NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

The least the NRA could do

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 07:45
As yesterday’s panic at a shopping mall in Fayetteville makes clear, average Americans are rightfully terrified at the idea of people openly walking around carrying guns in public venues of this kind. They do no want it and it clearly needs to be unlawful throughout the United States. Moreover, a completely clear and permanent ban ...

Largely run by for-profit corporations, Ohio’s charter schools misspend tax dollars—and lawmakers are letting it continue

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:20
Ohio’s charter schools—many of which are run by for-profit education management corporations—are notorious for misspending tax dollars and producing poor academic results. Lawmakers there had a chance to do something about it this summer by passing legislation that would strengthen charter school oversight—but that legislation ultimately failed. From The Washington Post: What happened? The bill — which, ...

North Carolina’s health advocacy community has lost a friend

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 12:29
At task force or committee meetings there is sometimes a strategy guiding where you sit. If an important legislator is in the room, for example, people will try to sidle up next to him or her to influence the policymaker’s thinking. As stakeholders gathered at the North Carolina Institute of Medicine for a seemingly endless ...

Sexual harassment case is a powerful reminder of why we need fair housing laws

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 10:14
In one of the myriad unexplained “special provisions” buried deep in the its version of the 2016-17 budget, the North Carolina Senate takes the remarkable and destructive step of repealing the state Fair Housing Act. As Sarah Ovaska-Few reported last week: “The provision, which would repeal the State Fair Housing Act and shut down the ...

Editorial roundup: Driver’s ed, SCOTUS decisions, Loretta Lynch, gerrymandering and the ACA

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 08:51
Editorial writers have penned several good ones across North Carolina in recent days. This morning’s Winston-Salem Journal is on the mark when it reminds the state Senate that driver’s education should remain in the public schools. As the editorial notes: “It’s not just a matter of money, but of public safety.” In an editorial entitled ...

Amazing new stats on growth in CEO pay evidence who is winning America’s class war

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:20
Researchers Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis at the Economic Policy Institute released some pretty amazing new numbers today on the growth in American CEO pay over the last few decades: “Over the last several decades, inflation-adjusted CEO compensation increased from $1.5 million in 1978 to $16.3 million in 2014, or 997 percent, a rise almost ...

Still more sobering employment news for NC amidst national recovery

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:15
New from our colleagues at the Budget and Tax Center: Much of North Carolina has still not recovered from the Great Recession, according to the latest employment data for May. Roughly two-thirds of North Carolina’s counties have fewer people working today than before the recession, and almost a quarter of the counties in North Carolina ...

Editorial: Senate deregulation bill is “Polluter Protection Act”

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:40
In case you missed it, an editorial in this morning’s Fayetteville Observer rightfully blasted the state Senate’s latest outrageous effort to gut state environmental regulations: Some cynics are calling it the “Off-The-Wall Act of 2015.” Others suggest a better title might be the “Polluter Protection Act.” In both cases they’re right. And what happened to ...

Before legislators’ vacay, TAs have their say (Audio)

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 09:27
Today’s must read story comes from NC Policy Watch education reporter Lindsay Wagner, who profiles several of the teaching assistants who stand to lose their jobs if lawmakers adopt the Senate’s budget proposal when they return from a scheduled summer recess. Here’s an excerpt from Wagner’s story: As a part of their “Pink Slips Truth” ...

Gridlock starts to grip NC schools as lawmakers…head out on vacation?

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 07:48
Two stories really symbolize the state of North Carolina state government this morning on the first day of Fiscal Year 2016: The first is the gridlock that’s starting to grip the state’s public schools. With a final state budget agreement light years away and few clear indicators from state leaders as to where things are ...

Even McCrory administration thinks latest attack on the environment goes too far

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 16:18
Ever since Gov. Pat McCrory took office, the folks he’s put in charge of environmental protection have been doing pretty much whatever the state’s corporate polluters have demanded.  McCrory’s original DENR Secreatry John Skvarla did just about everything he could to turn the one-time watchdog into an industry lapdog. Now, however, even McCrory’s Department of ...

Head of teachers’ association decries possible end of health retirement benefits for future educators

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 15:01
“They’ve already taken away longevity pay, master’s degree pay, and tenure…and now they’re taking away retirement health insurance,” said North Carolina Association of Educators’ vice president Mark Jewell on Monday. “The General Assembly is saying to educators thinking of working in North Carolina: please look somewhere else. We don’t want long-term educators in our state,” said Jewell. ...

Berger’s hypocrisy on redistricting reform continues

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 13:39
This week’s Supreme Court decision that reaffirmed the constitutionality of allowing independent commissions to draw congressional districts prompted Charlotte Observer reporter Jim Morrill to ask Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger about legislation sponsored by a majority of the House that would create a nonpartisan redistricting process in North Carolina. Don't look for #NCGA to ...

ICYMI: Is the death penalty broken beyond repair in North Carolina? (Full Video)

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 12:52
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with the nationally recognized Center for Death Penalty Litigation, that full program is now available online. Last week’s event featured CDPL Executive Director retchen Engel, Senior Staff Attorney Ken Rose and Associate Director of Public Information Kristin Collins. Please watch and then share this ...

Obama administration proposed rule will put more than $1 billion in the pockets of average Americans

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:17
As Think Progress reports this morning, there’s good news today for average American workers in the new proposed rule from the Obama administration: “On Tuesday morning, the Department of Labor released its proposed changes to the rules regarding who is eligible for overtime pay to expand the coverage to more workers. The proposal would increase ...

Why people of faith should emphatically support workers’ rights

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 09:44
[Editor’s note: Stan C. Kimer is a retired IBM executive and former President of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He now runs a firm which offers consulting services around diversity management and training, and talent/career development. This is the third installment in a series of posts he is authoring for The Progressive Pulse. You ...

Another reminder of what public education looks like under right-wing control

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 07:52
According to the folks who run North Carolina government, these are fabulous times in the Old North State. To hear Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and House Speake Moore tell it, North Carolina’s economy is soaring and state government is humming along like a finely tuned machine. In other words, it pretty much doesn’t get ...

State House of Representatives approves a 45-day stop-gap spending measure

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 22:48
With one day left in the current 2015 fiscal year, state lawmakers reached a stop-gap spending deal today that would avoid a shutdown and keep state programs and services operating until August 14. The House approved the deal—known formally as a Continuing Resolution—tonight, with the Senate poised to follow suit tomorrow morning.  The deal is ...

Colorado’s Supreme Court finds school voucher program unconstitutional

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 16:29
Colorado’s Supreme Court struck down school vouchers on Monday, finding that they violate the state’s constitution because they send public dollars to private, religious institutions. “Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything ...

Is “Choose Life” now the message of the state of North Carolina?

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 15:50
In an order released today, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Berger v. ACLU holding that the state’s “Choose Life” license plate constituted unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, and sent the case back to the appeals court for a ruling consistent with the high court’s recent decision in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Texas. In Walker the ...

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