NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

NYT Must Read: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act

2 hours 46 min ago
Today’s must read comes from  Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times. In his latest piece, A Dream Undone, Rutenberg takes readers back to 1956 when Henry Frye (who later became North Carolina’s first black Supreme Court chief justice) was subjected to a literacy test and barred from registering to vote. Rutenberg then fast-forwards us ...

GOP lawmaker says if McCrory “would just shut his mouth…”

3 hours 44 min ago
Another day, another startling display of disrespect from a Republican state lawmaker toward Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Patrick Gannon of the The Insider (subscription required)  reports that Rep. Phil Shepard was overheard Tuesday delivering some harsh words about the governor to his Republican colleagues. Before a House Transportation Committee Tuesday morning, Shepard, a committee cochairman, was overheard ...

Shameless stalling on Obama judicial nominees hits new low

4 hours 34 min ago
As the numbers below from the good people at the Alliance For Justice show, the the conservative blockade of President Obama’s judicial nominees is reaching absurd and historic levels. Admittedly, Obama has 18 months to go in his term, but if things continue at their current pace, only 20 nominees will be confirmed during his ...

The nonsense surrounding Tata and his departure

6 hours 22 min ago
If you’re looking for a powerful testimonial to the sorry state of both the policy and media worlds in modern North Carolina, you need look no further than the ridiculous hubbub surrounding yesterday’s sudden resignation of state Department of Transportation Secretary, Tony Tata. The story begins with the bizarre fact that Tata was ever in ...

Why did State Board of Elections approve local elections official who posted hateful speech?

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 15:28
Kudos to citizen journalist Greg Flynn for pointing out on Twitter today the recent and outrageous appointment of Rowan County businessman and former Housing Board Chairman Mac Butner to the Rowan County Board of Elections. As Flynn reported this morning, Butner said the following on Facebook in 2013:               ...

Leg. staff offers better mousetrap on retiree benefits. Will the Senate buy it?

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:45
Legislative staff pitched a policy solution to lawmakers on Monday that could reduce the state’s $25.5 billion unfunded liability associated with the Retiree Health Benefit Fund by 11.8 percent, producing a larger cost savings than the Senate’s proposal to eliminate retiree health benefits for all teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016. The fix? Shift some ...

Trending today on Jones Street – the resignation of NCDOT Sec. Tony Tata

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 12:06
Governor Pat McCrory’s Transportation Secretary caught many in the state government world by surprise Tuesday with the announcement that he would leave the office immediately. A press release from the governor’s office explained Tony Tata’s departure this way: …Tony Tata has resigned as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) to focus on ...

#WageWeek interview: Boulted Bread

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 11:27
As a follow up to National #WageWeek, the Progressive Pulse is highlighting the work of local business leaders who are raising the wage floor for their employees. This blog post is the second in that series, and represents an interview with bakery owner Fulton Forde. Forde and his partners Sam Kirkpatrick and Josh Bellamy own Boulted Bread, a ...

New report: NC seniors threatened by low caregiver pay, poor care

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:34
A new media release from colleagues at the NC Justice Center: New report says quality caregiver wages are critical for quality care given to seniors Fair wages for home care workers improve continuity of care and strengthen the local economy Low wages for caregivers threaten the quality and consistency of in-home healthcare services provided to ...

Gun bill watered down, but still a step in the wrong direction

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:23
It shows you how far off course North Carolina government has strayed in recent years that so many good people are in a celebratory mood this morning after the Senate’s passage last night of legislation to further loosen state gun regulations. The source of the happiness (or at least, the relief), of course, is the ...

Taking back the narrative: The power of storytelling and home-grown solutions

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 15:35
Glowing computer screens, florescent lights, spreadsheets, graphs and charts. That’s how many of us spend our day. In the age of instant information, we rely on numbers and statistics and reports to paint pictures of the world that lies beyond the view of our office window. And we’ve gotten good at it. We understand wage ...

The amazing excuse for keeping death penalty drugs secret

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 13:45
The North Carolina Senate is scheduled to take up legislation this evening that would, among other worrisome things, strike a large and troubling blow for the cause of government secrecy. The subject is the death penalty and the legislation in question would specifically amend the state public records law to make clear that citizens will ...

The effects of gutting classroom TAs

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 13:05
In case you missed it, WRAL’s Tyler Dukes had a good story this weekend sorting through whether or not teacher assistants have any positive effect at all in the classroom and whether the Senate’s proposal to cut 80 percent of TA jobs over the upcoming biennium is the state’s largest layoff in history. The conclusion? ...

Rep. McGrady latest lawmaker to criticize Gov. McCrory

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 10:14
Rep. Chuck McGrady is the latest legislative leader to question how Governor Pat McCrory, a fellow Republican, is doing his job. McGrady—one of the House budget chairs—weighed in as part of a weekend Charlotte Observer story about the increasing friction between McCrory and the folks running the General Assembly. McGrady, a former president of the national ...

#WageWeek interview: Empire Properties and Empire Eats

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 09:25
As a follow up to National #WageWeek, the Progressive Pulse is highlighting the work of local business leaders who are raising the wage floor for their employees. This blog post is the first in the series, and represents an interview with Greg Hatem, owner of Empire Properties and Empire Eats in downtown Raleigh. Hatem worked with his staff over ...

Editorials blast voucher ruling

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 08:05
Last week’s ruling that North Carolina tax dollars may be used to support private schools with literally no standards of accountability at all has generated some scathing editorials from the state’s major newspapers. Here are a few excerpts: From Raleigh’s News & Observer: “It is distressing on its face, this idea that public money can ...

Another report highlights abuse in the H-2 guestworker program.

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:24
A BuzzFeed News Investigation published today, The New American Slavery: Invited to the U.S. Foreign Workers Find a Nightmare, details many of the abuses experienced by workers in the H-2A and H-2B visa program. One of the H-2 workers profiled by BuzzFeed put it simply: We live where we work and we can’t leave. We ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 14:30
1. State’s highest court upholds school voucher program despite lack of accountability and standards In a 4-3 decision that defies principles of accountability to taxpayers and students alike, the elected Republican justices of the state Supreme Court today upheld a school voucher program that allows taxpayer dollars to fund tuition for private schools having virtually ...

Weak economy and tax cuts are preventing state revenues from keeping up with population-plus-inflation growth, fiscal staff says

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:46
Revenues that fuel the state budget are growing so slowly that they are not even keeping pace with population-plus-inflation growth, according to Barry Boardman who is the chief economist for the state legislature’s non-partisan Fiscal Research Division. Weak economic growth and tax cuts are keeping state revenues low, Boardman explained during a presentation that he ...

The Durham Living Wage Project

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:37
As #WageWeek continues to celebrate local and state efforts to improve wages across the country, The Progressive Pulse is highlighting the work of advocates, businesses, and elected officials engaged in innovative efforts to raise wages in local communities across North Carolina. This blog post is the next in this series, and represents a guest post ...

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