-size restrictions rankling local school districts. The state House overwhelmingly approved a Senate rewrite of House Bill 13 that emerged from last-minute negotiations between Republican K-12 leaders and local district lobbyists. The version ...

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Targeting of left-leaning cities continues with Asheville

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 14:27

A bill to change the way Asheville elects its city council members passed the Senate Wednesday, echoing changes handed down from Raleigh in other politically left-leaning cities. You may remember a federal court recently struck down the General Assembly’s forced redistricting of the city of Greensboro. The Asheville and Greensboro redistricting aren’t identical. But there ...

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Controversial charter growth bill sails through the state House

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:00

Despite criticism from the Republican chair of the State Board of Education, members of the state House of Representatives voted Thursday to clear speedy expansion for some North Carolina charters. Under House Bill 779, charters would be able to boost their enrollment by up to 30 percent without seeking state approval, provided they have not been ...

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N.C. invests little to prevent child abuse and ultimately pays a higher price

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:30

The Budget & Tax Center has released a new BTC Brief, “N.C. invests little to prevent child abuse and ultimately pays a higher price.” Reports of child abuse and neglect have increased 29 percent over the past 19 years in North Carolina, and the report outlines the importance of our fiscal decisions on the goal of protecting each ...

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In rare bright spot, Senate advances bipartisan “second chance” legislation

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:00

It’s been a mostly grim week at the North Carolina General Assembly, but there was one rare, important and praiseworthy moment yesterday in the state Senate. By a vote of 47-2, Senators approved Senate Bill 445, a proposal to dramatically improve state law surrounding the clean-up of criminal records. As we reported a couple of ...

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Early childhood educators in NC struggle to make ends meet, afford their own children’s early education

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:00

One issue central to ensuring the quality of early childhood education is something that does not garner as much attention as available pre-K slots or the rate at which providers are reimbursed for care:  how much early childhood educators are paid. Evidence shows that paying workers a living wage—early childhood educators in particular—can improve job ...

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Crossover hangover: hog farm lawsuits, privatizing utilities and other environmental misdeeds

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:24

G ood morning. Does your head hurt? Eyes feel like two fists that spent the night punching a wall? A tinge of nausea as the eggs are frying? Yes, me too. Crossover — when most bills must pass either the House or the Senate to proceed this session — is always a Herculean feat of enduring ...

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Burr must do his patriotic duty in Russia investigation

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:19

This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer is on the money in pointing out that the nation is depending on North Carolina Senator Richard Burr to step up to the plate and get moving with the investigation in to Russian interference in the U.S. electoral process. Unfortunately, the signs are not encouraging: “Sen. Richard ...

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Cooper files lawsuit, motions to stop bill merging Elections Board, Ethics Commission

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 17:33

Two days after the General Assembly overrode his veto, Gov. Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit and requests to halt a bill that would merge the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission. The lawsuit comes a little over a month after a three-judge panel already ruled the merge was unconstitutional. Instead of appealing the ...

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Despite massive opposition, Republicans vote to override veto, reduce Court of Appeals

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 16:15

House Republicans voted today to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto and shrink the Court of Appeals despite opposition from just about everyone. House Bill 239 would also increase the state Supreme Court’s caseload. It will now go to the Senate floor for a vote. The House override comes two days after Judge Douglas McCullough, a registered ...

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Report: Constitutional restrictions on revenue hurt state economies. So why is NC proposing one?

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 15:44

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows how constitutional revenue limits, like the one proposed in North Carolina by the Senate, can impede state economies. From the report: “A strong state economy requires high-quality public services like schools, public colleges and universities, and well-maintained infrastructure, among other services. Businesses ...

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Why have Tim Moore and Phil Berger turned their backs on this cause?

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 13:52

There are a lot of  substantive areas in which the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly have set new standards for hypocrisy and double talk in recent years. Nowhere, however, is this kind of behavior more blatant or maddening than it is in the field of political gerrymandering. For years, both House Speaker Tim ...

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Constitutional Convention resolution, wave of election bills passes late night Senate committee

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 13:08

The Senate Select Committee on Elections passed a wave of bills Tuesday night that would change numerous election processes in the state. They also passed a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention to make changes to the U.S. Constitution. Republicans outnumbered Democrats 6 to 2 at the meeting, and there was little input from the ...

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Some simple NC tax code changes that could improve children’s lives

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:00

North Carolina is underinvesting in the programs and services during early childhood that have proven to prepare children for Kindergarten and to read by third grade, protect them from abuse and prevention, and ensure their healthy development.  The Week of the Young Child represents an opportunity for North Carolina leaders to assess all that they ...

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New Elon Poll results: Trump’s support declining in N.C.

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:11

The new Elon University Poll is out today – and it shows declining support for President Donald Trump in North Carolina. The live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 506 likely voters was conducted from April 18-21. Survey results in this news release present responses from registered voters who were classified as likely voters ...

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If you like paying higher water bills, you’ll love House Bill 351

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:08

I n the crush of the crossover deadline, House Bill 351 has received scant attention — just one more snowflake in the avalanche of legislation. But if it becomes law, customers of city-owned water systems could pay higher rates for lesser service. The bill was a late addition to yesterday’s House Energy and Public Utilities Committee; it had originally ...

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New poll: Voters of all stripes agree that NC electoral maps are rigged

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:05

Good government advocates will descend on the Legislative Building this morning to demand that lawmakers make good on their commitment to consider legislation in 2017 that would establish a fair and nonpartisan redistricting process. And, judging by a new poll released this morning, the honorables would do well to pay attention. This is from the ...

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Flurry of House charter school bills would facilitate segregation of North Carolina’s schools

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:40

The field of education policy can be quite divided on a number of topics. But in recent years, researchers are increasingly reaching consensus on the harmful impacts of segregated schools. For example, Stanford’s Sean Reardon has found that within-district segregation is the biggest predictor of racial achievement gaps, with one-fifth of the average metropolitan area’s ...

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Despite criticism, House lawmakers approve corporate perks for charter enrollment

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 17:12

N.C. House lawmakers signed off Tuesday afternoon on a controversial Republican bill dishing out corporate perks to charter partners, setting aside half of any charter’s total enrollment for private businesses providing infrastructure, land or technology for the publicly-funded schools. Democrats complained this week that the proposal, House Bill 800, would create “de facto segregated private schools” ...

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