NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

Subscribe to NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse feed
Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 25 min 49 sec ago

N.C. unemployment stays at 6.4 percent in June, while number of jobs in state goes down

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 11:49
June’s jobs numbers are out for North Carolina, showing that the state has held on to its unemployment rate of 6.4 percent for the second straight month. The national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent for June. The North Carolina numbers for June released by N.C. Commerce Department show a much lower unemployment rate than a ...

California court confirms futility of the death penalty

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 11:12
(Cross-posted from the blog of the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty). By Kristin Collins Yesterday, a California court confirmed what we have known in North Carolina for years: The death penalty is so dysfunctional as to be not just unconstitutional, but futile. The ruling said of a system in which inmates sit ...

Senate bill would further limit local governments’ tax authority and force a choice between public education and transit

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 09:18
Plans to finance both public education and transit at the local level would be stopped in their tracks under HB 1224 that passed the state Senate Finance Committee yesterday. The bill not only places a hard cap on the local sales tax rate at 2.5 percent but also only allows counties to levy a sales ...

Editorial: Common Core “repeal” likely symbolic

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:30
An editorial in this morning’s Greensboro News & Record offers some important insights on the legislation — soon to be law — that “repeals” North Carolina’s adherence to Common Core education standards (i.e. the standards we’ve already spent tens of millions of dollars on to implement). The movement led by some Republicans to withdraw North ...

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate resigns post

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 22:17
Less than a week after being appointed North Carolina’s newest Poet Laureate, Valerie Macon resigned from the post on Thursday. The self-published poet from Fuquay-Varina said in a letter to Governor Pat McCrory she appreciated his confidence in her, but she did not want to distract from the Office of Poet Laureate. Macon’s appointment drew ...

Mission accomplished?

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:29
Steve Harrison over at Blue NC has a good catch today in a post entitled “90% of coal ash remains in Dan River after Duke ‘completes’ cleanup.” As Steve notes: If this is what they call “success,” one would hate to see them fail: “Since the operation began on May 6, approximately 2,500 tons of ...

Tonight’s take-home reading assignment

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:11
As state lawmakers continue to go about the business of overhauling important aspects of state government “on the fly” with complex, last-minute proposals that receive only superficial review in kangaroo committee meetings — see, for example, the Senate’s latest mad effort to privatize the state’s Medicaid system in the waning days of the 2014 session ...

Governor: Laureate honor not reserved for ‘elite’

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:08
Governor Pat McCrory is now answering questions about how he came to choose Valerie Macon as North Carolina’s newest poet laureate. The governor defended his decision Wednesday saying the little known self-published poet from Fuquay-Varina would bring a new voice to the position: “One of my objectives is to open up the availability of all ...

Responding to anti-gay pastors

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:34
There are two articles worth reading in Raleigh’s News & Observer this morning about Tuesday’s anti-gay speak-out by some conservative pastors. Chris Sgro of Equality NC is on the editorial page with this excellent post in which he responds to a list of absurd claims. For example: ‘(Marriage equality) is not a trend of the ...

New data: Medicaid expansion providing big benefits to states that have opted for it

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:56
In a new post this afternoon, Jesse Cross-Call at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports the latest confirmation that North Carolina is shooting itself in the foot with its stubborn and shortsighted refusal to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured people under the Affordable Care Act. As a growing number of ...

Time to Call a Spade a Spade: Public education and health programs face the chopping block because we can’t afford last year’s tax plan

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:46
North Carolinians are being dealt a bad hand. The deep revenue losses resulting from the 2013 tax plan is creating a reality in which there are too few dollars available to meet the needs of children, families, and communities. Budget writers are facing a self-imposed budget crisis and finding it difficult to agree on just ...

Senate offers newest Medicaid proposal, could open $13 billion system up to privatization

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 11:52
The state Senate pushed its most recent proposal in committee today to move North Carolina’s complicated and massive Medicaid program to a new structure outside of the state’s health agency. The Senate’s Medicaid plan  would also open up the state’s $13 billion health care program for poor children, the disabled and elderly to privatization by ...

Lawyers are game changers for immigrant children

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:01
As we reported last week, many of the children crossing the border into the United States wind up in court defending themselves — a situation that presumably does not end well for them. The American Civil Liberties Union describes the plight of such children in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle against Attorney General ...

The governor’s latest appointment flub

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:07
This morning’s editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it just about right with its assessment of Pat McCrory’s bizarre foul-up of — of all things — the appointment of North Carolina’s poet laureate by ignoring the established processes and then compounding the error by appointing a person whom some have charitably described as “a ...

Latest budget proposal could spell trouble for TAs (video)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 06:25
State senators offered a new budget proposal Tuesday – one that included 8% raises for teachers and would fund second-grade teaching assistants. But teaching assistants in the third-grade, they would not be funded in this latest proposal. And there’s another wrinkle, as Rep. Nelson Dollar discovered when seeking clarification on the Senate’s new numbers: “If ...

Sen. Jerry Tillman: “The timing is right” to repeal Common Core (w/ video)

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 16:33
Is Senator Jerry Tillman truly the man of compromise that he says he is when it comes to the Common Core standards? State lawmakers are coming close to passing legislation that would aim to repeal the Common Core standards, although the language in the bill currently would allow for a review commission to recommend keeping parts ...

Breaking: Fifth Circuit upholds Texas affirmative action program

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 16:31
Following remand by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the university’s affirmative action program. The Supreme Court had sent the case back to Texas for a reconsideration of the university’s affirmative action policy under a strict scrutiny standard. In the 7-1 ...

Today’s lamest homophobic rant

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 15:24
It comes from the notorious all-purpose far right minister, the Rev. Patrick Wooden of Raleigh’s Upper Room Church of God in Christ. At a pastor’s anti-marriage equality event today near the state Capitol Building, Wooden said the following according to this AP story: Seventy-eight percent of our children are born into homes where there are ...

The next legal challenge to Obamacare

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:49
The dust has yet to settle since the Supreme Court  took apart the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act in its Hobby Lobby decision, but already the next and potentially more debilitating wave of lawsuits challenging a different provision of the Act are making their way through the courts. This time the target is the tax ...

Last film in Moral Movies series – Inequality for All – shows in nine cities across NC this month

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:04
In case you’ve missed it, there has been a phenomenal film series going on this summer throughout North Carolina, which concludes this month with screenings of “Inequality for All” in nine cities from July 22nd – July 31st. The Moral Movies film series, which also included showings of American Teacher, American Winter and Freedom Summer, ...

Pages