NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 1 hour 39 min ago

Pollster: Undecided will swing NC’s U.S. Senate race, Libertarian unlikely a spoiler (video)

1 hour 43 min ago
More news for from the campaign trail: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins Sen. Kay Hagan in Charlotte on Saturday at an early voting event. Next week brings former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to North Carolina stumping for House Speaker Thom Tillis.  Then there’s word of the American Future Fund, a political group ...

Lawmakers to UNC system: Bring more conservative voices to campus, keep cutting administration costs

1 hour 47 min ago
The UNC Board of Governors heard from several top lawmakers Thursday as part of an attempt by the system’s governing board to improve relations with the elected officials that fund them. So, what advice did they get? Bring more conservative voices to campuses, keep cutting administrative costs and, when you are asking for more funding, ...

From Southern charm to the nastiest in the nation

4 hours 9 min ago
North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race has earned a new distinction: The race has aired the greatest number of negative commercials of any contest in the country. The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity has been tracking advertising nationwide and reports that we have officially become this year’s “great state of political hate.” Here’s more from the ...

Editorials: After the scandal, UNC must focus on reform, rebuilding integrity

6 hours 17 min ago
The leading editorials in several North Carolina newspapers today weigh in on the academic scandal that rocked UNC-Chapel Hill this week and where the state’s flagship university goes from here. The Wilmington Star News writes: It was even worse than it appeared. The academic scandal that rocked the Tar Heel State’s flagship university went unchecked ...

Biggs nomination for federal judge takes a step forward

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:43
According to a Judiciary Committee spokesperson, both North Carolina senators have submitted “blue slips” for Loretta Copeland Biggs, nominated in September by President Obama to serve as a U.S. District Judge in the state’s Middle District. That signal of support by home state senators allows the nominee to proceed to a Judiciary Committee hearing and move a step ...

McCrory celebrates zoo exhibit that GOP opposed

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:24
Governor Pat McCrory was all smiles today at the N.C Zoo as he cut the ribbon for the new polar bear exhibit. It’s not the first time that state politicians have talked about polar bears. In the 2010 and 2012 elections, Republican-allied groups ran ads against Democrats in the General Assembly for supporting funding for ...

Do environmentalists get a fair shake in the state Supreme Court?

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:45
There was a collective eye-roll among environmental activists earlier this month when the state Supreme Court announced it was taking over a review of the lawsuit between environmental groups and the state Environmental Management Commission over the handling of Duke Energy coal ash sites — as if the result was preordained. Perhaps that’s because the conservative majority on ...

Early vote begins today

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:43
It’d be hard for find anyone in North Carolina unaware of the upcoming Nov. 4 election, with the political television and radio advertisements currently blanketing the state. The end is now in sight. Today marks the first day of early voting, and you can look up your counties’ early vote locations and times here. For ...

Utilties Commission giveaway should be appealed by Cooper, Public Staff

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
NC Policy Watch followers will recall that last week we reported on a an recent and egregious giveaway to big utility companies in which the North Carolina Utilities Commission pulled a mysterious and unforeseen rabbit out of a hat to reverse its own previous ruling from earlier this year. The case revolves around whether all ...

Governor releases statement on UNC academic fraud

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 23:43
Hours after UNC-Chapel Hill released details of an independent investigation into academic fraud at the school, Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statement: “The finding of academic fraud is a disturbing reminder of what can happen, even at our flagship university, when we misplace priorities and have a lack of oversight. It is imperative that ...

Breaking: What’s happening with the Appalachian State voting site

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 18:41
As we reported early this morning, the Court of Appeals refused to review Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephen’s order requiring the opening of a voting site on the Appalachian State University campus. With that refusal, the State Board of Election scheduled a 4 p.m. meeting to vote on a new Watauga County plan that ...

Better late than never? Conservative conversion on Medicaid expansion continues

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:50
Conservative political support for one of the central components of Obamacare continues to grow. The latest conversion: North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. This is from a story by reporter Craig Jarvis in Raleigh’s News & Observer about Tillis’  televised appearance on Time Warner Cable’s “Capital Tonight” show last evening: Medicaid: Asked if he thought ...

Wilmington-area charter school group says it can’t get salary information from contractor

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:44
The standoff between Baker Mitchell Jr, whose company runs four Wilmington-area charter schools, and North Carolina’s education agency is continuing. The state has demanded – but has yet to receive– details from Charter Day Schools, Inc. about the salaries paid out to Roger Bacon Academy employees who work in the four public charter schools run ...

Blue Cross previews 2015 rates

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:42
North Carolinians who will be re-enrolling or signing up for individual health insurance plans next month are getting a preview of 2015 rates today. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced Wednesday that consumers could expect to see a 13 percent increase on individual Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. On the plus side, ...

Lt. Gov. Forest purports to give a constitutional law lecture

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:28
Though his background is in architecture, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest certainly does seem to fancy himself quite the constitutional law expert. Lately, he’s been tooling around the state with a far right activist who wants to rewrite the U.S. Constitution to return the country to the 18th Century by, essentially, giving the state’s ...

ICYMI: Judy Waxman on the legal landscape ahead for policies affecting women’s health (Full video)

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 07:40
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Tuesday breakfast with Judy Waxman,  Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women’s Law Center, that full program is now available online. Please watch and then share Ms. Waxman’s October 21st presentation:  

State Board of Elections calls emergency meeting for voting site at Appalachian State

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 05:55
The state Board of Elections has called an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. today to adopt an early voting site at Appalachian State University, after the Court of Appeals late yesterday denied the state’s request for a review of Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens’ ruling requiring a polling place there. Here’s an excerpt ...

A challenge to North Carolina’s tobacco-loving governor

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 16:10
Gov. Pat McCrory took a rather startling and troubling position the other day when he spoke at the behest of a tobacco lobbyist against efforts in France and Ireland to further restrict cigarette packaging to promote public health. Apparently, kowtowing to the hometown industry is more important than protecting the lives and well-being of a ...

Today’s amazing inequality graphic

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 13:46
The good folks at continue to do a great job of documenting America’s obscene and metastasizing wealth and income gaps. This week, in their online newsletter Too Much, they highlight as fascinating comparison between French and U.S. households when it comes to wealth. As you can see, Americans top the French when it comes ...

Experts: Repeal of ACA “not gonna happen”

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:01
The ideologues on the far right may continue to scream for “repeal” of Obamacare, but the evidence continues to pile up that this is simply not something that’s going to happen. That was the analysis delivered by Judy Waxman of the National Women’s Law Center at this morning’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation breakfast in ...